“Lines Written at Tyrone Guthrie” by Neil Shepard

Neil Shepard


Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre, Ireland

Another day of slant rain
that comes in sheets and obliterates
the landscape for minutes of time
and yet there are spaces between
through which one can almost see
a body or two, tucked in, refusing day’s
advance, coiled under a comforter,
like delayed half-rhymes
in a love-duet—sweet banter
before the dead reckoning,
the friar delivering his liquor
that yields the likeness of shrunk death
for two-and-forty hours, from which
like a sprung rhythm the youthful
one will spring up again …
if only. The day is like a Guthrie
production that wants to be high
art but can’t quite kick-start itself
out of malaise, so it kicks around the manse,
waiting for funding and the producer’s say-so—
he thinks it’d play better as an off-Broadway
show, risqué, that’s just made its way
uptown to where the lay crowd hangs
out, and keeps its clothes on—but never mind.
The rain’s washed over the lake and hills and
away it goes. The lake and hills remain.
I’ll need to send the lady away, buckle
my buckle, and buckle down, refrain
from playing with language and other
things just for thrills, or frills, and
grill myself or my environment
with the sorts of questions
that lead to an intent, as intent
appears to lead to meaning,
and meaning to meat, and meat’s
the matter, and matter’s an end.

from Rattle #54, Winter 2016

[download audio]


Neil Shepard: “Lately, I’m drawn to poems that alternately conceal and reveal. I hope ‘Lines Written at Tyrone Guthrie’ exhibits a bit of both and ends in revelation.” (website)

Rattle Logo