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New poems -- Michael Shepherd
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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunlight on white paint. For the New Year.


The house across the way is newly painted white.
Right now, that’s all my being seems to need :

this winter morning, sharp, cold, bright and clear,
the morning sunlight pours across white paint;

contains a thousand messages, in me
interpreted.. or simply left to be..

this moment, that’s as much as being craves :
this morning’s glory; and I, born for praise..

even as I write, I watch the sun’s
white paint brush move across the house’s front

and tell the eye of reason that this world
is turning, basking, in this morning sun;

already sparkling on the Bondi waves
as if the world had just been washed anew;

cast early dawn’s pearl light on Taj Mahal
as if the sun itself could never tire of beauty;

Italian villa forecourts just hosed down,
the air all fresh to meet the warming day;

the gardens of Carmel, eight hours from now,
will paint their flowers fresh with mist and dew;

and every carefree holiday yourself
recall, as proof eternal of pure soul..

and here -- the witness of my silent mind
needs nothing, need go nowhere else to find
its very self, this moment without taint:
immortal sunlight shining on white paint.


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Battlement


Why do I barricade my inner self
with moat and drawbridge, stone and keep and tower --
then from that tower, survey the landscape green
and see its beauty; goodness; truth; and power ?

Why then, deny I am that land’s liege lord;
true ruler; loved royal king; self-source of bliss;
and my completeness, my own whole defence;
so know myself complete, and live in peace ?

What battleline of self divided, looms
that self denies that which it sees and knows –
and so, condemns itself to dusty rooms,
the prisoner of itself; starved; full of woes?

Let down that drawbridge; let the outer in !
Self’s wealth is sovereign; love knows nought of sin.


*

(written the morning after a nightmare of living in the
opinions of others..)

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One view


The whole Creation – so he quietly said –

is consciousness and bliss expressed in truth;

be still; and know yourself to be that truth;

rejoice; live glorious in your blessedness.


*

From an ancient teaching

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Witness


How to ‘place’ – to recognize,
acknowledge, even praise,
-- be grateful for -- that still, indifferent
and ever-present Witness, with us
every moment of our life ?

The fascinating drama of our individual life
seems enough, at any, every, moment in itself;
why should we pay regard to one
who’s as indifferent as that stranger
standing staring, unattached, across the street ?

And when that drama builds into some inner crisis --
who is grateful, for that unconcerned, impartial gaze
as of eternal steadiness, who seemingly
refuses sympathy; will not be drawn to take our side?

It seems – and yet, I think it cannot be –
that what we hold as Christianity
has no clear place for something without form
but only function: the Holy Witness does not claim
its place in stained glass window
next the angels; or in psalm or hymn..
any more than does that Holy Conscience who’s its twin..

William Blake, perhaps, could give that Witness form;
George Herbert could have penned a simple poem;
a German church will likely have an eye, inside
a triangle, on wall or window, to remind
in surreal symbol; Victorian samplers,
coloured hanging plates, sternly reprimand that God Sees All..

and yet – ‘as God’s my witness..’ or as guardian angel
watched over me that moment in the trafficked street;
or in some moment of despair so bleak
the eyes a fraction raise – lo and behold,
the world moves on, as bright, indifferent..
The micromoment then :
go with my drama, or with that indifferent gaze ?…

That which watches us when we too watch ourselves;
(which scrapes the carrot for us, peels the potato
perfectly, by doing nought but watch…)
for that, we have no ready praise. Perhaps (were it to step
aside from duty and declare a preference)
it would prefer it to be so..knowing well
how sentimentality in imagery
kills with sweetness..

and yet, and yet – might we not give
more credence to that witness self
(the Hindus call it saakshin) which reveals
to us, the life within us which we cannot claim;
which brings a glory to our everyday
beyond all faiths or sciences; leaves
senses clear; may clear our mind;

may even in a moment show itself,
self to self in looking-glass
as flights of angels smile and pass.


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In praise of ‘ignorance’


I write in praise of ignorance – that is,
that state which we so easily mis-name;
which would be better known by that old term,
‘un-knowing’ – free of guilt or sin in one
who knows the truth and, knowingly, denies..

un-knowing should be celebrated ; as
some youthful minor god in painted scenes :
adolescent in the goddess Wisdom’s
splendid train; gazing up at her,
clear-browed; wide-eyed; attention at the leash;

not-knowing – like a runner on the blocks,
contained; elastic spring of energy;
yet fingertips so delicately placed
on starting-line; there’s elegance to see
in our unknowing’s race to reach the truth;

unknowing : which spurs every scientist
so to observe; infer; compare; and test;
evolve hypothesis; and test again;
then offer to the world as reason’s law
of Nature’s finer detail, which may yield
a harvest of some golden benefit;

admitting one’s unknowing is the key :
(does this seem far too simple to be said ?)
Poised between two beauties, Innocence,
and Wisdom, see Unknowing’s beauty too;

then in that beauty, all the universe
shines bright and fresh and new, to be enjoyed;
none other than myself; who knows no claim
but witnesses all that may be revealed..


