God’s Minor Angels

It is a long, long way to the feedlot
The path is clear and wide
Paved with pain and betrayal
The sign reads “Compassion denied”

They come from the backyards and barnyards
Grey-muzzled or “sadly outgrown”
Convicted of “green under saddle”
Or bringing too few ribbons home.

They gave of their love and their courage
They sacrificed comfort and pride
To let someone run and soar with the wind
And give little girls one more ride

This last road their courage and honor
Has purchased; the friends they had known
Have sold their dear flesh for a handful of coin
To be butchered alive, and alone

This road of despair has one detour
A respite, of sort, on their way
A muck-filled pen filled with strangers and fear
Foul water, a handful of hay

But here in the darkest of hours
Through heartbreak and tears of despair
A handful of God’s minor angels
Make miracles of wishes and thin air

With eyes full of tears and steely resolve
And knowing there’s no hope at all
They stand on a battlefield of unanswered prayers
Undaunted, and send out the call

To those who will listen to angels
As minor and unknown as these
No swords and no magic to hold back the dark
A small, simple whisper…just…please.

I think that God loves best these angels
Unsung, and unhallowed and plain
Who don’t mind the hay and the muck in their hair
But can’t bear another in pain

How else to explain their successes
While others throw stones and poke fun
As they wallow in filth and in misery
In a futile attempt to save one

And how must they seem to this single,
This voiceless and hopeless small spark
When angels of despair (with straw in their hair)
Led him out of the pain and the dark?

This one—one of hundreds of thousands
A plain unremarkable horse
Instead of a truck bound to Mexico
Is set on a different course

Instead of an ending in terror and blood
A story of kindness in store
He’ll be someone’s treasure, their pride and joy
For God’s minor angels have triumphed once more

by Deborah Wolf