Celebrations And Other Poems

Celebrations And Other Poems

by David J. Murray

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440177071
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/19/2009
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

David J. Murray has published three award-winning books of poetry. Born in 1937 and raised in Manchester, England, he earned a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. He is an emeritus professor of psychology at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, and he's also published scholarly works.

Read an Excerpt

Celebrations and Other Poems


By David J. Murray

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2009 David J. Murray
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4401-7707-1


Chapter One

TOO MUCH TO LOSE I heard the family-babble of my home, The scuffling of the dog, the practised sounds That floated from the piano, the radio's crackle, And I knew I had no power to overcome Their quiet relentless grasp; I could not tackle The breaking of the cable from its grounds. But as I wafted, half in sleep and waking, From the pure noise that says a family's well, Thoughts of your quiet and peaceful image floated From them to thoughts of you, and, all-forsaking, I wandered to my other world, denoted By a hanging-on to you I can't dispel; But there's too much to fear, too much to lose, If I were forced between the two to choose. SAFETY Home: when I see, in panoply unhaltered, Books, cups and saucers, cat, and battered bowls, And think that, for a fortuned face unaltered, I could exchange a fortuned family's goals, I turn and slide and stare athwart the door; Outside, the snow falls silently on cars, And winds enrustle through the valley floor, And in the bitter dark there are no stars; I turn and look aback at our possessions, The chair, the rug, that cost so much, that stands As a golden symbol of our paired obsessions With a safety only madness understands; I cannot let these go, so quietly end My dreams of knowing you better than a friend. HOW COULD I LEAVE ...? Nowis my life nor flame nor ice nor cold But just a mild incompetence; but how, In consciousness, could I reject the old If breaking it would break the very now? How could I leave what strong emotion held Together for years, through dark and light and grey, Follies foretold for aeons and dispelled, Lightness of mutual thought that summed each day, And long unencumbered quiet familiar growth That banished other follies from my heart To relegated might-have-been, while youth Upheld my marriage from the very start? Yet, in your beauty, you shall always be Quiet quickener of my verse and thus of me. I COULD NOT MOVE Within the solemn cradle of my love Rides a quiet child, the moment when we met; Your eyes were filled with strength; I could not move, But all my mind was filled with my own debt Of obligation and of past affection; No one can fight the net of shared pain, No one can fight unrecognized perfection, And no one wants to start to sigh again; I could not move, but felt my heart asunder; Trapped was I fast between two equal treasures; And all I did was make a stupid blunder That blocked me off from all your store of pleasures; But still I am whole, and, though I would go under Were you both lost, I still both riches plunder. UNSULLIED? No wit, no bitter, kind, recalcitrant sage, Can say what kind of future may have lain Before our wide and one-time eyes' embrace, Except that, if it augured for an age A mutual sameness born of equal brain And swift approximation in our face, We would have stood unsullied by cold Time, And held our hands in hankerings of hope That what, in a single moment, seemed forever, Would have outlasted the faint and thought-felt crime Of smashing another's life; but there's no scope For mutual good if evil comes to sever The linkage-bonds that love links to what's right; So we cast down our eyes in mutual fright. BOTH OF YOU I cannot tell what faint reverberant light Shines, like a slight refulgent inner coal, Within my stormy, and yet peaceful, soul That sees you both as partners of night Within the long late night-time of my life; Into the night I could walk equally With either of you, or, regretfully, Take both of you to be my wedded wife- Regretfully, because there is a part Of me that grew in strong and true belief That one romance, no matter if a brief, Would satisfy the longing in my heart; But now I know new longing far too strong To lose, with strength, each one of you for long. Visions When, into sheerness, dawn's deep veil ascends, And lifts the light of nature to the sky, Exciting clouds to chorus till night ends, And shadowed grassblades into verdant cry, Dawn lifts, in sheerness, all the veiled cases Of blocked fixation and recalcitrance That fill my married mind; and on dawn races Till, in its free unhaltered pursuance Of fuse of thought and nature, deeper it burrows, And resurrects quiet visions of quiet fields That lie beneath the brown unhurried furrows Of burning cloud that soon to sunlight yields; These visions come, and each is like a day In the long suffuse of dark when you're away. WHERE THE WIND BLOWS So now