The smell of sheep

The smell of Maes Mawr was sheep.
There was wool fat everywhere
to be absorbed  into our skin,
our clothes, our hair.
With nowhere to bathe
we wrote Maes Mawr
wherever we went.

Arthur was proud of them,
taught me how to gauge
the tail at its base.
Look how thick it is.
This one will be good to eat.

We were there when once
the butcher came with his knives.
They waited unfettered,
lay patiently on the dairy floor
as their life ran into the drain.
Sheep’s resignation to pain
and death is vivid to me.

There were a flock of nineteen
and lambs that came each spring
to be sold at a few months old.
The best in the Valley I was told
as I drank Felin Foel in the New Inn.
I have a photo of one in the barn
it’s mother dead; crows had pecked her eyes.

I remember them grazing along tracks
that ran to the top of the tip of spoil
discarded by the abandoned mine.

© Anthony Fisher March 2008

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