A Million Songs

There must be a million songs,
each with a life of its own,
immortal in lyric and melody
passing through time,
from one voice to another,
telling stories in meter and rhyme.

Some float from the throats of angels,
others pulse with the beat of hearts,
songs of love found or lost,
tunes ringing with joy or tears,
sung in protest or triumph,
messages carried through the years.


I always regretted being
born too late, missing
the days of Beat poets,
wearing shades in dark,
smokey cafes.

Those hep cats marked
the moment when things
took a serious swing left,
slowly first, gaining speed
as the 50s faded away.

Another decade passes,
that pendulum had swung
about as far as it could
go, even accountants were
growing long hair.

In 1969 I wrote a paper
for class, comparing
Wolfe’s Kesey and his bus,
to Thoreau on that pond,
(I got an A.)

From transcendentalists to
to acid tests, took about
a hundred years, with
Hitler and the Klan between,
left to right and back again.

I guess it’s part of culture’s
inevitable rhythm, once an
arc reaches a peak, there’s
nowhere left to go, but
from where it came.

So here we are, surely
close to hitting the
right leaning wall.
I, for one, can’t wait,
to swing the other way.

© 2017 DM Shepherd

Listening to Old Songs

Skating down that long highway
of the past, into the gently
fuzzy embrace of memory.
A momentary sadness floods
in, longing for what was so grand,
and now is lost. Only for a moment,
before realization takes hold,
never lost, just left behind,
in another pocket of time.

© 2017 DM Shepherd

Unbroken Ribbon

Time is a silken
ribbon, the past trails
behind us, the future
stretches out ahead.

Though the trailing ribbon
is unbroken, there are bits
that become obscured in mist,
others remain in vivid detail.

The ribbon that stretches
ahead, a clouded mystery,
but for brief, blurry glimpses,
perhaps dismissed as daydreams.

What becomes of
this ribbon, once our
time here ends, our
corporal lives spent?

Does it dissolve into
empty nothingness,
or stretch into infinity,
from this life into the next?

© 2017 DM Shepherd

The Darkest Hours

What are they like,
your personal demons,
that haunt the sleepless
hours of the night?

Those hours without
a flicker of light, no moon
no stars, silent and cold,
a black and fathomless void.

Do they chase you, do they
lurk in the shadows, hiding
from reason, cold fingers of
mortal terror, gripping your soul?

Are they ghosts of the present,
bills unpaid, deadlines missed,
or specters from the past, lingering
regrets from deeds left undone?

What do you do, to make it through
that empty hour, when sleep brings
nightmares, and waking leaves only
to toss and turn, without rest?

© 2016 DM Shepherd