Sheep in Poetry
In reality, sheep are brave, enlightened
and sassy. They are walking clouds
and like clouds have forgotten
how to jump. As lambs they knew.
Lambs jump because in their innocence
they still find grass exciting.
Some turf is better for tiptoeing
say lambs. Springy meadows
have curves which invite fits
of bouncing and heel-kicking
to turn flocks of lambs
into demented white spuds boiling in the pot.
Then there is a French style of being a lamb
which involves show and a special touch
at angling the bucking legs. Watch carefully
next time: Lambs love to demonstrate -
you wont have to inveigle.
Eventually, of course, lambs grow trousers
and a blast of wool
which keeps them anchored to the sward.
Then grass is first and foremost
savoury, not palatable.
I prefer the grown sheep: even when damp
she is brave, enlightened and sassy,
her eye a kaleidoscope of hail and farewell,
her tail her most eloquent organ of gesture.
When she speaks, it is to tell me
that she is under a spell, polluted.
Her footwear has been stolen
and the earth rots her feet.
In reality she walks across the sky
upside down in special pumps.
Das Mondschaf steht auf weiter Flur.
Es harrt und harrt der grossen Schur.
Das Mondschaf rupft an einem Half
und geht dann heim auf seine Alm.
Das Mondschaf spricht zu sich im Traum:
"Ich bin des Weltalls dunkler Raum".
Das Mondschaf liegt am Morgen tot.
Sein Leib ist weiss, die Sonn' ist rot.
Ellis Parker Butler
Over the hilltops and down in the glens,
I noticed that sheep do not live in their pens;
they cling to the mountains and high rocky tops:
how on earth do they get there without their Reeboks?
Up on the Aonach Eagach
hanging on to a wee rock bridge,
when yet again these sheep come by:
how do they follow me so high?
One last time I took a chance,
led those sheep a merry dance:
into the Cuillin on the Isle of Skye:
the In. Pinn. - they can't get that high.
But alas! Alack!! It was not to be:
the sheep were up there waiting for me!
Those trusty sheep, that pouring rain,
without them the hills would not be the same.
Song to the Lamb
Lamb indestructible lamb
You who loaded with crystals crossed the mountain
Lamb from the most distant cave
Lamb who peed on the black stones
Yo-yo turning on the highest rock
Lamb with fleece of bones
In the deepest night
You who bleat among the oldest trees
Lamb who remembers
Lamb grazing and browsing the human brain
Lamb who imagined the blue sky
Lamb of all the firmaments
Lamb who leaves behind wild strawberries
Lamb who makes the open eyes open again
Lamb with deepest waters
In your burning eyes
Lamb indestructible lamb
Lamb of dark forest
With a wreath of needles in your fleece
Lamb of juniper bush
With a purple berry in your hoof
Lamb of the deepest abyss you descend down the mountain
Lamb spreading the scent of fir trees at night
Lamb with snowballs of last year snow on your back
Lamb with white teeth O long-legged Lamb
Who will kill me
You dug for me tonight an appropriate grave
in the midst of the world
Where you'll settle down finally settle down
The way your tongue settles down between my jaws
Accurately settles down