by Leonard Irving,
of Dundrennan, Scotland

Haggard flock shudders
under black faces
the border sheep huddle
in bleak stands of grimace

eyes grey as headstones
joyous as shrouds
grimly trudge outward
under sodden cloud

bleatings and wails
in foul cursed weather
trailing the rough tracks
across unkempt heather

a grey dolmened land
desolate as mourners
scowled a cold welcome
the day I was born there

clannish suspicious
tight fisted with praise
tenacious as yew root
unchanging their ways

the sweet yellow primrose
is crushed underfoot
bleats of dejection
ignore bitterroot

curse the bare country
where swallows are gone
stables abandoned
scarecrow forlorn

but I’ll rip out my greyness
hurl off my shoes
I am off, the Bejesus,
to wherever the sun blazes