. My count of sheep was off as twilight fell And father’s friend, Ben Ezra’s lamb was gone! I had to find her! Searching past the well I climbed the rocks exhausted but pressed on. Delay could mean her life! She’d failed to heed My shepherd’s call and so risked being killed! Some wild beast might capture her and feed. I could not let her unstained blood be spilled! Great danger filled that dark and craggy hill. My fear was deep! And then my torch went dim! Oh, why did I avoid my father’s will To one day be a carpenter like him? Because my father’s friend was gravely ill. I loved his sheep, so father made a plan For me to herd them just one year until I’m old enough to be declared a man. I found the frightened lamb inside a cave Cornered by a wolf of knife-sharp claw. The fiercest wolf I’ve seen! How could I save This little sheep? I thrust my staff to draw Away the beast. He snarled, bit my wrist And mauled my side. In agony, I heard The wolf’s attack, too wounded to resist. But then, thank God, a miracle occurred! I closed my eyes and with a trembling voice Said “Help me, father!” And the fierce wolf froze! He yelped, then fled as if he had no choice! I clutched the lamb and wept till the sun rose. Still shaking I then rose up on my feet. I kissed the lamb and said don’t be afraid For now you’re safe. She cried a grateful bleat. She knew I’d saved her and the price I paid. My parents say I may no longer herd And must devote my life to nails and wood; But angels fill my dreams and leave me stirred To try to be a shepherd---one who’s good--- Who shields his sheep from wickedness and strife. I love them all, the good ones and the lost; I’ll fear no evil that might take my life, For I think their salvation’s worth the cost. . . Brian Yapko is a lawyer who also writes poetry. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.