The Farm

by Lynne Hjelmgaard

Waking up to a sticking-out horse head happily.
The closeness of his animal body, the neighing and whole
brown beauty of him framed against the barn yard wall.
I cannot tell you the colour of his eyes and when I do think
shepherd he is but a vague shadow beneath a darkened
window standing guard beside his bizarre dog. (One time it
barked at my open door and cowered before me in a
submissive pose). The farm’s owners are active participants.
She has her ponies, he has the town hall. Yesterday’s
dilemma was water. Village currents turn between bliss-
fully peaceful (the chapel’s graveyard, church on Sundays, teas
with the postman) and edgy discomfort (the demonic
thatched cottage which once locked me in its bathroom. I
pounded and pounded until released by my husband who was in
the front yard smoking a cigar). I am a tentative
guest. This hamlet, inhale it, forgive it its bleakness. The
Green – from there I heard a loud humming past midnight. I am
sure a lamb can be many things. (A llama with a bad
back, a goat with black ears, a hairless dog in heat). We’re on
the lookout for sheep heads stuck in barbed wire. Will they stay
there till they die? They part like a river when we cross the
fields. A checkerboard patch – one brown, one harvested, one
dark green. Cypress trees line the road backed by hills. Chiming
bells are soft enough to be heard and fade step by step. I hear
galloping hooves, no destination, running manically
back and forth. Oh I fit wonderfully into this frame.