Gert Strydom

Gold Star - 29,802 Points (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Sheep-Killer - Poem by Gert Strydom

The sheep farmer's old black collie
had a ebony-tipped nose
that was turning grey,
as the specks on its paws
from the years under the elements

and a fog was hanging on the hill
when he undid the chain
and the far off bleating of the ewes
could be heard from the hill

and the farmer told the dog to gather them in,
to round them up and bring them down
to the corral
and with its normal pace,
no hurry in its trot the old hound
went off to do its task

disappearing in the mist,
past the paddocks
on it's way to the trees
and the farmer heard it barking
rounding up and gathering

and then suddenly the old dog growled,
barked, snarled furious, before giving
a long drawn out whining howl
and then it cried out in pain

and the ewes were bleating, bleating
as if in sheer terror
and their bells ringing
as if they were running
and the farmer got his shotgun,
a carton of shells
and an old torch

and went to the hedge calling
the dog's name, calling at the sheep
and he passed to the trees
walking up the ridge of the hillock
and only his voice resounded
while he kept calling.

At one point he saw the broken rails
with the footprints of the ewes
and the old black collie
crawled, in pain dragged her body along
and he thought good Lord, what had happened here?

The dog was in great pain and bleeding badly
ripped open and in his peripheral vision,
the farmer saw a shadow moving,
coming in with a big limp
and he turned to meet it
and pulled off both barrels simultaneously
shattering the head of a wounded leopard

and his dog was too far gone to be helped,
to be saved
and there was great pain in him
to do the proper thing, to stops its agony
and with trusting dark brown eyes
it looked at him, still whimpering

and the farmer took an old.45 pistol from his belt
cocked it and tears were in his eyes
when he put a bullet through its head
and shot it dead
and that night he said his things to God,
could not close an eye.

Comments about Sheep-Killer by Gert Strydom

  • Elna Nel (8/27/2012 11:32:00 AM)

    Phew! Very dramatic, good! (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 27, 2012

Poem Edited: Monday, August 27, 2012

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