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Threat of Violence

Text of Poem

Icicles dripped in the
January thaw and prompted me
to buy a boar to seed down
my sows for a spring pig crop.
Bloodlines in the young boars
Henry Jensen raised suited me
and I went to see him. He
picked up a three-inch post as we
entered the barnyard. ‘‘I just
want to look at one,’’ I said,
‘‘not knock it on the head.’’
He grinned, ‘‘The bull is a mean
bastard, ripe for mischief.’’
Our old Shorthorn bull never
made much trouble, I’d heard
dairy bulls are different. This
Holstein saw us coming, man,
he looked big and ugly. Head up,
tail arched, he pawed the ground
and bellered. Then he came right
at us. I shrank in my clothes
but Henry marched to meet him.
He slammed that post across
the bull’s nose, made the bull
stagger, back off, shake his horns.
I bought a boar but we did not
turn our backs. Now whenever a
threat of violence shakes our courage
I remember Henry and his bull.

First Line
Icicles dripped in the
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
The Complete Poems of James Hearst. Ed. Scott Cawelti. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001. 504.
Complete Poems
Hearst Collections
Word Count
Poetic Form
A Henry Jensen poem.
Twitter Quote
This / Holstein saw us coming, man, / he looked big and ugly.