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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