Fool’s Errand

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My mother sent me into the swirling
Bowl of stirred-up curdled milk
Our valley was, wild with wind and skirling
Snow that fastened onto lashes, there to melt
And bead and break mute light, unfurling
Bows like multi-coloured scraps of silk.

Bring them in, she said, they’ll freeze to death
Out there. Out there then I went,
Tripping through the hip-high snow, each breath
A wet rag gasp, as weaving wind sent
Shuttling snow between my teeth and hooked a snowdrop wreath
Around my neck. When I found them, he was bent

Over her back, his forepaws clutched her rump.
I tried hard to pull him out of her,
But still he blindly pumped and pumped,
Eyes shut against the storm that heaped snow in his hair.
I hauled off and handed him one solid thump
Which only shook his haunches bare.

I stumbled home and left them there.

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