The poem, The Pig is written with 8 syllables per line, and a rhyming word at the end of a pair of lines.
oOoOoOoO is the stress pattern.
This is a good poem with which to practice the rhythm of English.
This wonderful poem was written by Roald Dahl and appeared in his collection of poems, Dirty Beasts, in 1983. As far as I know, this is the first time this poem has been read by a near relative of the pig in the poem.
Dahl is known for his novels James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine. He also wrote adult fiction, my favourite being his Tales of the Unexpected.
To help you learn more about the rhythm of English and the phonetic symbols, you can download a free PDF with embedded audio and full phonetic typescript: Free PDF eBook.
If the eBook opens in your browser, save it to your HDD and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Then you will be able to hear the embedded audio.
In England once there lived a big
And wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody it was plain
That Piggy had a massive brain.
He worked out sums inside his head,
There was no book he hadn’t read.
He knew what made an airplane fly,
He knew how engines worked and why.
He knew all this, but in the end
One question drove him round the bend:
He simply couldn’t puzzle out
What LIFE was really all about.
What was the reason for his birth?
Why was he placed upon this earth?
His giant brain went round and round.
Alas, no answer could be found.
Till suddenly one wondrous night.
All in a flash he saw the light.
He jumped up like a ballet dance
And yelled, ‘By gum, I’ve got the answer!
They want my bacon slice by slice
To sell at a tremendous price!
They want my tender juicy chops
To put in all the butcher’s shops!
They want my pork to make a roast
And that’s the part’ll cost the most!
They want my sausages in strings!
They even want my chitterlings!
The butcher’s shop! The carving knife!
That is the reason for my life!’
Such thoughts as these are not designed
To give a pig great peace of mind.
Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,
A pail of pigswill in his hand,
And piggy with a mighty roar,
Bashes the farmer to the floor…
Now comes the rather grisly bit
So let’s not make too much of it,
Except that you must understand
That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland,
He ate him up from head to toe,
Chewing the pieces nice and slow.
It took an hour to reach the feet,
Because there was so much to eat,
And when he finished, Pig, of course,
Felt absolutely no remorse.
Slowly he scratched his brainy head
And with a little smile he said,
‘I had a fairly powerful hunch
That he might have me for his lunch.
And so, because I feared the worst,
I thought I’d better eat him first.’
In the video there is a typo where I have written great piece of mind instead of great peace of mind.
Peace of mind means contentment.
Piece of mind is used in the expression to give someone a piece of your mind which means to tell them off for doing something wrong.
Drive someone round the bend = make someone crazy
Puzzle out = come to an understanding of something
In a flash = suddenly
By gum! = an expression of sudden realisation
Chitterlings = pigs intestines used for food
Pigswill = waste food fed to pigs
This video animation was prepared with iClone 6 Pro.