Ted Hughes's poem "Ravens" is written in free verse, in three stanzas of varying lengths. It is a narrative poem and focuses on a day in spring when "we"—that is, the speaker and his three-year-old child—entered a field to look at some "new lambs" who had recently been born. Hughes describes the raven which flew over the field and the many sheep "nibbling" the grass, pausing to see what the interruption is. The protagonist and his child see a new lamb which has only just been born, the placenta still hanging out of its mother.
The child is interested in this lamb, but also in another one which was "born dead" and is twisted grotesquely, its belly "opened like a lamb-wool slipper" and the various bits and pieces of its innards hanging out. It is no longer possible to determine which ewe was its mother.
The speaker explains to his child that the lamb died being born, and the child repeatedly asks whether, as the father picks up the dead lamb, the lamb cried. The father says that it did.
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