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The Process

 

I start here

where a dozen ewes gather

in trampled grass down by the burn,

nudge them at a slow walk through

a gap in the wall.

 

I know this path

and so do they.  I pace behind,

watchful.  Three or four more, each

with twin lambs, hear the voices,

rusty chimes

 

on a sharp east wind.

They join us, bumping up

through stunted oaks to heather

and bracken.  One lamb frisks

off to the side

 

calling its mother;

two more swerve.  I slide ahead,

lie still, chin on paws, persuade them

back to the path before they know

they’ve turned.

 

Now we’re above

the tree line, just a scratch

of wind-bent thorns to show the way

and that’s when something stinks, stirs

behind an outcrop,

 

something is red

 

and now they’re spooked,

they scatter,

 

little black feet pounding, white wool

unskeining across

the mountainside

 

bells ringing everywhere

 

 

© Alex Josephy

Picture 12698954, photograph, 2012, image copyright Mary Evans / Philip Dunn

 

 

Alex Josephy lives in London and Italy.  Her collection Naked Since Faversham was published by Pindrop Press in 2020. Other work includes White Roads, poems set in Italy (Paekakariki Press, 2018) and Other Blackbirds (Cinnamon Press, 2016).  Her poems have won the McLellan and Battered Moons prizes, and have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK and Italy.  As part of the Poetry School Mixed Borders scheme, she has been poet-in-residence at Rainham Hall, Essex, and in Markham Square, London.  www.alexjosephy.net

 

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