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! ! Impressionism In Paint, In Music, In Words - Poem by Michael Shepherd

To know the impossible to be impossible
and yet to love the attempt;
to demonstrate that beauty is eternal, yet
seen only in that moment now,
never to be captured, ever changing -
'evanescent' holds a little of the sound of it -
this, the heroic failure that betokens love.

Monet was that hero. For perhaps you may
catch beauty's shadow in a photograph;
even glimpse its joy, there, in the sound of song;
but try to catch it - dab by dab of brush -
when in the time it takes to do this, yet another leaf
- there, watch it as it drops -
has fallen from that distant orange-yellow-brown
blur of an autumn wood - knowing as you render nature's generality
or catch a church, a haystack, in a sundown glow,
that all things pass -
that love's heroic: and when, in irony that surely
needs no underlining, blindness comes upon you, yet
you go on painting, as the water-lilies blur
into the water-weed, into the bridge,
into the time that runs down to the river, to the sea...

and in turn, Renoir, in his 'Moulin a la Galette' dance-cafe,
catching the human reflection of this flow, our yearning
for the perfect moment to remain, frozen, set, fresh-baked,
forever caught - this is what my life has led to,
this is what, surely, I deserve - under the lanterns in the trees
the young girls with their cheeks of peaches, apricots,
and lips like fruit that's waiting to be pressed,
dream of forever to be loved; while their tonight's men
smoke, and drink, and dream of where a young man's lust
might just be step into another world -

while in that room up there that looks down on this scene,
Proust, seeing the cafe's dance of fleeting beauty, writes to catch
those moments lived and lost and yet remembered;
and Debussy, his tentative composer's piano notes
heard just above the cafe's resident accordionist
whose sentimental music you too will remember
to your dying day, and smile a gentle tear - and when
past midnight, as the silence falls upon the thinning dance, and
couples, singing, arm-in-arm it home, and
Monsieur le patron extinguishes the lanterns in the trees,
and the humble workers' square is suddenly a nowhere place,
Debussy will hear the moonlight sliding through the window
onto the piano's keys...

of beauty, we can say not much
of all that may be said.




(To Michael Gessner, who reminded me about poetry.)


Comments about ! ! Impressionism In Paint, In Music, In Words by Michael Shepherd

  • Rookie Michael Philips (8/24/2005 10:35:00 AM)

    I love it when you include art in your poetry. It's a subject you know and it adds knowledge to your lyricism. I feel like that cliche about feeling like you can walk into the scene of a painting - I feel I could walk into the Renoir scene of your poem. Excellent. (Report) Reply

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  • Rookie Raynette Eitel (8/24/2005 10:07:00 AM)

    This is breathtaking, Michael. I would have chosen all those same examples of beauty, had I been astute enough to write about beauty. You have outdone yourself.

    Raynette (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari (8/24/2005 8:56:00 AM)

    I like it Michael...as always good work! (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »

Poems About Music

  1. 1. I Am In Need Of Music , Elizabeth Bishop
  2. 2. Dirge Without Music , Edna St. Vincent Millay
  3. 3. Celestial Music , Louise Gluck
  4. 4. Music , Walter de la Mare
  5. 5. I Know The Music , Wilfred Owen
  6. 6. Music Swims Back To Me , Anne Sexton
  7. 7. Ancient Music , Ezra Pound
  8. 8. Broken Music , Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  9. 9. We Are The Music-Makers , Arthur William Edgar O'Shaug ..
  10. 10. Music, When Soft Voices Die , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  11. 11. What Is Music To You? , Sylvia Chidi
  12. 12. (1) Before The Music Ends , Sandra Fowler
  13. 13. Sonnet 128: How Oft, When Thou, My Music.. , William Shakespeare
  14. 14. Bagpipe Music , Louis Macneice
  15. 15. Music , Rainer Maria Rilke
  16. 16. Call It Music , Philip Levine
  17. 17. Music , Frank O'Hara
  18. 18. At A Solemn Music , John Milton
  19. 19. April Music , s./j. goldner
  20. 20. Sonnet 8: Music To Hear, Why Hear'st Tho.. , William Shakespeare
  21. 21. That Music Always Round Me , Walt Whitman
  22. 22. The Music , Kathryn Thompson
  23. 23. To Music , Rainer Maria Rilke
  24. 24. From Spring Days To Winter (For Music) , Oscar Wilde
  25. 25. Words For Music Perhaps , William Butler Yeats
  26. 26. Alexander's Feast; Or, The Power Of Music , John Dryden
  27. 27. Church Music , George Herbert
  28. 28. On Music , Thomas Moore
  29. 29. The Choir And Music Of Solitude And Sile.. , Delmore Schwartz
  30. 30. Away With Funeral Music , Robert Louis Stevenson
  31. 31. Music I Heard , Conrad Potter Aiken
  32. 32. Music , Wilfred Owen
  33. 33. Secret Music , Siegfried Sassoon
  34. 34. Better—than Music! For I—who Heard It , Emily Dickinson
  35. 35. Music , .Pd. is here
  36. 36. Proud Music Of The Storm , Walt Whitman
  37. 37. Italian Music In Dakota , Walt Whitman
  38. 38. War Music [down On Your Knees, Achilles] , Christopher Logue
  39. 39. Song And Music , Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  40. 40. There Is A Lady Sweet And Kind, Thomas F.. , Anonymous
  41. 41. Perplexed Music , Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  42. 42. Master Of Music , Henry Van Dyke
  43. 43. To The One Of Fictive Music , Wallace Stevens
  44. 44. Transcription Of Organ Music , Allen Ginsberg
  45. 45. Five For Country Music , Lisel Mueller
  46. 46. ! ! Impressionism In Paint, In Music, In.. , Michael Shepherd
  47. 47. Split The Lark&Mdash;And You'Ll Find The.. , Emily Dickinson
  48. 48. Music , Arthur Seymour John Tessimond
  49. 49. Music: An Ode , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  50. 50. Sing -- Sing -- Music Was Given , Thomas Moore
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