The Shepherd
and the Hunter
 

Here under the cliff clay lies and beyond the windbreak
Shingle seething beneath the withdrawing tide,
These lovely repeated cadences of the sea
Are the faint echoes of the song we used to sing
In the Paradise Garden
Now a man walks easterly, searching the light.
Loose shale and fossil remains
Among white polished stones
And since it is Remembrancetide
Orion rises to hunt the dead of ancient wars,
Whose angels still lurk among the oilskin fishermen,
The chastising gulls, and while
The shroud tops of the Downs sit sullen awaiting
The pale light to bestow
Aubade upon their sparse and windblown green.
Here that eastwards walker too is looking for the light
Enquires of a taciturn shepherd concerning the times:
“What time is this?” and “In what days do we walk?”
Out of his ancient friendship with the hunter
Orion and all his lost sheep The Pleiades,
The shepherd out of the new dawn light replies,
“Other sheep I have also, which are not of this fold.”
And what of things we knew now long forgotten –
Which were our guides among the stars and in our sheepfold?
These lie buried in the earth
Till we are resurrected by the light of Christ the Hunter
And the Shepherd returns us again
Rejoicing to his sheepfold


Peter Mullen

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