The Plight of Animals The plight of animals, how must it be Ordained thus, either by a just God or A merciful? By nature meek and poor, They have no hopes, no future can they see And all they own their living now as we. No retrospect, their past is nevermore, Their present short, a wretched end in store Though dear their lives to them as mine to me. Our ends will come, in torment or at peace, For we too hold mere tenure of a lease, Yet proudly we alone anticipate A future life if we can expiate The past. But why are helpless beasts outcast, And who will give the sinless peace at last? Pigs at the Fair A summer country fair, no matter where, And by the dodgems, swings and roundabout In livestock pens found hereabouts are stout Prize boars and bloated sows that cannot bear Their weight but lie prostrate. Too late to spare Them their impending fate, each comic snout And corkscrew tail, each oink and squeak no doubt Belies their desperation and despair. And children here poke fun at them and mock Their girth and make of them a laughing stock, Or voice disgust, revile their fat and flab, A preface to the shambles and the slab! Their massive waistlines no-one could deny: We fatten them to give us more to fry. We Don't Know What They Are We don’t know what they are, nor why they’re here, We know not whence they came nor where they go, But some of them give comfort to the low, Some help the blind to see, the deaf to hear. They leave us poignant memories that cheer And some that ache, remembered deeds that show The lowly creature kindnesses we know Once Eden knew when Eden knew no fear. We don’t know what they are and never will, But sure it is they know themselves and learn And think and understand, when parting yearn For us and grieve sometimes; and sometimes still It feels we would be better, to my mind, Allied to them and far less to our kind. Peter Hartley is a retired painting restorer. He was born in Liverpool and lives in Manchester, UK.