The Peruvian Shepherd

(struck by lightning in Arizona)...A Poem



Why is he here

With his two dogs

Sprawled under the tree

In attitude archaic --

Like Hemingway's leopard

High in the snow

Beyond its clime

On Kilimanjaro --

With skin dark

And cheekbone high,

Indian eye, mouth carved by Charlot?


What appointment

Does he keep,

Flock and poncho

In flagrant disarray;

Bleating fear,

A quick dazed run,

Then come together

In unquiet harmony,

Alone now,

Their good shepherd,

The stranger in their midst,

No longer as before?


Why in Kingman,

Far removed

From homeland highland,

Does his journey end

With faithful dogs

In flash of light

And thunderous roar

That only gods can right?

Why beneath a tree

When lightning streaks

The daring night,

This savvy herdsman

Like shepherds old

Who saw the star...?


Why refuge there

Beneath the leaves

Where canny death awaits

Like spidered web

The witless moment,

The sailor's lone misstep,

Of thousands that were right,

That plummets to the greedy sea?


Why not the daggered rain,

Missiled hail,

The muscled wind,

The eye of raging storm?

...not the wind-whipped,

Widespread bower

Whose ancient arms

Implore the gods to strike.


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Poems