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By Naomi Shihab Nye

In icy fields.


Is water flowing in the tank?


Will they huddle together, warm bodies pressing?


(Is it the year of the goat or the sheep?


Scholars debating Chinese zodiac,


follower or leader.)


O lead them to a warm corner,


little ones toward bulkier bodies.


Lead them to the brush, which cuts the icy wind.


Another frigid night swooping down — 


Aren’t you worried about them? I ask my friend,


who lives by herself on the ranch of goats,


far from here near the town of Ozona.


She shrugs, “Not really,


they know what to do. They’re goats.”


Source: Poetry (January 2016)

Poet Bio

Naomi Shihab Nye’s mixed heritage—her father is Palestinian, her mother is American—shapes the subjects of her poetry. Through mostly free verse, Nye often writes about everyday life while addressing cultural issues. Nye has traveled extensively, including to the Middle East and Asia to promote goodwill through the arts. She is the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate.

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