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White maggots

Look, there, smearing the shorn green fleece,

All over it, the parasites.

What on earth? And why so many

Strewing once wild Welsh Shropshire heights?

They don’t deceive, their silent bleat,

Viewed afar across the railway

Tracks the contours through the valleys

‘Neath blank skies of indifferent grey.

Scattered over plain green parchment

Punctuating little commas

Though lit’rally illiterate

Of pure still unwritten sagas.

Their clean placidity cannot

Deceive. They are there, that’s the proof -

Mankind’s slavering meat habit -

White fleece on green grass thence red tooth.

‘Meagre sheep and thinly-scattered

Shepherds’* they watch no more their flocks

Whose mutton flyspecks a land in

Blood splattered drifts of snowy flecks.

Your mowing machine efficient sheep

Cut down and razor off the trees

That prehistorically bestowed

A refuge for all our ancestries.

* George Eliot (Silas Marner)

© RM Meyer

On train from Shrewsbury to Devon, November 2019