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Sport 19: Lightworks

Fiona Farrell — Sheep

page 175

Fiona Farrell


Last week they stood about the paddock
solid as a chesterfield suite. They
moved slowly their black feet concealed
beneath the fleece. They took seriously
this business of eat and sleep, teaching
their lambs to chew slowly, to conduct
themselves as sheep. On Saturday the
truck came, rattled up the road, and the
lambs were taken. Oh, heavy load! They
cried, the mothers. How they grieved
calling all night to the dark hills.
Where are you, my sweet-scented darling?
Where are you, whom I licked one slick
green day from bloody ground? The valley
echoed with the sound of lamentation.
But today they have forgotten. They have
been shorn and stripped in an instant
they leap free, creatures new-born.
There is no hill too steep, no creek
they cannot cross. Light enough to leap
fences, and a whole lifetime before it
starts again: the loving and the loss.