The Take Archives
October 15, 2018
By Allie Rose Vugrincic
What Eats Sheep in Ireland?
The scattered bones are sleek and bleached
despite the continual roll of woolly clouds
over the fathomless copper mines of Allihies.
I toe the structures, hold them in my palms.
To what did these remnants, these what’s lefts,
belong before they were committed to the earth?
I dig my heels desperately into mossy grass
and I find it there, further uphill, staring soullessly
at the grey afternoon sky, contemplating absence
or imaginings much deeper – taupe horns curve
from a broad forehead, the long snout dips gracefully
and the resonance of eyes see beyond this thin place.
There is something known here: the depth of the earth,
the breadth of the land– held in those empty eyes.
But all I can ask is, what eats sheep in Ireland?
I wrote “What Eats Sheep in Ireland?” while walking the hills of Allihies, where I was overtaken with a sense of wonder for the natural world. Behind the ruins of an old farmhouse I stumbled upon a sheep’s skull, and it took me by surprise. I felt that in that place of myth and mystery, it was trying to answer some question. But it was one I had to fathom out myself.
From the Poetry Editors
In her poem based on a true experience, Vugrincic brings to life a grave-like site – things that once were but are no more. Her images, vibrant with fluff and moss, are contrasted with barren land, bones of dead sheep and ominous skies surrounded by copper mines. Her language transcends her own images. We were entranced by the scene and wonderment she left us: “To what did these remains, these what’s lefts belong before they were committed to the earth?” Hers is a poem that envisions the past in order to connect to the future.