Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Canyon of Misunderstanding

Among the Lizard Mounds of his innocent age, shaded by maple, acorned by oak, he had trembled and been the boy who had to look beneath skirts, had to see what was hidden, to glimpse the forbidden. Now, under the barren sky near the other side of the broad canyon of his life, he has become the man who buys tobacco which he does not smoke, but sprinkles it with ceremony he does not understand, on sacred ground and the graves of old friends, hoping for forgiveness of sins he didn't know he committed.


someone mowing grass

over his grandfather's coffin

listens to a ballgame

~ Ralph Murre

Friday, December 03, 2010

Travel Report

Old New Mex

And you is goin to Old New Mex
to hunt for you dyin Columbia?
Vaya con Dios.
~ Norbert Blei

I saw The Virgin
pictured as conquistadora
in the Sun God’s
land of enchantment,
and along the tracks
north of Albuquerque,
where pink adobe homes
are surrounded
by razor wire,
I saw the land
of disenchantment.
I saw the color
of the blood of Christ
and the blood of the conquered
and the sage
beneath purple mountains
like Santa Fe chic
and pueblo poor.
I saw America
in the unfiltered light
of a high desert.
I saw my dying Columbia
still alive.

~ Ralph Murre
New Links: Had the pleasure, while traveling, of meeting the photographer David Lyons. Follow the new link listed at the right to view his amazing work. Also, and this is WAY overdue, please check out Steve Kastner's "Door County Style" webmag, one of the primo sites for DC news and scuttlebutt, which just did a very gracious plug and review of the Arem Arvinson Log. ~ RM

Saturday, November 20, 2010

All-Office Party

Well, we've pulled out all the stops to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Arem Arvinson Log today, the 20th of November, 2010. The party here at the home office is one for the record books and I hear that things in our overseas bureaus are totally out of hand.

Hope you'll take a few minutes to browse around the archives, scan down the list of labels on the right, see if there's something of interest. I hope too, that I am not unreasonably proud of this body of work.

Incidentally, I want to reiterate just how much I appreciate the comments that many of you have left, from time to time. I understand what a hassle it is to leave a comment at all, but as soon as I try to peel away a layer of hassle, I am inundated with machine-generated spam comments, offering everything from poetry publishing to Viagra to, well . . .Spam.

Thanks for looking in. I'll continue to try to publish a few items worthy of your attention.

~ Ralph Murre

Thursday, November 11, 2010

fiction, mostly

Weak Link

No stronger the chain,
they would say,
as they cast their glances
his way, the chances
that he would not be weakest
never even considered
as he frittered away
what they called their honor,
these colonels and better
from the 1800’s ‘til today.
Every silence, every wheel
turning against him
at the family table,
he enlisted in the fray.
Every cell of his cells
resisted his decision,
as the single-bar lieutenant’s
division went to war.
His Echo Company landed
amid sporadic blasts
on the first hot day
and by December
every ember of his pride
had darkened,
every platoon sergeant
and squad leader
hoped to frag him,
but he moved them,
against orders,
to a village
at the unseen gravel border,
where an air-strike
had been called on an emir.
There are children,
There are children,
he kept calling to the airmen,
There are children.
We’re going in.

It was friendly fire
that claimed him,
from a patriot PFC,
but the bombing was averted,
and the emir, if he was there,
and the children,
one more day,
went free.

~ Ralph Murre

As the heading of this post says: fiction, mostly. It's Veteran's Day. I've never been to war, having served less than half-heartedly in the National Guard back at a time (1965-1971) when our unit had about the same clout as a Brownie troop. Still, this poem came to me. If anyone feels that I am WAY OFF in representing what might have happened in that sort of situation (allowing for a bit of poetic license) I'll be glad to see your comments.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


A Few True Things

North, of course,
and blue,
which can’t be argued.
(Though I’ve never trusted black
and white, the supposed
absence of color,
or presence of all.)
Thirty-two degrees seems a truth
if you’re a fan of Fahrenheit,
zero, if you’re not.
There’s even a truth serum,
and true love has been reported,
but not a lot.
The ivory-billed woodpecker
is said to exist.
No great auks left, I guess;
not many little old ladies
driving to church.
Pontiac's gone.
Politicians aren’t
on this list.

