Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Old Man

photographer unknown, probably Laura Murre
He'd have been 100 years old today, 29 September 2007, this prize-fighter/pacifist cowboy/carpenter. He was a good father. He was a good man. He's in a good place.
Perhaps fittingly, his death in 1999 gave birth to the writing portion of my life, when, the night before his funeral, I wrote this eulogy and spoke it at the service the next day:

A Short Eulogy For Arvin Murre
There's an old Shaker hymn that says " 'tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free, 'tis a gift to come down where you ought to be..." I don't know if Dad ever heard that song, but it could have been written about him, because he was richly blessed with those three gifts.
To be simple: We've turned that idea around so it almost sounds like an insult. But Dad was wonderfully simple. He never wanted for more than he had; more stuff, more clutter. He showed us that it was a gift to have simple desires.

To be free: Anyone who ever heard Dad walking across the farmyard at five in the morning, whistling a tune of his own, knew that he was as free as the birds, who whistle their own tunes.

To come down where you ought to be... What do you think that means? I think, for Dad, it meant coming down next to Mom; next to Laura, the love of his life. He's with her again and at home with the one he loves.

Dad never put much stock in words... "Words are but a breeze"...he told us. So what can we learn from a man who never said much? Let's think of what we never heard him say... We never heard him say " I hate so and so, or that group of people, or that race of people...or that religion." So maybe we can learn something about tolerance; maybe even love.

We never heard him brag. Although he was a great craftsman, and we know he was proud of his work, he never bragged about anything; just let his work speak for itself. So maybe we can learn something about humility.

We never heard him say "Oh, I couldn't do that” or “You can't do that."... He always found a way to do what needed to be done. So maybe we can learn something about self-confidence.

But, his greatest lesson can only be learned by following his example... and I'm speaking now to the men...he taught us what it means to be a father...and what it means to be a man. So, Thank You, Dad... for the things you said...and for the things you never had to say. Thank You for your Life.

-Ralph Murre

Thursday, September 27, 2007


after summer's end
the waterless lilies wait
ah, today's gray sky

- arem

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

hearing voices

voices on my walk
gold leaf veneer of this day
the bright-bloused women
- arem

Monday, September 17, 2007

Post 200

home again from the fabled up north
appointed rounds
in all kindsa weather
like masochistic mailmen
selling more books than we bought
which has never happened
and may never again
and two motorcycles faithful
and she who rode
one, too
these five days
still speaking to me
and bringing me tea, just now
- ralph murre

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Burt the Dog

Burt The Dog, born 25 December, 1994 at Mindoro, Wisconsin, died today, 11 September, 2007 at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
He loved the water and rolling in dead fish.
Burt leaves his long-time companions, Nancy Vaughn and Ralph Murre, along with numerous friends.
Memorial contributions on behalf of Burt the Dog may be made to:

All Creatures
PO Box 155
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Sunday, September 09, 2007


When the golden kernels are in
and the purple fruit, too,
and the words are gathered;
save for me a heel of bread
and the dregs of wine,
save for me a throwaway line.
And the orchestra gets weary
and the barmen tire, too,
and the lovers leave;
save for me a melody
and a barefoot dance,
save for me a whispering chance.

And if it grow cold and it be a mile,
and if I grow old; stay with me a while.

- Ralph Murre

Sunday, September 02, 2007

the summer's gone

and all the roses falling
and all the crumbs of lunch
and all the papers crumpled
and the Rosalita's sweeping
and all the plumbing clogged
and all the overflowing
and all the windows fogged
and all the Carlos's plunging
and all the paint is peeling
and all the roofs are leaking
and the gardens all need weeding
and all the Ivan's scraping
and all the Juan's are raking
and the Marina's are all mopping
and all the dishes -
someone's doing all the dishes
someone's washing the hotel sheets
you made love on
someone's patching holes
in the roads
someone's patching holes
in someone's jeans
and the Jeremy's are assistant managers
and the Brittney's have syndromes
and all the Rose's falling
in the under-insured night

- Ralph Murre