Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0198 Buddha Meets Christ, Says Nothing - Poem by Michael Shepherd

The Buddha (is that one or multiple, theologically?)
sits at his total ease in our back garden
such as it is
in his plastic only partially disguised
pool, with today a white ranunculus
floating at his feet

he’s externally nicely moulded of fine concrete
and since the fig tree with its leaves
big enough to make yourself an apron of
though you’d need apronstrings, –
has been cut down, he’s emerged
from the shadow of it which made him
unpleasantly greeny-mouldy; but now the sunlight
has dried him into a light and Springy green
which is almost fluorescent and sorta floaty

he gives interest to the garden, makes a space
of his own and also makes the garden
shapely, a focal point or some such
decorator term. He seems very happy there
-perhaps anywhere; he certainly makes me happy
to see him; he wipes thought away.

It would be poetic to say that
he was already contemplating all peacefully
when dawn broke this day of solemn days,
the Good or Bad Friday depending;
but then he seems not to worry about time anyway
under his demure, downcast eyelids

but he’s so there he’s here, and was and is,
no mere garden ornament and whatever
he sees inside, it’s there in me too
as Emerson said of this sweet contemplation

what he makes of the events of this day
is certainly a question – just suppose he’d been there
discreetly in the crowd, saying nothing, just
contemplating the scene;
and the roving cameraman spotted him
and asked for a quote

big answers deserve big questions;
maybe this half-formed question
deserves more contemplation.
I’ll just shut up and go look at him again

as the evening light reflected from
the windows of the house opposite
bathes him in an intense sunset burst of glory
with no apparent source so that he
glows with a radiant promise of peace forever
to all men; a promise as Christ’s prayer-book
puts it so memorably –
past all understanding.


Comments about 0198 Buddha Meets Christ, Says Nothing by Michael Shepherd

  • (5/20/2006 7:28:00 PM)


    you read my mind and expressed my thoughts better than i ever could have. i've rarely made such a connection with another's work. thank you

    i think buddha is neither one nor multiple, but all.
    and by no means a deity.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 14, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, July 14, 2006


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