Week 543: Shepherdess, by Norman Cameron

This week an unusual love poem by Norman Cameron (1905-1953, see also weeks 35 and 204), skilfully constructed around one extended metaphor, that captures the first excitement and wonder of a relationship when two people are exploring each other’s back lives as one might explore a new country, their thoughts and experiences mingling like two flocks of sheep. The last verse must rank as one of English literature’s more delicate chat-up lines.


All day my sheep have mingled with yours. They strayed
Into your valley seeking a change of ground.
Held and bemused with what they and I had found,
Pastures and wonders, heedless I delayed.

Now it is late. The tracks leading home are steep.
The stars and landmarks in your country are strange
How can I take my sheep back over the range?
Shepherdess, show me now where I may sleep.

Norman Cameron


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