All About Animals: Secondary Teachers: Lesson Plan 1: The New Age Abattoir: Analysis

 

How does this fit into the National Curriculum? EN2 Reading. Pupils should be taught: to analyse and discuss alternative interpretations, ambiguity and allusion (1b); how ideas, values and emotions are explored and portrayed (1c); how language is used in imaginative, original and diverse ways (1g); to reflect on the writer’s presentation of ideas and issues (1h); how techniques, structure, forms and styles vary (1j).

Teachers’ Note: Download this page and hand a copy to each class member. Split the class into groups of four or five pupils. Ask them to read the poem (or read it with them) and analyse it within their group. Suggestions for areas to cover are beneath the poem but of course they need not stick to those areas. At the end of the session bring the whole class together and sum up what each group thought of the poem. This is a challenging poem which should inspire fascinating discussions.

Pupils can be asked to produce an in-depth written analysis of the poem, detailing how structure, form, style and word choice add to the poem.

THE NEW AGE ABATTOIR by Coral Hull

one of the heifers in the transportation truck
received a tarot card reading & the death card
came up/
not a negative card by any means but
one signifying great changes in her life/

her boy calf taurus capricorn rising is bellowing
in a veal factory/
his four gangling legs broken
chiropractically snapped at the waist/
put in an
organic jarrah packing crate/ (sustainable logging
only)/
a rose quartz crystal attached to each
broken joint for healing of the heart chakra/

meanwhile the heifer is scorched on the rump
with her sunsign & numerological chart/

cows are led from the truck & into the slaughter
according to the brightness of their individual
auras/
electric lights are shaded lavender/
& a flower essence – aspen: for fear & foreboding
of the future/ is given to each frothing muzzle
with a dropper/
& the sacred chainsaw is
called excalibur/
& each worker is wearing the
pentacle (right side up of course) & they
never cut anti clockwise/
there is no need
for a guru/ there is individual freedom/ the
manager boycotts battery eggs for ethical
reasons/
& before the smashing of her forehead/
we look into her long lashed eyes as deeply as
we can: for the universal teaching of love &
compassion/
but there is not much time/ now
for some crimson colour therapy for the workers/
as we all strike her dead into an out of body
experience/
or perhaps she is abducted by
guardian angels in u.f.o.s/ how can we know?/

all the while the song of the humpback whale is
gently freeing its oceans over the new age
abattoir p.a. system/
workers have been found to
be less stressed whilst this is playing & have
even brought in potplants for the tea room/

the cow’s heavy body (still kicking) is dragged
upwards on the hook/ her neck split open she cannot
hold in air & blood/
& a shout from the workers:
release yourself to the universal lifeforce!/

for the wet rebirth her skin is steamed off/ we
inject in some royal jelly & some herbalife/

tonight we celebrate her death & chew her fat
& digest her corpse/ knowing we are at one with
her & that she is at peace/
& for the ones left
behind: a nice massage in essential oils to ease
their distress

Areas to cover in your discussion group:

  • How does this poem make you feel?
  • What is it about?
  • Why link new-age spirituality and slaughter?
  • What do you think are the values of the poet?
  • At what points can you detect irony? Anger? Sadness? Humour?
  • What do you think of the style of the poem?

Written Component: write an in-depth analysis of this poem focusing on style, structure, form and word choice and how they add to the poem.