~ Ralph Murre

Sunday, October 31, 2010

To the Wolves

Good advice from your Wisconsin DNR
To the Wolves

It’s always been a problem, this name; usually taken as a verb –
to Ralph, synonymous with “to hurl”. Not good to be named
for an act of regurgitation no matter how liberal your outlook.

But I’ve learned that Ralph also means “wolf counsel”,
according to the people who keep track of silver-lining meanings
in cloud-black names given to innocent children,

and “wolf counsel” is something I might have worked with
if I’d known – I might have taken a few wolves aside, for instance,
might have mentioned their ill-deserved reputation for eating people,

might have said, look – it’s against my counseling ethic to TELL
you to eat people, you understand,
but why have the name if you can’t play the game?

And then I might have named a few people they could start on,
which, of course, wouldn’t have been very professional of me,
but there are so many people and so few wolves

and some of the people eat Little Red Riding Hoods for breakfast,
and brown ones, and black ones, while wolves make do with mice.
And if I had known that Ralph means wolf counsel

I might have said, hey – the sheep’s clothing just isn’t you,
because I would have taken this counseling business very seriously
and I would have advised on fashion, as well as diet.

And I might have counseled against the use of the word “pack”,
because it has bad connotations, and I might have warned them
not to always be “at the door”, because that’s so cliché.

Sometimes, I think, they might want to be “at the window”.
And I might have mentioned that we can spot them from quite a distance,
even when they’re disguised as grandmothers.

And I would have done all of my wolf counseling pro bono,
because I like the sound of that, even if it doesn’t pay well,
and because I think they’d be impressed by my use of Latin,

even if my name is Ralph.

- Ralph Murre

from my book Crude Red Boat (Cross+Roads Press 2007)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


much-manipulated image from a painting by peter klinefelter

Oh, Brother, (can I call you that, though we never met?) our mothers danced to this drum, they fed us from this bowl, this Anishinabe bowl, this bowl of Colombia, this bowl of Lapland, Africa, China, Massachusetts.

Oh, Brother, join me. We will beat a rhythm on our empty bowl that will match the beating of the Great Drum, we will overturn our bowl and see the back of the Great Turtle upon which we still dance.

Oh, Brother, can you hear the heart of the ocean, can you see our mothers swimming there? Are they returning to fill our bowl once more?

~ Ralph Murre

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Detail of bronze sculpture by George Danhires


No man, you tell me, but everyman, I tell you,
and woman and boat, every Nebraska farmhouse
and apartment in the Bronx; an island.

That blue circle of horizon, the dangerous passage,
those days the ferry cannot cross from my shores
to the quiet cove of yours. The sea between.

~ Ralph Murre

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Beast

Like a lion tamer
poking his foolish head
into the jaws
of the beast in the spotlight,
I have pushed myself
into the unwise corners
of life, never certain
if the great cat may be
hungry, may be angry,
or simply curious
about my flavor,
the furious cracking
of my whip.

~ Ralph Murre

Image is from a photo found online, photographer not known, my heavy-handed digital manipulation. ~ RM

Thursday, September 09, 2010


come now
applaud with me
the ordinary magic
of sea and sky
and sand forever
and never changing
let us make a pilgrimage
of great faith
let us ring bells
and keep promises
~ ralph murre

