Treasure Island

Michael Shepherd

(8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! A grief ago


'There is no grief
which time does not lessen
or soften' -
so said Cicero, a man so often right;
a Stoic, those for whom
all life presents a lesson
to be learned from,
and then, to move on from..

But I wonder about all this:
is grief ever lessened or softened?
Is it not, perhaps, overlaid
in our so various ways?

For some, grief framed and falsified
to ease that grief;

For some, like hyacinths and crocus bulbs,
left in a dark cupboard in the autumn of our grief
to respond to time, and
become at last
themselves?


gently, gently, the covers pulled
over the loving bed,
the true, the pure, the lovely painful grief,
the memory deep cherished,
gently, gently, folded
into the cupboards of the heart

there to be known, without the door disturbed
until the time - 'a grief ago' as Dylan wrote -
the cupboard opened only for love's sake
without grief...:
those carefully folded memories
brought out and loved
and lived a while...

not grief, not grief...but
the pure memory of grief

and behold,
life.

Submitted: Friday, March 04, 2005
Edited: Friday, October 05, 2007

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  • Adeline Foster (1/10/2014 3:04:00 PM)

    Ah! A grief and then despair. Or need it be? Such questions. Such answers I, too, explore in – Eternal Grief -
    Adeline (Report) Reply

  • Okoye Charles Chukwudi (2/22/2012 2:44:00 AM)

    Very nice mr micheal....a grief ago...kudos, u r very good...

    Please i will luv for you to read a few of my poems...esp do not despair at the death of the light....
    And leave a comment/criticism too i will appreciate it...thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

  • Dave Walker (8/12/2011 10:37:00 AM)

    Like the poem. Have a look at child in your arms.
    I wrote it for my sister.
    Best wishes

    Dave (Report) Reply

  • Fay Slimm (8/21/2008 5:23:00 AM)

    Never say ' I grieved once', truly the memory of grief will resurrect the feel of it once again. Almost as lasting as the reference E.lizabeth Barret-Browning made to never saying 'I loved once'. There is an eternity surrounding the both.The emotion is captured in your piece most fervently. Fay. (Report) Reply

  • Rochelle Cashdan (5/18/2008 9:07:00 PM)

    I'm another person who liked the part about 'the bulbs... becoming at last themselves', both as poetry and as a thought to muse on. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Osborne (2/6/2008 5:12:00 PM)

    Wow. This is really great. A departure from your earlier work from years ago, and I love it very much. The literary references are the cherry on top. Great to read you again - love, Sandra (Report) Reply

  • Martin Zarrop (12/2/2006 5:13:00 AM)

    I love the imagery, particularly in the 5th stanza. It spoke to my own recent loss. Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Esther Leclerc (7/28/2006 9:46:00 AM)

    The poem entire speaks volumes but the fifth stanza is mine. Thank you so much for this graceful, grace-ful write... (Report) Reply

  • Alison Cassidy (7/17/2006 6:56:00 AM)

    You've done it again Michael Shepherd...Shown me what I know, but so much more than what I know. 'Gently, gently folded in the cupboards of the heart' tears me apart... And yet, your poem reassures me at the same time. (Report) Reply

  • Nalini Hebbar (7/3/2006 7:37:00 AM)

    i haven' t read a more beautiful poem on poethunter....emmm...nor in any book...i havent read much...but from what i have...this one found a way into my mind and heart...stirred up some old grief maybe...can you believe it? ...i read it 4 times...and loved it more each time i read it...thank you for the feeling you generated...love...nalini (Report) Reply

  • Susan Mnaphi-cakana (5/17/2006 4:26:00 AM)

    What a beautiful poem. I wish I could also fold my grief neatly and store it away for future reference, but without grief (Report) Reply

  • Julia Klimenova (2/8/2006 1:06:00 PM)

    A 19th century Russian poet once wrote about 'light sadness' ('light' as opposed to 'black' despair) . I thought it couldn't be translated. But you come very close to it when you write about the pure memory of grief. Thank you for this beautiful poem. Julia (Report) Reply

  • Butterfly T (1/12/2006 10:06:00 PM)

    You didn't go under, around or over it - you went right through it which is the way of grief....the way to life. Truly glorious poetry. (Report) Reply

  • Cheri Leigh (9/10/2005 7:03:00 PM)

    Beautiful. You drew me in, shared your heart and then, so gently, let me go. Awesome. CLR (Report) Reply

Read all 32 comments »

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