Friday, August 25, 2006

Goats – Associated with God or the Devil?

While goats, particularly in the Middle Ages, were maligned as being agents of the devil, they have long been providers of food (meat and cheese), milk, skin and fibre (mohair and cashmere) products, and in many countries of the world are still major providers or food and income.
I, for one, have run goats for their fibre, meat and companionship for 17 years (about the same time as I have been writing – there must be a message in that somewhere – but I’ll get back to that later).
I found it interesting reading the following on a Mediaeval Bestiary website:
The goat's love of high mountains represents Christ, who also loves high mountains, that is, the prophets, angels and patriarchs. As the goat feeds in the valleys, so does Christ in the church, where good works are his food. The sharp eyesight of the goat shows the omniscience of God and his perception of the tricks of the devil.
I also like, The Prayer of the Goat

Lord, let me live as I will
I need a little wild freedom
A little gladness of heart
The strange taste of unknown flowers
For whom else are your mountains?
Your snow, wind? – These springs?
The sheep do not understand as they graze
All of them and always in the same direction
And then eternally
Chew the cud of their insipid routine
But I – I love to bound to the heart of your marvels,
Leap your chasms
And, with my mouth filled
With intoxicating grasses
Quiver with an adventurer’s delight
On the summit of the world.

Poem: Translated from the French by Rumen Goddem
Bestiary website referred to:
Photo: M Muir – Bakers Hill, Australia

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