The Spring of Sheep

Hugo Williams

A tube of Pro-Plus Rapid Energy Tablets
gave me Extra Vitality
when I visited my girlfriend on her father’s stud.

The double-backing local bus
took two hours to travel twenty miles.
When it passed our house
I nearly got off by mistake.
I noticed a roof I hadn’t been on
and I wished I was up there with my gun.
My hands were shaking
as I thought of things to say:
how the enlargements had gone astray
and been pinned to the noticeboard,
how my tutor asked if it was Brigitte Bardot.
I practised laughing in the window of the bus,
but I laughed on the other side of my face
when I saw her riding her pony
in her beatnik pullover.
We were sitting alone in the nursery, waiting
for her father’s horse to appear on television.
My left hand felt numb,
but my right took leave of its senses
and set out for the unknown regions of her shoulders.

I watched through binoculars
as it lay there with altitude sickness.
If it was mine, how could I get it back in time
for dinner with her parents? A gong
sounded somewhere in the house
and I leapt to my feet. Everyone was proud
of the gallant Citizen Roy
and my girlfriend ran over to the stables
to say goodnight. Head-over-heels with Pro-Plus,

I lay awake for hours, experiencing fierce
but tender feelings for the mattress
in a spare room hung with antique jigsaws:
‘Les Generaux en herbe (The Future Generals)’
‘Le Jeu de Balle (The Game of Balls)’
‘Le Saut du Mouton (The Spring of Sheep)’.