Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0142 Buttering Bread - Poem by Michael Shepherd

Yesterday
I was buttering bread for sandwiches
when I saw myself doing this
as I must have watched you all those years ago,
and forgotten ever since 'til now -
the butter firmly spread right to the edges of the crust,
pressed into the yielding bread,
and then the surplus gently scraped off on the knife

with all the careful but not mean economy
of a family which after your father's lungs
gave in to the cotton dust of the mill
where he worked so proudly for John Bright
the reformer (and there's a thought)
and your mother opened the front door of your home,
whose street-front window now became
a front-room shop for home-made cakes
so that the neighbours' help was charity with dignity and fair exchange;
the butter for the scones
you made before you left for morning school
came from out of a wooden tub
from the 'Italian warehouseman' or
the very first Co-op, down in Toad Lane...

Whether the tears poised at the corners of the eyes
were of sadness or of gratitude
for this so unexpected memory of the living dead
I couldn't say. But now,
gratitude. And, and, beauty.


Comments about 0142 Buttering Bread by Michael Shepherd

  • (5/17/2005 1:40:00 PM)


    I love this, Michael. It is homey, very British, and made me think that tears come to our eyes at the most unexpected, homey moments. The image you created tugs at the heartstrings.

    Raynette
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (5/14/2005 2:04:00 PM)


    Simple things make us recall all sorts, Michael. A buttercup memory brimming with evocations of past times.

    Jimmy
    (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: family, memory, home, father, mother, beauty, shopping, work



Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 14, 2005

Poem Edited: Friday, July 14, 2006


Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]