Watching the sheep on this windswept down high above the sea My thoughts have turned to the second Mrs. Thomas Hardy And how her husband instructed her to observe their many expressions - Some cunning, some wilful, some frowning Some with the light of insurrection in their eyes Others docile and trusting Arriving before a ditch lined with stones they pause Who shall leap first? Shall the first be last? Now I think of another hillside where long ago on a winter's night A host of angels encountered shepherds whom they greeted With tidings of goodwill and peace to all mankind O shame on the new biblical translators Who have directed the message to only those who are God's friends. Among the flocks at Bethlehem were there no black sheep?

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