Shepherd's Gold

It is that time of year again
to shear the fleece from the ewes;
the sun, so low it blinds me when
I look into its scarlet eye, peering
always from the lip of the horizon.
The sheep are plump as pillows
stuffed with down; gold burnishes

their backs, they look at me dully
and move slowly through the humps
of grass and rows of amber stubble.
Their skin will gleam pink as the clouds
that clot the sun when that first layer
is peeled away; they will bleat and bleat in shrill
witches’ voices, and flee into the fields.

They watch me with empty eyes;
wary dolls or mannequins, they nuzzle
the crisp stalks tinged garnet from the sun;
and all becomes gold—the grass,
the trees, the sky, belied in mist and dust.
The sun shatters to silver specks
in the trough where black muzzles go.

by Caroline Misner

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