Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! ! The Mind's Polarities - Poem by Michael Shepherd

It’s said – and so it seems to be –
that when the individual mind
emerges from that place where mind
rests, perfect, and in unity with all things to be known –
in that place, which is; within us, and without us:

that in that moment, as the mind expands,
and as its sphere within expands to match that sphere without,
polarities arise; such axis as may join them
to lie hidden and forgot; instead we see
all as remotenesses, that grow ever more the farther;

and then – the aweful nature of the human lie –
name them ‘opposites’… and in that step,
a further one, ‘duality’…

and so, condemn ourselves to fruitless life
where, across the vast mind’s sphere,
sadness – let’s say – sees, far off, that pure happiness -
too far, too far, to be within its reach…
and happiness, seeing far off, sadness, seeks in pleasure
to keep its distance…and so, the balance swings,
the world wags, and the mind knows only restlessness…

and knows, desire… how we forget,
we could not know desire, but that we knew
what desire desires; what’s missing in our world;
sadness, knowing the happiness; what would sadness be
without its knowing, in full, its happiness? ..

if we but saw desire as grace; looked at it with clear eye;
we might see, lurking there within,
beyond the warnings of its waywardness,
that holy thing that yearns alway for onefulness…

and as we have departed,
then by grace, so we return;
find by that third perfect point;
that eye that sees, from its eternal home,
duality to resolve in unity..
and all absolved, we’re absolute..

*

this, by mine own hand… writ
in a deep yearning sadness;
sadness that would fain convince itself
that happiness, this morning, is too distant; so, then,
to abide in sorrowed sadness…

and yet, there are strange joys,
where sadness meets all other things, in duty and in law;
speaks of all things in some strange disguise;
finds its heart, where heart it never sought;

and so, if words may do
what words should do, I name this poem’s end
its true beginning: name it now,
dedicating it, to truth and joy, and to myself:
A Poem in Praise of Happiness.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 15, 2008



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