Real Poetry

reviews, tips, and personal/local writing

Philip Levine – “Animals Are Passing From Our Lives”

Greetings Poetry Lovers,

So this particular poem from Philip Levine, the United States Poet Laureate, has been on my mind a lot lately.  I’m not 100% why, but I feel as though it could have something to do with having graduated from college and beginning to face the real world out there.  The poem is one of those seemingly lighthearted, joking poems that waits until the very end to basically slap you across the face with a surprisingly heart-wrenching ending.  The ending in this poem in particular is where the title of the collection of poetry it comes out of is derived.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m now officially graduated from college.  So now, when I’m not searching for a job, I can dedicate more of my time to updating this blog.  I’ve got a few ideas in mind to both diversify and narrow in various aspects of the blog, and those changes will be coming into effect soon.  For now, enjoy the poem.  I’ll be back with more soon.

Stephen Recker

Picture of a pig

Animals Are Passing From Our Lives

It’s wonderful how I jog
on four honed-down ivory toes
my massive buttocks slipping
like oiled parts with each light step.

I’m to market.  I can smell
the sour, grooved block, I can smell
the blade that opens the hole
and the pudgy white fingers

that shake out the intestines
like a hankie.  In my dreams
the snouts drool on the marble,
suffering children, suffering flies,

suffering the consumers
who won’t meet their steady eyes
for fear they could see.  The boy
who drives me along believes

that any moment I’ll fall
on my side and drum my toes
like a typewriter or squeal
and shit like a new housewife

discovering television,
or that I’ll turn like a beast
cleverly to hook his teeth
with my teeth.  No.  Not this pig.

— Philip Levine

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