Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0016 Orpheus - Or His Lute? - Poem by Michael Shepherd

It was his listening; he listened
to himself; he listened to himself
listening to his lute; his lute perforce
listened to itself; listened to itself
listening to him..listened to
the measures of all things, even
the measures of mankind..

space, air, listened to his listening;
listened as the eagle made a silent,
perfect circle around a centre in its mind
high above Delphi that clear morning;
listened to the silent cliffs across the gorge,
silently ominous in their listening;
the stream which trickles down past the carved theatre,
cool and clear enough to wash your face;
look up the mountain and hope it sacred, holy; it
plashes like curiosity pursued, down towards the river
which is a mere pencil line at the bottom of the gorge
in this so unexpected place;
the sea barely visible in the distance,
misty with its myths unspoken;

space listened and loved his music, allowed this scene;
a cool air, this morning elsewhere hot, descends gently
down the mountain to the gorge, curves past these rocks
where a dark shadow here or there
could be where the Sibyl listened too.

we thought, boarding the hot bus,
that we were tourists; then we looked,
became pilgrims; then something more,
more like worshippers of the unknown god
whose altar we left behind in Athens,
silent beyond questions,
listening to the space
as if the space itself
listened to some instrument well tuned,
a voice perhaps, silent, powerful.

the sun, the sunlight, moved from rock to rock
this cool, clear morning, waking
clumps of sparse bright flowers, woken
again by morning bees
who may be unaware – or born to know—
they forage at a world heritage site as do we visitors,
at Delphi, where still truth speaks in silence;
bees who listen to each other,
dance their satnav trails,
listen inwardly to flowers,
to honey, and what else


Comments about 0016 Orpheus - Or His Lute? by Michael Shepherd

  • (10/14/2006 12:07:00 PM)

    Respect, M. Not that I would ever expect otherwise, but this is staggering in the way it impacts on the mood - 'just like that' (ahem, forget that quote) . Serenity in a few short moments; another world embraced. As so often in your pieces, there is (for me) a particularly striking, memorable gathering of words that hits the spot; for me, it is the last five lines. Wonderful. t x (Report)Reply

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  • (10/13/2006 1:42:00 PM)

    I have never been there, but you have transported me to Delphi and shown me what I would never have perceived without your magic words.
    Thank you
    Chris
    (Report)Reply

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  • Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (10/13/2006 6:42:00 AM)

    Michael...The flecks and flashes of pictorial wonder is but only superseded by the overall picture you have painted, with deep-dished strokes of vivid imagery...To merely say that you have a sumptuous command of diction, and a radar for proper placement, is understating the full measure of your work...You are a masterful artisan in my opinion, Michael, indeed& in true...FRANK (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, October 13, 2006

Poem Edited: Saturday, October 16, 2010


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