Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

The sheepfold
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The sheepfold on the hill is round and green,
Dry-stone walled, a tidy lidless box,
A smooth-turfed O, a bright and obvious landmark
In wilderness of scree, bog, muddled rocks.
In go the sheep, soft, jostled, pressurized
By brain-washed shepherd-dog, he eager, tame,
Besotted by duty and its small rewards.
Warm, panicked woolly huddle: exactly same
Exclamatory pupils in pale eyes glaze
Slowly into calm. Nibble the short sweet grass.

Not for me the sheepfold on the hill.
I am off and away, crag-under, gulley-over,
Zigzagging ghylls and shaly outcrops; better
Ravined by wolf-pack then heel-nipped by Rover.
Better the dreadful fall to crawling foam,
Inverted world beyond the teetering edge,
Black crows eyeing my eyes and a gale blowing
Where I lie maimed on the impossible ledge.
Not for me the dipping, shearing, marking,
Bleating fleecy cuddle and synchronized gaze
In the round-walled green short grass.


Undated
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983