Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shepherds, stars, and angels

Angel's Wings by polska1 of
A poem by my friend, Loz...

The coming of the stars

For Ken Jolley

The night the stars descended, we were hunched as usual,
dozing in tattered bundles; heads down,
oblivious to the aching air. Only one was watchful.

When he cried out, a wolf scattered my fitful dreams.

I started, came to; beheld my staring mates, stark with wonder,
Arcing up, like young cedars struck by lightning
wedded to the sky by blue white flame, transmitting unearthly energy to the mud.
The sparking multiplied, and a roar like a great song underground
intensifying in eye- watering, naked power. I swore it were the last hour.

You ask how it was that they heard the voices clearer than I?
I’ve often wondered why, but am none the wiser. I was the junior,
always simpler, smaller, quieter than my friends. But even then I had my uses:
sleeping in the gateway, seeking the lost ones, fetching sandwiches.

It wasn’t how they picture it, you know: us all starry eyed,
united, trooping down the bright hillside hand in hand,
like kids following a painted sign to wonderland.
That meeting was fear itself. The others wept, transfixed.
My legs were wet and shaking as I crept between a cleft rock,
jammed my fingers in my ears and prayed and sobbed.

Later, when I reappeared, the stars were gone. My mates
returned and mocked me for hiding, gave me a ribbing, said
I’d missed a treat; “time of their lives” they laughed, exuberant, fiery eyed.
They were changed men. But were they mad? I didn’t know what to believe.
As my dear mum used to say; “tidings that come in a flash are usually bad”.

But now I understand, feel the same thrill they had. I know why
they went to tell the world what they’d seen, share the tale
with one and all. Me; I stayed within sight of the sheepfold wall.

People still seek me out to hear my piece.
I say what I know; that now I sing my flock a peaceful song,
that fear bids farewell as new love is born, how joy
can be found in the lowliest place of all; how happy
is the shepherd when the least among his sheep comes home.

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