From: Amos, Confessions of a Major Minor Prophet

. . . dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines. . .

Walt Whitman

Ya Hear Things

You hear things when you listen.
What is it anybody ever needs to know
before heading thataway?

You hear things, herding sheep.
City folks may not think so, but you do.

I mean, you hear things besides lions roaring and sheep . . . well.
I’ll talk about them some other time, sheep.

You hear things from the outside world.
I mean, the bigger world where people
really do have roads that look like straight lines,
roads that look like they’re going somewhere.
Those kinds of roads.

That kind of larger world.

I heard about Assyria.
Crouching. Waiting. Empires.
They empire.
And that’s expand.
And expand.
And . . .

Even a shepherd and sycamore pruner can get that picture.

But the rulers and the rich?
Not so much. Always they think
they can blood suck and buy
their way out.

We shepherds. Well.
Tight spots are us.
We don’t buy our ways out, though.
Not shepherds.
Not sycamore pruners.

A tight spot just gets tighter.

When we hear things,
out in the desert,
we hear them as stark as
the rocks under our feet.

Assyria rising. The rich and the powerful—
let’s just call ’em shepherds of the people
for this metaphor, shall we?—the powerful
and the rich drinking and yucking it up

while they suck the blood of the people.
While Assyria empired—crouching.

You hear things
when you’re a shepherd.
You really hear them.


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