The still drunk lay face down

between two dustbins

in the Barcelona street.

Streams of people walked by

most with barely a second glance

or none at all.

His trousers were undone

exposing his buttocks.

I wondered if he was alive

and strained to check

my conscience.

Two police officers stopped

and told me to move my rucksack

around to my front.

Pickpockets, thieves, they gestured.

I will always remember Barcelona

and a rucksack

that mattered.




The Shepherd Boy







The Shepherd Boy

a small piece of Victorian style  poetry

As both set out that afternoon
to find the early lambs new born
they skipped and played a youthful tune
not sensing looming raging storm.

Their joyful search led far from home
O’er hill and dale on paths well worn
now wind and snow chilled to the bone
and desperate fears bred thoughts forlorn.

They both lay down behind a stone
the boy held tight his trembling dog
driving snow barred passage home
to roaring fire and crackling log.

Numb from cold and howling wind
the boy knew well their safety lay
in praying for a path to find
that they may play another day.

The worried shepherd paced the floor
his gaze fixed on the cottage door
that he should see his son arrive
wishing son and dog alive.

Then came a scratch so feint and light
but heard above the howling snow
the shepherd dashed into the night
excited hopes allowed to grow.
Just one small dog is what he saw
near to death, froze to the bone
a thorn stuck deep within his paw.
He knew his son was all alone.

Behind the dog the village paced
heads bent low in steady stride
fearful of the sight they faced
to search the hills for shepherd’s child.

With limping dog their eyes and guide
at last they came upon the stone
and tearful eyes they could not hide,
the boy lay still but not alone
a little dog lay by his side.

They looked around, their eyes agog
but no one saw their guiding dog.
Just shepherd boy and faithful hound
embraced in death as they’d been found.

Now many folks say as they ramble
they see a young lamb leap and gambol
then run as if in simple joy
to the side of a dog and a shepherd boy.