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Michael Shepherd

(8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! a thousand poems

yeah yeah, nothing for you to boast about –
‘100 good ones would be quite enough…
no, make that 20 – who’s got time for more,
even if they were masterpieces…’

So perhaps, merely a little quiet satisfaction
in a personal kinda way: I guess
retirement years hang heavily for some,
recalling days of authority, command;
others find them richer, busier than ever; or
do just the same jobs as they did so well, except
they don’t get paid for it…

or you can put all your ego in one basket –
try to do the one thing well; after a life
of unfinished jobs and hasty jobs,
and jobs you dreamed of and yet never did…

or, there’s poetry: if speech is actually the Word
that set the cosmos on its merry way, that
sings the praise of gods or human enterprise, or
draws attention to the sunlight on a wall;
melts the heart; reveals, relates
the physical and the metaphysical;
raises the spirits, lights the mind… then,
poetry’s no bad thing
to sieve, to pour a lifetime into;

and if, as the statistics state,
400 of those 1,000 poems get a reading, averaging
two people each, around the world and every day –
then perhaps, a little quiet pride, a hope
that something useful has been tried
in these last years on earth…

a small gift to the fleeting soul,
the ferryman’s so solemn toll
to help it on its way; a fee
to offer; if that were, shall be,
what’s appropriate..

Submitted: Thursday, April 12, 2007
Edited: Sunday, February 13, 2011

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  • Alison Cassidy (4/13/2007 1:48:00 AM)

    Michael - a thousand poems - a feat indeed. And yet, for me there is only one poem (the one I'm reading right now - wrapped so carefully in its pretty paper) that matters. You combine the conversational, the nonchalant and the contemplative in this beautiful piece straight from that place... Thank you. love, Allie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Report) Reply

  • Scarlett Treat (4/12/2007 12:07:00 PM)

    Consider the Ferryman's fee paid in full...well, no, I think keep paying, so I will have something new and lovely, thoughtful or funny to read...and I shall keep trying to pay my own Ferryman, and I am not yet up to 100! ! (Report) Reply

  • Danny Reynolds (4/12/2007 9:09:00 AM)

    I don't know if when you started
    all one thousand of them were planned.
    How many were flippant responses
    to ad lib comments, found close at hand.
    And from my humble knowledge
    I may not understand
    but there are few who'll disagree with me
    that your postings now really are (a) grand.
    Danny; ¬) (Report) Reply

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