Ancient Shepherds

My mountain neighbors loom steeply
up from our valley, rugged and still.
They do not snore as they sleep there,
do not stir or startle. 

Earthquakes don’t wake them,
their molten cores reach deep into earth’s darkness,
boiling in silence under pressure of miles of rock.

Unmoved, they tilt back under the sky, drinking rain.
Farmers’ plows and tractors don’t wake them;
the energy they give off is pacific, 
their lava dries and crumbles fast into tasty soil, 
feeding a green quilt worn for show. 

Their conversations with the clouds last for days;
often the clouds go off in a huff of lightning and angry words.
Then we remember, we have been lulled into an unwise peace,
our go-bags still not packed for the day they rouse and roar.

Their little brothers throw fire, rock, ash and steam at the sky 
and stomp the ground, but soon subside, 
while we lie down once more.
If moving away ever occurs to us, we forget quickly.

The truth is, they will not let us 
leave them with no one to guard, feed or sing their cantrips to.
We are their flocks and they take pride in us.


© 2020 Susanne Donoghue
Photo: Cotacachi Valley and Imbabura, Ecuador

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