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The old man stood;elbows resting on the old stone wall
Wistfully he gazed over the snow laden field,
Watching the sheep nibble on bales of hay,
He thought back remembering his working day.
In his leather like work hardened hand,
In left palm carefully placed a tobacco slice,,
With his right thumb he rubbed it slow,
Into loose strands then to fill the bowl.
With a sigh of satisfaction he sucked at the stem,
Raising a lit match to fire the baccy into life,
Smoke arose in a fragrant plume dispersed in air,
He gently took a draw a smile on his weathered face.
The day was grey ,cold with frost making ground crackle,
Flakes of white crystal began to drift down,
Making the old ones countenance frown,
As his thoughts returned to the days gone by.
His elbows rested atop the wall lost in trance like thought,
When suddenly beside hin there stood another,
“Good day to you sir,” gently he spoke,
The old mans head slowly turned to look at him who spoke.
Weighing the stranger up and down as pipe men often do,
With languid gaze he took out his pipe and blew his nose,
A ring of smoke that floated far from where they stood,
Acros the frosty snowy field where sheep ate their food.
“Sheep ,” the old man said” are creatures of unknown turn,
“Follow each other faithfully until the setting of the sun,
Without ambition in the fields, eating all day long.
No thought of who is in charge no agenda to perform.”
The old man smiled at the strangers puzzled brow,
Blowing another smokey wavering ring,
Turned to watch the sheep graze as crows pecked,
At the frozen snowy ground hard as ancient stone.
The stranger smiled mostly to himself and sighed,
Resigned to accept what the elder man had to say,
“I am on a quest, he proffered, A hunt for something
Special and extremely rare I hope that you can help.”
“ I search for that elusive thing that lives within,
Us all supposedly, or so that I have read in books,
In manuscripts ancient and forgotten to most,
Tales of the past of that most eleusive thing.
I have travelled and wandered far across our known lands,
Sat at the feet of mages and men so wise knowledgeable,
Beyond compare they sit and stare into other worlds,
Looking, for that one thing they know theyll never find.”
“ And what is this one thing,” asked the old man as he stared,
Out over the field of sheep that once he used to tend.
Fragrant smoke ringed his words as a smile curled his lip,
“Im not wise like foreign mage, so how can I help?
“ You have wisdom more than you know,” as the stranger,
Observed the scene where knobbly leafless trees forget,
The warm days when branches waved full and green,
Lying in seeret slumber deep wakened by capercailie scream.
“I am a weaver of words a teller of tales true and myth,
At Kingly courts i have spoken and sung entertaing ,
Courtly audiences who politely clap and wish me well.
Then without a second glance send me on my way.
Listen my shepherd friend I have lost my inner hidden spark,
The thing that lies within that helps me make my mark,
My muse has gone and I am at a loss where to search,
And look to regain my inner hidden creative soul.”
“My friend , the old man replied, “advice to help you I have ,
No secret magic words that can return your inner spark,
All i can say is be true to yourself be content within ,
Tell the tales that you know as if for an audience of one.
My life has been spent in watching after sheep,
That do nothing much but still I know that without,
Me watching that they would fall to wolves and scatter,
Over the hills frightened and alone prey to all.
All work becomes the same hard grind when daily done,
Repeating things the same everyday for little worth,
And respect is far from others lips and thoughts,
You do what others cant remember your own merit.
The tall stranger hung his head in deep contemplative musing,
Watched the sheep graze the bales of hay happy,
Perhaps they were but content with what they did,
Doing something that in this world no other could compete.
Darkness slowly filled the sky wind blew colder now,
The stranger turned his head to where the old man stood,
He was gone no where to be seen or heard,
Except the fragrance of pipe smoke floating in the air.
© Andrew Provan McIntyre. 8/1/2017.
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