The Sheep People

Sheep, Brinscall Moors

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are the people who preach to rebels,
run to the hills, seek lost spirits,
prophesy from locked jaws of sheep.

Tetanus, scrapie, foot and mouth,
antibiotics have no effect
on skeletons hunched
unlike any animal
silent in prayer
to unknown gods.

Our hills cry out in isolation,
baa and bark
to the old skull-picker
who sees wonder sliding down every cheekbone,
looks into eyes without sentimentality.

Our hills cry out
we are not museums,
we do not keep things in cabinets of glass,
we let winds winnow their long dark course,
gliding easily as buzzard or curlew.

We live in places where old gods live,
underground mounds where old blood threads
in bone marrow, livers, kidneys and hearts,
forgotten, misused, where old gods thrive

as keepers of bowels and intestinal functions
scapelands of flesh, a hidden geography;
gods and goddesses, priestesses, priests
dogs and rabbits, kings and queens,

pieces of martyrs, forgotten shapeshifters,
sheep shaped hummocks where the old gods dream.

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