Today I drove to the magistrates
Under wet newspaper skies
To find out if this is really what I want to do,
To decide the future of those
Whose present is drenched in past.
Sheep in fields along the way
Had new company. A pair of lambs,
Or just the one, following, nuzzling.
Mother and offspring number-matched
To help in the event of loss.
Number 12 and her trembling twins
Grazed right beside the gate where I stopped,
Aware but untroubled.
Mother kept them carefully close,
Little twelves stumbling in the warmth of her wake.
Later at court, Case 12 shuffled into the dock,
Hollow-eyed, gently prodded into place.
The prosecutor listed things:
“Possession of a bladed article...”
The defence then listed things back.
She had long left home and the fists and the kicks.
Sleeping now in a borrowed tent.
Friends, but none to offer a fixed abode.
Only cider to sluice the memories away.
She sat impassively watching the wall.
Refusing all help, probation explained.
Unwilling to change, at least for now.
Better to leave her to find her own way.
The bench agreed: Suspended sentence,
Weak words of warning. She nodded and left.
I stopped at the same gate
On the road back home. Number 12 stood there,
Untouched by time. Her lambs stumbled, stop-start,
A few feet away.
They did not leave her gathering gaze.