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Cantata for Woodland and Orchestra
Ralph Murre

There, just there where the first cellos
of March come in, before the oboes
or the ides there, the brooding
before budding or cranes return,
before clarion brass of calendar spring,
the thing made of maple and ice,
there, that dripping, the ripping of the long,
white garment, there, the giggling
of flutes, perennial roots waking in cold soil.
At last, a roll of timpani just
before this symphony season’s end,
a thunder of freeze unfreezing.
Cymbal crash of lightning tightening senses,
there, the tension as a hundred violins go wild,
waking your lover, waking your child.
Innuendo of greening in the plop
of that first drop of the applauding rain
and it’s over again there’s a silence
so profound we can hear the stirring
of the deep unknown, and underground.

© by Ralph Murre.
Used with the author’s permission.

Ralph Murre is a recovering Wisconsin farm boy who has taken to poetry instead of plowing, since the pay rate is about the same, and the females involved tend to be human rather than Holstein. His books to date are Crude Red Boat (unfortunately now out of print), Psalms, and The Price of Gravity. Ordering information for these books is available from, or you may purchase them from the YDP Store. You can learn more about Ralph, and enjoy his photographs, drawings, and more poetry, at his Arem Arvinson blog.



Post New Comment:
Ralph, I read this while away from home and couldn't remember my password to respond at that time! Just want you to know I really like this poem! Karen Wilson
Posted 03/29/2012 04:04 PM
Ralph Murre:
Thanks again. You are all too kind and your future as critics is very much in doubt.
Posted 03/14/2012 08:28 AM
Wonderful! I read it and then reread and then had to read it again out loud. Thank you, Ralph! Phyllis
Posted 03/13/2012 05:10 PM
"Catching up" on my Daily Poem and So Glad I Did! This one is just too wonderful to do without!!! I am in awe... Judy
Posted 03/12/2012 01:55 PM
Also great to read all the poetic comments. I think I heard "Bravo, Bravo."
Posted 03/12/2012 11:05 AM
hey...worth coming back from poet camp to read this!!! a thunder of freeze unfreezing whoa. beautiful.
Posted 03/11/2012 12:23 PM
Ralph, I am a day behind. I love the sounds and the sights of this poem. Wonderful, thank you. Let Spring begin!
Posted 03/11/2012 10:07 AM
Ralph Murre:
My heartfelt thanks to all of you. Once in a while, you suspect that a piece works pretty well, but this sort of response, this affirmation, is overwhelming. ~ RM
Posted 03/10/2012 10:27 PM
I so enjoyed this one! And your bio, too!
Posted 03/10/2012 03:52 PM
"there's a silence so profound we can hear the stirring,"plows the field of my imagination. Reading it out loud, I, who do not hear music, can hear. Beautiful poem Ralph.
Posted 03/10/2012 01:45 PM
Wonderful. I hear each measure and see the craines of prosperity come again and again each spring. The music of the spheres and the cycle of the seasons never ending. Thank you. A great poem.
Posted 03/10/2012 12:45 PM
Must be close to the epitome of music clothed in words. Many thanks.
Posted 03/10/2012 10:35 AM
The repetition of sounds-- spring/thing, flute/root,timpani/symphany-- lifts and suspends and even in the silent poem's ending, I find myself floating still. Lovely.
Posted 03/10/2012 09:23 AM
Oh good Gosh, Ralph, you've done it again, stirred me to the core. I had goose bumps by the time I made it all the way through this one! Bravo!
Posted 03/10/2012 09:15 AM
Hi, Ralph! I really like the "dripping. . . ripping" and the "lightning tightening" --what fun this poem is. And I like your blog too, by the way.
Posted 03/10/2012 09:08 AM
I'm not sure I've ever seen more musical poetry, with internal rhyme, assonance consonance, onomatopoeia--I would say it should be put to music but it is already wonderfully musical!
Posted 03/10/2012 09:05 AM
This poem captures what the month of March is really like. Good work!
Posted 03/10/2012 08:55 AM
This poem captures what the month of March is really like. Good work!
Posted 03/10/2012 08:54 AM
Ralph, I am glad you took up poetry in place of plowing! this is so wonderful, but aren't plowing and poetry kind of alike. Thanks
Posted 03/10/2012 08:21 AM
Donna Pflueger:
To the maestro - outstanding! "Cymbal crash of lightning tightening senses" -a direct hit for me and captured in such a unique and evocative way!
Posted 03/10/2012 08:11 AM
ed werstein:
Read this poem out loud to yourself and listen to the sounds. Beautiful. Great work, Ralph.
Posted 03/10/2012 07:51 AM
Wow! And Bravo!
Posted 03/10/2012 07:38 AM
a perfect capturing of the music of spring--beautiful!
Posted 03/10/2012 07:37 AM
Kay Sanders:
Beautiful! You've captured spring and let it go again, the sounds carrying us with it.
Posted 03/10/2012 07:02 AM
Janet Leahy:
What a concert! Love the stirring of the deep unknown. Bravo!
Posted 03/10/2012 06:59 AM
This poem could carry me to the sounds of my silent dreams.
Posted 03/10/2012 05:22 AM

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