When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
The sheep do not really need a shepherd
when the field is vast and green,
the stone walls stacked solid,
and the sky bright but not burning overhead.
I wander out among them, and they raise their heads
munching, their ears bobbing a little,
the shy ones backing up a step or two,
the bolder stamping a quick warning.
At night when the coyotes sing,
they bunch up, fuzzy butts outward
and share each other’s steaming breath.
We are sometimes less able than sheep,
alone as we are
uncomfortable in our lean pastures
the walls of our surety crumbling
harassed by memory and fear within,
feeling helpless before our inner poverty.
Breathe inward with compassion,
a single shepherd
to the many trembling
parts of ourselves.