Gemma Bristow, writer

The Shepherds

A moment of disorientation
on the cold hillside, under a chart of stars,
one of them waking the others
because he had had a dream,
or a waking dream.

Taking up their crooks,
fastening the blankets like cloaks,
not thinking about where they were going,
or whether their friend was mad or sane;
on a watchful, frosted night
one needs must follow visions.

They themselves had taken on
the eyes of the visionary,
each blade of grass a standard,
the lines and beacons of the sky
drawing them on —

If there had been
nothing at the end,
they would have still found something to amaze,
something that made them draw breath;
the silent town
in the palm of the valley,
embroidered with starlight —