Tuesday Poem-Upper Class Sheep

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill

The sheep on One Tree Hill

are really most companionable

don’t scurry away


to what I say

with tolerance.

One can forgive

what passes through

the other end

as we chat.

It’s just their style.

Mind, these are upper class sheep

no quarter acre for them.

Plentiful grass

large spreading oaks for shelter.

No doggies dashing

helter skelter.

And well presented.

No daggy foot rot woollies these

not where tourists pass by

dispensing fervent admiration

leading to a sheepish

fluency in languages

especially Japanese.

But perhaps they are

a little overconfident.


Why the other day when I decided on

a cream tea at the café

it was full of ewes

no room for me.

There they all were delicately slurping

from bone china cups.

But of course with freedom

comes responsibility.

We’re bound to see them standing

for parliament quite soon.

‘Would the member for One Tree Hill

kindly not poop on the carpet.’

Or cries of ‘put them out to grass.

Too much woolly thinking.’


(c) Helen McKinlay

These lines were indeed inspired by the sheep on One Tree Hill (an ancient volcano) in Auckland within a baah’s closeness to the city. Last year on a long sojourn in Auckland, I spent many happy hours walking in the hills there where people run, walk, push prams admire lambs and talk to the sheep.  I love it that even though there is a reasonably busy road through this area, the sheep run the show.  Traffic is held up by mother sheep arguing with recalcitrant teenage lambs who skit across the tarmac without care. And of course tourists from sheepless nations adore them.  For more about One Tree Hill and it’s fascinating history, see here.

Upper Class Sheep-One Tree Hill

I took the above photo last Spring. all was green and lush…but last week when I walked here…puffed actually…it was so hot and brown!  No sheep no grass.  However a friend who prefers to remain anon has just sent me the photos below, taken today.  Hopefully after the drought has broken, Note the few patches of green!  It’s been a wonderful summer for most of us here in NZ.  But flying back to the South Island over a brown North and a stark and brown Mount Taranaki makes one appreciate how lucky we are here in our usually green NZ.

More Sheep On One Tree Hill 18.03.13

One Tree Hill Sheep 18.03.13

One Tree Hill Sheep 18.03.13

Have a happy week and do read Penelope Cottier’s hub page edit back at Tuesday Poem …featuring a poem by Hal Judge…a poet ‘willing to take risks.’

11 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem-Upper Class Sheep

  1. Is there such a thing as a sheepless nation, Helen? What a shocking concept.

    I really enjoyed this poem, although how you avoided a pun on fleece is beyond me! I did notice the ‘woolly thinking’!

  2. Thanks Penelope. It is shocking isn’t it. Re fleece good question. Guess I don’t think of sheep in terms of fleeces, fleas maybe… do sheep get those? I’m more on the side of woollies!

  3. Mind, these are upper class sheep
    no quarter acre for them…
    and as they went into politics at the end – I’m guessing they’re important sheep – sheep that matter 😉

  4. Hi Alicia.perhaps I exaggerated just a little! And of course not all of them went into politics but while they are on One Tree Hill they are definitely important. Lovely to be in the country in the city and marvellous to wander freely among the sheep and lambs in the spring.
    Great for everyone.:-)

  5. Love the cream tea cafe full of ewes – you have such a great sense of humour in your poetry, Helen! Love it (and those One Tree Hill sheep – they certainly do own that spot) 🙂

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