Sunday, 23 December 2018

Inheritance

Dear Reader,


                                                                       An 1834 painting of a Gloucester Old Spot Pig


The Gloucestershire Old Spot is an English breed of pigs which is predominately white with black spots.  It is named after the county of Gloucestershire.  The Gloucestershire Old Spot pig is known for its docility, intelligence and fertility.  The pigs are white with clearly defined black spots.  There must be at least one spot on the body to be accepted in the registry.  The breed maternal skills enable it to raise large litters of piglets on pasture.  Its disposition and self-sufficiency should make it attractive for farmers raising pasture pigs.

The first pedigree records of these pigs began in 1885, much later than it does for cattle, sheep and horses because the pig was a peasant's animal, a scavenger and never highly regarded.  No other pedigree spotted breed was recorded before 1913, so today's Gloucestershire Old Spot is recognised as the oldest such breed in the world.  The British Pig association says: "Although if old paintings are to be trusted, there have been spotted pigs around for two or three centuries......".

                                                                           *


Inheritance

What was it that made me
think of you, who
are bone-dust now,
with no statue or monument
to bear your witness?
Was it the apple-bruised spots
on the Gloucester Old Spot pigs,
their legacy from apple orchards, long ago,
to mark them out?

In the afternoon sunlight
as I bent to touch their skin
I saw that my hands, brown spotted,
were your hands, identical.
Was this your legacy to me,
something to say that you were here?

More precious than possessions,
you passed to me our inheritance
from some ancient eastern shore.
Your brownness, your hands, brown spotted,
which marked you.

                                                                       *

With very best wishes and a very happy Christmas,  Patricia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lovely poem - poignant as always - to mark the shifting seasons. Now the Solstice has passed we have longer days to look forward to, and a new year which I hope will be full of happiness. Thank you for another year of wonderful posts! MXX