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another Sad Truth

File this under the heading, "What Am I Doing With My Life?", a favorite topic of some who have known me well. I just squished together my three volumes of poetry and found that they will consume almost exactly 1/2 inch of your shelf space in their entirety, and that includes their glossy paper covers, their handsome fly leaves, and their various end papers. This is the sum total of most of what I've given a damn about in the last 10 years?!?!?! Yes, I know; one good poem makes it all worthwhile, etc. . . Well, let me say right here that the jury is still out debating the truth of that one, and they're sure as hell having a lively argument trying to decide if I've written that one good poem!
~ R.M.
Want to see for yourself? Ordering info available at

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sad Truth

pigeons and poets
annoying but still happy
with just a few crumbs
~ arem

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Turn, Turn, Turn

Like the kid I heard about
from Barton, Wisconsin,
who'd been sleeping
but found himself o.k.
standing in the next street
after the tornado
took his home and his bed,
I've been surprised.
The turning heart
like the turning wind,
drops things

~ Ralph Murre

Remember; you can click any of the pic's on this site to see greater detail.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


a cool wave at sea
lifting and letting men down
like nothing's happened
~ arem

Monday, August 02, 2010

Ta - Da !

My new book, The Price of Gravity, from Auk Ward Editions, is just in from the printers and though this is my third, I am as excited about this one as a bear about salmon, a baron about mousse, a mouse about brie. I was lucky to have editor Charles Nevsimal to save me from myself. A real wheat-from-chaff man, Charles, though I sneaked in a few things when he wasn't looking.
Poems in this book run the gamut of subject matter (perhaps something to offend everyone, as the tag-line for the film, The Loved One, put it) and the writing ranges from about seven weeks to seven years old, many of the pieces having been published individually in a variety of print and on-line journals and anthologies.
At 92 pages and 81 poems, by my count, I'm happy that we were able to hold the price to $10. per copy (plus $3. S & H) from Little Eagle Press, P.O. Box 684, Baileys Harbor, WI, USA, 54202. Checks only, please. (Auk Ward Editions is the unruly minor child of Little Eagle, and has not shown the maturity to manage a checking account.)
Also Note: Lou Roach, writing for the excellent poetry journal, "Verse Wisconsin", has reviewed The Price of Gravity. You can see what she had to say at

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pubbing with Pavo


Norbert Blei forwarded this the other day:

On Saturday, April 24th, 2010 , over thirty members of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and principal cast members from the upcoming production of LaTraviata converged on the Reading Terminal Market Italian Festival. Wearing street clothes and blending in with the crowd, the artists swung into action as the first orchestral strains of the famed " Brindisi " were piped through the market, giving a rousing, surprise performance for hundreds of delighted onlookers who were there to enjoy the Italian delicacies and the everyday treats that the Reading Terminal Market has to offer.
The four-minute piece drew an overwhelming crowd, and won a thunderous ovation that included both laughter and tears from the audience.

to which I shot back:

A beautiful thing, Norb. Thanks for sending it. Oddly, it was enhanced by my poor reception, which would stop the video every few seconds, giving me an opportunity to study the still frames; wonderful to see the looks of amazement, amusement, and sheer jubilation on the faces of the standers-by.
It all reminds me of a time, years back, when a Menominee or Marinette lumberman used to come across the bay and into the C & C Club, and in the middle of the night's revelry, from his barstool amid all the others, he would break into famous opera passages unannounced, with tremendous volume and gusto. He was, as it turned out, a very accomplished amateur or semi-pro, and he had exactly the same effect on a crowd of drunken sailors as this company did on patrons of the Reading Market. Sadly, I never knew his name, but I was privileged to hear him on several occasions.

Then, “There was an Irish pub in Chicago where the writers used to hang out. And the thing I loved about the place, every so often a piper would come in (dressed in full outfit) playing bag pipes...sending shivers of joy through everyone...He'd walk along the long bar, around the floor, past every table and booth playing his heart out--then disappear out the door back into the Chicago night.
Little miracles like that.” replied Norb, in part.

I’m thinking now, about Johnny, or more likely Gianni, the Flower Man, in 1960's Milwaukee; last of his street-corner roses sold for the evening, coming into Barney’s Wayside Inn, great moustache drooping, and spreading just a little more joy, bending low and rattling off a few tunes, with spoons, played across his weary knees.

