Tag Archives: Pig Island Letters

Don’t die like a octopus, die like a hammerhead shark

Octopus are renown for their lack of resistance when being captured, however a hammerhead shark will fight bitterly to the end, to the point that when you fillet it fresh, its meat quivers. Commonly used to encourage someone not to give up, no matter how hard the struggle is.


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From Pig Island Letters

When I was only semen in a gland
Or less than that, my father hung
From a torture post at Mud Farm
Because he would not kill. The guards
Fried sausages, and as the snow came darkly
I feared a death by cold in the cold groin
And plotted revolution. His black and swollen thumbs
Explained the brotherhood of man,

But he is old now in his apple garden
And we have seen our strong Antaeus die
In the glass castle of the bureaucracies
Robbing our bread of salt. Shall Marx and Christ
Share beds this side of Jordan? I set now
Unwillingly these words down:

Political action in its source is pure,
Human, direct, but in its civil function
Becomes the jail it laboured to destroy.

James K. Baxter, Collected Poems (OUP 1979)