ALLEGIANCES

                         we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
                         where we are, sturdy for common things.

                                        – William Stafford (“Allegiances”)

Nothing fancy holds cattle to the hillside
to make their clans and homes as they graze
without holidays, as seasons change

their habits, often plodding through time
on the same uneven ground as their mothers—
the earth they know. There are times

to envy such simplicity, let ill winds blow
the unnecessary free from we ordinary beings—
times to take stock in who we truly are

before proclamations seize our souls,
freeze our feeling for comfort into fear
to haunt our most pastoral dreams.

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