Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0091 The Scholar - A Dutch Portrait - Poem by Michael Shepherd

The scholar, in his book-lined study, sits,
walled in by printed thought in black and white;
silent; by a pool of lamplight lit;
now still in reading, or now drawn to write;

inaudible, the music of his mind,
invisible, that dazzling light, his thought;
unknown, the destiny of human kind;
unwrit, the future glories to be sought;

he like a human hour-glass: single grains
passing into future mind from past;
and in his presence, all Creation reigns,
the history of the world from first to last.

this secret glory, scholars are allowed;
so fragile; mortal; subtle; noble; proud.


Comments about 0091 The Scholar - A Dutch Portrait by Michael Shepherd

  • (11/7/2005 3:44:00 AM)


    The poem has music and depth of meaning. It is a portrait well painted in words.
    Keep up the good work!
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  • (10/31/2005 11:01:00 AM)


    I remember reading this poem called The Scholar by Robert Southey. Its quite different from your poem, but the thing abt lasting long and being relevant for future generations are mentioned there as well.

    'My hopes are with the Dead; anon
    My place with them will be,
    And I with them shall travel on
    Through all Futurity;
    Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
    That will not perish in the dust. '
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  • (10/31/2005 10:56:00 AM)


    I know...Now I get it! Art outlives its creator for sure so a scholar's wisdom must be rightfully passed down to posterity and live long.

    And please, forgive me if I am a bit slow with catching up on meanings. I am new to poetry reading and have written more than what I have read... Frankly speaking I find it easier to write poetry than read them. It is like entering the mind of another-an unknown and unfamiliar realm. Would be nice if you could give me some tips on how to read a poem, pls.! !
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  • (10/31/2005 7:20:00 AM)


    Yes, V V - but he's distilling the essence of past wisdom with discrimination, to pass it on to future generations - that what scholarship should be about?
    Don't poets, too, hope for this, beyond the acclaim of their peers?
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  • (10/31/2005 6:23:00 AM)


    Reading this, the lines of Keats came to my mind.. 'Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard are sweeter.' If your poem is inspired by some portrait, then you must sure be another Keats to conjure up the image of a scholar in his study so well.

    I liked the expression of the hourglass. Brilliantly employed! And yes mortal, because all bookish knowledge have their purposes only on earth. It is time-bound for sure.
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Poem Submitted: Monday, October 31, 2005

Poem Edited: Thursday, July 13, 2006


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