A Herdwick Shepherd

(inspired by James Rebanks’ interview with Richard Fidler)

I picture

an old man –

a farmer –

perhaps a little bent

perhaps with eyes

so faded

the blue itself

is a memory.

He is like a river-mouth

the collected silt

of decades’ knowledge

about the earth

and seasons’ ebb and flow

deposited in his brain.

He is free

like a cormorant is free.

Life is not perfect

or lazy

or easy

and he must still eat.

But he has eschewed

Schopenhauer’s unhappy cycle

of desire, gratification, new desire

and found satisfaction

in the seasonal dance

of weather, wildlife and wit;

the year-in, year-out slog;

the sometimes itchy

reliability of community;

the deep, brown secrets

of the soil.

His freedom comes

from being okay with


3 thoughts on “A Herdwick Shepherd

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