Poem: Sheep’s wool

I found some sheep’s wool
caught on a wire fence when I was a boy.
It was coarse and musty
covered in grass seed
and my mum said it was filthy.
I imagine I remember the hills
in the landscape behind.
Shallow grey with soft cloud
deep brown with damp bark and cold mud,
all mixed with the dark grass and leaves.

I presume remembrance of the thought,
that must have really hurt
the sheep that left it there,
when it pulled on the wire fence,
like it hurts when you pull hair.

There were so many sheep
and chickens and cows but only
one horse and her foal.
The barns and structures of their homes
creaked with the wind, shouting at the rain.

One more glance of a whisper of wool
many years later, brought it all flooding back
into me like a running clay carved stream.
Into me like the hanging hillside roots
diving from and back into the banks of the valley, again.

Mixing cold storms and silent thundery nights,
in one farm or another
in some county or other
where we’d find ourselves wet summer
after warm winter.

Never sunburnt and not one hot memory;
always the drizzle and the haze of cold dawns.
Noting a fireside,
remembrance labels me fool again,
tricked at my own thread of sheep’s wool.


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