Monday, May 05, 2014

the poet, at seventy, observes

and the aged

   discuss at length
 their aging
   the raging pains
and nagging
   the sagging
and the gravity
   their long-lost
youth,  naïveté
   as though
there was forever
   to converse
they heed
   no call for terse
nor feel a need
   for brevity

~ ralph murre

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

small talk

Little Eagle Press

~ proudly presents ~

small talk

A fine, new book of the shorter poems of Bruce Dethlefsen,
past Poet Laureate of Wisconsin.   Here’s your chance to see what a terrific writer can say in ten lines or less, and to see why Little Eagle, always very selective, jumped at the chance to publish this jewel of a manuscript.  There’s a lot of wry humor in these 92 pages, as well as good doses of poignancy and pathos.  Add a liberal sprinkling of the drawings of Ralph Murre, and we feel you’ll agree that this is a winning text.

a sample:


at night
my mother bathed me in a white tub
scrubbed me with white soap
rubbed me in a white towel
hugged and plugged me
into pajamas and the white sheets

an act so kind
so common
it barely even happened

small talk can be ordered directly from the author

Bruce Dethlefsen
422 Lawrence Street
Westfield, WI   53964

at $15. per copy, plus $3. for shipping & handling.
( For shipping fees on orders of multiple copies, please

Thursday, April 17, 2014

all it has to be

this river
is not long
nor swift
nor all that deep
but it flows true
from dream to dream
and it’s all it has to be
and it does all a river needs to do

~ ralph murre

Monday, April 07, 2014

Gone Blind -- Arvinson Log post # 600

Gone Blind  (2014)
Justice! they cry
What’s it mean? sez I
ain’t it just another name for revenge?
She’s often portrayed
as a blind chick with a sword
as untoward as blind rage
or blind drunk on a binge
Oh, she looks good
sittin’ here on this page
but she lights fires, you know
and if we’re not burnt
we’ll be singed
To invite her
we’re gonna need courage

let us try
one more time
for courage

Justice! they cry
Save me from it, sez I
or I and my kind
will swing in the breeze
and a lonely trumpet play
and the harpies will
tug at our flesh
‘til sometime late in the day
if anyone knows
that we aren’t on our knees
begging the unknown in the sky
begging, please
Let us try
one more time
for courage, for courage

Let us try
one more time
for courage

For I and my kind
by choice have gone blind
and our names
are signed to the checks
and our names are in the fields
of oil and blood
and our spirits
are dragged through the mud
as Old Glory waves
and we salute the ones
who send children
We salute, and dig graves
for our children

Let us try
one more time
for courage

Justice! they cry
but does she ever forgive?
And if it’s an eye
for an eye
how will grandchildren live?
Just look at her there
Sweet Justice – how fair
though she seems only to care
for the sound of alarms
It takes courage, too
to not take up arms
it takes courage to say
Let her go, now
we’ll start new

let us try
one more time
for courage

~ Ralph Murre

Friday, March 21, 2014

at evening


could I be
a sundown man
enfold you
unfold you
the colored rays
of our shining
the western sky
at evening?

~ ralph murre

Sunday, March 02, 2014

as Mardi Gras approaches

Delta Blues

There, on the edge of the shelf,
in the sad and beautiful frames of generations,
the black and white portraits of us,
the sepia of our flesh,
the glisten and the dance.
There, the mouth of Old Man River
speaks to the sea of a continent stolen,
but Mother Ocean says, “Africa
I’m here for her children. Europa –
I’m here for her children.  And Asia’s,”
she says.  There,
where those two meet day in and out,
night after night, in throes
of love and fight and blows
of gods of wind, there
in a mixed-blood flood,
she takes away a few of those
she’s brought on her broad back,
but carries them now in her womb
from that Crescent City where the water
rises above the tombs.

“Shall we gather . . .”, sings the old man,
“On that beautiful shore . . .”, says the sea.

~ Ralph Murre

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Grandfathers

the grandfathers
their hands flinty with work
reaching down to take mine

smell of oil and liniment and wool
smoke rising
snow falling

their heavy shovels
and plaid coats
the names of old countries

~ Ralph Murre

If that sounds like an old one to any of you, well, it is.  Kinda.  In the spirit of revise, revise, revise, I boiled a fair to middlin' nineteen lines down to nine, and I think I like it even better. If I keep going this way, someday, I'll say nothing at all, and that may be best.   ~ RM

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

In That House

In That House
". . . any room was full       
of such choreography . . ."
~ Michael Ondaatje
each of the chambers
of his heart
held a dance
his inner ear
a symphony
the optic nerve
told of roses
and rose windows
remembering that day
in that far away
when her eyes whispered

and still
the quick step
of all these
a waltzing
and that fox
still trotting
the way she does
in that house
full of the choreography
of whispered

~ Ralph Murre