Pastoral Care (Psalm 23 revisited) (Free verse) by Dovina
I looked past the fence, toward the lopsided house,
where stood a woman with a sack,
a pail in calloused hand,
her head leaned slightly back.
From behind her skirt,
a goat with precocious beard
and hanging ears
looked up at her as though to hear.
He seemed to feast with eye and ear,
and showed it with a bleat.
And she, with downward look,
considered the humble beast.
The scene so spoke with fervent tone,
I almost knew her heart within my own,
and felt kindly toward the goatâ
weak, hungry maybe, but not alone.
I watched them with delight, a lovely pair.
Through thicket, out of sight,
I saw the workings of her face,
and his subservient plight.
Though too far to hear her voice,
her words I thought I heard,
and heard them better than the goat,
who felt, but never understood.
âWhat ails you, little one, how may I help?
Your pasture grass is green,
its blades are young and sweet.
Your water too is fresh and clean.â
âWhat is it that you seek?
Whatâs tugging at your heart?
Your limbs are strong,
and beautiful you are.â
âAre you not happy with the viewâ
the flowers, mountains too.
The other day, through fence you squeezed,
To eat the corn, not just a few.â
âHave I not long supplied your food,
protected you from dog and poacher,
even scratched your ears and head?
Would you rather have another master?â
Then the goat with sheepish eyes
cowered behind her skirt,
as if to say, âI ask too much,
Iâll just lie here in the dirt.
With you Iâll stay, content today,
your grace and mercy share.
All my days Iâll be your goat,
And count upon your care.â
Then I went along my way,
her eyes in me on him alone,
her voice still clear inside.
Perhaps I knew her heart within my own.
Back to poem details