Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! ! Thumbnails And Finger Ends - Poem by Michael Shepherd

A book of learned scholarship,
open in my hands, at the first page…

and then I saw, to the right of it,
my thumb nail…and marvelled –

at its perfection, at its beauty,
and at my own ignorance –

which strangely, was all part
of that same beauteous perfection…

the thumbnail: curved, as a hollowed claw,
the curve I knew would give it added strength;

sitting as secure as any child of love,
within the folded mystery of skin and flesh;

three-coloured: pale rising moon
emerging from its secret nail-bed
as some goddess might appear;

then the subtle shades of rosy pink,
hinting at blood serving readily
the nail’s demands;

finally, the top (long, shaped, as best to gouge
potato’s eyes, and other kitchen tasks…) :

I looked at it, and marvelled:
the whole creation, conspiring to present
this perfect thing…

Fifty years and more ago, I wrote,
in those years when I despaired
of making sense of so-called ‘adult’ world,

sitting at the desk, to find myself
before setting off to earn my daily bread,

I wrote – in lines that never quite linked up
their visioned moments into complete poems,

on white and yearning pages like a life unwrit:
‘we know not our own finger ends…’

The wrinkled thumb and finger – they have lasted;
the holy mystery - praise God - remains.


Comments about ! ! Thumbnails And Finger Ends by Michael Shepherd

  • (1/11/2008 11:39:00 AM)


    liked this, unusual subject, reminds me of one I worte seeing my left hand in a darkened room lit by a street lamp outside
    enjoyed the read
    smiffy
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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 11, 2008

Poem Edited: Friday, February 8, 2008


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