Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Black Sheep – White Sheep

The clock strikes one.


The newborns are fed.
Most seem to have won.
Father’s are strong, caring, independent leaders of all sorts.

The mothers stay at home.
To look after their young.
But not these two.
Nay, their father left, their mother worked.
Never had good wool.
Rows upon rows of white sheep.
But not these two.
They were black dots upon an impeccable canvas of white.

Or so they said.


The clock strikes three.


Father hasn’t come back.
Mother smokes her path to death.
She doesn’t bother with us.
We’re different.
Sister stayed with pa.
His penny bought her future.
She’s a white sheep.
My brother and I are black sheep.
Exiled from one farm to the next.
Trails of smoke wafted off of us encompassing anything it touched.

That smoke wreaked of anger.
The same way white looks after white.
Black looks after black.


The clock strikes six,


Father is no longer a question.
It is a memory of what we did not deserve.

One of the two black sheep had a quick wit.

The other lived off of dark shit.
The witty one made his way through the wilderness,
He learned to dance amongst white sheep despite their differences.

The other had many hindrances.
He got lost along the way.


The clock strikes nine.


Reminiscing of time long past.
The lone black sheep ponders,
“I wonder what made me black”.
The sheep wonders.
“Is it my genetics,
Or am I a product of my environment?

Perhaps its who I am.
My time is almost over on this green grass.

And yet I’m as fragile as thin glass.
I have changed the color of my coat;

From black to white,
And I am thankful for this bright night.”


The clock strikes twelve.


As I die upon this green field.
I believe I have served my purpose.

I feel as though I have been field,

And I am the last thing but worthless.

Black sheep, knee deep.
I have changed my coat,
And this is what I have wrote.

White sheep, we keep.
Black sheep – white sheep.