Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On Bikers, Birders, and Bush's

On optimism: As any successful off-road motorcycle or bicycle racer is likely to tell you, to move quickly down a boulder-strewn mountainside, you must focus on the path you want to take between the obstacles. If you focus on the rocks themselves, you are almost certain to hit them.

On pessimism: As any good conservationist will tell you, the damned cyclists will ruin the fragile ecosystem of the mountain and the world will collapse. Besides, it is our mountain, because we are good people and read books.

What do I think? Having played for both teams in the above-mentioned combat, I have to conclude that we all go through life making constant risk/benefit analyses, not without some selfishness, and we move on as we see fit. The way the scales tip for each of us may well be genetically influenced. Take the Bush family: No real personal risk to us, so let's send other people's kids racing down this mountainside. I don't think there'll be rocks. And what's a ee-co-system?

- Ralph Murre

Sunday, January 28, 2007

oh no; a sonnet

photographer unknown

Where is the dreamer and where is the poet,
the shaded cottage, the girl in the boat?
Replaced by the schemer in real estate,
the big operator behind armored plate.
Are there roses in gardens by the six-laned road?
And where do the children play?
Through the bullet-proof glass of a long limousine,
I saw hope in a young bride today
and wished her luck, as the car left the curb,
bound, I am sure, for a greener suburb.
May her counters be granite with accents of gold,
may she circle the planet on cruises,
and if, it turns out, her groom's heart is cold,
may the best of fashion hide her bruises.

- Ralph Murre

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. Burns

For Robert

O, you told us o' the red, red rose
And sang in praise o' haggis.
In quiet Ayrshire countryside,
You raised up quite a rackus.

And fair you wrote, in bonnie burr,
And fair you wrote, my baird.
We must gae thanks for your sweet pen
As we kneel to pray the Laird.

Till a’ ink wells gang dry, Dear Rob,
And a’ the nibs lie rusty,
We will luve thee still, Dear Rob,
And quote your words, sae lusty.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
On this January night?
Nae, we’ll sing o' thee again, Dear Rob,
And o' Barleycorn tonight.

- Ralph Murre

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cone Flowers

Summer gone, Winter
cannot stop their budding:
January blooms.
- arem

At the Salon

I was honored to read some of my stuff last night, in the company of some very good poets from the area. We shared humor, pathos, and some real comaraderie with a large group of visual artists gathered for the annual salon at the Peninsula Arts School.

It occurred to me that among the many traits shared by poets and the other artists, is the sense of that need for us always to work toward that horizon which poses the question, "What is poetry?", or "What is art?" Our work, it seems to me, when it does not break new ground, no matter how well we replant and cultivate the old fields, cannot be called art; cannot be called poetry.

In light of that argument, I am still very uncomfortable thinking of myself as POET, but on good days, I strive for that far horizon.

- Ralph Murre

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

finally, snow - finally, cold

what spirits circle
the altars of sleeping bears?
what birds have not flown?
- arem

Monday, January 15, 2007

Forgive Us, Fathers

Martin, like Mohandas,
led multitudes to the threshold
of a new life.
Martin, like Mohandas,
was shot down
with one foot in the doorway
of peace.
Of them I sing.
Peace be with them,
and with us.

- Ralph Murre

Saturday, January 13, 2007

and then, you

and you
and you have these places
I want to be
these bright and
dark places soft
and you keep them well
keep them well for me
dark places soft
and bright
keep them for me
soft and well
keep well, love
keep well
the soft bright dark
and you

- Ralph Murre

Sunday, January 07, 2007

this winter, 'til now

only a groan of wind
speaks of winter
in this warm weather snowless season
wind and the child's heart
beneath these old ribs
- arem

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

citrus moon

fruit on a dark cloth
just beyond my fingertips
orange moon rising
- arem