Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0031 Ted And Sylvia Meet The Marriage Counsellor - Poem by Michael Shepherd

‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds
admit impediment’ – and let me say
first of all, that I’m all for that…
but Dr Freud asked me if I’d call you in –
that is, invite you – for a little chat;
there’ll be no fee, of course…
Sylvia, would you sit over here,
and Ted, you over there?

I’ve read your case notes
which my secretary compiled, from
your previous poems – she’s quite
well-read; indeed, I believe she’s now applied
for a post with Mr. Eliot the poet…

Now I understand you’re both madly in love
and – ahem – can’t wait to ‘get at
one another’ as they say these days …
I guess the ‘Do not Disturb’ notice
may be there for days, ha ha?

but a word of admonition..er.. advice:
although in theory two artists co-habiting
is a great idea in theory – you’ll understand
each others’ situation, help with tax returns,
maybe use the same literary agent –
it’s not all plain sailing: creativity
comes in individual cycles; it’s known
today as ‘biorhythms’; you’re down,
he’s up; he’s down, you’re up

and since you already, Sylvia,
have – harrumph – issues,
these cycles could conflict
quite vigorously; with considerable care
you can make this work
to your advantage; we had marked success
with a previous pair in your situation,
Robert and Elizabeth..

But it will require considerable care,
as I said; and there’s always the chance –
my Hollywood clients face this constantly –
that one of you may find your public fame
outstrips the other – this can be difficult;
I’m treating several well-known couples
for this very problem; Richard and Elizabeth
were frequent visitors here in Belair...
a marriage of two fine creative artists
can become like crows picking at
the flesh and then the bones..

So I hope you don’t mind this little chat;
best wishes, and I suggest
you come and see me again
not too soon – who needs psychiatrists
when they’re in love, ha ha – but
not too late?

My receptionist
will see you out…
this Hollywood practice,
though busy and, ahem, quite lucrative,
brings me much sadness, as my
wives have often commented…


Comments about 0031 Ted And Sylvia Meet The Marriage Counsellor by Michael Shepherd

  • (7/19/2006 10:50:00 AM)


    Michael at his enigmatic beat. A grand piece indeed. Realism over optimism? I'm not sure. (Report) Reply

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  • (7/19/2006 6:24:00 AM)


    One word. Brilliant. Oops - I lied about the counting of words. Funny, but moreso, a superbly crafted reflection on the 'business', which it is, and the two-poets-together poetic problem which it is. Love the ending.. a bit like those who cannot do, 'teach'. As 'therapists', of course. Brilliant, I say again. t x (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Poem Edited: Tuesday, August 17, 2010


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