A poem by Leeza Coleman

Pig, sheep, lizard, turkey, mouse, toad, baboon, wolf,
jellyfish, chicken, donkey, snake, buffalo, crab, mule,
guinea pig, cow, worm, ape, rat, goose, monkey, dog,
cat, bug, hare, elephant, parrot, hippopotamus, sow,
ferret, bat, skunk, insect, weasel, vulture, bird, horse,
coyote, wasp, hyena, goat, spider, cold-blooded,
animal, bear, tarantula, gorilla, frog

Imputing to them
our own species’ most objectionable habits, customs, practices, traditions, traits

Attributing to them
the crudest of our acts, the ugliest of our thoughts, the deepest of our guilts, the worst of our crimes, the most unspeakable of our evils, the tawdriness of our betrayals and disloyalty, our basest tendencies

Forcing on them
our self-deprecation, our worst motives, our most evil incentives, our wretchedness, our hatred of ourselves, and of one another

Transferring what is basest
in ourselves to them

Using their good names
as imprecations, insults, maledictions, slanders

Making of their fine and good names
egregious invectives and epithets
the implications of which
dwell only within us, the human animal

If it is truly dreadful, disgraceful, ugly, disgusting, filthy, stupid
it cannot be represented by the word “human”

A rat will talk about you behind your back;
a sheep, in a concentration camp prodded by abusive humans with electric prods, goes “meekly” and with a mindless lack of courage to her death;
a dog will lie to you and is, by definition, “dirty”;
a goat is disreputable;
“ferret-face?” when was the last time the human looked in a mirror?
a cow is simply an obese, ugly, stupid version of a human;
chickens are well known for running around headless;
an abused overworked enslaved mule is “stubborn”;
a bird is, by definition, mindless;
a wolf wears disguises for the dirty work;
worms and snakes are sneaky and untrustworthy;
a donkey is an ass;
a bat is old and ugly;
a pig is an all-around dirty, stupid slob, and goes to the buffet six times;
a hare has only stupid ideas;
a hippopotamus is the punchline to a joke;
someone who is “cold-blooded” is a ruthless sociopath;
a toad…well, not even a toad wants to be a toad

We imbue their good names with insulting characteristics that have no connection to the attributes of any of them

These folks have never earned the scurrilous meanings
with which we endow their names in attempting to disown
what is worst and ugliest in ourselves

We foist onto them what we are unwilling to acknowledge about ourselves,
what we realize is unattractive and disagreeable, we ascribe to them –
instead of owning our ugliness we donate it to them

We need to take back our foibles and return their good names

For sly, sneaky, disreputable, untrustworthy, undignified, dishonest, dirty, hypocritical, fraudulent, traitorous, disloyal et al., look under “Human”

“PIG!” is not an insult.

Picture by Caroline Ford (Wikimedia)