Sprout

Somewhere, wrapped deep below
many layers of muck and mire,
lies a kernel that longs to sprout,
shoot up out of the earth,
reaching for the sun, bearing fruit.

Yet so many forces hold it captive.
Cold of winter, lack of rain,
being told, time and again,
you can’t, don’t try, too small,
too weak, too young, too old.

Still that small, hidden seed
vibrates with desire to germinate,
to create something more than what it is.
Then finally it finds release,
as it spills from the tip of my pen.

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In the Firelight

We sat by the blazing hearth,
roasting toes back from frozen to pink,
and fingertips from numb to sensing.

Glowing light flickered across your face,
dark eyes sparkling in reply.

Though a cruel and heartless season,
winter does have this saving grace,
to sit with you before the fire.

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.

Swing

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