Don't go into the wood at night For there are foxes there. Don't go into the wood by day For there are adders there. Don't go into the wood at dawn For then the air is rare.
I did go into the wood at dusk And saw the spirits there. Between the path and the elder trees Between sun and the evening breeze Between the darkness and the day I sensed souls of goats who'd passed away.
Far from the house and the busy road Where the eye of man cannot see They laid the bones of dog and goat And there was no-one to grieve but me. The dogs had many fancy names A life and a pedigree But the goats just went to pasture new Wherever that may be.
How long had they lain there in the wood When their earthly life was gone And the turf put back fresh again To be baked by the summer sun. Nobody knows that the goats are thereBut grand-dad told me so And it wasn't as if we humans care Whether their spirits come and go. These beasts were part of our household once - Part of our family - Now their skin and their bones are used As food for the elder tree.
And the dogs and the hares and the rabbits piss On the grass that forms their bed: Will creation be so insensitive When the rest of us are dead?
I shall come out of the wood tonight For we have food for tea. I'll leave the goats to their evening-watch For we have meat for tea. I'll leave the goats to God's kind care For we have lamb for tea.
When I return in a year or so To walk through this wood and grass Will I give a thought for the goats? Oh no, I shall ignore them as I pass.
For the goats are dead Dead, dead and dead And we have lamb for tea.