Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! The Beloved Stranger - Poem by Michael Shepherd

It was about seven years
after her breakdown
which she could not remember, and
which I could not forget
that one day
as I was creaming and powdering her
more intimately than I ever expected to as a man to his mother,
she turned to me and said -
inching her way
with supreme heroic human effort
out of the black and midnight subsoil maze
of dementia - said
carefully, enquiringly
as if to establish a relevant fact,

'Are we related? '

And I knew not how to answer...

Then after some few days
I found a way to ease that pain:
as I creamed and powdered
the soreness under her still fine womanly breasts
at a hundred and two years of age
I said quietly
to her uncomprehending memory,
'beloved stranger...'

it wasn't a joke that she could share, but
it helped a little.

Comments about ! The Beloved Stranger by Michael Shepherd

  • Fay Slimm (8/29/2008 7:26:00 AM)

    How utterly poignant and how this must have bored into you as the writer of such an irreversible and sad condition to which any human need come, more especially your 'beloved stranger' Thank you for sharing such intimacy Michael. (Report)Reply

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  • (3/6/2005 3:06:00 PM)

    I can identify with the feelings relayed in the poem. Beautifully told. (Report)Reply

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  • (2/27/2005 7:30:00 PM)

    So much tenderness, thank you Michael (Report)Reply

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  • (2/27/2005 5:37:00 PM)

    Thank you for sharing this painful and intimate truth, Sxx (Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: memory, remember, mother, pain

Poem Submitted: Sunday, February 27, 2005

Poem Edited: Thursday, June 12, 2008

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