Circle

September 19, 2016 § 3 Comments

Soay-sheep.jpg

 

His mother was a wild creature and knew how to run. With the brown hair-like fleece of her feral descendants, she was living archaeology to the ancient sheep of the Asian mountains. Her son had slit yellow eyes and he slid out of her into the long grass when no one was looking. He was a good size and already at the teat when I found him. Feisty and proud with sharp, thick horns, I kept him as breeding stock.

That was eleven years ago. Every November he did his job. I put him in with the ewes, and five months later each one scraped a shallow bowl in the home field then lay down and pushed out his lambs.

He stayed wild – he never let me know him. And he hated the sheep dog – teaching his brothers and sisters to scatter. Eleven is old for a sheep and he knew. His age could be counted on the rings of his horns. He was a fighter, and his battle scars were shiny and white upon his forehead. He had been warring again with his younger brothers to keep his place in the flock when I found him. His body looked wrong, his neck crooked. Perhaps dislocated.

The man came with the captive bolt in a black case. I made myself watch. I thought the killing would be easy, but his skull was old and thick. The ram fell forward when the crack came. Then he got up. Teetered. Shook himself. The man fetched a bolt strong enough for a cow. A louder crack, and the blood came like a bung lost from a barrel.

I walked away to be sick.

Soon after, the lambs came. A brown ewe scraped and lay down to push her baby out. All day it wouldn’t come. I washed my hands and put my fingers inside. Legs. Two back ones and a tail. Sticky yellow shit and blood stains on my hands.

I waited for her to squeeze and carefully twisted the lamb out of her. Long and thin, it stretched out on the ground. With no breath.

I cleared the mucus from its mouth, its nose. Rubbed it gently. Spluttering. It shook itself to life.

The mother heard the life noise. A lick, a snicker. The only sound she ever made.

~

there

April 23, 2016 § 6 Comments

mountain-top.jpg

on top of the mountain –

some of the silence

is me

~

image courtesy standrewscobourg.org

invisible

July 15, 2015 § 2 Comments

1

hiding in the long grass

dreaming

where the river flows

~

Painting courtesy Sandra Phillips

somewhere else

June 29, 2015 § 2 Comments

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spring wanderlust –

following the old railway line

as far as i can

~

a favourite flower

June 6, 2015 § 2 Comments

fieldofblueflowers

god or no god…

each

year

the

wild

flax-

gets bluer

~

forest dusk

April 26, 2015 § 5 Comments

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darkness sinks

cloaks dormant oaks in cool dew –

an early owl

~

Painting courtesy Anna Bakar

sounds

February 1, 2015 § 2 Comments

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silent snow slows…

chatter of hungry blackbird –

sleet pattering

~

Image courtesy Black Cat Photos via Flikr

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