Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eternal Music

Herdwick Sheep
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown, Davis

Charcoal sheep graze
along the hillside where owl clover
and wild ginger grow among fire-thorn.

The sheep, heads down,
make their careful way
toward the easterly crown of granite.

Shadows sweep the brilliant hill,
under clouds gathering into a storm
up in the far mountains.

Time falls away here.
Droning bees mumble among the lupine.
All that matters is the sun,

the patient progress of charcoal sheep,
and the bees, softly reciting
every word for mercy.


Katy Brown and Taylor Graham are having a conversation in poetry via Medusa. Today Katy writes: Reading Taylor's poem [on Friday's post], I couldn't get the image out of my head of the Herdwick sheep grazing on the hills in the Lake District [in England]. They start life as black lambs and then turn charcoal in young adulthood, then white after a couple of years. They are used there because they are the only breed that can winter-over in the snowy hills, eating whatever. The farmers don't care much for them because they break down the nice stone fences to go from one place to another. They have wild glyphs spray-painted on their backs so the helicopters can round up as many as they can find and separate them into the right flocks for shearing. The wool is so oily and rough, they can't really use it for clothing, although it makes a good carpet or wool insulation for housing. You can't dye it, though, because of the oil. They are used mostly for meat. (And I suspect tourism.) I loved those sheep. I know Taylor's sheep are much more practical...

Michelle Kunert has a much more prosaic approach to the whole animal thing, though:

Now that so many city dwellers have a "victory garden"
to especially grow their own organic veggies
Stores all conspire to play
"How much can we charge for a bag of dirt?"
(Oh yeah they've got plenty of cheap cattle manure
that could be infected with e coli that can kill you)
Apparently the price of soil now must demand extortion—
perhaps with farming land at such a premium
it’s a luxury like designer jeans or gourmet coffee,
some brands costing up to $15 for a few pounds!

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento

Watch me fly;
I can soar with eagles.
I need no wings
Not even feathers.
I pass over mountain peaks,
and volcanos, too.
I glide over oceans and
Then I rest upon the highest trees
and when I wake, I find it was
all a dream.


—Olga Blu Browne

I lived ever so high in a grand
oak tree, the branches thick and

Strong enough to hold us all,
my family and me. Yet it never
felt safe for me.

Hard as I tried, it was never a home
to me. I was not the
same as them, even if I looked like

When I did leave, I didn’t fly away,
I was carried away. And still I never
felt at home, and never really fit.
Then one day, all alone, I decided
to try on my own. I spread
my wings and walked to the very edge
of this branch I didn’t call home.

My wings began to flap and I felt
the air beneath my wings—and suddenly
I found I could fly on my own. And
“safe”, I knew, was up to me.

I’ve healed wings that were never


Today's LittleNip: 

And it sometimes seems to me, when I watch
the heavens in the silence of the night, as if the stars,
in the profound silence of space,
were listening to the eternal music of the Divine.

—Swami Ananda Acharaya


—Medusa (with thanks to today's contributors, including Pat Pashby for the LittleNip, and this photo and poem by Robin Odam, who writes: I was feeling a little put out because I had to go out for dog food this evening and this wonderful sky appeared beyond the airport by Mama’s [Joyce Odam's] house. Like the white sun setting through the clouds, I just wanted to settle into the quiet darkness.)


sun settles into evening,
envious for hollow of night 

—Photo and poem by Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento