You do not see the cold in the clear typed print,
Hear its crack underfoot or see the flared nostrils of sheep frozen to the ground.
It is there in a neat slip: wages, for month, seven pound a week and found in cottage.
A photo, too: a thin man with a stick and a dog with his chin pressed to the ground.
Up the gorge – deep, where the valley rises to trap the still air.
Where the hill folds over to stop the sun and the pasture scant.
Where hooves make the ground ring and a whistle floats in the air.
Where a stream too fast for standing cuts through the earth.
How odd, now, that a little photo and a pay slip disclose
The reason for the bent back and hands that would not close;
Why, even later, he could not go back.