Friday, December 30, 2011


deep in the glen of winter
somewhere between this year
and that, a quiet chuckling
as clever time and stream
mock the fury of man
and permanence of rock
the joke they share
takes forever to tell
but there's no hurry

~ ralph murre

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just Because

Because they're young and short
and in parents' old robes,
are they less wise, these travelers?
Because her wings are cardboard
and a stepladder holds her aloft,
is she not an angel?
Because the star is of gilded paper,
is this not Christmas?

- Ralph Murre

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Post # 500; Nearing Solstice

Yes, this is the 500th post here along the Arvinson Road. Heavy fog all the way, but I'd like to think that it's been a journey worth making, so far. Please have a look around the archives and see if you agree.
Now, in light of (or in dark of?) the coming solstice, I'll lay a piece on you that many have seen or heard before, and which we'll all soon be as tired of as we are The Little Drummer Boy, but a few people have told me they love my seasonal sermonette, so, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum, here it is:

In Dark December

Whatever you believe,
whatever you do not,
there are sacred rites
you must perform
in dark December.
Do this for me:
Pull together
the kitchen table,
the folding table,
and that odd half-oval
usually covered
with bills and broken pencils
and red ink.
Pull together family and friends,
cool cats and stray dogs alike.
Turn off everything
except colored lights,
the roaster,
the toaster, the stove.
Cook. Bake. Eat.
Yes, even the fruitcake.
Eat, crowded around
those assembled tables
with mismatched chairs.
Reach so far
in your sharing
that you hold the sun
in one hand,
the stars in the other,
and no one between is hungry.
Now walk together,
talk together,
be together
on these darkest nights.
Give and forgive.
Light candles and ring bells.
Sing the old songs.
Tell the old stories
one more time,
leaving nothing out,
leaving no one out
in the long night,
leaving nothing wrong
that you can make right.

~ Ralph Murre

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

of a certain age

Can we still write love poems
when the triumphs of our G.I. tracts
are more heralded
than the hunger of our hearts?
Neruda could not have written The Captain's Verses
under the gaze of nurses, but at the end of life
he said to Mathilde,
"It was beautiful to live
when you lived!
. . . I sleep
enormous, in your small hands."
and maybe that's where
the real love poem began.

~ Ralph Murre

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Above the River

On that slope above the Rio Grande
two cows in a New Mexican sunset
their long shadows grazing
on the last stems of daylight
our little car rolling toward tomorrow
and everything made of gold

~ Ralph Murre

Friday, December 02, 2011

and thanks again

photo by S. Auberle

On a Tuesday, I guess it was, m'pardner & I rode down Deuce of Clubs Avenue and right into Show Low, when out of the clear blue Arizona sky I began t'feelin' a mite uneasy. Too many good eats, we reckoned. Tethered the horses 'n' set up camp at the local Holiday Inn Express. A sleepless night led to morning light which revealed my already ample belly swelled to about double its normal size and me, some kinda UNcomfortable.

Well, we saddled up and made the short ride to the nearest emergency room, where they shoved a tube up my nose & down my throat, which had roughly the same effect as we'd get stickin' a bloated cow -- it ain't all that pretty, but it works. Then they proceded to take a bunch of high-falutin' photos of my innards. An obstruction of the bowels 's what they showed. Surgery 's what I needed.

Now, I gotta thank some folks who made it possible f'me to be home alive 'n' writin' t'y'all today: first, the ER staff of Summit Healthcare, then, Dr. Burke De Lange & his ace surgical team, and then, the entire Summit Nursing & tech staff, all of whom must have come from up around Lake Woebegone, 'cause they're ALL way above average.

Thanks, too, to the several of you who caught wind of these developments as they unfolded and kept me under the cozy blanket of your prayers, your good thoughts, and your good vibes. Much appreciated, all around.

The biggest "Thank You", though, is reserved for m'pardner and friend, who mostly dragged me to the hospital and then hovered for a long week, like an angel with wings of light. Thank y'kindly, Miss Sharon.

~ Ralph Murre