Fly

focus photography of a ignited firewood
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

I reach to take my jacket from the peg
and my eyes again are drawn
to the next peg just along
where hangs a collar and a well-worn leather leash
and once again my eyes begin to mist

Then I wander back in time to when my old pal Fly and I
would go to gather sheep from off the fell

I didn’t need to speak much or tell Fly where to go
for there were no hiding places – not from Fly

She knew each nook and place of shelter
where sheep huddled in bad weather
and turned their backs against the wind and rain
eyes half closed as though in contemplation
deep in thought and cheering on the cud

I did not have long to wait as I stood there by the gate
until faint bleating I would hear above the crags
below the mists that swept and swirled
up in their rocky rooftop world
then single filed they showed upon the trod.

An odd one would make a dash but Fly would turn her in a flash
snapping at her heels in reprimand –
there was no doubting who was in command

Then all were down ‘in bye’
where for winter they would lie
until Spring when they would lamb beside the farm
more sheltered in the valley
from the elements and foxes on the prowl

Then we too would go ‘in bye’
and again I’d welcome Fly to my abode –
no kennel, not tonight
for she had earned herself the right
to dine in and lie beside the kitchen fire

And never will I part with her collar or her leash
or from the friend that in memory I fondly still admire
as now lonesome and in solitude
with misted eyes and heavy heart
I sit alone beside the kitchen fire

Colin Armstrong

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