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The Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation

Signals

cattle clamber together in confusion
leave their calm grazing
press flank to flank under a tree
and paw the dust with uneasy hooves

the dog’s insistent bark rouses the sleeping
shepherd who has no choice but to follow
the sheep dog—driven to
a shady overhanging cliff

snakes who love the sun on hot stones
slither into dark cracks followed by a slink
of cat who forgets her taste for snake
leaves her perch, she heeds their haste

flowers not understanding the mystery
close blossoms tight in fearful
anticipation of an unnatural night under
the trembling leaves of a massive tree

in river pools the fish dive deep
lie still on gravel beds where no food
can be found but on the surface
insects swirl in sudden confusion

swallows, bee eaters and other
perpetually feeding birds leave
the clouds of insects and
seek their nests but do not sleep

nearby are people, men gossip
women prepare meals and sooth
babies whose cries may be signals
the adults take no heed and carry on

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