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Watching grandpa at the sheep gate

by Donald Standeford  
12/26/2012 / Poetry

Love wisdom like diamonds,
And you won't regret it;
This could be our last conversation;
I'm just facing the facts.
Grandpa's torn overalls
Make him look like he belongs
There at the sheep gate;
You'd never see the old man
In a suit like mine,
Or me in army
Fatigues like yours; funny,
As a young man
I'd have done anything
To flee this farm
And its stupid sheep,
The piss, crap, heavy bales of straw,
Grain; it's not all just
Scattering feed to the chickens,
Picking up the eggs
And watching for the melons
To ripe.

When I was a kid
We walked atop wooden fences,
Barbwire our tightrope;
We jumped Fence to fence,
Climbed the old maple,
Jumped one tin roof to another,
Barn to Henhouse, henhouse to shed;
Trickiest part was balancing
On that wet water-trough
With cement walls
so thin
You thought they'd break.

In summer it floats
Yellow and green leaves,
In autumn
The leaves yellow, brown, crackle in cold air
As if saying 'goodbye' to the sun.

I saw my face
in the water
with moss, dark
The old oak, since
Gone. Tired of
Dead leaves
on barn, another
Thing gone,
I felt all closed
in, noose tight
Pushed, shoved
into my pen
so tight I could
Barely move
an inch, see

How the penned in sheep
Lift noses to sniff
Straining up to peer at the world?

All they sense
Is a sea of white wool,
As if seeing Helped at all;
they hear voice of their shepherd
above, braced on the fence,
(grandpa in overalls).
Hoping the shepherd is all
He's cracked up to be,
To fulfill all their needs;
Is that not smart, considering
They cannot meet their own needs?

Loaded Into the trailers,
Herded, Confused, afraid,
only wishing for the familiar,
To feel,
Love in loss, lost,
When they went astray;

Don V Standeford

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