A Short Note To My Hobo (Robert Murphy)

February 17, 2010

There where you live it is late winter,
The earth still sleeping
Beneath the ghostly ambiguities
Of that other hemisphere.
Here, it is phlox-time
With swallowtails too big
For the blue scilla of spring poems.
This summer’s calculus of lost angels
Dance their pure choreography
On a chance wind,
And I can almost feel
That stop-action hummingbird
Dip his entire body
Into the scarlet trumpet
Of my thoughts.


I asked Bob Murphy to make an appearance last week as “Guest Poet” for the literature class I teach at the Art Academy. He read this poem and a few others, and spoke with such eloquence and feeling about the tension between seeing and being seen, the wonderfully complex reciprocity our bodies are engaged in with the world around us. The poem comes from his extraordinary collection Life in the Ordovician (Dos Madres Press, 2007).


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