School of Economic Science
New poems -- Michael Shepherd
Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 30, 31, 32  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    School of Economic Science - Study Forums Forum Index -> Poetry Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:07 pm    Post subject: New poems -- Michael Shepherd Reply with quote

[This is one of the 'threads' for individual poets: the 'New Poems' from all comers will be found under that title]


Old Woman


We see you every day
on the newsreels
anonymous
as if a human being
ever were anonymous
a face like the worn map of tragedy
your hands reaching out
to the TV camera
begging for water, food
or beseeching
in some unrecognisable, meaningless
local language, or
cursing an enemy not visible
who made a ruin of your home

or being carried unceremoniously
between urgent hands in some material
from a bed that is no longer there

or sitting bemused by life
awaiting some unnamed help beyond request
though never accompanied by your son
who found a greater cause
than home, or age; and somewhere else…

or, in the occasional poem --
tended, your paper skin and jutting hipbones
not unlike some starved chicken’s carcase
described with painful love
as if you only lived a living life
in the past tense,
beyond the verses, between the metaphors

and yet, if we could only find words
to describe what’s living still,
where pride hides, pride
too precious now in grief to speak,
how you love those who are not here,

and yet you’re there, alive or dead
patient, proud, silent, unnamed
in every newsreel, every child, every poem
that has ever been written

and I salute you
[/b]


Last edited by Michael Shepherd on Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:39 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Watcher


Watcher –
how do you know
to stand there so, so still --
as if you knew that watching were enough ?

Watcher –
what then do you know
that tells you, far beyond all doubt, that
watching is enough ?

Watcher –
what does the world,
so still within its restless movement,
look like here, to you ?

Watcher –
do you see the whole Creation
running perfectly,
if you do but watch ?

Watcher –
do you see what’s watched
in joy, delight, perfection; and
yet watch, indifferent ?

Watcher –
do you know wonder,
praise and gratitude; and
yet watch, indifferent ?

Watcher –
may I watch beside you
to find what may be known;
to find who may be known ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Elizabeth Maulton



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 35
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:18 pm    Post subject: New Poems-Michael Shepherd. Reply with quote

Can you, the author, please explain what factor holds this kind of poem together? Obviously the Subject; but has the length of each line be meted
out intellectually, or did it arrive without effort like this?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I try to answer that, Elizabeth: I've been caught out -- since I don't really know much about using computers -- by the fact that the lines of poems on this site fall out correctly only if you open up the screen to full size... I've been trying to edit on the smaller size, until John Boonham pointed it out... I wonder if anyone else has had the same problem ? The smaller 'text' screen I think it's called, doesn't favour poetry, as there's so much screen space on the left of the text...so it terminates lines short, and sticks a few words on the next line (I think the technical word is 'folds' ?)

Assuming it wasn't that...! 'Open verse' is enjambed (!) i.e. the lines terminated, by personal feeling : either (as Pooh Bear discovered in the Humour thread) each line a sorta 'thinks-byte' in the mind of the writer; or on the ' page-turner' principle, of leading on to the next line sometimes, with a conjunction, etc..(this is getting very abstruse...)

So it' s a very personal style thingy; and the other factor that acts subconsciously, is the feeling of 'beats' to the line : sometimes varying short lines of 2 or 3 or 4 beats, sometimes (for me) lines of 4, 5 or 6 beats, but that have a 'default length' of 5 beats, as in blank verse...

I'm making really heavy weather of this ... would you like to select a specific verse, and I'll try to be explicit about choices ? (Actually, I think Pooh explained it better in 'Enjambment' with the Rupert Brooke poem than I have here...)

If it's not just the screen size you're using, could you come back on this one ? Open verse is so free of rules that it's trial and error and each line a new question of where to terminate...finishing up as 'personal style'.. and you'll also see that, for instance, I'm listening to a different 'source' sound in 'Old Woman' -- more terse ? -- than in 'Watcher', which is more dictated by the questioning...

But I've noticed that you, Elizabeth, hear the poetry you're writing as music...so the personal rules will be very different for you -- and I think you got it right in your last poem. The test as always, is just that 'it sounds right'...

(I have a feeling that David Taylor could answer this in one line....)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Elizabeth Maulton



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 35
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:15 am    Post subject: New Poems--Michael Shepherd Reply with quote

Your answer is interesting and lucid.
I like the french dictionary definition of enjamber..'to stride over'.
What you're saying is, that personal feeling terminates or strides over,
and the 'beats to a line' is subconscious to the author.