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in praise of a poet

when someone’s doing
quietly
something which is
perfect in itself

then
to praise or to encourage
seems almost like
an insult
to them or
to perfection

I just wanted to say
what I’ve said

for you and I
share something which is
beyond the words
which we arrange
upon the page

to honour
‘something understood’


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The aged poet. For Kealan if

When he was young
and life was poetry
and poetry was life
and girls made poetry
in his heart

he’d showed his poems to
an aged poet who
was quiet a while then
nodded his head and
smiled and
said ‘keep writing’

and he swore that day
as long as he could hold a pen
he’d write some sort of poetry

and so he did and so he did

and when he was
too old to hold a pen
he spoke his poetry
some say in an Irish pub

and people came from miles around
and said sure it was a t’ousand times
better than to read his poems on the page
which was itself worth –
and that last phrase was poetry
for who is not Irish and a poet

and when he was too old
to walk down to the pub
they came and listened
at his door and at his window

and when he was too old to speak
they came to see his silence

and left as poets
for their head
had joined their heart


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Young Poet


Poetry was something else

written by others

and came from

somewhere else



but the poetry

which he did not know

called one day

in a language he did not know



so he put down words on paper

and threw the paper away

but the words did not go away



and he did not know what poetry should do

until he wrote the words

which told him

what poetry could do



for only poetry can teach you poetry



*


Gertrude Stein stood behind me while I wrote this.

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To George Herbert with some of his words


Something that the eye rests lightly on,

yet, is not shaped by its solidity;

that ordinary mind can no more con,

filled with the flood of soul’s immensity;

or some explosion in that watching mind,

as tiny as a seed, as great as love;

beyond dimension; knowledge unconfined

by any word; branched as from root above;

or in that music singing ceaselessly

of harmony that breathes soul into air --

is this to know the source of poetry

as not to be distinguished from true prayer ?

In praise, all sings as one in every good;

a kind of tune; or, something understood.



*

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Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
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Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spring Cleaning


O Sun,
you speak in metaphors

shining with a wintry discontent
grey-yellow on this dust

that dodged your view
until today

or perhaps, you are yourself
the brightest fiery metaphor of all


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bright thought if unpoetic


I’d like my smugger self to know
in its complacence, that the fact is:
you can behave as if you ‘own’ the theory –
but you can’t pretend to own the practice.


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Witness
in the style of Emily Dickinson


… the evening and the morning Sun;
the open Book…

and He saw all that He had done
and look !
it was so very good…

this I love best :
my earthly Guest
invited so to share two eyes
as One to prize beyond compare…

to see with me All He has done;
to look and see.. then One, pass on..


*

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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The tree we all know. For Cheryl.


How many times has this great tree
shed its leaves, grown new, grown tall ?

Does it remember, how vulnerable and frail
it was in sapling years ?

Is it a little sad in autumn; flutters with joy in Spring –
or is it much too wise for that ?

When in the morning break, the student
sits beneath its shade, reflects upon some sacred text,

does the tree yearn to share its own silent wisdom ?
Yearn to be human, to share what wisdom truly is ?

When in the afternoon, the student sits beneath,
book in lap, does the tree yearn to share its very self;

to be the pulp that shapes the page
upon which wisdom writes

the poem that murmurs of the times
when wisdom’s timeless, all around..?


*

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Cheryl ALbrecht



Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 95
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: The Tree We All Know Reply with quote

'I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.'
..until now.

Cheryl
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Michael Shepherd



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

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

‘… and good in every thing.’ (As You Like it)


Breezy guest preacher,
confident hands on pulpit edge:
‘Are you a fountain or a sponge ?’

On this sunny day in Spring,
see the fountain, hear its plash;
share the joy it cannot speak;

water that bursts unconstrained,
eager to meet the air and sun;
from chiselled stone, the elements at play

play as bright-eyed innocents;
ask nothing but to play; and after they have danced,
return each to its purity.

Earth the grateful sponge
returns some mercy straight to heaven; the superfluity
to lakes and fountains and the show of grace.


*

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