Sheila E. Murphy

Life's Work

I'm often premising while promising,
thus reining in the urge to burst with
close reading, disguised
as infant observation.
With eyesight thus employed,
the rinse of magnitude encompasses
a tapestry of blanched leaves
mainstreamed as new lives,
plural as seaweed one swims into,
within the quietest garden
punctuated only by the flush
of air already breathed.
Then silence takes the place
of what is posed to an assembled group,
one forms to serve the focused mind,
bereft of a decided vacuum.


Surfaces resilient with stamina
remain our window dressing
sharpening swift targets
into focused capture.
Souls in frames perspire
boundaries until they blend
into ripe evidence of next steps
under a prevailing natural light.
Think forsythia: its range changes
the yellow to caressive
intellect, that shines close to gold
within a bursting sphere
of what is seen, toward
the as-yet-unnoticed moment
nicknamed God, whose thumbprint
finds its way into material ingress.

Post Prematurity

I thought not to use my eyes.
I heard what I was thinking.
I was thinking bell of the cornet,
a bulb of English horn,
taut snare skin, tympanum.
All the knowing angels speaking
in tongues equivalent to the body's
knowing to writhe amid
tonality, true measure of
the distance between two live
souls fostering erasure
of a path, recalling
presence perpetuates
the self, as though the self
were true, as I inflect
the scent and touch and breath of you.

Sheila E. Murphy's most recent individual book of poetry is American Ghazals (Otoliths Press). A new volume of the extended collaborative poem Continuations 2 (with Douglas Barbour) has just been released by the University of Alberta Press in Canada. The two authors performed at WordFest in Calgary and other venues during October of 2012. Murphy is at work on a new manuscript. Her home is in Phoenix, Arizona.
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