Two Poems by Patricia Furstenberg

The Sheep’s Spring Butter Is Medicine

Genuflected in the circular sheepfold, beside a temple,
fir-trees the shepherd’s green church,
footprints and hooves build a mosaic underfoot
the artist, a keeper of time or maybe his sheep
turned kid.
Lock-free door,
‘we guard ‘gainst bears only up ‘ere’,
wind sings or hymns resound,
tea hums, brewed over dried-dung and pine-needle fire.
Time stands still.

Bread made of dew and husks,
baked over excited kindles
sweet steam embracing,
coiled on a stick with a fiery eye that pokes eternity.
The shepherd’s shadow dips smoked bacon in spring butter,
world’s wisdom drips from his fingers
making the fire speak.
‘The sheep’s spring butter ‘s med’cine’, he sounds more to the mutt by the door
who grunts, body asleep, soul and ears ever awake.
Heavy books told me what the shepherd knew, as his forefathers,
spring herbs are potent, filled with life’s juices and earth’s zing,
herbs scoured for spells, for sweet dreams, but gifted for butter and milk.

The sheep’s spring butter is medicine, for the sheep’s from God,
like this earth,
but the goat, the goat’s from the hinder side.
Yet that’s a tale for another time.

Hunger came first

Hunger came first
as day slashed the nightfall with its fiery dagger
and spirits still chased the lost souls.
One last pang
one last hope
Hunger came first.

The goat came next,
nimble on the first rays of sun, as sharp as hell,
a strand of grass sticking out of its mouth,
silvery horns arched backwards, night trailing behind.
The goat came next,
shrouded in its beastly scent–
the promise of a full tummy.

The poet came last,
a night’s last breath into the day,
shadowed existence,
ghostly appearance,
eyes sunken on wobbly feet.
Eyes burning with poetry.
And hunger.

Hunger came first,
The goat came next,
The poet crawled from his misery
The verse of how the goat was the devil’s,
as the lamb belonged to God,
looping through his ear.

Then hunger floated away
from the shadow that had once been a poet,
a poet who chased a goat away.

The hunger and the goat went first.
The poet remained.
For eternity.

Patricia Furstenberg, with a medical degree behind her, has authored 18 books imbued with history, folklore, and legends. The recurrent motives in her writing are unconditional love and war. Her essays and poetry have appeared in various online literary magazines. Romanian-born, she resides with her family in South Africa.

8 thoughts on “Two Poems by Patricia Furstenberg

  1. Randal, thank you. I am honored and thrilled to see more of my poems on Sparks of Calliope.

    “The Sheep’s Spring Butter Is Medicine” and “Hunger came first” go hand in hand and are dripping with Romanian folklore and myths. I loved writing them.

    With heart-felt thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The first stanza of The Sheep’s Spring Butter Is Medicine is very visual. I could see the green church, with its hooves mosaic. Beautiful imagery. Bravo! And what can I say about the second poem? It’s food for thought. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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