The Drop is published by Peter Hughes' Oystercatcher Press, and may be ordered here. Thanks, Peter, for publishing it.
The first poem ‘Standing By’, also appeared on Pages, in my father's memory, but is also for him, as though he had yet again succeeded in his ‘foxtrot with death, trying not to tread on her toes’, as I put it in an earlier poem for him, ‘Schräge Musik’, from The Flashlight Sonata (Twentieth Century Blues 6). Here's one section of 'The Drop' the second, long poem:
And pumas on the sheet
Of night cats
Padding down sloped shed roofs
Cupped palms between
Tasks against sloping willows
Surfeit of joy at the sticky
Brings this is to obscurity thought
Drops into darkness bats a whole
Here's the blurb:
A brilliant and vivid elegy that suspends the last breath (‘Oh!’) of a father in mid-air. Orphic yet compact and bursting with what Blanchot called the ‘patience of pure impatience’, Sheppard approaches his subject—the death of his own father—with linguistic dare so as to ‘transmute the nothing said / Into the nothing that could’. Death is woken up, transfigured, reactivated through language. The Drop is relentlessly tense and intensely affecting. Reading it is like eavesdropping between the worlds of the living and the dead.