January 2020 – Beast Of Burden

“Write something from the donky’s point of view”

The Chorus of the Big Bend in Fort Stockton is in their third year. Alex Cordero, the group’s director is talented and creative. I thought perhaps he’d lost his mind when he asked me to write a piece for the 2019 Christmas concert. “Write something from the donkey’s point of view.”

This was a new “writing to spec” assignment for me. But through much prayer, and inspired by our concert theme, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” the poem took shape.

The poem was read by Ken Ripley between choral pieces “O Magnum Mysterium” (the mystery of the animals at the Nativity) and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” (Daniel Elder)




Every day my life the same,

Beast of burden is my name.

I do the work my master wills,

Eat my food, sleep standing still.


Until one cold and brilliant night

I heard a sound from up – the heights;

Whispers, whispers from afar

Sang “You are chosen, yes, you are,


To take the master to the place

Where yearns the broken human race.

So on the morn and with the dew,

You must go, it falls to you.”


Whispers, whispers from afar

How I wonder what you are

Thought I know not how you sing

I will be this offering


So when the sun came peeping out

I became the master’s scout,

Trekking far across the land

To fair and tiny Bethlehem.


Then I heard upon the wind

The voice that spoke to me again,

“Careful, careful where you walk

The mother feels each dip and rock,



Take her where the angels sing,

She is the mother of the King,

Careful now, don’t let her fall

She carries Grace for one and all.”

Whispers, voices from the stars

How I wonder what you are

Though I know not how you speak

Help me find the place they seek.


Soon was born the baby King

With sights that I had never seen.

Even I, a lowly beast

Joined in heaven’s worship feast.


“Beast of burden, you’ve been true,

Now I have a gift for You.

It is your seed who’ll take me in

Triumphant to Jerusalem.


No more shall they call you beast

But servant to the very least,

For in my Kingdom I must bring

Those who do the thankless things.”


Creator of both beast and man

I will serve those from your hand

Who carry burdens on their back

Those who mourn, and those who lack


Now with heaven I proclaim

Glory, for He changed my name 

I will praise for all to see

For I know- that He- knows- me.



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