Wednesday, April 27, 2011


and the rain is the sea

and that drop
clinging to a lock
of your golden hair
in this mist-laden glen
was the tear of a fisherman’s wife
and that one
on the leaf of the thimbleberry
will rejoin the ocean
where it floated a ship of slaves
and this one
on the arbor vitae
once washed the wounds of Christ
and carried canoes of Lewis and Clark
and this one
on my streaming brow
carried the fishes eaten with the loaves
by a hungry multitude

and the sea is the rain
and the Adriatic is lightly falling
on our roof as we love
the Pacific wetting the soil of our tomatoes

this rose
in a little vase of the Mediterranean
is for you

- Ralph Murre 2005

from my first book of poems, Crude Red Boat (Cross+Roads Press)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

unusual fare

public sculpture in buenos aires, artist unknown to me

I Thirst, He Said,

and he knew the dimensions of thirst
are not measured except by drought,
are not fully understood but in places so dry,
vinegar is more likely than water.
(A sponge of vinegar, lifted as sour offering
to the King of the Jews, hung against the sky.)

The dimensions of suffering, he knew,
are not measured against the bodies of gods --
these lengths and spans are known by flesh,
known by woman and man.
(His mother there, who bore this life,
and saw it taken again.)

I thirst, he said,
and the divine became human
and the human became divine,
as the day darkened
in an eclipse of immortality;
morality lesson played out.

I thirst, he said,
and he knew the scope of feelings in me and you
are not gauged against the heavens,
but by desire for what is given, and spoken
in words not ethereal, but earthly, and real:
Hunger. Want. Thirst.
I need. I feel.

( Rain, too, falls from on high,
but must evaporate, someday,
to rise again, though we may wonder why.)

~ Ralph Murre

This piece was written last year, and was presented as one of "The Last Words", in company with six other poets and a chamber music ensemble playing the work of Haydn.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

travel agent

at the microphone
there’s the professor
the professing of poetry
with a lack of poetry
in the professing

then, carapace she says
and says it again since
she loves repetition and
then, carapace she says
(there, I said it again)

and I am off
swimming with sea turtles
at sea in a warm Caribbean
and thanking the professor
for my little vacation

~ ralph murre

Monday, April 11, 2011


on this table

where the marked cards are dealt

we play the game

~ arem