. . .

sadder world

so much less music

in old men

~ Ralph Murre

As you can see from the almost totally unretouched photo above (in which Norb Blei appears courtesy of C.L. Peterson) Norb and Luciano did most of the drinking when we used to hang out, but I seem to recall buying every round.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Joan Comes Over Again

That unknowing object of my affection, Joan Baez, came over again last night. Oh, just for the appearance of propriety, we had in approximately 749 of my neighbors, which filled our little hall in Fish Creek to the rafters, but clearly, she had come to see me. (Backstory at And , as always, she won my heart again. Is her voice just as good as ever? No, the voice, too, is a thing of the flesh . . . but, is she still damn good? You betcha.

Highlight of the night? For me, Woody Guthrie's Deportee, poignant as ever, and maybe more so in light of the current immigrant struggles. Surprises? I thought she tread VERY lightly on the topic of our several wars. Also, something of a surprise to me, was the choice of an opening song which avowed a belief, if not an absolute faith, in God, and a couple songs later, she wove Take It To The Lord In Prayer into a medley. Now, anyone with so little to do that they follow this blog, will probably have gathered that I am not personally a great believer; but I must say I find it reassuring to learn that The Big G God is not yet actually the franchise property of the Right Wing.

While Ms. B sang many pieces without backup, much to my delight, she was ably assisted on quite a few numbers by a very good quartet, among whom was her son, Gabriel Harris, doing a smashing job on percussion. (You don't really have to fancy yourself a poet to use "smashing" and "percussion" in the same sentence, but it helps.) What a delight it must be for mother and son to be touring together, making music. She's been at it for a half-century, so if you haven't seen her in person, you might want to think about it soon. You will not be disappointed.

~ Ralph Murre

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Soul Train

What is this thing about the soul -- and I don't mean anything to do with chicken or any kind of soup -- I mean what is it? What is this supernatural bit of us that we have or not and believe in or not like fairies or Canada? I used to think it was an internal organ around the size of a chestnut with wings, but Mr. LaMarche, the biology teacher, said no, and I have to take his word and I know people who think we have no souls at all, and they may not, but speak for yourself, because I'm pretty sure there is a supernatural part of me, or at least I don't understand it and I really don't believe it will go to heaven or anything like that, but maybe a Greek island would be nice, or it could even just hang out around here and freak people out, that would be OK.

~ Ralph Murre

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In Those Cars

In those cars, those V-8 cars and those six-cylinder, six-pack, church-key cars ~ back seats fertile as Iowa itself ~ in those cars we loved each other and America (See the U.S.A. . .) and the road. In those cars with Dynaflow and wontcha blow your horn and Body by Fisher and hormone flow and bodies with fever reproducing like Ford's assembly line and Mortality just another cop snoozing behind a billboard in a black & white; in those cars we drag-raced through the uncertain light of a nation's adolescence and our own, in those cars we loved and came skidding into night; in those cars we loved.
drive-in movie
dusty projector pointed
into the past
~ Ralph Murre

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ahhh . . .

It is June and summer comes
to your exquisite flesh
and young men and old
renew their faith
in unnamed gods
if that is what they are.

~ RM

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Three Two One

Three Great Lakes, two mighty nations, and one aging and slightly quixotic gentleman astride his good motorcycle, Rozinante; that pretty much sets the stage and introduces the cast for the little play I gave for the last six days (two without rain!) and 1650 miles. Windmills encountered? Yeah, plenty of them now, but you want to think twice before charging at them. Have you seen the size of these things, up close? Still, I'm Netherlandish enough to love 'em. And while some are now being built offshore, I think they look and ARE rather benign compared with the other offshore energy misadventures going on. Made two very small and unavoidable purchases at BP stations on the trip; what can you do when your tank is low and the next gas available is fifty or more miles away? That's how it is in the North Country.

