The Sheep Farmer
Where the cocked-tailed wren is darting
across the sally tree in the breeze,
where winter colours come suddenly in slanted light
he falls in love with this life, high up
in the winds of the Black Mountains,
this landscape that morphs and bends
with the scent of dawn in the meadows,
the noise of the tractors and the rattling of clippers,
when the ewes peel in creamy waves,
and the sour smell of lanolin drifts from the sheep
belling in lanes on the way to be dipped.
He makes hay and shears his flock of small, hardy sheep,
getting the ewes and rams ready for tupping,
time after time on the rhiws that run upslope
between valleys and to the three-sided shelter.
In a quiet corner, braced to this plotted and pierced lands,
earth-drawn, all eye and ear, he observes
a kerb-coloured sky, how the air whitens the sunlight,
and the cold hardens the blue; he marvels
over running water, the hidden strength of a spider web
and the moments, when the birds sing
close to the tune of harmony.