Friday, August 17, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pig prose, poetry hog the Market's spotlight

Seattle Times book editor

Pigs are the proud muses of an ennobling literary tradition. There's the soulfully sweet Wilbur in "Charlotte's Web"; there are the totalitarian, boss-man pigs in George Orwell's "Animal Farm." There are ... uh, well, there are the winners of the Pike Place Market Foundation's "Porky Pinings: A Reflection on Pigs" literary contest.

The aim of this contest was to celebrate in words pigs and their piggy likenesses, currently wallowing in glory all over town (Rachel, the ur-pig in the Market, was a favorite subject). The nine award winners, which this editor helped select, will be honored at noon today at the market. A sampling of their estimable work is reprinted here.

Best Overall Poetry
Winner: Vladimir Verano

He dreamed of houses
And wolves, and stuttering fools.
He dreamed apple cores.

Best Ode to a Pig
Winner: Dana Sedgwick, age 11

"My Piglet Named Spot"
Over the weekend
Do you know what I got?
I got me a piglet
With a little brown spot.

He is very cute
But he's missing a name.
Should I call him Lassie or Baby?
Or Alfred Kincane?!

Maybe I'll name him for his
Little black feet,
Or the way he drinks milk,
Which is not very neat!

I could name him for his wet
Squashed, cute little nose,
Or the way he washes:
Which is straight from the hose.

Oh wait,
I'll name him for what he's got!
From now on he'll be
My baby, Spot.

Category: Spirit of the Market Award
Winner: M.M. FitzPatrick

"Rachel the Philanthropic Pig"
Rachel the pig is a merry old fixture
Next to the fish (a very odd mixture)
She stands as an icon, her body of brass
A portly reminder to people who pass
That she is collecting coins for a cause
From those who have taken a moment to pause
To toss in some change for the Clinic nearby
Help for the hungry from a suit and a tie

The housing for Seniors that Rachel assists
The need of the needy that somehow persists
The Day Care for children of parents with less
Benefits daily from Rachel's largesse
And she never complains when they pile on her loins
Especially when they toss in some coins
The children all laugh as they put in a nickel
Sounding like someone just gave them a tickle
I'm certain her smile graces many a wall
"My Seattle vacation," Rachel and all
Of Pigs on Parade, she's Queen of the Pen
She hopes you will visit, again and again!

Best Overall Prose/Most Humorous
Winner: Celeste Deveney

It was around midnight, and I was sitting in Kells, working on my sixth Guinness when she wandered in. I noticed her immediately; how could I not? Although she was a large woman, she was strangely attractive — voluptuous, I guess you would say.

"Barkeep, a Diet Coke if you please," she snorted in a kind of snuffly Scottish brogue, and proceeded to dump an enormous pile of small change on the bar.

Now, I don't usually go for her type, but for some reason, she affected me. I can't explain it; just looking at her made me hungry. What was her mysterious allure? I had to find out.

"You come here often?" I asked.

"Sure," she replied nonchalantly, "I have a job in the market — by the Flying Fish Guys," and she slurped down half of her soda. "On your way home?"

"Soon. I'll catch a 43 to Capitol Hill."

"Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill, I haven't looked there yet," she murmured to herself. "Tell me something now, do you ever hear party music up there?"

"Party music?"

"Aye. The sound of pipes and a drum and maybe a fife. The sound of a jig and dancin' in the streets. Do you ever hear that?"

"Well, I don't know if it's exactly pipes and drums, but I usually hear a party goin' on someplace in my neighborhood. Why, did you lose a party?" I joked, but apparently I had struck a nerve.

"Well, yes," she replied, and her eyes welled with tears. "I've waited so long for it, and it's here now."


"Here, somewhere in Seattle."

"What is?" I asked.

And she looked warily around, as if to make sure we weren't overheard.

"Can you keep a secret lad?" she whispered.

I nodded.

"The pigs are here," she said softly.

"The pigs?"

"Aye," she replied, and pulled her pale face closer to mine.

"Long ago, there was a farm — a farm with 200 pigs who loved nothin' better than dressin' up in their finest, and singin' and dancin' the night away. But of course, such things canno' be, and so the farm was doomed to disappear into the mist, rising only once every hundred years. And when it rises, the revels continue. The pigs come out and dance and drink and hold their piggy rout every night. But by day, they remain as still and silent as statues."

"And what was the name of this farm?"

"Pigadoon," she whispered, reverently.

"I was afraid you were gonna say that," I replied cautiously, reaching for my jacket. "Look, lady, maybe you should talk to somebody about this. Like the police, or the P-I, or a good therapist?"

"Ach," she said sadly. "You dunna believe me either," and she took another long, sloppy drink from her Coke.

"Of course I believe you."

"Nah ya don't," she replied gently. "That's all right. It's hard to believe in things that seem impossible, but believe me about this, Pigadoon exists, and I would know," she added in a whisper, "because I've been there."

"You've been there," I replied.

"Aye, but like a fool I left. Gave up glorious Pigadoon for a nice tail and a roll in the hay. But now's my chance to return. Somewhere in Seattle the revels continue, and I'll find them before they leave our city. You can count on it."

And as she walked out into the mist, I thought I saw the glint of a giant coin slot on her back, and heard the sound of pipes off in the distance.

Geeze. I gotta stop drinking Guinness.


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