Sheila E. Murphy

from American Ghazals


Non-emergency services: shade of trees, mockingbirds,
Tap tap of the woodpeckers, my visor halfway planted.

When disposing of the coffee grounds, another accident
This morning, used a quarter of a roll of paper towels.

It hurt the mother to observe her daughter acting in the role
Of servant, despite an attitude of purity by her offspring.

How we view others: how we view ourselves: how we sit still
Versus elbowing our way through to locate a way through.

This diary, a kept document: not one-size-fits-all
Entirely; a keepsake best allowed to split its boundaries.


Tulips change the foreground into informal points of my attention,
Until the quiet chaps harsh light: then and only then, congruence.

Hypnotists regarded as controlling personalities:
One-syllable magenta in the line of firelight.

Saplings (pling!) the notion of ambivalence: a bow
Of swelter left from a prior life wholly immune to prayer.

Speech gilds pathways with a flower of young guesses
Quilted or effete or singular or slow as concepts.

An individual draws answers from another
Individual, as if to plug a leak in the link.


Accidental friendship spaces itself so the psyche turns
To sponge, inhering and eventually releasing.

Together we enjoy the common area, there is a difference
Between legal and ethical, regardless of desire to speak.

In America, one takes a class before claiming
To know everything, at which point one teaches a class.

A meadow returns by way of the olfactory sense
The moments that have meaning in the forelife we now live.

The love of your life reflects you so that everyone
Recognizes you at your best, even better than you recall.


Dominion's haste slaps on layers of protection
Buttery pro bono visible curve [the gift of hand]

Falsetto obvious retracts wind chime notice
Of nature in the grip of salt portrayal [Sun Ra, he said]

Older than philosophy repair work you can measure
Stiffs the need positioned where the cause recurs

Chisel listed on Ebay for a bargain price diminishes
Desire [one can attest to slow vibrati to replace the jitters]

How is it he fell in with inner mercy where a melody would be
Who pointed him here, was mere rapport a skill or merely innocence?

Continuations 2, the second volume (Sections 26 - 50) of Sheila E. Murphy's 10+ year (continuing) collaboration in poetry with Canadian poet Douglas Barbour, will appear from The University of Alberta Press, which released the first volume in 2006.
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