The Shepherd’s Farewell

(Words and music by and © Talis Kimberley, 2014)

Length – 3:31

When I have lived the span of hours
That has been given me
And breathed my last of clean sweet air
So plentiful and free
When all my strength is given up
And I lie mute and still
Then give to me some Cotswold fleece
From my flock on the good green hills

This shepherd’s days, this shepherd’s nights,
This shepherd’s hours are full
With the ewe and the yarn and the yearling,
The wether, the wheel and the wool

For it has been my privilege
To tend both land and beasts
So let me reach St Peter’s Gates
With a little precious fleece
When all my song spills out at last
And my soul to solace yields
Bury me with some Cotswold fleece
From my flock in the good green fields

This shepherd’s hands, this shepherd’s heart,
This shepherd’s soul is full
With the ewe and the yarn and the yearling,
The wether, the wheel and the wool

I’ll hold fast to my Cotswold fleece
And make the old appeal:
‘St Peter, I’m a shepherd, minding
Wether, wool and wheel’
And Peter’s gates will open wide
He’ll smile and wave me through
‘My dear one, you’ve been busy, minding
Yearling, yarn and ewe’

This shepherd’s skills, this shepherd’s song
This shepherd’s tale was told
In warmth and love and joyfulness
And shining cloth of gold.


A Little Bit About 'The Shepherd’s Farewell'...

Terry Pratchett referred to the old shepherds’ lore that would see a shepherd buried with some fleece, so that St Peter would know the good reason that lay behind the shepherd’s non-attendance at church. This was a song that came out all as one thing together, and I cried when I wrote it.


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