Nikos and His Donkey by Robert Bly

Thursday, 11 December 2003

Let’s tell the sweet story about the day Nikos,
Wandering around with his don­key and sad­dle­bags, 
Turned up one day at a farm of Godseekers.

The Godseekers all came out when he knocked.
They wel­comed him, gave him tea, brought
His don­key to the sta­ble for oats and wa­ter.

“Stay for sup­per,” they said. How glad he was!
They drank tea for hours. Dinner came.
They all ate hap­pily and be­gan to dance.

The Godseekers sang two lines over and over:
“Compared to God’s our song is only a bray;
How beau­ti­ful is the scent of a thou­sand hairs!“

In the morn­ing, he said, “Could I have my don­key?“
They said: “What do you mean, your don­key?
You ate the meal! You danced. You sang the songs!“

The don­key we have loved for years may be killed
And cooked one day while we go on singing.
So don’t write a sin­gle poem with­out grat­i­tude.