Coming down from high Chew Green,
my legs stretched, my rucksack back-stuck,
I hunger for chips and fresh-baked chicken pie
with ice-cold Guinness,
as my senses sing of hills and sky.
Journey almost done, my feet
slip-slide on greasy flagstones
when suddenly, I hear the gurgling burn
stitched with fretful baas.
I see a wean crying, stuck
knee-deep in oily bog-land mire.
And her dam blait alto-tones,
raucous and resigned
to the muddy loss of her bairn.
My boots stall
sucked down by sludge,
and thistles prick my legs
as I move slowly
to clutch the lamb
by her lanolined, rough-wool coat.
I heave hard.
Her eyes are blank, terror-misted,
and her black, bony hooves
jab sharply on my shins
as she glucks free, wobbles,
sneezes and stumbles to her mam.
Tired and splattered, I mind a time, way back:
when my own child returned with a stranger.
blait: Scots – to bleat
bairn and wean: Scots and Northern English – babies or the young
dam: farming term for livestock – mother
Ceinwen lives in Newcastle-upon- Tyne and writes short stories and poetry. She has been
published on internet sites and in print. She is currently completing her MA in Creative
Writing (Newcastle University) and embraces being slightly bonkers.