Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two of our rams who (mostly) coexist peacefully were lowering heads and crashing into one another as I looked out this afternoon. Looks like breeding season is underway. Most of the year our gentlemen sheep walk slowly and eat far more than some of them are worth. This time of year they make their one contribution to our enterprise before returning to their accustomed role as mobile manure producers and living lawn ornaments. Here is one of the few sheep poems I have in my collection. Written by the late New England poet and folksinger J. B. Goodenough, it looks forward to the end of all our rams' labors:

Sheep On The Town Road

Fenced beside the road
Three ewes doze.
The seven lambs, sleepy
With the work of being born,
Lean together.

The ram, in his own pen,
With nothing left to do,
Stands heavy-lidded
In the April sun,
Counting people.

From Milking in November

I found my copy of the book for $1.98 at the Main Bookshop in Sarasota back in June. The poems are spare, with a bit of a bite to them. The book is out of print, but, from the prices listed here, it seems that others value her work as well.

Here is another from the book:


No rum-money
My grandfathers
Were landlubbers all.

They left me
A tilted house,
A broken-backed barn,
And six fields
hung on the hill.

Fifty years
I thought I was poor.
But I learned this:
Good dirt
Is hard to come by.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What's in the cd player these days: Jan Krist. Her voice and songwriting seem to hit me where I have been living lately; music about grief and hope, confusion, faith and mercy. You can download live tracks at her website here and listen for yourself. Try "Wounded Me, Wounded You" or "Spirit So Big." About ten years ago she wrote a piece for the arts journal Image; "Mercy Me: Music, Art, and Real Life."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yes, it's been a while. The farm, flock and family are still here, with the usual changes that time brings to us all. I turned 52 just over a week ago and my oldest child turns 18 in just under a week. No big celebrations are planned. Nonetheless, it appears that our birthdays have not gone unremarked. On the same day last week he got an envelope from the Selective Service System and I received a postcard from Beltone hinting that someone in my age bracket might benefit from their services. I will pass. So far my hearing is holding out fine, which comes in handy to hear the creaking in my joints or the rumblings in a digestive system that has developed strong opinions about the appropriate food choices for a man in his sixth decade. Life is good though, and any morning that still finds me on the right side of the dirt is not without its possibilities.