"The Good Shepherd" by Thomas Cole‘The Shepherd Who Remained in the Fields’ and Other Poetry by Duane Caylor The Society October 2, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 8 Comments . The Shepherd Who Remained in the Fields I had to stay behind to watch the flocks,a sentry against lions, bears, wolves, thieves,and other dangers slouching through the rocksand hills. No matter how much one believesthe promises of angels, work goes on—and on and on: sometimes life seems to beone endless graveyard shift, night without dawn,with Adam’s curse its sole security.Tonight, however, having heard the songsung by winged seraphs, robed in heliotrope,emerald, and gold, I know that I belonghere on this knoll, and that all nights have hope.For though our mundane duties please us least,to God, the faithful shepherd is a priest. . . On Falling Asleep While Praying Dragging along a day’s mundane concerns,I drop into my bed and close my eyesto seek the audience that faith discernswith God, who promised he would not despise the lowly and contrite. Will he includethe tired and distracted in his grace?Surely the harried need beatitudeas much as any who pursue his face. The spirit tries to lock the world awayand for ten minutes leave the flesh behind,but being in the body, flesh must prayfor any to gain heaven with the mind. I struggle through perfunctory adoration,and drowsily recite Psalm Sixty-three,then end up in a dark wood of conflation,confused and wandering lost from tree to tree. Sleep rises like a fog. Thought disappears,leaving sin’s latest census half-confessed,requests unmade, thanksgiving in arrears,and deference haphazardly expressed. Unfortunately, with me this is morethe rule than the exception. Will it bethat I’m accounted guiltier beforeGod’s throne than sleepers in Gethsemane? Have pity, Lord, since I will never winmy struggle to put by this life’s commotion.For nothing but your mercy can beginto count failed piety as true devotion. . . Duane Caylor is a physician in Dubuque, IA. His poetry has appeared in a number of journals, including First Things, Measure, Slant, and Blue Unicorn. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 8 Responses Sally Cook October 2, 2021 Fine, thought-provoking poems. I have seen your work before; believe it was in Blue Unicorn — you may also have seen mine there. Good to see you on this site. Reply Duane Caylor October 4, 2021 Thank you for your comments. I have, indeed, seen your work here and in Blue Unicorn. Reply jd October 2, 2021 Enjoyed both of these, Dr. Caylor. Poems of Faith are particularly difficult for this writer and I think you write them beautifully. Reply Duane Caylor October 4, 2021 Thank you. I agree with your observation about writing poetry of faith. I think this applies especially to writing which attempt to convey the objective content of faith (hopefully without sacrificing the subjective experience). Reply Daniel Blackston October 2, 2021 Beautiful work! Inspiring. Reply Duane Caylor October 4, 2021 Thank you for your gracious comments. Reply Margaret Coats October 2, 2021 The sonnet is a beautifully done Christmas midnight poem, especially the turn with song and color breaking in, and the resolution in the couplet. In “Falling Asleep” I notice all the classic purposes of prayer (adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, petition), along with the requirement that the whole man (body, mind, and spirit) pray. According to one of my friends, God is not only merciful enough to “count failed piety as true devotion,” but sends angels to finish the prayers of those who fall asleep while praying. Reply Duane Caylor October 4, 2021 Thank you for your kind compliments. Your friend’s comment reminds me of what Paul says in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans about the Spirit praying for us in our weakness. I strive to put into current idiom the kinds of ideas Donne wrote on in his religious poetry. My apology to John Donne for my many inadequacies in that regard. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.