A Very Small Miracle

By Hugh McMillan

A lamb was born near Dunnet Head,
tumbling in a yellow broth of legs
on the dark earth,
finding its feet just before
the brawling wind from the skerries did.

Nobody paid much heed.
The ewes were not easily impressed
by gyniatrics and two old women
talked on about tomatoes.
There wasn’t even a farmer there
to count this a triumph for finance.

The dreaming lamb wobbled
on the lip of cool reality.
At thirty seconds old it had felt
the first rough edge of a tongue
and already knew that life
was not a bed of turnips,

at a minute
it was standing quite still
staring rudely at me,
as if it knew that being born
a sheep here
in these extremes of circumstance
was a very small miracle indeed.

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