Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0020 A Loving Sestina To Our Lady - Poem by Michael Shepherd

1 In Europe, around the end of the 12th century, women
2 began to be regarded by men as more than a good lay
3 and mother to your children; but that contented sorta love
4 that even men feel afterward, could be seen as quite divine
5 and thus related however distantly to the Creator;
6 this gave rise to a type of poetry called the sestina.

6 a troubadour called Arnaut Daniel invented the sestina,
1 so it’s said, around 1190; and this new respect for women
5 as being, believe it or not, related distantly to their Creator
2 led to this, to us, rather absurd and complicated ‘lay’ -
4 that was the rather double-entendre name for the divine
3 love for mankind related to the act of physical love

3 which, though we make this a common metaphor for love
6 today, was new then, to unreconstructed men; the sestina
4 which plugs the same six end-words throughout, divine
1 and human, was supposed to underline that women,
2 exquisitely praised in the poetry of the troubadour’s lay,
5 were men’s path to loving, through them, his Creator;

5 Creator of man and woman, Adam and Eve; Creator
3 of all things and of, crucially, both human and divine love
2 and this point was hammered home; the troubadour’s lay
6 in this somewhat tiresome form of the sestina
1 was supposed to make men respectful, and women
4 feel good about themselves (like Maya) as being divine;

4 but of course, troubadours were also human and divine
5 musicians; sexy and available (OK, blame their Creator…)
1 and, it was envied, did their own share of loving women
3 while going from castle to castle, gig to gig, love to love;
6 which gave rather a double edge to their sung sestina
2 and prompted many a coarse joke about ‘a good lay’..

2 however, poets - Dante, Petrarch - found the lay
4 a way of linking human love and the divine;
6 a profound metaphor, in a fine, poetic sestina,
5 that love in all its forms is the very nature of the Creator
3 and that we should remember this while making love
1 and perhaps have rather more respect for women..

5 I hope that this sestina has made its point: the Creator
3 is Love; Love is the Creator; and for most of us, this love
1 arises from, let’s say, a very poetic lay; with women.

Comments about 0020 A Loving Sestina To Our Lady by Michael Shepherd

  • (10/10/2006 8:00:00 AM)

    Michael, I love this, very entertaining and quirky and fun! ! ! 10/10 Humber Girl: -) xx (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, October 15, 2010

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