Wovember Words: The Valley of Eden

Welcome to the inaugaural WOVEMBER WORDS post of 2015! For those of you new to WOVEMBER WORDS, this is a daily elevenses of sheep and wool themed literature to be enjoyed during your morning break. Founded by WOVEMBER MEMBER Tom in 2012 the archive of WOVEMBER WORDS articles can be searched by clicking here. This year Wovember has received several lovely poems from different contributors on themes concerning sheep and wool and we kick off the annual WOVEMBER WORDS series with this beauty from John Gilham.

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The Valley of Eden

Something is playing tricks,
some farmer, some weather god,
some tourist board.

They’ve speckled the fields to the East
with white sheep, all
with black faces.

But a mile further,
the sheep have white faces
and otherwise are all black.

This is more organised
than we expect of sheep.

We run steadily South, between the hills,
and a rift develops. West of the line,
towards the Lakes,

clear Autumn sun and azure sky
makes leaves sparkle, diamond-tipped;
colours are bright, sheep completely white.

Yet above the Pennines, to the East,
lour and black clouds drain colour
from the fields,

sit low on bare slopes,
showers mist the fells
and the sheep are black all over.

It’s too neat, some naïve painter
or child’s farmyard has done this.
Or does landscape art move

to a new dimension entirely,
a Banksy, out of Goldsworthy,
bizarre, corrective;

an ordering of our imperfect world?

The Valley of Eden is © John Gilham and published here with kind permission.
The photo is titled Beautiful. It was found here and taken by Lynda Bullock at Hay Bluff on March 19th, 2010. Lynda says “Worth the climb for a view like this” and has published the photo under a Creative Commons 2.0 license

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This entry was posted by Felicity Ford.

7 thoughts on “Wovember Words: The Valley of Eden

  1. The Derbyshire Gritstone
    Deep in the grizzled granite of the peaks,
    Horned and shaggy,
    Run the sheep of my choice.
    Long stapled,
    Crimpy ,
    A spinners joy.

    Thanks for the inaugural poem, right cheered me up. 😉

  2. my concern is why a photo from Hay Buff which is not in the Eden Valley of Cumbria for which the poem is written for. Hay Buff is a long long way south on the Hereford/ Welsh border

    • The photo was chosen for its wonderful depiction of vistas and the patchwork effect of the countryside so well described in the poem, rather than a literal illustration of the exact place described in the poem. If you are concerned please feel free to source an alternative image, released under a creative commons license and sized at 770 pixels wide. Best regards.

  3. Felicity, I think you have understood very well the intention of the poet, to show the effect of the landscape rather than a literal depiction. After all, most poems will depend on the listeners inner eye and not a photo. The addition of the photo was an extra bit of magic.

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