September 11, 2008

Reginald Shepherd (1963-2008)

Reginald Shepherd
Florida and the world lost a great poet yesterday. Reginald was a kind, generous man. He will be missed by those who loved his verse, but eve more his gentle soul.

Peace, my brother.

You, Therefore
For Robert Philen

You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name
as if it were budding shrubs, how you remind me
of some spring, the waters as cool and clear
(late rain clings to your leaves, shaken by light wind),
which is where you occur in grassy moonlight:
and you are a lily, an aster, white trillium
or viburnum, by all rights mine, white star
in the meadow sky, the snow still arriving
from its earthwards journeys, here where there is
no snow (I dreamed the snow was you,
when there was snow), you are my right,
have come to be my night (your body takes on
the dimensions of sleep, the shape of sleep
becomes you): and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you): home is nowhere, therefore you,
a kind of dwell and welcome, song after all,
and free of any eden we can name

Reprinted from Fata Morgana by Reginald Shepherd, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2007 by Reginald Shepherd

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FSJL said...

That is a remarkable love poem.

Anonymous said...

great poem. great writing.. thank you for this!

Rethabile said...

He'll be missed. His words will be missed. The kind of writing in this poem will be missed.

susan said...

Incredible read. The images took my breath. Sad to know a voice like this is lost just when you introduced him to me. Prayers for all those who knew and loved him.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Rethabile & Pinay,

His exquisite use of words & self-interrogation took him from a mean existence to being one of the premier poets of America. He was also one of those rare poet-critics who knew what he was talking about.

We are lucky to have his words..


Geoffrey Philp said...

Susan, at some time try to get Fata Morgana.