you know, O infinite worshipful One, That I am more than twice your age; I sigh, With many a groan, of pasts that have long gone; And cannot now act Romeo with your eye. And yet what happiness I feel, despite! How can this be, that, with your lovely youth, You do not dare to mar this quiet respite From all my younger yearnings for your troth? I woke this morning, plagued by inner peace That played guitarlike on my sense of guilt; How could I know today would mark release From all that clouded up my soul like silt? Now we are free, both you and I; we know That, where the wind blows, there we both shall go. A SUDDEN BLUSH A sudden blush of half-caught comprehension Fails in a subtle way to break the mask That a long and lifetime marriage's pretension Makes of a face that no one takes to task, And so these looks go vagrant. Unrequited, Morals fix firm the requisite mien and pose; The happiness that would have been invited By a mere looking flashes, fades, and goes; And all the quiet and unrecalcitrant meetings That would have followed from a tender glance Are dissipated into noisy greetings And false effusions in a social dance; Hiding a love turns sober men to serious; Love is relentlessly imperious. NEVER WILL MORNINGS RISE I see your face, but never will mornings rise When the first sight, in light of the glowing morning sun, Will be the lustrous sparkle of your eyes, And the first new act an inner orison Of thanks that you are with me; all of this Is just a dream, and you will go your way And I continue in my work, and miss The meetings that we now have day to day. But dark will be the emptiness I'll feel When you are gone, and inner landscapes shake To dreary gardens, where the weeds congeal To clumps of rainy wetness, and the lake No longer shines with lustre, and the trees Grow black and brown with winter as they freeze. WINTER DAYS So a quiet longing, and a Christmas greeting, You with a cold, and me with deadlines strict, Set up a pipe dream, waste and derelict, That haunts the weeks that wait before re-meeting. Just like the evening, the winter days ahead Sink in a desolate sameness from day to day; Overhead, the clouds are ragged grey, With snow that sinks, like slumber, on the dead; And all that winter tells us we possess Is moral knowledge we have done aright In not advancing forward on desire- But, in our deepest hearts, that inward fire Still glows quiescent in this inward night, And still with crescent heat could incandesce. THE HEAT GREW HOT A marriage cycle in a clutch of days- That is the way the heat grew hot, then went, As feelings grew from neutral grey to haze, And then subsided, sad and somnolent; And yet the end seems nowhere far or near: I saw you as you sat with muffler drawn To shield you from the cold, and felt a fear My feelings were too strong to be withdrawn; A quiet sense of something new, paternal, Filled me as I saw you sitting there With your look that seemed a female sempiternal, As light reflected from your shining hair: And I felt, with instinct born of new suffusion, That all my straightness merely brought confusion. RAINS AND MISTS The golden rains of spring quench summer thirst And ancient winter moods should be dispelled; Yet sadness comes with rain, for, roles reversed, This food for flowers brings doubt unparalleled: Where is the hope that summer will bring light, When summer's only source is lost in mists? How dare I hope to greet you in the night With my age, and wedded state, antagonists? How dare I hope one day to tightly hold you In a nonpaternal grip that speaks my heart, When youth's responsibilities enfold you, And you, as well, do not know how to start? The bitter rains of springtime speak of sin; I hardly dare to know how to begin. I CANNOT MOVE And is that, then, a treachery to state That, though I think of you as part of me, I cannot move to hold and integrate That thought? All I can do is silently Re-contemplate your essence and write, quiet, That, though you bring this essence to my world, I cannot stretch my hand out to apply it, Even to touch your hair where it lies curled; For, if I dared to interrupt this mood, And, in a stark and wholly physical way, Brought you within my sphere, I would delude Myself that I could simply throw away All that my wife has offered me for years; No, all I can do is write to ease my fears. TEMPTATION If all of this is infinite delusion, Why is delusion easier than fact? There is no greater source of heart's confusion Than marriage vow betrayed in faithless act; But when I see you sitting there, alone, I have no thought of solemn marriage bed, But only of the golden upright throne On which I'd queen you, were you mine instead; And when I stand beside you, and my hand Is tempted to reach out to touch your hair, I wonder if my wife would understand How I desire you both and do not care One to renounce, or the other to abjure ... Perhaps true love is only for the pure. SELF-DELUSION And then there are the hardened lines of years That stand, like long enticing strands of warm That guarantee quiet thoughts, and stifle fears, And speak of warrior fights against real harm; One cannot take the mettle of a life And, in one fast discomfited