Sunday, July 30, 2006


Forgotten Lessons

The way we are pulled
across the surface of years
by hidden gods and loves
illustrated for us as children
by patient teachers in gray suits
their magnets manipulating
mindless filings of metal

The sense of balance
needed for the seesaw
of meeting and mating
misunderstood in the equations
in pale yellow chalk on blackboards
Algebraic equilibrium
of lasting elations

The ceaseless motion
of the drifting continents
rushing across oceans
to find each other’s embrace
Island nations falling away
avoiding tectonic collisions
in the peace of the sea

- Ralph Murre

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I cannot find the pen with honest ink
there is something false
in the color of this paper
and even the glow of this lamp
must be questioned
are you so sure you want what's real?
I could tell a nice story
and I see there are a few
left to be told
it would have a happy ending
and we could sleep warm
on clean pillows and bedtime kisses
and dream dreams
but if I find the pen with honest ink
it may say things that keep us up
and the better light
may show too much of me
the paper that is true is easily torn
and I don't want the sound of ripping
to be the last thing we hear

this is the paper for this story
and I like this unsteady lamp
I cannot find the pen with honest ink

-Ralph Murre

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I get a little panicky on those days when no writing appears, let alone anything approaching poetry. Last night I was reading from Rainer Maria Rilke, who helped put things into perspective:

"In order to write a single verse, one must see many cities, and men and things; one must get to know animals and the flight of birds, and the gestures that the little flowers make when they open out to the morning. One must be able to return in thought to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected encounters, and to partings that had been long foreseen; to days of childhood that are still indistinct, and to parents whom one had to hurt when they sought to give one some pleasure which one did not understand (it would have been a pleasure to someone else) : to childhood's illnesses that so strangely begin with such a number of profound and grave tansformations, to days spent in rooms withdrawn and quiet, and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to oceans, to nights of travel that rushed along loftily and flew with all the stars -- and still it is not enough to be able to think of all this. There must be memories of many nights of love, each one unlike the others, of the screams of women in labour, and of women in childbed, light and blanched and sleeping, shutting themselves in. But one must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in a room with open windows and with fitful noises. And still it is not yet enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many and one must have the immense patience to wait until they come again. For it is the memories themselves that matter. Only when they have turned to blood within us, to glance and gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves -- only then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mysterious Ways

That last post and my accompanying drawing got me to wondering -- why do we always depict the Big G God in robes? I mean, why would he wear clothes at all? What would he have to hide, and from whom? And if he's not comfortable with the temperature, well, why not? If you've got the funds for gold pavement, surely a thermostat wouldn't break the bank.

Mysterious ways indeed. And another thing -- even if he does wear clothes -- (and I'm not conceding that) why would he still be wearing robes? Don't you think he'd be into t-shirts with slogans? "Thou Shalt Not Blog About the Lord Thy God In Vain" . . . something along those lines?

Of course, very little clothing is still being produced in the Judeo-Christian portions of the world, so that could present a problem. Wouldn't do to be asking Allah or one of the other Big Boys for some new raiment, now would it?

Could be that the robes he has (white, mostly, with a sprinkling of purple and gold), if he has any, have simply never worn out and he's never seen the need to replace them. Floating around in clouds probably doesn't produce a great deal of wear & tear. Yeah, I suppose that's it. A frugal God, and no slave to fashion. I kinda like that.

- Ralph Murre

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Good Lord, a Triolet!

This came my way recently:

Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Attributed to Martin Luther
by A.E. Stallings

Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night,
The swaying in darkness, the lovers like spoons?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes?
Does he hum them to while away sad afternoons
And the long, lonesome Sundays? Or sing them for spite?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night?

to which I reply:

Why should the Good Lord get all the churches?
The mighty pipe organs and heavenly choirs,
The brimstone from pulpits, the deaconly lurches?
Why should the Good Lord get all the churches?
Does he laugh at our salvation wild goose searches?
Does he like knowing he's got the loftiest spires?
Why should the Good Lord get all the churches?
Still, they only have candles, and hell has got fires!

- Ralph Murre

Monday, July 03, 2006


photo by Nancy Vaughn


yes to the ocean
yes to the mountain
yes to its rushing stream
yes to the prairie and daylight
yes to the night and stars
yes to the coins in the fountain
yes to the one with a dream
yes to the grass
in the cracked concrete
yes to strangers in bars
yes to the blue sky
yes to the blues
yes to the woman
at the store
yes to the ones doing dishes
yes to the clean-mopped floor
yes to the one making music
yes to the one making do
yes to the thin green candle
yes to the thin green tree
and yes to the forest
yes to the bird and the bee
yes to the fish in the pond
yes to the fish in the sea
yes, yes, oh yes
to the iris
yes to its drop of dew
yes to the multitude
yes to the few
yes, yes, mmm-hmmm
yes to you
yes to you

- Ralph Murre

Though I just wrote this, it doesn't sound like me. It does sound vaguely familiar, as if I've read or heard something like it, but I can't think where. So if this sounds too much like something else, let me know.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

now that you ask

she loves me, she
loves me not, you ask
well, sure
I suppose both
I suppose neither
but she might
but will she love me
song writers ask
not bloody likely
comedians answer
from the high tight wire
with no net
it's not so important
that you know, you know
and if she tells
it's just a guess, you know
leave the door ajar
leave her come, leave her go
and she might
- ralph murre