Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Sheep Fair On The Marches. - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

When gorse-pods are popping
And heather's in bloom
And nuts begin dropping
In coppice and cwm,

Then down through the valleys
That echoed of yore
The clashes and rallies
Of borderland war,

Where saplings, wind-shaken,
Are blowing like flags
From castles forsaken
That cling to their crags,

With many-hued fleeces
Come wethers and ewes
Of Jenkins and Rhyses
And Griffiths and Pughs,

And young lambs a-larking
And leaping for fun.
And wall-eyed dogs barking
Behind as they run.

Then tap-room and stable
And steep winding street
Are busy as Babel
When farmer folk meet,

And loud with the noises
Of auction and pen
And high-pitched Welsh voices
Of women and men;

Till night brings the stars out
On valley and hill,
With turning of bars out
(Each man with his fill),

And after the riot
The darkness comes down
On sheep-pens grown quiet,
On castle and town,

On a man like a log
By the roadside asleep.
And a wise wall-eyed dog
Going home with the sheep.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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