Michael Shepherd

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The Last Day

The eyes of the guard
who motioned her forward
told her he’d done this
many times before

behind his peremptory bayonet
his eyes were dead like
an anaesthetic before
the operation from which
she’d not recover

after that, it was merely
a bad dream
the stripping,
the clang of the doors,
the singing. the singing

for death had spoken her already
a small mercy
in a day without mercy

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Poem Edited: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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Comments about The Last Day by Michael Shepherd

  • Tara very irritated with PH injustice (10/21/2006 11:01:00 AM)

    'Mercy' is not a word that enters into in the situation. As you tell, powerfully.
    (Either in the English or the English pronunciation of French!)
    M, this is humbling.The first stanza says it all; the rest builds.
    I'm reading Sven Hassel at the moment.
    You do it better.


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  • Michael Shepherd (10/21/2006 10:14:00 AM)

    Frank, it's one of those reflections on Auschwitz and such which we hesitate to entertain - the mercy of fear surrendered in the face of the inevitable, so that - what? - might take its place...

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  • Frank James Ryan Jr...fjrFrank James Ryan Jr...fjr (9/5/2006 9:55:00 PM)

    MICHAEL...'An Eye for an Eye'...Perhaps we all must take a closer look at the merciful teachings of the Bible, instead of winging custom-to-order interpritations.....
    An Eye for an Eye just dosen't mesh cleanly with 'Turn the Other Cheek' Something does not jive.....DON'T KNOW IF MY READ IS CORRECT VS YOUR THEME....bUT I DO KNOW WELL PLACED PENNING WHEN I READ IT & THIS IS A FINE DISPLAY OF SAID PENNING'''''''''''''''''''FRANK

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