Monday, November 30, 2009

. . . a word from our sponsor . . .

Take a look, if you've the time and inclination, at the (finally) operable web site of Little Eagle Press; try a few of the links to learn about the books we're publishing. Who knows, you may even like to own one! (That exclamation point was to show how savvy I am in the world of marketing. Can you feel the excitement?) click

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All de Live-Long Day (and night)

Tata tump
Tata tump
Tata tump

Train cars
Cross a switch
In the dun
Of Montana autumn
As the sun
Of Montana autumn
Behind purple cloud
Shrouding mountains

On a train called Empire Builder
Engine pawing ground
Toward Puget Sound
Contemplate empire
As you travel
Thousands of idle
Rail cars, semis
Full of nothing
The short lives
Of empires

Whether Roman
Or rail

~ Ralph Murre

Monday, November 16, 2009

To the Wolves

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

That's another old one, which appeared in my first book, "Crude Red Boat", from Cross+Roads Press.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Where does the wind come from?

So that grandchildren will not have their heads filled (by their parents) with crazy ideas about the source of the wind . . .

Trees listen very, very carefully.
They hear the things which we can barely dream.
And sometimes they hear music.
Only trees and tall grass and water
can hear these tunes.
And the music is so good,
that the trees can’t help but dance!
An oak or cedar or birch,
its feet deep in the earth,
does not dance in the same way
as a whale or dog or person,
but it can sway its mighty body and shoulders
to the rhythm.
Not much happens when tall grass dances,
but when whole forests of trees
begin to dance,
they stir up great winds.
These winds carry the quiet music
to other forests of trees and prairies of grass
and oceans of water.
Soon, they are all dancing
to the music
which even whales and dogs and people
cannot hear.

We must be very quiet near trees
and tall grass and water,
so they can hear the music.

- Ralph Murre

O.K., that's an old one, but maybe as good as anything I'm writing these days . . .