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Milk

Rose Lennard

The twin lambs were not ready

to be born, their baby hooves

soft as slippers, and smaller

than the thumbnail of a man.

I found them,

limp ragdolls

in the wet grass, alone.

Picture the dogs

snapping at the ewe’s swollen belly

panicked, eyes rolling

as she fled. The yells ignored

finally cornered at the field’s edge

flanks heaving, she stands her ground,

stamps, head low, glaring.

The dogs retreat, too late

leads clipped, they trot

to heel.                       And she births

her lambs there, they come fast

slip from the shelter of her womb,

so small. And when she licks

the membrane from their mouths,

maybe a flutter of breath,

but this cold morn

is not their time,

they are not ready to be born.

Their dam would stay some while,

nudge and nuzzle damp still sides;

she would not pause but put her body

between danger and her lambs.

Maybe she called to them,

uncomprehending:

ready to feel the butt

of impatient heads

at the hot bell of her udder, ready

to let down her milk.

Early photos of Rose show her up to her chin in flowers, and 5 decades later, not much has changed. A dancer, writer, environmental activist and lifelong gardener, she is often found creating ephemeral nature art in quiet corners of the countryside. Her poems often take shape on long walks, or in the small hours of the night, and have been published in a number of online magazines, including The Lake and Poetry Village

Rose Lennard: rose@chameleongardens.co.uk

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