Sonnet Sunday 83: The Shepherd-King

First, if you didn’t see, I had my first poem featured on the Rabbit Room! Sort of. A few weeks ago Jonny Jimison asked me to draft something up for one of his Rabbit Room comics; I sent him something within probably 5-10 minutes. The first two stanzas and a few other words here and there have been modified slightly, probably either for better fit or to sound more natural, but the majority and all the rhymes were from me. (I say all of this because I’m probably more obsessed than I should be with citing sources and therefore cannot take full credit.)

Anyway, on to today’s real sonnet.

This is a totally arbitrary pick. In fact, I forgot about this sonnet completely until I was flipping through one of my notebooks. The main thing to say about it is that I had the excellent book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 in mind when I wrote it. One of the key pieces of information I learned is that shepherds would anoint their flocks with oils; if I recall correctly (and it’s been a few years since I’ve read it), the oil functioned as a bug repellant, keeping bugs away (and therefore diseases). If you ever want to really know what’s going on in Psalm 23, I highly recommend that book.

The Shepherd-King

Originally written October 7, 2016

The shepherd, watchful, paced among the sheep,
Anointing them to keep flies off the flock.
He touched them, gently, if they were asleep;
If misbehaving, giving them a knock.
He was a rugged lad, this shepherd boy,
With ruddy cheeks and muscles hard from use,
His eyes and smile near bursting forth with joy;
And such a boy is just whom God would choose
To be the shepherd of a scattered tribe,
To keep his flock from wandering far away,
To call them to a valley lush and wide,
To keep the neighboring thieves and wolves at bay.
Anointings are a strange and wondrous thing:
A shepherd’s cure to crown a shepherd king.

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Posted in poetry

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