It is that time of year: the leaves are turning colour and the donkeys’ coats are thickening.  And it is time to enjoy Ken Babstock’s “Autumn News From The Donkey Sanctuary” once again.  This lovely, affecting statement was first included in “Methodist Hatchet”, published by House of Anasi Press.

                                                                   Autumn News from the Donkey Sanctuary

Cargo has let down

her hair a little and stopped pushing

Pliny the Elder on

the volunteer labour.

During summer it was all Pliny the Elder,

Pliny the Elder, Pliny


the – she’d cease only

for Scotch thistle, stale Cheerios, or to reflect

flitty cabbage moths

back at themselves

from the wet river-stone of her good eye.  Odin,

as you already know,

was birthed under

the yew tree back in May, and has made

friends with a crow

who perches between

his trumpet-lily ears like bad language he’s not

meant to hear.  His mother

Anu, the jennet with

soft hooves from Killaloe, is healthy and never

far from Loki or Odin.

The perimieter fence,

the ID chips like cysts with a function slipped

under the skin, the trompe


l’oeil  plough and furrowed

field, the UNHCR feed bag and restricted visiting

hours.  These things done

for stateless donkeys,

mules and hinnies – done in love, in lieu of claims

to purpose or rights –

are done with your

generous help.  In your names.  Enjoy the photo.

Have a safe winter

outside the enclosure.

Sandra Pady, Founder