Thursday, March 5, 2015

A shepherd's life..

There is a danger to overgrazing
a pasture, 
staying too long in one place
There is much satisfaction in 
the pattern of transitioning,
of establishing small encampments, 
moving between seasons,
in a nomadic way of life
For some there is a draw, a willingness
to trade well-known identity to become 
a soul living close to nature
Indigenous people of Northern and 
Eastern Europe, Mongolia, or North 
Africa might trade meats, wool and cheeses, 
own nothing,
but find peace in leaving the past behind

Free from living en masse, 
the grind of everyday commutes and 
psychic pressures of modern life where, not 
uncommonly, a young innocent girl
could be a violet stepped on
in a park and it's true -
in western culture there are always sheep 
in need of a shepherd
It's a comfortable transition for 
independents, we loners who shrink 
from this world and live
with fresh pastures to graze on,  
where unknown shepherds keep their flock
in tact, protect it. 
Yet it is a lonely life, when the name has died, 
buried long before the body 

Indeed, the life of a shepherd is on
a higher plateau, 
the distance between summer and winter
The herding of sheep, goats, or yaks leads one 
to a virtuous soul
Instead of homeless in a city, 
a camel trader might fall sleep one
bitter, chilly night to wake up on a 
slope of the flowing Steppes of Hungary
on a night clear and find the moon lying 
on its back,  
Instead, a young woman on an alpine 
hillside milks her reindeer, surrounded by 
fields of wild cloudberries
An awkward shepherd boy treated badly
by the village people can stand proudly 
with his herd and upon reaching the curve 
of a mountain, find a beach covered 
with snow

Starting our new week with new pub tenders over at Anna has asked us to write
creatively to experiment using one philosophy to describe another. i.e... to write about something totally different using baseball terminology. 


  1. I like this a lot. All the positive things brought to life - all the beautiful and peaceful and proud things of life. The last stanza just really blows my head apart. Hippie language but true. Finding that snow covered beach, a simple young girl surrounded by wild cloudberries, how this life with nature leads one to a virtuous profound and so beautiful. Note: Hayes Spencer is the google sign in for Kanzensakura :-)

  2. I really like the metaphor of this - we are traveling aren't we. Nice

  3. there is a certain pull to that life it is sure...a lot of responsibility is placed on one that would shepherd...and it is not without having to face some who would want to destroy the flock or make a meal of while pastoral at times...those mountains and field can be just as is a lonely road as well at times...though not always lonely in the bad sense...though it has those, as well...

  4. there are not enough shepherds in our western cultures - i agree - and i'm wondering where this individualism will take us someday

  5. It is true that many flocks are in need of a shepherd yet we need to be careful that he is not a wolf in sheep's clothing.

  6. The thoughts of having a shepherd instead of craving for leaders are freedom is a great metaphor. The shepherd gives the gentle guidance rather than the rules and fences. Maybe living softer with our collective guided freedom will make us happier...

  7. It is a romantic notion of a difficult life but then that is the joy of so much poetry.

  8. The nomad's life--the voyager, wanderer, traveller--has an oceanic current to it, offshore this modern one, away from the cities of determined purpose. Great consolation and promise that one can "find peace in leaving the past behind." Poetry allows us to voyage, yes? To be nomads of the imagination ... So many lovely vistas here, and the end result is perfection.

  9. My ancestors were shepherds who moved with their flock to the mountain pastures in summer and rejoined the village (and their families) in winter. I've often wondered about the toll a life like that must take on family relationships... but there is a freedom about it too, which perhaps we appreciate more as poets.

  10. Your poem is a good reflection on shepherds then and now. We really need to choose carefully the shepherds we follow. But then again, the life of a shepherd is not easy & moving constantly has to be difficult.

  11. I have forgotten how simply peaceful and beautiful the life of shepherd could be ~ I specially love the part being close to nature, yet not being the violet to be stepped on in the city's bustling life ~ That ending made me grasp in awe, what a beautiful sight to behold ~

  12. "there is danger to overgrazing a pasture". Perhaps we NEED to be cast out of our comfort zone in order to truly thrive. The nomadic shepherd analogy is a wonderful description of how we need to not just stay the same.

  13. The imagery and diction are marvelous, building an emotional space in which to encounter the poem. Your choice of subject for this experiment is very appealing to my wanderlust saturated soul. Very nicely done!

  14. Brilliantly done and so much wisdom expressed in metaphor.
    We all need a shepherd...
    Anna :o]


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