Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0034 Going To School To Rilke - Poem by Michael Shepherd

We could not have counted on it,
those days when we were children young in years
but rich with a thousand hopes
jostling, pushed aside, forgotten in a day,
turned over in the mind in those few savoured moments
before a happy-tired sleep

nor did we think even to hope for it
or think how it would be to squeeze the honey of it
between our palms into our ready mouths
leaving the wax upon our hands and laughing
together or alone, in rainbow solitude

but now it’s here, we can savour the honey of it,
the future which we could not have had before
the days and years had closed like inexorable cupped petals,
into a summer evening’s sun-hazed past –

we could not have hoped or counted on nor dreamed -
these days when, all required work now done,
life’s evening hours and the late and lazy
golden leisure of fruit-filled autumn branches
stretches out in even though not endless measure –

today I choose to go to school to Rilke,
a choice as free as we think the birds are free,
the animals, the trees – yet know so little,
so very little, of their life –

and pick up the book of his poems at blissful random,
and read one single line –

‘I have great faith in all things not yet spoken’ –

and sit here, as the world falls, gently, as somewhere far away,
the book silent between my hands, having spoken,
like a honeycomb holding the honey
of some new, untrodden, unbelievably rich life.


Comments about 0034 Going To School To Rilke by Michael Shepherd

  • (4/11/2006 11:16:00 AM)


    Very nice work, Michael, beautifully worded. I'll look for more of your work. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Poem Edited: Thursday, July 13, 2006


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