Goats: Diptych



We heard their bells first,
ringing in unison, peals of
higher and lower tones.
The goats rounded the corner
then, leaping down the slope.
They stopped when they saw us,
each bell falling silent in turn.
We stood like statues, all of us,
breathing quietly in the heat of the
day, till in ones and twos and threes
they started back down the track,
scattering first this way and then
that, until the herd came together
and the music from the bells
they wore around their necks
fell into harmony once more.



Around the time of late
afternoon call to prayer,
a herd of goats entered the village,
ears and bells swinging.
Long, silky ears moving back and forth;
bells making a song that was
less ding and more dong.
The goatherd walked alongside,
a man in his forties, maybe,
maybe older, wearing brown trousers,
a grey shirt, as if called from
his desk to guide the goats home.

We stood still as they passed,
watching them as they watched us,
wondering what else they had
witnessed that day, nimble, curious
creatures foraging for feed up and
down stony hillsides while farmers
harvested olives under the eye of
settlers and soldiers, of
wire and fence and wall.

The deep red soil of the
olive groves turns darker
with every passing day,
with every passing year.
Goats come and go to the village,
fewer now, two herds where
once there were twenty.

FullSizeRender (5)