Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! Words Mean - What They Do - Poem by Michael Shepherd

We throw them to the winds;
like water from a shower;
what wind? what shower? and who throws them to whom?

In 1996, John Bargh, with scrupulous research,
found that, hearing words about the elderly –
even when flashed subliminally on the screen –
makes us walk more slowly…you kidding? No…

and in 1998, Dijksterhuis and Van Knippenberg
showed that if we hear words about ‘professors’
we’re smarter playing Trivial Pursuits;

while hearing words about sports hooligans
makes us dumber…

and this without referring to the images and sounds
of crime, guns, killing, and computer games…
ah well, we identify with those glamorous criminals
and then are shown that justice always prevails –
er, doesn’t it? …but what of those satisfying PC games
where, zap! we always gun them down…
oh, it’s all harmless play; like Shakespeare’s gods,
‘we kill them for our sport’…

words mean what they do;
science has warned us when all else has failed.
Good mortals all, be of fine heart, and hale…

Comments about ! Words Mean - What They Do by Michael Shepherd

  • Ernestine Northover (9/22/2007 7:31:00 AM)

    I do believe some words can stimulate the mind, like chocolate, coffee, wine, they make us want to sup. Then again some words are put off's. Ironing, vacuuming, cleaning. I suppose it is how your brain analyses words. An interesting poem on a theory. Enjoyed the read Michael, a lot of thought in this one, I shall ponder on.
    Love and hugs Ernestine XXX

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 22, 2007

Poem Edited: Monday, April 11, 2011

[Report Error]