The Census

Britain’s shepherd count her sheep
Are they black or white or brindled
Are they facing east or west
Has the native stock now dwindled

Do they bleat in English? Scots?
Are there few or are there lots?
Do they baa in Hindustani
French or Gaelic, or Irani?

Do they mix or stay apart?
Who is dumb and who is smart?
Is there still a need for rams
To instruct the future’s lambs?

Does each sheep stay in its pen?
Does it leap the fence? Ah then,
Sums go wrong. ‘Twould make you weep
Census shepherds, counting sheep

by Sheena Blackhall

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