The Sheep at the Stack
Every movement needs a poet. If we could move Michigan’s Will Carleton (1845-1912) forward 100 years he would be the Occupy Movement’s poet laureate. Will Carleton made himself and Hillsdale famous when he wrote the poem “Over the Hill to the Poorhouse” about the dismal conditions at the county’s poorhouse. At one time Michigan law required that at least one poem be taught by the state’s teachers each year.
He also was the publisher of a literary magazine “Will Carleton’s Magazine” which was a national publication for the literary arts. In addition Carleton used the magazine to hawk his own books such as “Farm Ballads.”
As an example, the July 1907 edition included several poems by Carleton including the poem, “The Sheep at the Stack.” It also included articles on Walt Whitman, an article titled “Marriage and Selfishness” and a “Word About Your Liver.” It even included a gossip column and an article on how automobiles would be the next chariots of warfare.
The Magazine also was home to numerous advertisers selling Pears’ Soap, Condor Cures, Midget Cards and blood purifiers. Numerous resorts also advertised their amenities.
Will Carleton wrote the poem “The Sheep at the Stack for this edition.
Make ready, my laddies! It soon will
The clouds they are falling in pieces of
The drifts they are creeping abroad in
And blanketing even the trees as they
Asleep in the howl of the storm.
No grasses tonight will grow under your
The cattle are calling for something to
But do not forget it, while filling the
To grain and shelter the sheep at the
In sheds that are cozy and warm.
They huddle together the whole o’ the
And nibble a bit at the ends o’ the
But hardly consider that living is
Unless it be growing or flung at their
Or easily hung to the back.
Make ready, my laddies, and think as
They are not so worried because they
There’s lots in the world to forget and
We’ve several neighbors, my laddies
The same as the sheep at the stack.