0005 The Anvil Of His Mind Poem by Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

Marton, Lancashire

0005 The Anvil Of His Mind

He’s a regular on the TV arts review slot;
sitting there waiting his turn to speak,
he projects plainspoken ordinary man,
working class with intelligence;
more mouth, and he’d be
a trades union official;
less, and he’d be one of the invisible
guys in the back room, on the shop floor
who mend it for you, beautifully, and on time,
loving their craft, their skills;

he’s present here as writer-critic.

waiting, attentive, business-like,
his sleeves rolled up as if they always are,
his forearms are as thick as Popeye’s;
you almost look for the anchor tattoo; .
no pipes on the TV set of course these days..

and as he sits he holds his arms and elbows
out and forward from his body,
his hands open, ready –
what does this strange posture mean?
I’m fascinated as I watch..

is his inner self a potter,
about to soften and remould the literary clay?
or an expert butcher, ready to cleave the bleeding carcass
of the artwork into neat digestibles?

those strong forearms – ah yes, I’ve got it:
he’s a good old-fashioned blacksmith!
he’s ready to take the glowing iron ingot
hot from the artist’s imaginative fire
from his assistant who’s been heating it,
his left hand’s reaching for the long smith’s pincers,
his right hand reaches for Thor’s mighty hammer of justice..

and in the shortest time with deftest craft
he’s fashioned it just perfectly as you would wish it..

but hold on – he’s been asked for his opinion;
now as he gives it vigorous expression,
sells it with his whole body-language,
his hands are busy fashioning
something more malleable, more intricate;
a wrought-iron gate perhaps
to the great house of art

I wouldn’t fancy him as my initial editor;
but with his craftsman’s common touch
I bet I’d be grateful later on.


Michael Shepherd

Marton, Lancashire
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