Four Themes on a Variation

By G. E. Murray

While nothing satisfies, not morning’s
Bleary mirror or the slick embrace at hand,
Consider our mutual jewel an untouching, a pouring   
Into sweet emptied arms called worth and habit.   
Hey, you there, change of mind, eh?
So, it is these comic-book poses that promise   
Softer years, quite bearable as amnesia or sex.


Tough talkers, their brain-pans fried black   
From a constant heat, turn out swell
On the boulevard strolling in evening wear.   
Appearances being unavoidable   
As the urge to keep tuned, even stars   
Seems to itch for more, for a squeeze   
Of all our drizzling nothings, save time.


Leaning out from this wayside planet,
You witness another life blown like glass   
Without pattern or fatuous secret,
Yet a limited edition of uncertain radius.   
Presume then to be home, a part dismantled   
By continuity; some guiding light
Phasing on and off like an unoriginal religion.


Get far up and hard in the hole
Between dead of winter skies and beyond   
Limits of ourselves documented by precinct,   
Greeted cordially by scandal. Too soon   
Allegiance becomes resistance and otherwise;   
Meanwhile, after a holy pinch in the ass   
You are often saved and, perhaps, in love.

G. E. Murray, “Four Themes on a Variation” from Arts of a Cold Sun. Copyright © 2003 by G. E. Murray. Used with the permission of the poet and the University of Illinois Press.

Source: Walking the Blind Dog (University of Illinois Press, 1992)

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Poet G. E. Murray

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Religion, Living, Love, The Body, Nature, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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