Michael Shepherd

(8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! The Woman at the Crossroad Who Laughed


As I walked up the pavement, up the slight hill
to the traffic lights at the crossroads outside the station,
I saw her waiting to cross.
Or rather, I saw first, her laugh..

She held the hand of her son
as she exchanged words with a passing friend
and laughed..

and what I saw in her eyes, her whole face,
as she laughed, was that as she laughed -
(did she know this? How could I tell her, a stranger?
Lady, lady, at the crossroad of our lives,
I’m writing this poem for you now…)

as she laughed, while she laughed,
I saw that she was in touch, the whole of her,
with her deepest self – just that… all that…
and as I saw that self, which was
(Lady, are you reading this?)
the perfection of perfection, all that’s perfect…

it was as if – no, it was just so –
her self looked at me, and so
the perfect looked at the perfect;

herself and mine together laughed,
laughed at imperfection

and as the perfect looked, it saw perfection
spreading through my eyes from our shared self
so that her son was perfect; and her friend was perfect;
and all around us, every they and it were perfect..

(Lady, Lady, at the Cross’s foot,
was it like this for You?)

the light turned green. And we were free
to cross the road; and
free to live; and
free to laugh away illusion; and
free to be ourselves; forever,
in that time which is forever.

Lady, by my faith, this by my hand;
and with my life I do yet swear
upon my life, this to be true;

Lady, hear, in this my orison,
there are no sins
to be remembered.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Edited: Friday, January 28, 2011

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  • Magda Graf (3/7/2007 3:53:00 PM)

    What a beautiful moment you captured and what beauty you made me see in that moment, in that laugh at the crossroads. Your poem is so rich in observation and reflection and it has such a beautiful flow in its language. It matches the spirituality of that moment of perfect unity.
    I really enjoyed reading your poem - it will stay with me for a while.
    Magda (Report) Reply

  • K K (3/7/2007 10:15:00 AM)

    A very touching poem...I enjoyed reading it :)

    KK (Report) Reply

  • Tara very irritated with PH injustice (3/7/2007 9:29:00 AM)

    Ain't no lady reading this.... but one humbled, touched reader, enchanted by the message of this flowing piece, the analogies within, and the powers of observation clarifying the message. Superb, M; I love this genre of your work. t x (Report) Reply

  • Raynette Eitel (3/7/2007 9:26:00 AM)

    Oh Michael, what a moment...laughter across the way...songs have been penned about such a moment. This is a pleasure to read, to taste your awareness of life.

    Raynette (Report) Reply

  • Melanie Agua-Winney (3/7/2007 9:26:00 AM)

    Wow, thank you very much. It is a pure delight to read a great work like this. If there is such a thing as being a professional poet, the one who wrote this is indeed a veteran. Take care. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

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