Monday, 6 January 2014

A piece for Epiphany

Bit Part Players

Clattering down the rock strewn slope, the Donkey, dusty and rough coated
Stopped at the cross roads, and contemplated the four options
They all looked the same to him
The light was failing and a few stars gleamed
Across from him he saw movement, and arriving as he had, was a large Cow
She looked mournfully across at him “Come far?” she asked
He bobbed his head and twitched an ear
She scratched her flank with a horn “Me too”
And they stood looking at one another
They both turned at a light pattering sound
A large black dog with a white blaze
Stood panting in the middle of the road
Hello” he gruffed “Going my way?”
Donkey looked at Cow, Cow looked at Donkey
They both looked at Dog
Um” said Donkey “Err” said Cow
That’ll be yes then” gruffed Dog “What else are you here for?”
Cow shrugged and said mournfully
It seemed like the thing to do” and scratched her other flank
Donkey twitched his ears and said “It seemed like the place to be”
Well, my names Star, ‘cos of my white patch, see?” said Dog
What are your names?”
Donkey said he didn’t know, but the boys who stoned him
Called him Wonky Donkey
Because I limp”
So shall I call you Donkey?” Asked Star
“’Spose so” said Donkey, “I am one”
And how about you?” Star asked
Cow shrugged and said mournfully, “I don’t have a name,
A man slaps me and says ‘Move over cow’ and that’s it”
So shall I call you Cow?” Asked Star, “Well it’s a name of sorts” said Cow
Dog cocked his head and flicked an ear, “Does anyone know where we are going?”
Donkey looked at Cow, Cow looked at Donkey
Both looked at Dog, “Don’t you?”
Not really, just got this feeling, had to get up and go”
Do you suppose anything else is coming?” Asked Donkey
It’s getting a bit late for travelling” gruffed Dog
I’d like to go to sleep, it’s been a long day” mourned Cow
Fresh start in the morning then” gruffed Dog
Dog watched as Donkey and Cow mooched about, looking to settle
Until they found a sandy patch out of the wind
Dog politely sniffed at both, then snuggled up against Donkey
The creak of leather and jingle of harness
Woke the three unlikely friends
Dog watched as horses and camels pranced and swayed
And swarthy men shouted and slapped
Pausing only briefly they took the westerly road
They’ll be stopping soon, they’ve travelled all night” said Dog
Cow moaned and lurched up, peering over the rocks
Donkey stood and shook off a cloud of dust and debris
We’ll get going once they’ve settled” said Star
Very carefully Donkey and Cow followed Star through the sleeping encampment
Donkey whiffled up some hay, Cow munched up some oats
Star, after a quick sniff, made off with a bone
Seems they have been following a star” said Dog
So are we” snickered Donkey, Cow just rolled her eyes
They travelled slowly, favouring Donkey’s limp, which suited Cow
But Star raced ahead impatient
Come on! Come on! There’s houses next”
Donkey and Cow stood on a rise
And gloomed down at a few ramshackle hovels
Well! Shelter for the night, that’s welcome” Donkey was nearly happy
Mmm” said Cow mournfully
This could be it! I think this is the place” gruffed Star excitedly
And ran ahead to sniff out the buildings
Cow loomed through the doorway of one “There’s hay in here, this’ll do”
I think it’s the other one” said Star “It smells like honey and stuff”
Any hay?” asked Cow, and Donkey, after a nudge
No, but it really smells nice” urged Star, but the others wouldn’t budge
He settled in the doorway, eyes bright, ears alert
A man and a woman came slowly along the road
And approached the building, Star wagged and panted a welcome
But when the man saw the Donkey and Cow he moved on
Star noticed he chose the nice smelling building
The three animals settled for the night
The creak of leather and jingle of harness woke Star
Wake up! Wake up! They’re here” Star roused Donkey and Cow
Oh not again!” groused Cow
The horses pranced and the camels swayed
As a group of colourfully clad men went into the house
Look! Said Donkey nodding upwards, “There’s their star”
That’s why they travel at night, I expect” mourned Cow
What’s it all about, all this travel and commotion” complained Donkey
Must be important, or we wouldn’t all be here, I’ll go and see” said Star
Shortly he came back, smiling and capering
Donkey and Cow looked enquiringly at him
Oh do stop that” said Cow crossly “Can’t abide a fidget”
Well it seems the baby is very special”
”Baby?” Donkey looked puzzled
Cow said “My calves were very special too”
Yes well” said Dog “There’s lots more, but it’s beyond me”
Cow contemplated the comings and goings next door
I wonder if we should be over there” she said mournfully
Doing what exactly?” asked Donkey
I don’t know, looking on I suppose” “Well we are doing” replied Donkey
It was a blazes of a long walk, just to look on” Cow grumped
Dog looked from one to the other and shook his head
We’ve been chosen to witness an extraordinary event”
Mmm” said Cow, “Oh really” said Donkey “Glad I came then” and he sniffed
If it happens again we’ll be better prepared” said Star
Well I won’t be there” Cow said “You can get a Cow anywhere”
This’ll do me, food and shelter, what more could a Cow want
And the new family will be needing milk, so thanks for the company, but I’m staying
Donkey couldn’t decide whether to be offended or not, he decided not
Cow needed company and people, people just meant pain for him
So Dog, that’s us then, two for the road” and he came out to watch
The caravan was packing up and heading out, horses pranced, camels swayed
Swarthy men shouted and slapped
Turning their backs on the procession, Dog and Donkey took their leave of Cow
With Dog smiling and capering in front, Donkey clattered along behind
Off to wait for the next time a Donkey and a Dog were needed

©Alexander Hamilton