sweep, embrace A new, and torrid, start with a new wife, As if the first had somehow brought disgrace, When this were lie and lie and lie and lie; It is something more, a fine and lively need That cannot bear for part of me to die In order that my wife need never bleed, Yet, at the same time, cannot find the "no" That would persuade the other girl to go. PREMONITION I ask, can worlds revolve and spheres collapse In all this universe of soul that spins On, quite unencumbered by relapse To pastnesses of sighs where no one wins? The only collapse can be of will and brain; To stop this onward stream so strong and soft, My present marriage, that never seems to wane And holds me in its current borne aloft- To stop this flow, would be a suicide; And yet to renounce that serious part of me That reaches out to hold you, would divide My mind in two: the now, and what would be A future filled with doubt if I forewent The chance to hold you if you gave consent. HERE WE GO AGAIN If I were cool and quite disinterested, Your letter, quite impersonal, could be delayed; But there is something driving in my head That makes me lose the part of me that's staid: It registers a curse on seeing the mail Dealing with money, and not a line from you, And if I feel that, once again, I'll fail To win a love because I gave no due To longing longings in my married mind, And life becomes once more a thing of rain, Then I'll admit that I am stupid-blind, And once again flirtation ends in pain; But all the time these poems speak the truth: I love your eyes and happy heart and youth. CLIFF-CLEFT I had a dream, but dare not write of dreams; The symbols were untraced, the riddles solved, And loss is what the dream's deep meaning seems, And I'm prepared to see my dreams dissolved. So you are lost, a hammer over a cliff, A smoke that crept on, up through a cleft, and went: All these are symbols from my dream, but if I followed up on dreams and what they meant, How much of life would seem an empty dream- How much of life would seem a sexless crawl, A bumbling between meals, a silent scream, An endless cloak of death about us all- How much of life would seem to blow away Like smoke, on a cliff top, on a windy day. IDLING IN NEUTRAL And, with a long fur-fretted sigh of tedium That once again my poems are the medium For sighs and tears and quiet recriminations Of "what did I do wrong?"-the ministrations Of you, my brain, to soothe my silly musings Pour forth in wordy bricks scarce of my choosing; I've been here before; I'm bored with artifice That tries to prop up feelings like an edifice, Saying "I will transform to utter beauty" All the relinquishings of lovers' duty Because of marriage and morals; but the truth is, I did not fly to hie to where your youth is; And, all the time my courage idles neuter, I run the risk you're lost to a brave new suitor. BROODING When all seems dull and gloom and far away, And the far trumpets scintillate with doom Like the distant cries of gods of Hell who loom High, low in the thunderclouds that play On the horizon, and yet are only dreamed- When all this seems like a play upon a stage, And reality is a man of stable age In a stable house, where turmoil only seemed To play a part, is simply brooding wild- When all the world that aches when love is lorn Is somebody else's, not his, then is he torn Not between mistress and family, trophy and child, But only between two clashing greeds within: Polygamy knocks, but cannot be let in. IN THE COOL NIGHT AIR And so the days spin on and on With doggerel-"wondering where you've gone"- Rhymes that strain to seem unforced, And runes and rhythms undivorced From solemn meaning and import; But all this verse seems empty sport When, in the dark of late-at-night, I think about you, trying to fight My guilt, while, in the cool night air, My wife sleeps deeply, unaware I've kept a silence on the fact I think of you in every act, Yet dare not phone you for the fear I speak my feelings straight and clear. NOT THE SAME The wind was arch and cold and chill and sere; The rain hung in the turgid air and swept Each gust with wet, and brought a hidden fear Of silent sadness and of tears unwept; On days like this, I think it was a year Ago, I wrote of emptiness that crept To tangle in my work and seemed to shear Into a cloud that made my verse inept; And a year has gone, and now I still appear A quiet and upright person who has kept His life untangled, who can quietly steer Novices on fertile roads he once had stepped. But he is not the same; a major sun Has shone upon a road he dared not run.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Celebrations and Other Poems by David J. Murray Copyright © 2009 by David J. Murray. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................ix
Too Much to Lose....................2
Safety....................3
How Could I Leave ...?....................4
I Could Not Move....................5
Unsullied?....................6
Both of You....................7
Visions....................8
Where the Wind Blows....................9
A Sudden Blush....................10
Never Will Mornings Rise....................11
Winter Days....................12
