Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! ' Sorry, But What You Write Isn'T Poetry...' - Poem by Michael Shepherd

A deep breath; a sigh.. as if
you didn’t accuse yourself of this
every time you write a poem and
hoping to pretend it’s ‘ stretching
the boundaries of poetry’ etc.
- and whether it’s subsequently
well received or not..

and you reply, with a slightly shaky patience,
‘Well, you define poetry, and
I’ll give you then an answer…’

* *

It begins with some small explosion
(no casualties) in consciousness
(the Indians call it ‘sfota’)
or perhaps, it seems more like
some movement of the heart;
perhaps in delayed reaction to some event,
or perhaps out of that blessed ‘blue’…

and you swear undying faith and trust
in this wee mite, to guard it with your life;
it’s the thrill of a lifetime, but,
can you raise it as you should?

I won’t attempt to describe to those
who know this all so well,
the inner world through which you follow it –
sometimes it’s like some vast building
full of dusty libraries, committee rooms
some a hubbub of argument,
some somnolent; then
you open a door and find yourself
in court, and in the dock - and also witness box…

how ludicrous this must sound
to those who’ve never written ‘poetry’...
our whole life, hanging onto every word…

Comments about ! ' Sorry, But What You Write Isn'T Poetry...' by Michael Shepherd

  • Brian Taylor (2/26/2019 6:52:00 AM)

    What a great poem. (Report)Reply

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  • Keeley (9/9/2018 2:06:00 PM)

    My sister is horrible (Report)Reply

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  • Wojja Fink (6/4/2009 3:51:00 PM)

    This way for poems
    that way for junk,
    you must have been born with poetry it's self Michael,
    thanks for the signpost to sanity.

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  • Tom J. Mariani (11/4/2007 10:28:00 AM)

    Yor are so right in describing the attempt to write. My 'Like Shooting Stars' started out as a seemingly small explosion yesterday. Somewhere between the dust from that settling and being half-awake this morning trying to get everything run by clocks in my house to fall back an hour for Pacific Daylight Time, shooting stars popped into my head. Yep. that's how it happens; for better or worse. (Report)Reply

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  • Bob Oldfield (6/5/2007 9:23:00 PM)

    Michael - this whole process of stripping oneself naked and standing in full view of the world really can only best be understood by those who are persuaded by some out-of-the-blue power to put pen tp paper. This is exquisite, I like it very much. Thank you

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  • Scarlett Treat (5/23/2007 12:36:00 PM)

    Oh, yes..those blessed 'out of the blues - - ' Where would I be without that errant breeze blowing through my mind, and leaving a fresh breath for me to breathe? I would be lost with all those words floating about in my head and nowhere to put them....Thanks, Michael! (Report)Reply

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  • Alison Cassidy (5/19/2007 1:37:00 AM)

    Michael this poem beautifully describes the child/parent relationship of poem (good or bad) and poet (however learned) that only those who've given poetic birth can understand. You share with great clarity the anxiety and excitement that accompanies this process which seems to have an unstoppable life of its own. Stunning piece. love, Allie xxxx (Report)Reply

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  • Chris Mendros (5/14/2007 10:51:00 AM)

    The only words i can add to this are A-f***ing-men.
    Tho i guess the hyphens make it all one word.

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  • Melvina GermainMelvina Germain (5/11/2007 8:41:00 PM)

    I love it, I relate to it, I know where it's coming from and where it's going, finally someone understands me. Thankyou very much Michael.--Melvina-- (Report)Reply

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  • Cin SweetCin Sweet (5/10/2007 2:39:00 PM)

    I know, I know.....but.... I sometimes accumuate all these extra words, nervous and stacked up, in my little cramped brain, crashing into one another, and every now and again, when I turn my head sideways, they roll out of my ear like little alphabet-filled railroad boxcars, onto a coffee stained paper I've written my grocery list and/or maybe the name of a certain guy I met who didn't call and that, that is why I have drawn a picture of him next to his name with the many little knives sticking out of his skull, but anyway, and out of boredom I reckon, I roll them (the alphabet-filled boxcars) around a little and stack them up into a tall multi-tiered wordcake, a monstercake with gooey frosting that makes little or no sense at all to likely anyone but me, and at that very moment, VOILA, that is when I know I have finished and simply must post my 'masterpiece' for others to read in agonizing astonishment....but I am good natured and only do so in fun, and with the best of intentions. But...I will try harder, no matter what the cost. Onward troops, we have words to do, mountains to scale!

    P.S. Um, err, you were talkin' to me, right?

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  • Ronald Stroman (5/10/2007 11:16:00 AM)

    i'll try to do better next time.

    p.s. there's whole lot of poemhunters, who may not appreciate you tellin' them,
    their poems ain't no good. (lol)

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    Fan-freakin'-tastic, Michael. I agree. Some are so hell bent on technique that they never say anything of any enduring value. It's a spark in the metaphor of the heart, the mind, the soul - and for true poets, it must be expressed, no matter how it is received. This is a stellar expose' of the current and tiresome debate: what is a poem? (Report)Reply

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  • Rajaram RamachandranRajaram Ramachandran (5/10/2007 11:04:00 AM)

    What you say is true one way, for each one follows his own rules of poetry. Tastes differ. Opinions differ. No two agree. (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2007

Poem Edited: Thursday, February 24, 2011

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