top of page

Metempsychosis, from The Graveyard Suite

by Odell Shepard, read by John Shepard

On either side the dead men lay,

    Each with  his lettered stone,

All deaf an blind and clogged with clay,

    While I strode on alone.

The morning had no song, no word

    For those dull sleepers now,

And oh! they could not hear the bird

    That warbled from the bough.

They could not feel the wind go by,

    Nor see the elm trees bowed

Before the wind against a sky

    Deepened by fleets of cloud.

But suddenly along my veins

    I felt the strength of ten.

Old loves and lusts and deathless pains

    Of all those buried men,

Old dreams and unassuaged desires

    Death-frosted in the bud,

Swept through me, and long-sleeping fires

    Woke riot in my blood.

I laughed, I sang, I clasped a tree,

    I gulped the air, I drew

The breath of heaven into me,

    I drank the morning's blue.

Then all at once down the long hill

    My feet began to run

For love of those that lay so still

    And could not feel the sun.

bottom of page