photographs of loons

show he's not the only one

in the rain today

~ Ralph Murre

I'm very proud to say that my poem "All Right" now appears in Mobius, the Journal of Social Change. Check it out (yes, that IS an order) at

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Now We Are Sixty-Six

the constant rattling
grows slightly more distant
in the middle of a long night

or past the middle sometime
and that distance
is what you stay up for

why you nap
in the middle of the day
or past the middle somewhat

and traveling
you are part of the noise
but you can't find a motel

that's just for napping
in the middle of your trip
or past the middle somewhere

you begin
to grow old
or at least I'm afraid

past the middle some age
and your ears won't hear
but the rattle is clear

~ ralph murre

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ever Widening Gulf

A quick and (rightfully) dirty poem:

Ever Widening Gulf

In that gulf
where I tugboat-towed
so long ago
from the refineries
to the refined
in their finery
from the pineries
of the impoverished
grease for the palms
of the over-rich
over-reaching their rights

My days
on that gulf
of life and delights
times and crimes
that would not go
my own lust for oil
part of the spoilage
part of the death
and the blight

Yet I vote
each time
to install
in the capitol
someone else
who will not
set it right

~ Ralph Murre

Saturday, May 22, 2010

y' just might find y' get watcha need

What is Given

The likelihood of finding strawberries
tiny and wild and sweet
around your ankles
on any given day
in any given place
is not great
but sometimes
people find strawberries
right where they are standing
just because it is their turn
to be given a taste
of something wild and sweet

- Ralph Murre

Monday, May 17, 2010

bird in hand

soft in my fist
the indigo bunting
window stunned
regains itself
loses any need
for me if
there was any
its heart
machine rapid
with fear
or passion
or maybe
they're the same
its eyes bright
with flight
its wings ready
to push
all of this behind

my empty hand
having held
blue brilliiance

~ ralph murre

Saturday, May 08, 2010


and when the time
came for scattering her
to the winds
he could not
sheltered ashes
beneath that little tamarack
where the marigolds
bloom in spring
because shelter
was what he could give

Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Day

After the thaw,
grass greens its blades to meet the mower,
daughters are raised, prom goers
in pinned-on flowers wilt from the nearness
of over-hot hours and days.
Sons, their hearts (and they have them)
swollen, like rivers, are unable to ever
go back, as haze lifts, descends.
Fair-weather friends smile
while plans are made and deserts storm
just over flag-draped horizons.
Now airports at night receive
flights of sun-filled boxes
and docks on the bay feel the sway
of tide on tide and May after May.

A few ships come in, there,
below the blue hills
and the gaze of gray foxes.

~ Ralph Murre

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Big Deals

Big Deals

one . . . two, I suppose
thirteen . . . sixteen . . . eighteen
twenty-one . . . sixty five
and, I imagine, one hundred
one hundred and anything

~ RM

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pablo, old friend

pablo picasso, 1937
On Picasso's
Weeping Woman
with Handkerchief
Pablo, old friend -
You've given her eyes to cry,
but can she see?
You've given her a mouth to wail,
But can she sing?
You've given her pain;
did she give you pleasure?
~ Ralph Murre
first published in Hummingbird

Friday, April 16, 2010


Part of the Deal

was that you owed a good death.
Whether you were a good guy
or not, you had to die right.
If I came out from behind
something and pointed my finger
and said bang! before you did
and cried gotcha, you might
say no y’didn’t or gotcha
first y’dirty Nazi,
but in the end, we all had to die
with awful groaning and kicking
and many spasms and rolling
back of eyeballs and ultimately,
as anybody who’s ever seen
a dead guy knows, the tongue
must protrude, skewed
from a corner of the bluish lips.
And then, you had to stay
really still and painfully contorted
‘til you got bored and came back
to fight again or play red rover.
But it was not part of the deal
in the bang-you’re-dead wars
of South Sixth Street
that you got your balls shot off
or came back to play
wheelchair red rover.
Nobody on our street said
the way it happened when some
of us fought on other streets.
No amputees on Sixth.
No psych ward on Ohio Avenue.

