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Steve Shepherd: a poem

Photograph by Steve Shepherd

coincidentally, parts I - III


not a believer, but I bought

a book of poems

and swooned at a coincidence.

I'd picked up hugo williams'

I Knew The Bride

then art books, nature, biography

then found the memory game,

a small cube filled with shrunken beermats;

twenty-six pairs depicting

patterns that looked like wood.

how do you play it? I asked at the till,

like pairs, came the reply,

you turn the cards over

and have to remember where they are.

I'd played it as a child

and then with my own children

but I had forgotten pairs completely.

so much for memory.

that evening, tired,  

I arranged my trophies on the table for inspection.

opening hugo's collection I found the lines:

Books lie about the place

Like a game of Pelmanism

I turn them over, looking for a pair


earlier in the van,

heading for fishguard and the bookshop,

maria drove and I selected music:

joe jackson; paddy mcaloon; 

nick lowe's Jesus of Cool.

later, perturbed by pelmanism,

I returned to williams' poems.

For my speech on your wedding day

I found

All I had to do

Was read out the words

To Nick Lowe’s “I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock ’n’ Roll"


a two-part coincidence is an unnerving thing,

it can have you looking over your shoulder

wondering if your life has been constructed

on a false premise.

most have too much invested

to contemplate a re-write.

in my case it would require more editing 

than time allows.

anyway, a while back I decided

if an omniscient being were to appear 

all I have to do 

is pretend otherwise.

Steve Shepherd writes poems and takes photographs. He used to make radio programmes, mostly jazz.


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