The Heat Grew Hot....................13
Rains and Mists....................14
I Cannot Move....................15
Temptation....................16
Self-Delusion....................17
Premonition....................18
Here We Go Again....................19
Cliff-Cleft....................20
Idling in Neutral....................21
Brooding....................22
In the Cool Night Air....................23
Not the Same....................24
A Stable Fifty....................25
And Now the Quiet....................26
Why Here?....................27
Clarity....................28
Knowledge....................29
Daring....................30
New Life....................31
All I Need Do....................32
The Only Peace....................33
In the Blackest Night I Woke....................34
Internal Warfare....................35
A Muddy Grey....................36
Fighting....................37
Truth or Consequences....................38
Don't Talk....................39
Untitled....................40
Resultants....................41
As the Sunset Falls....................42
Christmas, 1986 #1....................43
Christmas,1986 #2....................44
Mother's Day, May 9, 1992....................46
Birthday, June 8, 1992....................47
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 1995....................48
St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1996....................49
Mother's Day, May 11, 1996....................50
Birthday, June 8, 1996....................51
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 1996....................52
St. Valentine's Day, 1997....................53
Birthday, June 8, 1997....................54
Mother's Day, May 10, 1998....................55
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 1998....................56
Christmas, 1998....................57
St. Valentine's Day, 1999....................58
Mother's Day, May 9, 1999....................59
Birthday, June 8, 1999....................60
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 1999....................61
(When we met)....................61
St. Valentine's Day, 2000....................62
Birthday, June 8, 2000....................63
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2000....................64
Christmas, 2000....................65
St. Valentine's Day, 2001....................66
Mother's Day, May 13, 2001....................67
Birthday, June 8, 2001....................68
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2001....................69
Christmas, 2001....................70
St. Valentine's Day, 2002....................71
Mother's Day, May 12, 2002....................72
Easter, 2002....................73
Birthday, June 8, 2002....................74
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2002....................75
"Normal Retirement Date," August 31, 2002....................76
Christmas, 2002....................77
St. Valentine's Day, 2003....................78
Mother's Day, May 11, 2003....................79
Birthday, June 8, 2003....................80
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2003....................81
Christmas, 2003....................82
New Year, January 1, 2004....................83
St. Valentine's Day, 2004....................84
Mother's Day, May 9, 2004....................85
Sixtieth Birthday, June 8, 2004....................86
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2004....................87
Christmas, 2004....................88
St. Valentine's Day, 2005....................89
Easter, 2005....................90
Mother's Day, May 8, 2005....................91
Birthday, June 8, 2005....................92
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2005....................93
Christmas, 2005....................94
St. Valentine's Day, 2006....................95
Mother's Day, May 14, 2006....................96
Birthday, June 8, 2006....................97
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2006....................98
Christmas, 2006....................99
New Years Eve, December 31, 2006....................100
St. Valentine's Day, 2007....................101
Easter, April 5, 2007....................102
Mother's Day, May 13, 2007....................103
Birthday, June 8, 2007....................104
Thirty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2007....................105
Christmas, 2007....................106
St. Valentine's Day, 2008....................107
Easter, March 23, 2008....................108
Mother's Day, May 11, 2008....................109
Birthday, June 8, 2008....................110
Wedding Anniversary, July 5, 2008....................111
Thanksgiving, 2008....................112
Christmas, 2008....................113
Death Day Bedroom #1, Intensive Care Unit, Kingston General Hospital February 5, 2009....................114
Funeral Day James Reid Memorial Chapel, Kingston, Ontario February 10, 2009....................115
Interment Day Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston February 12, 2009....................116
Headstone Dedication Day, June 6, 2009....................117

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