Timid as Any Herd Animal
That bright of the blue sky varietyraising every racket of mowerand blower, backhoe and whacker,not to mention every street's hatchof after-school slammers and high-pitchedtrampoliners. O just a while longer,a day, maybe three, give thema rest. Have the hammocks hold fastand the bark remain in the dog.Have the thinnest veil of dusk,fog, or drizzle, call stillnessnear, her sister, silence, here.
“Timid as Any Herd Animal” from NOT FOR LUCK: by Derek Sheffield.
Published by Wheelbarrow Books January 2021.
Copyright © 2021 by Derek Sheffield.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Derek Sheffield’s collection, Not for Luck, was selected by Mark Doty for the Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize. His other books include Through the Second Skin, finalist for the Washington State Book Award, Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, and, with coeditors Liz Bradfield and CMarie Fuhrman, Cascadia: A Field Guide through Art, Ecology, and Poetry (Tupelo, 2022). When he isn’t editing poetry for Terrain.org, Sheffield can often be found in the woods or rivers along the eastern slopes of the Cascades in Washington.
"Derek Sheffield writes with a marvelous dual vision, coalescing details of the natural and human worlds, illuminating moments that sparkle and shimmer within."
—Arthur Sze, author of Sight Lines
"Exquisitely observed, crystalline in its imagery, this book is an act of vision, bringing us the world up close. Keenly attuned to time’s passage and the inevitability of loss, these poems unspool patiently, slowing us down so that we may dwell in 'the aggregate beauty of every trout / and star-clotted night.' Like the wood rat in “The Seconds,” Sheffield is a collector, a historian 'who would make hill after hill of all the years.' Lucky us.
—Ellen Bass, author of Indigo and Like a Beggar