- Ralph Murre

"Part of the Deal" was first published in The Cliffs Soundings and has subsequently appeared in my book Crude Red Boat (Cross+Roads Press) and in Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Note From the Orbit

spinning but not
out of control
another planet
in the long night
~ arem
This is now included in Henry Denander's cool new mail art site;

Sunday, April 04, 2010

what path?

clues, that's all we get
no arrow pointing to the path
no path, really
maybe the trace of a footprint
in dust
maybe bent blades of grass
a disturbance of dew
and a lingering doubt:
did the ones we follow
know the way
or were they lost, too?
~ rm

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Do yourself a favor, and become acquainted with the excellent blog, Coffee Spew, ( While you're there, of course, I really hope you'll take a look at the review ( coffee-baron Robert Wake has written of my book, Psalms, which is still very available from Little Eagle Press. Reviewers of poetry books rarely receive the thanks they deserve for contributing, as they do, to a discussion of the state of poetry; which I believe is, in a word, thriving. So thank you, Bob, not only for words of praise, but for bothering with words at all.

Incidentally, the webpage for Psalms is , and you'll find ordering information there.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


a pasture of horses
like weather vanes this morning
all looking downwind
presenting round rumps
to the cold northeast
~ rm

Monday, March 22, 2010


Yes, I'm aware that it's nowhere near "Thanksgiving", the day that is, with the capitol T, but it feels like a good time to offer a few words of appreciation anyway, to those that have given me the much needed buoyancy which got me through the winter, that dark season that tries to sink me. My friends, and you know who you are, both close at hand and far removed, have pulled me up time and again, and so has this peninsula, the home of my heart, the home of my bones. I give thanks daily for this place - its woods, its shores, a Great Lake, eagles, swans, coyotes, and crows - yet my thanks don't seem enough. We who live here pay a price, to be certain, in diminished earning potential, in high-priced goods, and in distances traveled to obtain certain bits of what we feel we need, but we reap a harvest of riches, too; dividends that feed the soul in a way very few places can, I think, and dividends that most people in cities not so far away are willing to pay dearly to try to grab a share of.

I can think of nothing better to say than simply, thank you, once again, to my friends and to my watery little corner of Earth, for getting me through to another Spring.

~ RM

Thursday, March 18, 2010

among bricks

among bricks

i sense beats beaten senseless, this immenseness
holding mere echoes of former cells, wisps of smoke
of former hells and, lately, scents of latex, spandex,
nomex, romex, and tex-mex. ex-lovers and ex-pats
eating corn-chex, this immenseness not near the size
it used to be, when it just held two or three of us
reading cross-word puzzle morning news, tea leaves,
nazis killing jews, nancy into sluggo, adams into eves.
just when i think the beat can’t go on, another regains
his feet, chases protons across the sub - urban lawn,
loses jesus and brain cells, drinks cribari ‘til dawn,
fawns a dew-covered lover, sees the dark ascending.

i sense beats beaten, poison meats eaten. i repeat,
seize the dark if they’ve taken all the light, why
fight ‘em if they could be slightly right, but you can
take what they don’t use, poor excuse for cities
left behind, these towns could have some style,
maybe painters and their models, heavy drinkers,
thinkers for a while ahead of the wrecking-ball.
then they’ll build some condos for nine-to-fivers,
some parking for the barking-dog audi drivers,
some galleries to show the artists driven out,
the rout complete, waiters on buses, three-piece
realtors selling the bricks right out of the street.

i sense beats beaten senseless, defenseless against
bankers & wankers & painted women with mba’s.
i sense the dark of nights and a lonely trumpet plays,
a lonely pen scratches through light of live-long days.

