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Balaam and His Donkey
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By Rich Tassinari
Other Poems by Rich Tassinari

      Balaam and His Donkey

Balaam  profits from a prophecy,
The overhead is low, returns can be
Enough to pay for travel, a good life
Of splendor, jewels, food, a doting wife,
He charges to relieve a client's strife
Like any merchant for a service fee.

Balaam's work is held in high esteem
By Balak who would like them both to team
Together and will pay Balaam a lot
To curse the promised people God has brought
From out of Egypt to the desert plot
Near Balak's verdant pasture and cool stream.

Balaam must speak what the Lord will say
And gets permission to be on his way,
He leaves much like he's giving God the slip,
And saddles up his donkey for the trip,
For reasons to be quick, he takes his whip,
And rushes out the door without delay.

Balaam's donkey goes where Balaam wills,
She walks on level roads or up steep hills,
Across a high and rocky mountainside,
Or through a running river deep and wide,
She walks despite the soaking of her hide,
And never, ever slips, or trips, or spills.

But off a given course she just might veer
If danger quite unnatural is near,
When up ahead an angel with a sword
Stands firm before the donkey and her lord,
The sign of danger can not be ignored,
The donkey marches right and to the rear.

Balaam has no patience for delay,
And knows not why his donkey's gone astray
Into a field where once again she meets
The angel with the sword and Balaam beats
The donkey in distress which stops and seats
Herself upon the ground to quit and say,

"Why do you treat me badly when I turn
Away from danger, will you ever learn,
I am your servant, bound to do what's best
For you, not me, and must, despite the test
I suffer, then to be by you oppressed
Is more than any loyal beast should earn."

The angel then appears before her lord,
The donkey, angel, Balaam in accord
All see the danger, though not quite the same,
A selfsame danger's called a different name
Depending on each heart's true sight and aim,
And where the heart seeks treasure and reward.

"I would have slain you were it not for she,"
The angel says to Balaam on his knees,
"I will return if that's what you command,"
Says Balaam who has lost the upper hand,
"Continue on your trip, but understand,
You speak the words you hear from God," says he.

Soon, Balaam once again is on his way,
Arrives, and Balak greets him on a day
When Balak's anxious that the prophet speak
A curse to make the men of God grow weak,
Diplomacy, a treacherous technique,
Allows obedience with room to stray.

Balaam says, "I listen to the Lord,
And must repeat in truth to you His word,"
He does, and says that Israel is blessed,
Both he and Balaam part, but of the rest
Of Balaam's work, some will attest
He gave out evil tips for a reward.

And so, on earth, we learn from man and beast,
Our life is much less owned and mostly leased,
Of God's creations, all can teach us here,
Although to some the lessons are unclear,
The heart is bound to choose what's mostly dear,
And greatest lessons can come from the least.

Rich Tassinari 7/24/2013

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Submitted: Thursday, July 25, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, July 25, 2013

About the Poet
Husband, father, grandfather, and each title is my joy. As a youth, poetry was a means to express the inexpressable. I was attracted to (and still am) the beauty and brevity of verse. All flows out from God, and like a proper prayer, can flow back.

Other Poems by Rich Tassinari

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