Saturday, September 13, 2008

Reginald Shepherd 1963-2008

Reginald Shepherd died earlier this week. Reginald chose Blood Almanac for the Anhinga Prize and changed my life. I never had the chance to meet him and thank him in person, and we only exchanged a handful of emails; however, I will be forever grateful to him for plucking my manuscript from a long history of semi-finalist and finalist status.

More importantly, having read his work and admired it deeply, his voice will be missed.

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.

2 comments:

Sean said...

Damn. My age, and what a nice poem too.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Too young by far.