My Lost Sheep ~ A Poet’s Parable

Little red notebook

Little red notebook (Photo credit: Halans)

 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’~ Luke 15:6

Through shelves and drawers,
under the bed and, with cheeks crimson,
to the Lost and Found,
I searched. You could say
it was just a red-coated gathering of paper,
a gift from my daughter of
a handful of such notebooks.
It wandered from my pocket one day
to the unknown I wished to make known
upon its pages.
Akin to the Shepherd leaving the ninety-nine
to search the wilderness for
that one lost piece of mutton on the hoof,
I disregarded all the others.

Like lambs that must be protected,
a notebook is a newborn thing until
you fill it with your heartbeat,
share secrets, truths, lies, and
draw a map through the darkness,
the journal of your journey,
that voyage of discovery and rediscovery.
The other day, while rummaging
through the dark rough country
at the back of my closet,
I found my literary sheep gone astray.
I carried it back to my desk,
where the remaining flock lie in the lea
and opened to where my journey had left off.

It read:
No sleep again—Each night I press
my eyes closed and all that comes
are tears.

I pulled out my pencil and we stepped
into the darkness again.

33 thoughts on “My Lost Sheep ~ A Poet’s Parable

  1. This resonates so well with me. How often I’ve awakened in the middle of the night to remember a not fully formed thought, and I rummage thru notebooks, scraps of paper to find the embryonic write and finish it…”herding the sheep” as you suggest back to their ordered flock. I like this much.:)

  2. kismet, fate, destiny…..names for necessity…I found a coin on the ground recently…five minutes after paying my son’s light bill for him…the coin said “Dad, I Love You”……..I was 2000 miles from home and I had to be there, in the back of the closet, where we belong


  3. I keep lots of dusty stacks of notebooks & folders on dark shelves in my basement, and ever handwritten page is a treasure. These days most of us store our work on the computer, but I still run off paper copies 4 posterity and perusal. I finally matured enough as a sexagenarian to throw out the hand-written blue penciled pages though.

  4. i have lost a few journals in my day…and it is terrifying on some level but i figure i will find it when i need it…and if into the darkness is where it calls me…there i will go…again…

  5. oh, there are some images in this i wish i had thought of! like filling a blank notebook with your heartbeat, like the “dark rough country” at the back of the closet… powerful, Joe.

    • Thanks, Joanna! When I was a kid, that dark rough country was populated by all kinds of scary things…some imaginary, some (unfortunately) not! Maybe that’s the genesis of all my sleep issues… Hmmmmm. 🙂 ~ j xo

    • Did it really surprise you, Victoria? Not something I would have expected, but I love the different reactions people have to these scribblings of mine. Secret: I also keep a notebook with me at all times because I can’t remember a darn thing these days. So among the snippets of verse and images I see are things like “1 qt milk, pkg grd turkey, box mac & cheese…” 😀 Thank you, as always, for reading and commenting, lovely lady!

  6. Hello,
    I keep a journal by my bed in case I wake from a dream as I try to write down the scene or sometimes, I just wake up with a poem or a song in my head and I try to write it down before is slips back into the night. I can appreciate this piece you have written.

  7. I love the sentiment that we “write our hearts onto the page” it actually made me cry a little when I carried through that part of the piece. Our writings are such a piece of us and absorb the process of our healing. I appreciated this piece. Send my love and peace to you always Joe ❤ ~ Rose

    • Awww… Rose, do you have any idea how heartened I feel about my writing when I engender emotion like that in a reader? Especially one for whom I have such respect and affection? YIP!!! Thank you so much! Love and peace to you, Rose! ~ J xox

  8. In my early twenties, I through out all my poetry notebooks from my teenage years (too much unoriginal angst), but now I look back and remember the odd phrase that doesn’t seem too bad, and wish I could find them again : (

    • I’ve only been writing for myself for about 4 or 5 years, but I’ve kept every notebook. It’s interesting to see the change in the poet guy over that time. Thanks for reading!

  9. Piccadilly notebooks are nice, but the ones that reign in our house are Moleskin. My 21 year old son, especially, writes poetry and plays all the time. They are his treasures to be sure and so… I connected to this gem of a poem.

    I carried it back to my desk,
    where the remaining flock lie in the lea

    So lovely!

    • The notebook in the poem looks exactly like the one in the photo, Margaret. Moleskine, which I keep in my back pocket, kinda stiff covers that I crack by sitting on them. 😉 Thanks for reading! 🙂

  10. holy sh*t I actually do have a red notebook… I think every writer has that time where
    they hop out of bed to search & write… those are the times when I get my best done! great write Joe!!

  11. I would say that 70% of my journals are bound in red leather and feel the need to protect them as well. The loss of a thought, a phrase, it is always a concern to the point where I document and store in multiple places. When I’m searching, I must find. We are very similar.

  12. Excerpts of our lives captured and tucked away.To lose a part of ourselves and then, thankfully find it again. Whether literally or metaphorically, always good to feel whole again. May you always find your light whenever you step into that dark unknown with pen and paper. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment, always appreciated. 🙂

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