The Shepherd

When he no longer has a flock,
He will sing to wolves and stones.
Every thorn will please him.

When the stars bend low,
He will bring them home
And name them after dreams.

In the east will be his sons,
The south and north his daughters,
Far west the dying moon.

Wagons will cross the fields
In his ancient, fertile palms,
Barns will groan, elders greet him.

Who is this stranger,
Descended from the hills?
Why is he alone?

He wears wool of many colors,
Yet holds his wise old tongue.

And the shepherd will know the fools
By what is absent from their brows.

The scholar and the slave
Will be as one, the physicians
And the stolid men of law,
Teachers reciting empty phrases,
Priests hiding from the sun.

And long after the blood
On their knives has turned cold,
The shepherd will pity them all,
And love them as his own.

June 10, 2006

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