The Learned Pig

Art – Thinking – Nature – Writing

pig dreams

Pig Dreams Pig Life

In some dreams we are dead.
It is never a surprise.
Life doesn’t last long after all.
Someone did ask, what is a life?
Does it feel like something?
Is it solid or a shadow?
Comfortable? Forgiveable?
‘A pig is an unlikely bird’, grunted a pig.
It couldn’t speak the answers and it wanted to fly.


In other dreams we live wonderful pig lives.
We are breath and bodies and heartbeats.
Our lives are views through a window,
leaves, paths, and hedges blowing. Sleep.
The safety of walls, warmth of our bodies
and soft delicious chewing.
Hopes too, our own hopes,
and thoughts that are different to thought.


What do you call a smile? Teeth and happiness
distant forests, an upward curve of the mouth.
Think of the brightness of an eye, stars in the sky,
tassels to tug on, and smells. Is this popcorn?
Whatever a smile is our smiles are immense!
Big as hay bales, and clever as mathematics.
Being alive is not letting go. Don’t lose things
like a gentle touch or looking forward to tomorrow.


This is pleasure – us running towards you, recognising you,
expectant. Sticks are pleasure, plus purple and cabbages.
Things we climb up or fit inside. Squeeze, push, rub, tickle!
A pig is real. Whisper that, as if to a pomegranate! Alive is
breath and being involved in investigations. Whose turn is it
to tear something apart? Words. Things. Feeling. Let’s jostle.
Unbearable just needn’t be. Pleasure is juice and brushes –
see how they swing and make knocking sounds.


Oh! grunted a pig, is this a party?
Party is partying is party time!
Apples everywhere! Who is apples?
Things that fall out and roll.
Apples is mysterious. Our enjoyment
is our enjoyment of enjoyment.
If we could use words what would we say?
Four legs… Two legs…
What is life? We don’t know
but we care what happens next.


A meteor came and we burst it open.
A barrel came and we rolled it, rolled it.
And look at this house. Let’s go in!
Let’s wrestle each other. Let’s eat the house.
We are pigs at the carnival! Apples is utopia perhaps?
If things stay like this then they cannot stay like this.
Small pen, damp corners. Feeling matters
and makes us matter. Where has normal vanished to?
Does the sky make sense? Huge rubies filled with carrots?


What makes you happy? Or you?
(Language is here and there, bustling around.)
Happiness is curiosity, sensuality, heartbreak.
Or, happiness is a fruit machine and learning how to pull.
A pig is the sun, said someone. A pig is gingerbread
said another. (Language is froth or a pie crust.)
What world are we making? What world have we made?


But we’re dead now of course. Life doesn’t last long,
even in dreams. A utopia is a tiny place that closes.
Carnivals evaporate. Diligence too.
But if for one second we revealed ourselves…
A twinkle in an eye. A dance to your camera.
Little pig, little pig… a feeling… brief as…


This is part of CARNEVALE, a collaborative art-science project that explores animal welfare questions and the enthusiasm of pigs for investigative play. Click to see the rest.


Carnevale header


The Learned Pig