Mid-life Pastoral
The sheep don't bother me too much
they graze without concern in peace
and think these hills as home, yet home
should feel so different than this;
I tell myself I can ignore them now
and turn my back, pretend they go away -
some white, some black, I've been both kinds
and I won't count them, I don't want to sleep.
But it's the grass that bothers me
it's greener on the side I haven't been.
the side we've trampled on, each blade
bows graceful, each weighed with a tear
or drop of sweat: yours, mine maybe;
not knowing which is which, I'll tell
myself it's dew, small recalled gleams;
and if my hands could still find time
to touch your face, and yours touch mine,
could they still brush away what we have done?
And maybe I've begun to be afraid
of living out the day within these hills' embrace
that keeps me from the evening sun,
my lifelong wait, my dream: it dawns on me,
no sunsets here, and self-illumination fails
the way of silence or accusing glances --
So how long will it be 'til sheep awake to find
their shepherds' shadows skulk the dark, like wolves.
Jon Bohrn (1999)

 

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