What the Sheep Know – a poem by Judy A. Johnson

What the Sheep Know

The whole flock on State Route 72 near Jackson Road huddles
around a large haystack the farmer has just refreshed. 
They do not remember yesterday, when he marked them
or know they have blue or red splotches on bellies or backs.
They do not consider his plans to shear them next week.

They know that fresh hay is sweet 
and the breeze foretells a summer storm 
but there’s a barn if the rain bothers them 
              which it won’t.

Not much bothers them—
hail or lightning or extreme cold
might cause a small panic
but they are placid creatures 
what brains they have 
busy with important things—
              hay in front of them
              sun on their woolly backs
              lambs frolicking nearby.

Judy A. Johnson’s work has been published in journals and anthologized; her poems have been recorded and broadcast on a local radio station. Johnson works in libraries and educational publishing, mining daily life for poems and essays. She has belonged to a writing group for more than two decades.


  1. Ranney Campbell says:

    I keep coming back to this poem. I just love it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah says:

      Yes I love it too: ‘sun on their woolly backs’ is wonderful isn’t it.


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