In mountain meadows, bleating sheep abound, and green grass grows as high as their hunger allows -- about as high as cricket grounds, but I am lost in fantastic wonder. It seems to me this is a storied land, not merely grazing space, but where dragons once flew, and one might see giants, firsthand -- a place that's never known a plow 'r wagons. It's where magic must once have arisen, if ever such a place had existed -- where sparkling streams still burble and glisten whose secret is kept ever tightfisted. If you stumble into this storied realm don't let its siren sight overwhelm.
I lie on the sloping hillside; damp grass tickles my neck. I hear the bleating beasts kibitz as dogs keep them in check. My eyes closed to the azure dome, until eyelids grow dim. I open wide to see the sky, and note that it grows grim. It's time to consult my sheepdog, "Should we beat it, or stay?" He barks to me, "Now can't you see, the clouds 're dirty wool gray?" "I see it clearly as my hand, but what does that shade mean?" "It means you're not a shepherd, and you may need the latrine."
[Eclogues are sometimes called bucolics and are in the same vein as the idyll, which I covered on Day 19. They are short poems, set in a rural locale, and are often (but not always) in the form of a dialogue between shepherds or other country folk. There is no set form, though they are normally in metered verse because that was the mode in the days in which this genre was popular.]
Having stormed the night before, all felt clean.
And the grass swelled, deepening in its green.
And the shepherds’ cuffs were damp to dripping,
while lazing sheep partook of puddle sipping.
Two shepherds sat on rocks watching their flocks,
as overhead circled two gliding hawks.
A said to P, “Think new storms are coming?”
P replied, “I hear that distant rumbling.”
“But should we drive our flocks back home?”
“I think I’ll let mine graze and roam.”
“But last night’s winds almost took my roof!”
“They’re wearing wool; they’re waterproof.”
“But we’ll be soaked in this cotton!”
“Wet, yes. But I’ll not go rotten.”
“It could get a lot more frightening,
our sheep could get hit by lightening!
Then what will you say to your pa and mum?”
“I’ll say, ‘Hope you like your mutton well-done.'”
“It flows? What flows? the creek below?”
“I know the creek must flow downhill.
I mean how I flow through the world,
or it through me — by force or will?”
“I know when I lie here it slows,
between the bleats and blowing winds,
and I wonder through shaded eyes
whether the world is still in spin?”
I nodded, wandering on, wondering whether the world would stop for the likes of me.