I hurried on some errand along the dale in a twilight,
wet moss and stone, wet frigid air,
the ribbon of my road rolled out to a haze,
my horizon unclear, a fog
poured down from over the fells, a ghost
of grey, edged with night,
and the black trees, like the thinnest of dreams,
all wintered and bare.
Then I saw them in my torchlight, resolving through the gloom,
earthed and somehow ancient,
the sheep like a circle of standing stones,
their green eyes gleaming like flares,
they made no sound, but their heads, as they grazed,
swung low, slow and hypnotic;
I paused, and we were then man and sheep
together on our small circle of earth.
And when driven back to the City, impatient,
in lock step herded, time poor and brass-faced,
I recall the sheep and their placid insistence,
how they grubbed at damp grass on their small patch of turf,
and how when the moon suddenly broke through the murk,
it turned everything it touched into silver.