Heidi StephensonSheepism
Animal Rights Poetry By Heidi Stephenson From All-Creatures.org

Poems of compassion dedicated to the non-human animals who share this planet with us and the people who fight for them.

Sheepism
By Heidi Stephenson

The clever human
concocts
prejudices:
demonizing,
belittling
objectifying;
moulding
self-serving
tool,
with negative turn
of phrase -
to cut off
all compassion,
kill empathy,
abolish guilt,
in order to
‘licence’
the unthinkable,
the unspeakable.
Denying
a sameness,
that would necessitate
new responsibilities,
ovine trust
is mocked
as “gullibility:”
“Like a lamb led to the slaughter.”
The ewe’s intelligence
downplayed,
with ill-thought-out ideas,
described as:
“woolly.”
To be “treated like sheep,”
to be
“a sheep all your life,”
is not to have
a mind
of your own.
Failing
to identify
individuality
within ovine unity;
not comprehending
that only
the bonded flock
can outwit
a predator,
the mindless follower
of guru, star and fashion,
is “sheep-like,”
and those too timid
to speak up:
“sheepish.”
But the rebel
who dares
stand out
from the crowd,
quickly
becomes
the “black sheep.”
The over-strident,
accused
of “ramming” home;
the interrupter
shamed
for “butting” in;
the complainer
slapped down
for “bleating.”
No amount
of making
“sheep’s eyes,”
or “mutton”
dressing up
as “lamb,”
persuades otherwise.
Even when we humans steal,
we’re “fleecing;”
our exploitation
so entrenched,
that we can’t
even
get to sleep -
without “counting sheep.”

©Heidi Stephenson, March 2018


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