The Perfect Pig

By Janet Burroway and Philip Wharton

Back in the spring I was only just three
I said to myself, “I don’t like being me.”
My tail is too kinky, my nose is too smelly,
My feet are like pickles. Don’t look at my belly!
It’s pinky and plumpy and porky and fat.
Raccoon poked his head out of his habitat
And said, “True.
Poor old you.
You should have a disguise.
What you need is a big pair of glamorous eyes.
Just like mine. And, my dear old friend Pig, since you ask
You are perfectly welcome to try on my mask.
Well, I hadn’t asked, really, but I put it on
And I blinked till the prickly feeling was gone.
But Lion came, came up and roared, “No!” It’s atrocious!
What use is mascara for looking ferocious?
Have you no pride, man? Or have you no brain?
What you want is a perfectly glorious mane.
So I tried on his mane, but then Turtle said, “Gracious!
it’s most unbecoming to be so pugnacious
When any intelligent fellow can tell
all you need to be perfectly safe is a shell.
Now Fish with a swish and a leap in the air
Gurgled, “none of my business and not that I care,
But Darling you’re missing a luminous tail
With moveable parts that spread out like a sail.
It’s perfection in fashion, Try mine if you wish.”
So I borrowed the tail from that fabulous fish,
And I looked in the lake to see what I could see,
And i said, “I am vastly improved, I agree
But I’m just not so perfectly sure that it’s me.”
So I gave back the tail. I gave back the shell, the mane and the mask.
And then I was just Piggy again.
I walked on not making the slightest commotion
When Octopus tossed himself out of the ocean.
“Your problem, O Pig, is your poor locomotion.
Your trouble is legs, I regret to relate,
For you only wear four where you ought to have eight.”
I was doing quite well, though I don’t like to brag,
As the leggiest pig in the land.When the Stag pointed out, “Well, that’s all very well on the bottom.
As far as a fine set of trotters, you’ve got ‘em.
But on top you’re as bare as the day you were born!
And nobody’s perfect who hasn’t a horn.”
Those antlers were heavy and wobbly and wiggling.
All eight of my knees and my shins started jiggling.
Old croc yawned, “You look like a runt
doing quite a bad job of a silly old stunt
If you don’t have a snaggle-tooth snout, in the front.”
But have you ever balanced a snout full of teeth,
With a tree on your head and just worms underneath?
I was practic’ly perfectly out of my mind
When I heard a soft neigh that was gentle and kind.
“What you need,” whinnied Horse, “to be smartly designed
Is a dignified tail that you carry behind.”
That tail was a beauty, I have to admit
And I fastened it on to the place where I sit.
But the trouble was, just when I had it in place,
I went down on my belly and flat on my face.
I said, “thank you my friends,” and I started to sob,
“But I guess I’m not perfectly up to the job.”
But Rabbit said, “Piffle! A swine in a whine?
All you want is a fine pair of ears. Here, try mine!”
“You don’t need to wear frills, flapdoodle and junk.”
Elephant said, “If you added a trunk
You could give yourself showers! Eat peanuts and hay!”
Which is not my most favorite meal, I must say,
And the trunk made a thunderous trumpeting sound
So the rabbit ears tingled and twitched all around.
Said Peacock, “I now see you’re on the right track,
But you’re lacking a handsome attraction in back.
If you had what I have you’d be vastly enhanced.”
So I tried on his tail and I twirled and I danced.
But Giraffe said, “If I could suggest an improvement
The weight on your backside inhibits your movement.
An elegant neck is the thing you require.”
So I raised my head higher and higher and higher.
(while all my friends stood around to admire,)
Then I lowered it lower and nearer and nearer
Until I could look at myself in the mirror
But it wasn’t myself! And I started to laugh
At the that elephant-rabbit-pig-peacock-giraffe
At that perfect buffoon from his dome to his duff,And I chuckled and giggled, “Enough is enough.
Thank you all very much, but I don’t want your stuff!”
Well, now that it’s summer and now that I’m four,
I don’t borrow from anyone else anymore.
Because now that I’m older and wiser I see
That perfect ain’t always the best way to be,
And I’m just about right being just about me.

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