SHEEP IN BAD WEATHER

Taylor Graham

Between rock and swale, a flock of sheep
browsing the Irish green of March —
is this a shadow-play of clouds, or sheep? 

Rain ripped out the cross-creek fence,
pasture’s a rampage of grass and filaree
and unfenced spirits, inscrutable sheep. 

I never just lie down and slip to dream —
too much doubting, double-engineering,
calculating, agonizing, recounting sheep. 

Watch where you step. This season, every
living thing gushes forth, it’s messy,
cud and gut-rethinking, mud and sheep. 

I’m still the girl of fifty years past —
bareback on a big black mare — steep hills,
cold wind, and not a thought of sheep. 

Overnight, the wild is blossoming — white
and baby-pink, old-lady mauve. Across
the way, that orchard — no, it’s sheep. 

Thunder-weather and a straw-bale shed,
who needs more than the hope of May,
a tether, a pan of grain to call the sheep?