God knows how our neighbor managed to breed
His great sow:
Whatever his shrewd secret, he kept it hid

In the same way
He kept the sow–impounded from public stare,
Prize ribbon and pig show.

But one dusk our questions commended us to a tour
Through his lantern-lit
Maze of barns to the lintel of the sunk sty door

To gape at it:
This was no rose-and-larkspurred china suckling
With a penny slot

For thrift children, nor dolt pig ripe for heckling,
About to be
Glorified for prime flesh and golden crackling

In a parsley halo;
Nor even one of the common barnyard sows,
Mire-smirched, blowzy,

Maunching thistle and knotweed on her snout-
Bloat tun of milk
On the move, hedged by a litter of feat-foot ninnies

Shrilling her hulk
To halt for a swig at the pink teats. No. This vast
Brobdingnag bulk

Of a sow lounged belly-bedded on that black
Fat-rutted eyes
Dream-filmed. What a vision of ancient hoghood

Thus wholly engross
The great grandam!–our marvel blazoned a knight,
Helmed, in cuirass,

Unhorsed and shredded in the grove of combat
By a grisly-bristled
Boar, fabulous enough to straddle that sow’s heat.

But our farmer whistled,
Then, with a jocular fist thwacked the barrel nape,
And the green-copse-castled

Pig hove, letting legend like dried mud drop,
Slowly, grunt
On grunt, up in the flickering light to shape

A monument
Prodigious in gluttonies as that hog whose want
Made lean Lent

Of kitchen slops and, stomaching no constraint,
Proceeded to swill
The seven troughed seas and every earthquaking

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Sow


  1. M. x says:

    Does it matter what this poem conveys? The fact that it has meant so many different things to different people shows how much power it has! This poem has managed to make you all have your own interpretation! It evidently does not only mean one thing – it means what ever you interpret it to mean.

  2. Kelsey says:

    This poem definitely contains a message. Sylvia Plath’s poems almost always contain a message and it is ridiculous to asssume that there is no meaning in any of them without extensive research on the poem. At the very least, the emotions that she exerts through her work is worth mentioning as a theme.

  3. Mike Hawk says:

    you guys are both terrible. . this poem is about the beauty of fat people and how looks are not what we should look for in friends. I love fat women

  4. morgan says:

    made you cry? its not about life. its about a big and how monumentous it is. also if you didnt notice, the big has a dream that a night comes along and the boar wins the fight, thus they have sex. that made you cry too? interesting. Personally, it made me laugh.

  5. nia dillard says:

    i love this poem it reminds me of something of life it made me cry when i first read this poem my friend rihtgs poem she loves your poems

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