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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 2, June 2018
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Joy McCall
Norwich, Norfolk, England


Sheepfold

I parked the motorbike against the wall of a broken-down hut, halfway up a small hill. A little further up the gentle slope there were a few grazing sheep near a dry stone sheepfold that had seen better days. It was full of grass and weeds and it seemed a long time since sheep had been there.

I sat inside, set down my helmet and took food and water from my backpack. Leaning against the broken wall, I felt the stones warmth from the day’s sun. It had been a long day’s ride. I must have fallen asleep sitting there, sheltered from the wind, in the peace and quiet of the hills. When I woke, it was dark and three sheep had come into the fold and settled for the night.

something
so comforting
about sheep
the thick wool
the gentle baa

No wonder the good book mentions sheep and shepherds so often. These old sheep with no shepherd, just living out their days on the hills.

I did not mean
to spend the night there
but . . . the sheep
the hillfold
the sky full of stars

Sometimes if we listen, life holds out its hand to us, saying: look, I’m giving you this . . . do you see it?

It was just like that.

the stars
the shelter of the fold
the sheep
the long grasses
the night breezes

When I woke, they had gone, ambling down the hill. I could see my red bike still leaning against the broken hut. Although everything looked the same as when I came—the sheep, the fold, the grassy hill, the old hut—something inside me was changed.

you sit by the fire
watching the flames
for so long
you feel yourself filled
with hearthfire light

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