When the white clouds lifted, they left behind
a hint of snow along the mountain ridge. The sky
is blue as any summer’s day and I walk to the village
in unbroken sunshine. On the way back, a neighbour
eases his donkey from amble to pause and greets me.
He wants some windfall apples “pa’ el guarro”. I agree,
but would so much prefer to let the patient burro
mumble fruit from my palm, not help to fatten
the squealing pig for Martinmas.
(First draft – which means I’ve only rewritten it half a dozen times and juggled the line breaks back and forth and to and fro, but haven’t added in additional material or stepped back from it very far.)
And on a language aside, I just learned that the neighbour who’s referred numerous time to “los guarros”, hasn’t been insulting and complaining about the guys with their broken-down vehicles and ramshackle pig-pen alongside the olive grove next door. He’s been talking about the actual pigs they keep.
When I first heard the pig owner refer to el guarro, I thought it was a term of endearment, something like ‘the stinker’. Over twenty years here, and I’d always thought guarro was simply a negative adjective meaning ‘dirty’ or ‘pig-like’ and that its use as a noun was just an extension of that. It turns out that it does, quite literally, mean ‘pig’ and the way I’ve been using it is the derivative meaning.
And on another aside, why is the word ‘pig’ so short and clean, not like guarro or mwchin that have lovely muddy semi-consonant semi-vowel sounds that you can really wallow in?