! M O N K (2) Poem by Michael Shepherd

! M O N K (2)

Rating: 3.9

3 a.m. in the dark morning of a dark night;

a kneeling figure;
a single candle flickering on a gleam of gold.

I cannot see how great or small the dark space here, of
chapel, church, echoing cathedral; or
are there trees around; or a stable; or a prison cell..? ..

I cannot see how great or small his mind;
I cannot see how great or small his heart;
his soul…

your image, your imagined life-style
fascinates me, repels me,
overwhelms me, leaves me indifferent,
humiliates me, inspires me…

we all look for love; imagine
giving all the love you have,
all the love you hope for,
all the love you may never know,

in the faith, the hope, the loving-kindness,
that, all this surrendered, that emptied mind and heart
be filled with a trickle or a torrent
of a finer love…

your mother was disappointed, so you told me:
better to be born in a large Irish family
religious enough to believe that nature
manages contraception as well as she manages love…
your brothers and sisters will provide her grandchildren enough..
and she knows that she too, will surrender
a colleen's fine bold looks, for a finer radiance,
of love for family…

would it be better if you had had that vigorous love-life
which you had willingly, reluctantly, given up
for the love of love itself?

or should it be, that what you’ve never had, that you don’t miss…

and now, in the sweet and smiling peace of your presence,
your undemanding presence that urges me to tease you,
challenge you, annoy you…
now, I seem to have no questions that are relevant,
for those I had, seem dry and theoretical,
rebounding back on me when aimed at you..

yes, monk –
you tease me, challenge me, annoy me,
in your turn; hearing in my inner ear
the crashing waters of the great sea of faith,
the lure of sheer totality: give it all up, all of it,
the what you know and what you don’t,
the what you’ve lived and what you’ve not…
the what and whom you’ve loved,
and what the greater love might be;

3 a.m. in the dark morning of a dark night and
they're all filing silently into their pews; but
it’s summer, and already there’s a hint
through the eastern window over there, of a gentle dawn
that seems to have to it, all the time in the world,
telling the candle-lit and holy heart
of some space-time that is love.

Fay Slimm 26 August 2008

Love your banter with Danny -! ! However the piece introduces us to more and more definitions of love ending as describing love as space-time. What an inovative thought. Peaceful to the limit.

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Duncan Wyllie 02 January 2008

Dear Michael I was going to respond to you on thre forum, but felt this to be a more personal approach, This above poem has a feeling of respect and purity about it, in short I loved the way that this has been written, it really moved me.... 'now, I seem to have no questions that are relevant, for those I had, seem dry and theoretical, rebounding back on me when aimed at you.. Love duncan X

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M, the picture you paint is fascinating, humbling, respectful and rather beautifully (and as Yen says, respectfully... how could it be otherwise...) depicted. On a different note why is NO 33 on the chinese takeaway list called 'monk's vegetables'? (ahem) . t x

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Yen Cress 24 October 2007

I loved the gentleness of this respectful poem (and the title is perfect!) As I am not affiliated with any faith that has monks, they have always seemed mysterious to me. I ask myself, Would I be willing to renounce the things that bring me pleasure for life in a convent? Then I stop to realize that God has asked me to renounce the worthless things of the world, and I have not done so! Thanks, Michael, for this lovely piece!

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Danny Reynolds 24 October 2007

Love it, but change the title, elaborate on the theme and tease in more readers. They'll thank you. (I only realised at the reprise of the 3 am, that I had assumed it was winter at the start!) Danny

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Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

Marton, Lancashire
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