Black Sheep Shorn

Freed, like gazelles
from the hands of our hunters,
blessed unrest keeps us marching
and makes us more alive
than the others.

It’s not our business
to decide how good we are
for each other;
no, we’ve the best to make,
and to be; a world inside ourselves

to expand and to see
and to escape once discovered;
hearts to cross,
doubles’ games to play,
empires to lose, and illusions, too.

When you’re twenty-two
and you wake to, “Your father’s been killed—”,
you haven’t a clue where to go—
whether to the tea,
or to the tomb—

and when you’re plenty-
underrated, you could go
either way, but it’s not in a cup
of discomfort one finds
meaning, no matter what

or where one goes,
no matter how low, or for what
one prays; it’s never in the leaves,
but in the destinations,
that the potential seems actual.

In the unknown depart
the mind tosses and the truth heaves;
wretches, doctors, madmen,
saddening and sadder sympathizers,
and charlatans—and mothers

they spew not a word of use,
and angle like fishermen
to pressure young men
(such as myself) to enter into
the obtuse ruse of “making do”.

I did not go—I shall not yet
but I will move, even if
the world will not have it so;
“If it’s in the ‘I’,” an angel said
(or someone told it),

“Then what duty is it that
adheres him to ‘You’?”
and so, as from my father
life was shed, from his blood
my fear was shorn, and my flock fled.