Frozen moment

On our way to feed the hens
of the caravan man up the hill,
we are frozen in our tracks
by a double-decker,
mega murder bus:
a blue metal juggernaut
with two rows
of blinding, burka slats.

We scream inside
and cry and pray,
as the soft bodies
of our unknown friends
are thrown around now,
by the Somerset haulier,
who, lost on his way to
the Ashburton abattoir,
(charged with delivering
yet more “heaven in Devon,”)
turns around badly.

We hear two hundred legs  
slip, slide and buckle on this,
their final journey,
through our so-called
“Fairtrade” town:
their muffled cries,
their protest.

A liquid trail
of fear and dread runs
down the tarmac: pale
rivulets of terror
from the wide-eyed,
who only an hour ago,
were deep in pasture.

These, these are the beings
behind the burgers,
the burning barbeques;
feeling, sensitive,
joying, like us,
mourning, like us;
and fully, fully aware.

They move off,
as we stand by, pathetic
and powerless,
already far too late;
and the rain comes down
and washes away
the evidence.

I know that as I write this,
they are dying…

How long? How long?


Heidi Stephenson




By Heidi Stephenson

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