Jim-Bob, Sherpherd-Man, Part II

The second installment of my pastoral elegy follows…


So where were ye guides? Teachers? Shepherds
Of us shepherds? I searched. I searched and saw:

Dead pens, bleeding ink. Busts of bards
With hoary heads: missing. Gone. Taken by
Untamed, wild women who float broken
Hands down stagnant streams, where the drowned
Poet still sings to say:
“Lines fall down here. Bobbing in streams
Without source. Yes, I harshly sing. My
Dry, wasted voice. Please… just please
Sift my limbs from the muddy river. We
Must face the thankless muse, intact. We

See things align. And bent books bend
Back. Yes, washing our tired eyes we see:
The cold casket come.”


They say the unshorn sheep
Drug off the corpse, and mourn
It now in mountain caves. But,
Still they come, these sad shepherd men, groping
Among the weeds groping, scratching
On this brittle, battered box. Look…

Whitman’s dry walking stick snaps. He
Tumbles down, devouring dust, and
“My boots! My boots! I’ve lost
My boots along the way. Down
In the dust, barren of boots.”

Melville, there, watch as he walks
Anxiously pacing, pawing
His sweaty palms together.
Knocking off black hats he does. Wailing
For water in our dry, wasted land.

Eliot, too, fishes from a fir stump. His line
Broken, gnawed through by rats creeping
Through the slimy vegetation.
“Twit twit,” he mumbles. “Jug Jug,”
He cries. Echoes these

That touch an aged Odysseus. Bent man. Hunched
Over man twisting and turning round and
Round the casket carriage, tapping
As he goes –
Ta-tap, on each wagon wheel. Ta-tap. Tap.

Then… comes Milton. Look. He stumbles, blinded,
Frayed fabric lashed to his eyes. While
One hand hangs down, dangling, dropping
Ivy seared and brown.
“Blind mouths,” he mutters. “Dull,
Blind mouths.”


Surely, though, these mourners must not
Be blamed. They plod – along – searching
As we all – search – see
How they look up,
But are not fed. No,
The nostalgic nightingale falls

From the tree. Its lament
We cannot hear
Its lament.
Crying, “Jug Jug”
To our waxed over ears.

Posted as part of Poets United Sunday Poetry Pantry

And, stay tuned for the final installment next Sunday

7 thoughts on “Jim-Bob, Sherpherd-Man, Part II

  1. Sherry Blue Sky August 24, 2015 / 4:06 am

    This is fantastic and I liked it even more than the first. Looking so forward to the third!!!!!! Wonderful writing.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 24, 2015 / 4:36 am

    What a wonderful continuation.. Love those old poets being there.. Seems a little like Dante’s Limbo.. I look forward to the third installment,


  3. Mary August 24, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    I can tell you know your literature! Look forward to #3.


  4. Gabriella August 24, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    I too enjoyed the references to other poets!


  5. Sumana Roy August 24, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    So well written…Looking forward to the next part…


  6. glmeisner August 24, 2015 / 5:36 pm

    This part is far more moving than the first.


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