Ian Duhig’s poem “Unmaking” powerfully brings the boar and his slaughter, his unmaking, into being. I love the details even Wikipedia won’t give you about the boar’s bristles, about boar-hunting spears. I love the language, as well, thurifers and mast. Here’s the poem, which appeared in Poetry London 2010:
Boar-hunting spears have a cross-piece to stop a spitted beast driving up its shaft to the lord, but in the Ritual of Unmaking it holds his cuts; heart, liver, sweetmeats steaming like thurifers.
The inside of the boar’s skin serves as tablecloth to feast the lord’s hounds on humbles and lights, while a retained poet, silken in words and livery, furnishes all his lord’s kills lavishly with meanings.
When rubbed the wrong way, their living bristles stab back. Gorged on mast and fruit in ferment, they brawl among themselves, can gut a horse. Tusky tusky, they whisper, which means nothing.
by Ian Duhig