The final star winks out and leaves
A greyish blue blur in its wake,
Wiped out by dawn, which comes like smoke
That drifts and circles in thick waves.
As if on cue, the first of the sheep
Appears: a bleat to herald clouds.

Yet now there are no specks of cloud
To interrupt the void, though leaves
Are tossed up by the wind. The sheep
Bleat as they walk. A few dogs wake
And answer with barks. The shepherd waves
A passer-by to light his smoke.

A truck comes by, gives off black smoke
That drifts and circles in thick clouds.
The driver blasts his horn and waves
The flock out of his way. He leaves
A path behind him, and his wake
Is filled once more by placid sheep.

The grass is thinning, so the sheep
Move off. Now there is only smoke
And empty silence like a wake,
All funeral-fallow. Then, in clouds
That drift and circle, twigs and leaves
Caught by the wind blow up in waves.

And on that breeze, the sounds of waves
Replace the bleating of the sheep:
The sea is here. Its sigh relieves
The emptiness. The mist and smoke
Conceal the water. Gathering clouds
From out of nowhere burst awake.

The falling raindrops serve to wake
The soil. A lonely flower waves
And says a thank-you to the clouds;
The grass, though eaten down by sheep
Will be replenished. And the smoke
Dwells for a moment, fades, and leaves.

Clouds have put an end to smoke,
Their black-sheep kin. The crumbling leaves
Wave as they fall. Awake, awake!

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