I've wallowed in the mire
And lapped the putrid water,
Vinegar and gall were my food,
Till one day I heard the shepherd
Call my name, from the path
That paralleled the road above.
He called my name, insistent, urgent.
Heart pounding and ears ringing
I willed myself to turn and follow.
Bloody and bleating, from thorns and
Brambles, I limped towards his voice.
At last I saw him.
He was silhouetted against the afternoon
Sky. I limped closer and my heart
Leaped within me. Only two rugged,
Wooden crossbeams separated us.
The fence wire laid stripes along
The bare backside of the final rise.
The shepherd urged me to his side.
His gentle touch comforted me even as
Hardened hands probed my tender flesh.
The pain, like sharp nails, drove me
To my knees. He poured in the soothing
Oil and my tender flesh began to heal.
The narrow path I must follow stretched
Before me, the valley below veiled
In dark shadows. The setting sun
Reflected off the high ridges on the
Opposite side. Scattered alongside
The path in the brush were bleached bones,
Dried and forgotten monuments to those
Who did not follow. Piercing, plaintive
Cries of wolves echoed across the darkened
Hills, yet I feared no evil with my shepherd
Near. Like a cup of wine filled to overflowing,
His words of love, "it is finished,"
Spilled out to drench my aching soul.
Through darkest nights my shepherd leads
Me and I follow, his staff of goodness and
Rod of mercy nudge me from behind.
At last I'm going home with my master,
Where pastures are forever green,
And waters still my soul.
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