That's good! Every talent is unique to the person, I notice, and motivates
the work in hand in every respect.[ I'm glad poetry isn't dependent on
learning. John Clare draws on direct experience, I think?]

You ask that one of your verses may serve as an example:

Watcher-
do you see what's watched
in joy, delight, perfection; and
yet watch, indifferent?

Please elucidate further.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth, I'm mighty relieved that what I said makes sense..yes, it's like that fine, allegedly spurious 'Mozart' letter : there's a personal style which you don't seek, in your efforts to say what it seems needs to be said; yet which is apparent to others. And there are within that, different 'styles' adopted to suit the purpose -- incidental music, impromptus, symphonies...

And it's practice that brings this about : I only took up poetry in my retirement; wrote nothing but sonnets for about four years; then 'open verse' for another four years to the present; and it simply gets easier to 'allow' the poem to get written, if there's a real 'sphota' or impulse to embark on a poem (which of course still goes where it will, into unexpected areas...)

Anyway, to the verse (our American colleagues call them stanzas these days, while the Vedics used to call a single line a verse -- very confusing):

Watcher --
do you see what's watched
in joy, delight, perfection; and
yet watch, indifferent ?

I guess this poem came out of the great mystery (which the 'learned' zoom over...) that the 'knower of the known' does not appear to us to know itself, i..e. to be known (Brian Hodgkinson discusses this in his book on the Vedanta); always the subject, never the object; to us, appears to be just the watcher; and yet appears to have all knowledge under its command... is this not the 'wonder' that unites philosophers and poets ?

So the poem's an attempt to express my human wonder at something beyond human explanation... which we take for granted as we peel the potato as perfectly as we can...

So the poem takes on a verse pattern, of addressing that 'atman', that knowing watcher... so that's the first line already set.

Then the second line presents the (unanswerable) question, of whether the 'divine' watcher, who really does know all, thus goes beyond what we understand as bliss; that state we can posit in words, where sat-chit-ananda, truth-consciousness-bliss, is a single indivisible whole...

then the third line suggests a few of the qualities we humans may name and recognise... while being aware that it won't be quite like this from the divine viewpoint anyway...! And at its line-end does what I mentioned earlier : a 'page-turner' conjunction, to connect these two aspects of the apparent paradox...

and the fourth line presents this apparent paradox to us (though perhaps just within human experience) of 'just watching', despite what (after the event) may be recognised as what 'emotionally' infuses the seen...

So each line is an extension of the expression of the poem and 'my mind', hearing within itself what, in your excellent phrase about artistic creativity, can be called 'unity of source'...

And the same principles govern the other verses -- the lines presenting the images, or extensions of thought; though in one or two verses, the 'enjambment' is made simply to keep the line length within the general shape and approximate number of 'beats'. As you'll note, there are some lines which could just as well be run into the next poem line and would make no more or less sense that way... but would then have twice the number of 'beats'.

And without complicating the issue, the lines in 'Old Woman' are very differently arranged : there's a sort of emotional terseness which governs the lines. And this introduces another aspect of 'open verse' : some poets are more visually dependent or visually aware than others : so they will tend to isolate a single word or two or three on a line to itself, to ally visual impact to emotional impact. You'll see a few examples of this in that poem; a device hardly at all employed in 'Watcher'..

Thanks for the opportunity to 'dissect the frog' of my poems biologically.. Now you see why poets prefer the poem form to the philosophical essay...

Hope this helps...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS -- looking back at 'Old Woman' --

There are times when written poetry moves towards the TV script to be spoken; the sgrafito; the political slogan; the advertising copy (quite a few poets work or have worked, as advertising copywriters); as if you watch it being typed line by line..a rough, verbal urgency to match emotion beyond tidy expression...

Then normal 'poetic' rules are abandoned, and other unwritten 'rules' are found. And if you dare to 'polish up' such verses, they instantly become phoney emotion... Such poems are best written in five, ten minutes; as David Taylor for one will tell you.. especially when they're written by philosophy students with the succinct teachings sitting there behind them in a book on the table...

Such verse runs the risk of being dismissed with that familiar criticism of 'open verse' -- 'it's just chopped-up prose...'
Yes -- but chopped in the fierce tenderness of emotion...


Last edited by Michael Shepherd on Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PPS -- I knew it ! David 'Ramana' Taylor answers this enjambment thing in one line :

'A line ends when it is full'
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joy


Even the joys of others
may be known to us :

the quiet joy of teachers
knowing their pupils will surpass them.



MS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To William Blake, Poet


Through the tears
soon breaks a smile;
see God’s grace
here in a child.