- ralph murre

O.K., O.K., the poem's a rerun; having appeared on this site before, and originally in the excellent but now defunct Cliffs Soundings, but the drawing is new!

Monday, March 15, 2010

As a Clam

What is it,
don't you sometimes wonder,
that keeps clams so happy?
The ocean view?
Quiet neighbors?
Or is clamming-up
its own reward, lost on poets?
A friend clammed-up
some years ago,
or got clammed-up by A.L.S.,
that condition of Gehrig and Hawking,
that robber of muscle control,
that creator of clams.
Maybe the happiness of clams
comes from silent acceptance
of what the sea brings,
but that's hard for humans.
Wordless so long,
our friend climbed from his clamshell
the other day, and flew.
Here on the bottom,
we'll look to the sky
and watch for him,
finally soaring.

~ RM

In memory of Jeff Kaufman, who clammed-up only vocally, but continued to speak by whatever means available. Please learn just a little about this quiet hero at:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


detail - louis sullivan

i forget now

dont you

if its the devil

or the divine

that dwells in details

they look a lot alike

hiding in history

sweating small stuff

- r m

Just a note to say ( or brag) that my poem, "The Way the Light Shines", appears on Poetry Dispatch, in an article honoring Linda Aschbrenner and her 100 (!) issues of Free Verse, and Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman, who have taken up the reins of its reincarnation, Verse Wisconsin. Have a look at

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


(c) Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
all these people
over the road
but in this garden
just one
with his thoughts
~ arem

Saturday, February 27, 2010

All Right

I can take you to houses of housebreakers
and homes of homewreckers.
I can take you to the edge of the sea.
I can show you where to sleep under bridges
and tell you not to.
I know 28 ways to get warm,
but none work.
I can sing the first lines of songs
and hum what hasn't been heard yet.
I can show you a billion stars
and name three.
You can show me dancers
called Staci or Wanda or Michel.
You can take me to that little place you know
with good chili. And cornbread.
I can tell you how all of this looks
from over there. Or up there.
We can drink with abject objectionists
and stand out among insiders.
You can take me to Green Mountains
and Death Valleys.
You can show me
the red-rimmed eyes of believers,
show me where they've knelt
before high priests and loan officers.
We can dance in circles.
You can take me wading
in the deep end of the pool,
swimming in fresh dew on the lawns
of the desert and the deserted.
We can be quiet as Quakers
as we meet with madmen.
You can tell me everything,
or at least something, will be all right.
I can believe you.

~ Ralph Murre

That first line was prompted by, which is to say stolen from, Alexander McCall Smith.

Monday, February 22, 2010

But, Daddy . . .

Murre, DeGenova, Rossiter, Koehler
But Daddy, I can't sleep . . . are you SURE there are no poets living in our town? Maybe even right here on our street? What does a poet actually look like, Daddy? Pretty scary, I bet.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No Dreams?

. . . and those people who don't believe in gods . . .
do they never dream then?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Plastic Ekphrastic Post#400

Wassily Kandinsky
On Kandinsky's "Painting with Red Spot" 1914

In this grey
Great Lake
how I long
for color
the flame
gold blue
blooming orchard
amber field
red spot
sailor's warning
orange mountain
of your painting
But Wassily
to be fair
it's O.K.
for me
to be here
you there
~ Ralph Murre

Yes, this is my 400th post to this site. And , this would be a great spot for me to say something rather profound. No such luck. I thought a little about trying to tie this into "The 400", meaning, I guess, the elite of society, but I am obviously in no position to speak on that subject. Then I thought about the Chicago & Northwestern's "400", the crack passenger train that traveled, I believe, from Chicago to Minneapolis in 400 minutes, which is still a rather enviable speed, but I realize that speed records have not much to do with this blog nor with my life in general. So, after my first 400 posts, I will simply say Thank You to those several of you have followed along, and I'll say that I hope to continue, in my not-so-elite and not-so-speedy way, to lay a few thoughts before you.