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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

The Silence; Rain

By: Joseph Murphy

The Silence

A silence has darkened my hands,

pressed them down,

though weighing no more

than the margin

between thought and loam;

health and death.

This silence envelops; persuades.

It is a thing of craving; of beauty; dread.

I walk the hills with it, as if I were walking

though a darkened sphere

ankle-deep in past and future.

I am wondering if the silence

will fall away, or whether

I will have to add flesh and bones to it; carry it

until my knees buckle.

My thoughts have begun to linger at the treetops;

Float above star-shaped leaves;

glow, prosper.

But will this be enough

to move beyond? Out-grow fear? Rip the silence

from its husk; tear its shadow

from my arms?


The rain grasped my arm, leading me

beyond the reach of listless thoughts

and into a stillness

I had only imagined.

Time’s limits no longer pursued me; the rain

erased my craving; my efforts.

I simply breathed; unburdened.

Looking back, I wonder at the weightlessness

of unfocused moments;

at how the rain’s voice

quieted mine.


Joseph Murphy’s poetry has appeared in a wide range of online and print journals. His second collection of poems, Having Lived (Kelsay Books), was published in 2018; his first collection, Crafting Wing (Scars Publications), in 2017. This year, Shanti Arts is publishing a third collection, Shoreline of the Heart. Murphy is a member of the Colorado Authors’ League and for eight years (2010-2018) was poetry editor for an online literary publication, Halfway Down the Stairs.

"The poems will appear in my upcoming collection, Shoreline of the Heart, Shanti Arts . It’s a poetry collection primarily based on spirituality, but not Christian-related spirituality. I am a Zen Buddhist — or that is what the closest definition of what my religious experiences might fall under. 

Like those in these two poems, a large portion of the images in the book, are based on the combination of a Zen Koan (a paradox that asks one to abandon a dependence on reason to reach a higher spiritual awareness) and Surrealist imagery, in the Twentieth Century French and Spanish and South America traditions. So one of the things I often do is to anthropomorphize natural occurances, like rain and silence. The images take on a life of their own; exist in a form that is outside logic or rationality. For instance:

I am wondering if the silence  will fall away, or whether  I will have to add flesh and bones to it; carry it  until my knees buckle. 

Or as a quote I use to introduce one the selections in the book puts it: “Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason” (Novalis)"


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