To the sheep who provide a passing show,
who figure in the black bubble above my head
and who, for two hours leapt and leapt and leapt
over the full moon without producing a wink of sleep:
Mean is the force absorbed into and under my skin,
and which stretches muscles taut against your small art.
Peace ought to come from your diligent strides
as your carefree bulk contrasts the night, and
your spindly feet drag through the shadows
short, untraceable bows — Bows
like those that end in gold;
But – Baa! – Not those!
It seems counting you is a losing game. And
each arc you complete adds a dratted digit more
to a mind already stacked like a dome with numbers inside
and emitting the oppressive ticking that counters sleep.
Many times already tonight I’ve conjured a rotella
whereon my fortune, like the numbers on it, spins round.
It interrupts your exercise and speeds blood through my veins
till in my ears I hear screams and you sheep,
needful of no other dart, hit the ground in a heap.
At last I gave you up and started counting stars.
But even the stars soon fell from the night
and again I was a-spin on that same rotella,
only — WAIT!–
They’re my numbers — I’ve come up a winner!
Dear sheep, now you can rest
indeed; or watch and count
as over my millions I roll slowly, deliberately,
inhaling the maple syrup scent of Canuk hundreds.