As the Labradors black as night splash in
The morning light and swim in the current
Up to their necks going for the mallards
That fly away before they get to them
It is about to rain and a chilly
Cold rain it will be with the clouds coming
Over the hill and stone fence darkening
The baaing of the sheep, the many sheep
Who stop and look at me curiously
Waiting for what? For me? A nettle stings
And midges fly around my feet. England
Must be many things but it is surely
This. To find my pen I had to retrace
My steps. Burnsall is the name of this place.


  1. Lindsay Hall

    Dear Don
    The photos are so much Yorkshire (though the sun shines there sometimes too!), and I like the poem, which has some terrific turns of phrase (“stone fence darkening”, “basing of the sheep” &c.. But is it really a /Sonnet/? To me a sonnet needs a more palpable rhyme-structure. This emphatically does not mean it has to be strictly Petrarchan, Shakespearean/Miltonian or even in iambic pentameter. But i think it /does/ need to have a distinct octet + sextet structure, and a volta. Sorry to be a pedant.
    Best wishes,

  2. I’m not so fundamental. I go for the 14 lines and try to have five feet (more or less) to a line, my criteria. I worked like hell on this poem by the way just trying to get it where it is. I’m glad you enjoyed it and thought about it. That is excellent.

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