Ewes huddle together in their pen, rolling their eyes in fear.
A razor-edged wind slides into the barn. Fast Eddie has come to shear.
He sets up clippers, motor, and arm, a dangerous-looking appliance.
The young ram nervously paces his cell, occasionally bleating defiance.
The shearing floor's swept, the clippers run smooth, Eddie nods at the owner and wife.
They drag young Rambo out of his pen for the very first shave of his life.
He struggles and fights till he's dumped on his rump and held up like a dog begging treats,
but he holds dead still while his belly is shaved. Eddie works fast and neat.
With a flip and a twist from Eddie's strong arms, the ram is pinned under one knee
while the clippers buzz close to the quivering skin and the beautiful wool falls free
still warm from the sheep and lanolin-rich, with a muddy, greasy smell.
The sheep will give you the dirt off his back, plus sticks and ticks as well.
He's deftly turned, and the fleece peels off like a blanket being unrolled.
A trim round the ears, and the ram is set free, too angry to notice the cold.
Then one by one, in their timid turn, the gentle ewes are shorn.
Made small and naked, they trot outside to huddle beside the barn.
Their lamb-full bellies rock like boats. Their mild eyes are calm.
They know that God always tempers the wind to favor the shaven lamb.