Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Flock by T-M Baird, Poet Laureate of Ohio

There they sat, flat on silent feet,
unwittingly pastoral, stupidly sheep.
And as I approached,
not a fleece was flustered,
only grass stubble chewed—
what bland entertainment
that must make.
I settled along on shameless strides,
slow and even,as proscribed-
‘til a tingling-harsh collision thumped the back of my right side—
harump!—
and a step I skipped,
smacked by a woolly thing
that could have been a sock,
or a soft, hollow mitten,
had it not been for the head,
the brain behind those glaring eyes.

I knew my fear,
I held it out before me
like a vest my mother had worn in battle,
but would not put it on—
‘til he struck again,
left cheek this time, and I simply wandered on,
past the others, toward the fence,
dazed, to helplessly watch him pass-
the brute,
heavy with wool and haggis,
standing fixed on a narrow path, from which he would not budge,
would not be bullied or begged away.

No, he will make his stocky way whichever way he please,
will clobber any passing biped, who so easily sees him coming,
hurtling toward her
like a ridiculous stuffed toy.
And she may laugh, but she cannot run,
for fear
of scattering panic over a quiet
close-trimmed field.