Livestock

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ray miller
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Livestock

Post by ray miller » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:12 pm

If we must change our dining habits to moderate the heat
what will become of animals when we stop eating meat?

We shall drive them to a foreign land, let them call it Turkey.
They’ll write a Bible for themselves, build churches, and the clergy

will cite mankind as their Satan, pointing with some reason
at the mutilation that occurred before we all went vegan.

They will claim for reparations in the form of grass and grain
and a solemn undertaking we shall not eat meat again.

They’ll demand the right to travel without fear of butchery:
the fence, the hedge, the wall will fall, they’re entitled to be free,

thus will run the argument of those determined to atone
for the leg of lamb, the potted ham and chicken on the bone.

Then all the land we thought we’d gained to grow our daily bread
will be overrun by animals and man will go unfed.

O, please cage them in laboratories to test our cigarettes
or chop them into pieces and feed them to our pets.
Last edited by ray miller on Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:43 am, edited 3 times in total.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Livestock

Post by David » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:16 pm

Excellent, Ray.

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Firebird
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Re: Livestock

Post by Firebird » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:49 pm

Hi Ray,

It’s a fun piece and I enjoyed the irony of the ending. Of course, the arguments put forward are absurd. But that’s what we are up against. Meat eaters try to legitimise their habit in all sorts of irrational ways. Some specific points below.

ray miller wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:12 pm
If we must change our dining habits to keep a lid on heat (Surely we don’t want to keep a lid on heat. Not in the sense of global warming anyway.We want the heat to escape, don’t we?)
what will become of animals when we stop eating meat?

We shall drive them to a foreign land, let them call it Turkey.
They’ll write a Bible for themselves, build churches and the clergy (Having ‘clergy’ hanging on the end of this line/stanza makes it sound like the clergy were built until you read on to the next stanza. Can clergy be built?)

will cite mankind as their Satan, pointing with some reason
at the mutilation that occurred before we all went vegan.

They will claim for compensation in the form of grass and grain
and a solemn undertaking we shall not eat meat again.

They’ll demand the right to travel without fear of butchery:
the fence, the hedge, the wall will fall, they’re entitled to be free. (Who is saying ‘they’re entitled to be free’? It seems out of sink with the rest of the stanza)

Thus will run the argument of those determined to atone
for the leg of lamb, the potted ham and chicken on the bone.

Then all the land we thought we’d gained to grow our daily bread
will be overrun by animals and man will go unfed.

O, please cage them in laboratories to test our cigarettes
or chop them into pieces and feed them to our pets.
Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Tristan

ray miller
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Re: Livestock

Post by ray miller » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:12 am

Thanks, David, Tristan. You're right about the heat, I've changed it. Put a comma after churches.

they’re entitled to be free.

Thus will run the argument of those determined to atone


Those determined to atone make the case for their freedom. Originally I had a comma after "free", would that help?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Firebird
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Re: Livestock

Post by Firebird » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:40 pm

Yes, I think a comma would help after ‘free’.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Livestock

Post by ton321 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:29 am

The off-rhyme jarred a little on stanza five for me, but I enjoyed the satirical read,
Tony
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Counting the slow heart beats,
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Re: Livestock

Post by bjondon » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:22 pm

First five stanzas brilliant.
'keep a lid on' is way better than 'moderate' - the meaning was clear (i.e. 'limit') plus the bonus image of a giant stockpot.
Loved the Satan slant rhyme (made me think of seitan)
'they're entitled to be free' - a bit limp
S6-9 weak by comparison - we don't need the opening 'proposal' explained/expanded. I'd like to hear more about the economy, tourist industry, politics, foreign policies of this newly arrived at state.

Best,
Jules

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Re: Livestock

Post by Firebird » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:50 pm

'keep a lid on' is way better than 'moderate' - the meaning was clear (i.e. 'limit') plus the bonus image of a giant stockpot.
Hi Jules,

the meaning may well have been clear for you, but the problem is that that image can be read in two ways, one of which is not the desired meaning.

I agree that ‘moderate’ is weak, but it’s better than an image that can take you the wrong way. ‘Keep a lid on’ is also a cliche.

I like the ending, but I understand your desire for more of that fun description about their state.

Cheers,

Tristan

ray miller
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Re: Livestock

Post by ray miller » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:19 am

Thanks for the comments. I can't make up my mind between keep a lid on and moderate. Great idea, Jules, the finer details of the Animal State. Another poem, maybe.
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JJWilliamson
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Re: Livestock

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:14 pm

I thought it was superb, Ray. No meat means no little lambkins gambolling in the fields, waiting for the thrum of the abattoir saw.

I wondered about the shifting rhythms but not for long.

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JJ
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Re: Livestock

Post by NotQuiteSure » Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:18 pm

.
Hi ray,
for what it's worth, I'm with Jules. Both for 'lid' (with its implications of increased pressure) and for the relative 'weakness' of S6-8.

I did wonder, given the opening couplet, why the rest wasn't framed as questions?

Shall we drive them to a 'promised' land, let the call it Turkey,
where they'll write a Bible for themselves ...


( if they're all in Turkey, how will 'all the land' be overrun? and
if they're 'free' wouldn't 'our pets' be demanding emancipation?)

After the 'clergy' I was hoping for an animal 'Life of Brian', who's their messiah?

I think you need something stronger than 'mutilation', similarly, shouldn't 'compensation
be 'reparations'?


Regards, Not


.

ray miller
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Re: Livestock

Post by ray miller » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:41 am

Thanks, JJ and Not. I tried it in the form of a long question and it caused more problems than it solved. The land will be overrun because the fences have come down and they've left Turkey. Maybe our pets would demand emancipation but I wanted to write a poem with 8 couplets, not a short story.
Reparations is better than compensation, yeah.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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