The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Sheep and Wool Festival

Indian Stream Republic
By Stephen Burt

No one should be this alone--
none of the pines
in their prepotent verticals,

none of the unseen
hunters or blundering moose
who might stop by the empty lodge or the lake

as blue as if there had never been people
although there are people: a few
at the general store, and evidence of more

in clean vinyl siding, and down the extended street
a ruddy steel pole the height of a child, its plaque
remembering a place called Liberty

at Indian Stream, 1832-35,
between the disputed boundaries
of Canada and New Hampshire, meant

as temporary, almost
content to remain its own.
Each household, their constitution said, could possess

one cow, one hog, one gun,
books, bedding and hay, seven sheep and their wool, secure
from attachment for debt no matter the cause.

The state militia came to set them right.
The legerdemain of the noon sun through needles and leaves,
revealing almost nothing, falls across

thin shadows, thin trace of American wheels and hands
for such high soil and such short reward:
the people... do hereby mutually agree

to form themselves into a body politic
by the name of Indian Stream, and in that capacity
to exercise all the powers of a sovereign

till such time as we can ascertain to what
government we properly belong.


I did nothing on Tuesday worth reporting in detail; I got some writing done and worked on the computer and folded laundry and rearranged my desk clutter and chased a bee that got into the house and drove my cat insane, though neither of us managed to catch it. Rather than describe any of this in detail, I present some photos from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend:

Sheep ready for the close-up at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

The ones with straw in their wool looked more comfortable than the ones in jackets.

And the ones being groomed for competition looked rather woeful.

This sheep got to stay with her lambs instead of being paraded about.

Jacob sheep with the extra horns are always cute, but Jacob lambs are completely adorable.

Alpacas, like angora goats, aren't eligible to be shown in the barns since it's a sheep festival, but because it's also a wool festival, some are in vendor tents.

We went to visit the tents of Kiparoo Farm, which we always visit on the Frederick Festival of the Farm tour...

...and Dancing Leaf Farm, which we always visit on the Countryside Artisans tour.

Younger son went to bed shortly after 8 p.m., since he has his calculus and Chinese A.P. exams on Wednesday. apaulled and I watched Agents of SHIELD, which continues to make me yell at the screen, and Secrets of the Dead's "The Lost Gardens of Babylon," which is fascinating and sad (lots of archaeology made impossible by the awful situation in Iraq). Now, to sleep!

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