Strange mercy

Why shed the blood of a lamb

that can’t trample a scurrying ant

nor scare a perching fly;

that can’t hurt a brooding hen

nor startle preening chicks;

that can’t raise her voice beyond a baa

nor bleat in a noise-free zone;

that can’t brawl with fellow lamb

nor upset her shepherd’s peace;

that can’t restrict the udder to her young

nor deny the fingers of a milking maid;

that can’t shield her ram from harm

nor refuse a nod to the slaughter table;

who in silence walks to the shearing shade,

who in silence yields her throat to a knife–

in silence shouts her innocence?

For food or fur?

No: the price to keep

the wild free,

the roaring lion from shedding blood.

Celestine S.​ Ikwuamaesi

(Jan 29, 2018)

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