Eyes washed clear,
soul shines bright;
eyes washed clean,
world’s delight.



MS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meeting Mr Blake the poet in the Strand


‘This is Mister Blake, my dear,
he sees visions..’

and he looked down at me, this man
who saw, what did that mean,
saw visions ?His eyes were just so blue,
so blue, they were limitless
so I flew up into them
like a sky and wings

and the voices sang forever
as if there were no repetition
and angels with blue eyes
looked at me out of everywhere
seeing every thing

and Mister Blake the poet raised his hat to me,
smiled the gift of eternity,
and walked on his way
down the Strand
as if one and all things
had never parted company.



[This is based on the reminiscence of an old lady
who had met Blake in the Strand when a child, with her father,
and never forgot his blue eyes.]


MS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadness visits


At five pm on Sundays,
heavy as the weights that drive old clocks,
sadness enters; uninvited; unannounced;
takes up residence; rests a full hour’s stay;

offers no doorstep reason that would ease;
does not hint at some past deed, past seed;
wipes out all future hopes;

departing, equally unheeding courtesies,
bestows a heavy heart, an emptied mind;
what ritual does sadness play each week ?

What to do, but welcome sadness as a friend,
or greeted servant, sent to sweep and cleanse this house;
look sadness in the eye, and seek its purest heart;
question it, of what it may reveal;
then bid farewell with grateful equanimity.

What angel visits, in this stern disguise,
and to what purpose
blesses the heart so sadly, strangely, thus ?

The house, in disconsoling strangeness seen,
doors and windows open, as if now unowned,
awaiting the next day’s unknown angelic guest;

for – ‘it is angelic, to think only of the one’.



MS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds in Mind


This mind is full of sounds…
like Shakespeare’s island; though
no mind is like an island…

where are all those sounds stored,
indexed, waiting tidy on their shelves?

Only when a sound returns
do you realise that it’s been missing..
hasn’t deprivation always been
the Creator’s pointed message to us?

just now, sitting with a teacup,
after a ‘testing’ week…
a gentle, sweet and reasonable
woman’s mother voice returns
to mind's uncatalogued fine inner ear;
reminds me it’s been absent for awhile..

and the world that seemed so alien last week
surrounds me with its mellow sound of care.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Raman-ish verse…


I see a sentry on the stair
who calls out ‘Halt ! Who goes there ?!’…

These days, my body’s full of
complaints;

and my mind’s full of
complaints about these complaints..

which amount to one big, heartfelt
complaint..

so, who is complaining
to whom,
about what ?

or should that be,
about Whom ?

so let’s see where
‘Who’ goes from there…

thanks to that sentry on the stair…



MS


Last edited by Michael Shepherd on Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:46 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lakshmi in her silken veil

Lakshmi, in her silken veil
of modesty, walks unrecognised,
free as birds are free, across our world

veiled in stillness; her lovely arms
bestowing, secretly, invisibly,
her wealth;

her step so light, her being so, so still…
she passes you every day;
has never forgotten you;

so if you think she has neglected you –
consider, instead, her reasons:
she may be holding back to teach
(do you hear her laugh so lightly?)
pure grace, pure gratitude,
tomorrow, or the next day…
humility, she teaches, is our greatest wealth..

so disguised, she walks so freely through our life:
she loves to walk in markets, and the scents
and colours, tastes, of her so public and so secret wealth;

she loves to walk in fields, in Spring,
her hands as gentle, careful, generous,
as a sower casts the seed;

she walks in schools, sits with the pupils,
bathing in the wealth of knowledge
that flows from spring to river to the ocean;
sometimes watches hand in hand
with her sister Saraswati from the river's bank;

she loves princes and their consorts
decked with jewels that all can wonder at;
she does not like dark treasure hoards
or locks, or keys; or those who think
her wealth is somehow, theirs…

and where she walks, a trail of golden dust
dances in the air; if you do not see her,
go to the temple where she loves to rest
among her own; for if you thank her there,
you’ll see her everywhere; say nothing,
smile; share her modesty, her generosity,
that only her own devotees may understand:
those who love her wealth, but never for themselves…

there, here, is her beauty.



MS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    School of Economic Science - Study Forums Forum Index -> Poetry Forum All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 30, 31, 32  Next
Page 1 of 32

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You can attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
This forum is sponsored by the School of Economic Science for use by its members; members of its branches; members
of affiliated schools worldwide and by all other Internet users interested in the study subjects presented.
Powered by phpBB Copyright © FSES, 2007. All Rights Reserved