Michael Shepherd

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0009 A Palinode

and there was this one
which I was particularly proud of
where I thought I’d caught
just the right pace, then
the change of pace when
the poem goes deeper
and then the perfectly chosen metaphor
with a rallentando
which made it musical
and ended it just
sheer poetry

then last night
I read your poems
for the first time in oh fifty years
and there it was
almost identical and
I realised where I’d got it from
and the part of me that
wasn’t bruised ego wept inwardly without naming any cause

and maybe when I’ve recovered
and demoted my poem in
the collected works of pride
I’ll marvel at the power of poetry even if yours not mine
which can lie low in the mind
for fifty years and not only that
but may well, and here we should be careful
but reflective, respectful even awed,
have subtly infinitesimally but significantly
like some homeopathic almost unquantifiable tincture,
altered my whole life. For fifty years.

now that’s something

Poem Submitted: Saturday, November 11, 2006
Poem Edited: Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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Comments about 0009 A Palinode by Michael Shepherd

  • Tailor BellTailor Bell (11/12/2006 5:22:00 AM)

    our subconscious definitely plays us all and coupled with chance, coincidence and statistics these occurrances are bound to happen more and more. your verse so beautifully and poignantly depicts our wonderous self-modifying ability. excellent and brilliant work, Michael. -Tailor

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  • Tara very irritated with PH injustice (11/12/2006 12:23:00 AM)

    That really is interesting, as well as well-written (of course): I hadn't inwardly articulated such a thing before, but yes, and now you have me thinking about it, that power really is quite something. I used to keep finding myself writing brilliant poetry only to discover that TS Eliot and stolen my stanzas (in advance) . Just kidding. But yes, know the feeling so well, and the power of a poem to lie dormant in the subconscious is striking indeed. Thank you for doing the articulation for me, so eloquently and memorably. I wonder how many Shepherd-esque pieces there are here, their writers unaware of their influence, M? I'm guessing not a small number... t x

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  • Alison Cassidy (11/11/2006 7:36:00 PM)

    You demonstrate in this charming and humble confession, the power of the infinitesimal
    to produce powerful effects long after the initial dose, and in doing so, you remind the reader that there is, in fact, no separation. love, Allie xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  • Not a member No 4 (11/11/2006 5:48:00 PM)

    Mr Shepherd. Those magic words keep on working when they've fallen below the horizon of consciousness. A very thought provoking lesson of age expressed with terrific accuracy and economy - real craft, I should say. Thanks for that. Glad I picked this one from the 'new' list. jim (a mere youngster)

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