Cathexis Northwest Press
The Silence; Rain
By: Joseph Murphy
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;
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
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)"