Sunday, 27 March 2011


Oea! Oea! you squeaked, so I took you with me,
Walked you on a lead through the soukh.
You dogged after me –
Pigged I should say –hoovering on the trot.
Your Tripoli was turnips and cabbages,
Nuts of the best, carrots and cucumbers,
Pumpkins and pears. Your little snout
Went in and out. Your gushy grunts I decoded
Into a gimme, gimme, that came as no surprise.
My Tripoli I kept from you
While yet another Focke whistled by.
Blessed Erwin, had he been there,
Or our friend Saint Adulf,
Might have whistled some funking Wagner
Beneath the lamp-posts.
They might have taught the jolly jerboas to sing
Lili Marlene and given the game away.
I shot sly glances at the bullet-holes
Not to disturb the pretty pigling in you
That was sniffing blindly and trusting to provender.
Oea! Oea!, you squeaked,
While in my Tripoli
We were never more than an energetic spit
From a scrap-happy desert-rat.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


You lay on the floor
In your pink wool knitted dress.
Botulf came by to say 'bye to us,
Blushing and off to blighty in the morning,
Brimming with God’s grace and gobsmacked by you.
Gosh! Piggles, I say!
You look really nice!
He said,
He says I say!
He says I say! all the time, I don’t say anything!
(What’s that Madam? You had to read that twice.
Inverted commas might have made it clearer.
Give up, my love, and go back to Pam Ayres!)
What a topping dress!
The colour suits you jolly well.
(This to a pink pigling!)
Saint Monica knitted it. I told him.
I asked her to bring the needles
But was misunderstood.
Knit-one, pearl-one all blessed weekend!
Enough to try the patience!
You were pretty as a picture though,
Transfigured, the holy, wholly holey dress
Made you seem quite naked,
Your little eyes like pyropes in the snow,
Much more naked than when you were quite naked,
Not that I’d turk it, you understand, Botulf. I said.
No, I would jolly well think not, old man.
Said Botulf. Wouldn’t even think of it.
I said. Well, quite!, not cricket!
old man, not very saintly, what?
Bye now Piggles and Tony,
He said. I’ll leave you two alone.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


I saw my world again through your piggy eyes.
Serpents and scorpions, huge, snout-high,
Twisting their live, lithe bodies
Into marks of interrogation
Or, as some would have it, question-marks,
A saint may choose.
Camels to you were four knock-kneed legs
Towering from the desert sands
And even mangy dogs and jackals, creatures to look up to.
The answers to your questions were often unsatisfactory:
A bite, a sting, a kick up the rubber bum, a dog-nip,
I felt for you but you did not squeak
All that much.
Your frustrations made me mindful,
I remembered that moonlit night on the Zagazig road
When I, taken for a lamp-post,
Was startled by the three-legged disapproval
Of a wild-dog. I was wild too.
I kicked him.
We were both wild.
How we howled!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


How many times had I told you?
Pigs are no-hopers in the desert.
Camels maybe.
Even if I had hung a compass round your pink neck
You would never have allowed for magnetic variation.
As for maps, a sheet of strong, brown, wrapping paper
Is about it round here.
Telamons, caves and saints strictly not marked,
Just a few jebels maa arif and wadis.

You wanted to be the camel
That we do not possess.
Pig-headed and pathetic, you had to see for yourself.
When I found you,
Molten by the sun,
You were more pork than pig.
I was lucky to find you not yet crackling,
Or was it fate
Playing as in the title?
You were like a lost and found golf-ball,
Outwardly baked,
Rubbery inside, tense and squashed.
God! how you squealed!
You were a packet of emotions,
A muesli mix.
Gratitude that I had found you made you cling to me
With your pink, sand-in-the-toes trotters.
Your despair clinging to my face like custard pie.
No longer a wannabee camel, just a pathetic female squeaker,
Your love was magnified many times,
At least.
I had fetched the poke.
I bore you cavewards while beneath my feet
The desert quaked.