Photo by Emily Murdoch

 Click here: Current Poetry Archive to read more of my poetry.

The poems below are from my novel, The Bumblebee Project. They were written at the same time the book was written, inspired by the story line and the main character’s introspective journey. A few are below.

My hope, one day, is to gather all the poems into a separate book, Flight Patterns.

I rarely title my poems.


horse heaven:

other horses, dogs and sire and dam

reincarnations of everything that meant anything.

a steady voice and a steadying hand,

suns to race and moons to drink,

power to burn and life to live.

fade from view: mountains of manure

and ribs that begged for food.

sore feet in need of a trim, cents a pound,

traded in. riding a truck that never ends

only to welcome it; now here I am.


coyotes gather in a magic circle to sing down the sun.

crows slurp the horses’ water bucket when their dusty backs

are turned. we wait for a sign that everything will be all right

but the sign is designed so that you miss it most of the time

because none of this is supposed to be figured out.

the dead tree is crowned with a Christmas star

keeping watch over hoofed snorts and faint dog barks,

the porch lights low, clouds like sheep in the unfenced sky

roaming around without a care in the world. silent night rises

in a spiral of stars left to spread themselves out evenly.

life’s answers crowd around as well, waiting for those questions

never posed, as none of this is supposed to be figured out.

barefoot and blind on this perilous journey, with fate a bear

who’ll eat you whole, drawing ever-widening circles of truth

turned noose to hang your heart, you hold on because the soul

cries out for weathering, for cold rain and fists shook at the sky

while God searches for signs of higher life, to figure it all out.


there will be fits and starts, with the most meaningful roads

snaking and surprising. study the stars, and moss on bark

and pray to the Gods like crazy.

do you burn right out because you burn so intensely,

insatiable flames tumbling down the walls? are you a shooting star

aimed for the heavens, careless in immortal childhood?

apple-whole in your dented skin, the future rises up,

you can’t say no. here comes the fork in the road,

ready or not, the life-altering choice, the hardest part.


these damn new beginnings

needing endings, first.

we’ll talk to photos on the wall

stroke the cat where it curls

smile at the snoring dog

wave flies off the old horse

loudly pace the kitchen floor

then wash, rinse, repeat:

breeze and sky and trees,

horse, dog, flower, leaf

light to dark, cloud to star

weeks to months to years.


she’d rather be like sea glass, herself,

tinting the world green or brown,

a large enough shard to see the world

from a new perspective, flat as a prized

arrowhead, its edges smoothed by the sand,

living in a pocket beside a lucky penny

and a zigzagged bit of ritualistically smashed

Hohokam pottery.


to be free as a leaf,

free to let go,

that sure of yourself,

holy on your own.


prayers fall like rain

and the trees hum along,

ribbon of Milky Way, smear of stars

across a parallel universe

where storm clouds form

the thunder that WAKES YOU UP.


how do you hug a wheat field,

or close the sky with its eyes full of stars?

how does a dog chase the tail of a tornado,

or a woman drink a cup of storm?


you can feel the world with your hands

or with your heart, but keep both open

to change. the dreams you hold,

the intentions you sail out into the world

will come back to you tenfold

when you don’t even believe in luck.

enchanting, to be still and let miracles happen,

to let life work out itself. my disbelief has flown from me

like autumn’s leaves, gracefully, my mind is free

and empty because it’s new. the push to move on to a dream,

living in your straw house far too long,

you’ll build your wise world out of steel,

the softest kind that you can find.


How to hug a Donkey.

(Don Quixote, a.k.a. Donkey, saved from starvation and neglect.)

© 2008 Emily Murdoch      All Rights Reserved.

12 Responses

  1. I love your imagery. I get a strong sense of where you live here on your blog, in your regular posts as well. The setting is wonderfully evocative. Keep bringing this into your writing.

  2. Thank you, Steph! : )

    The desert really is amazing. The solitude and beauty bring forth a state of mind that is clear and pure and bottomless, perfect for poems and everything creative. I feel like I live on a permanent vacation. I’ve never felt the need to go away to a writing retreat — I live it, every day.

    I did the whole last edit of my novel outside in my rocking chair, on the covered porch, with all that beauty around me for inspiration.

    It gave me courage. My old poetry instructor would be proud. : )


  3. Hi Em,

    Your poetry has a clear, direct, eloquent simplicity. I especially love the one about sea glass.

    I’ve always wanted to go to Arizona. The more I read your blog the more that intensifies!

    take care,

  4. Thank you Tasha!

    My poetry, I’m always told, is “different”. Maybe because I taught myself — and just kept writing until it worked.

    I finally accepted that different is okay — just ask Emily Dickinson, right?

    Arizona really is amazing. You’d *love* it. So many places to go, to see, that just take your breath away.

    Em : )

  5. Found you! 🙂

    Love the writing Em. It’s still as beautiful as I remember.

  6. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{ Tierney }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    Hey there, my old friend. : )

    I was just thinking of you this weekend, planning to write you, and then, here you are. : )

    I’ll catch you up in email as soon as I get a spare moment, meaning the next day or two, but, it made my day and it made me smile big to see you here. I did a happy doubletake, lol!

    Thank you for the compliment on the poEms. : ) They’re a little more polished now, with sixteen years of writing and rewriting poetry under my belt, but the message remains the same.

    Em : )

  7. What a beautiful blog and your poetry is so moving. i am taken to what you see because you express it so well. Gorgeous photo of the donkey as well! Kateri x

  8. Awwww, thank you so much, Stillinheaven. You are very kind. : )

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the poems. That made my day.

    And thanks for the compliments on Don Quixote — a.k.a., Donkey-Oatie. Donkey is as sweet as they come, and owns a large part of my heart. : )

    He’s a very good boy, and quite the love-bug.

    Thank you for stopping by, and for your comment. It made me smile, today.


  9. You weave wonderful pictures with words. As always.

  10. Thank you, and thank you for dropping by and for your comment. : ) It’s been awhile.

    I hadn’t known you were such a talented artist! Your work is amazing.


  11. Love your Poetry…brings directly to my heart and soul. I love the donkey, please give him/her a big hug for me.

  12. Gave Donkey your hug, aww! And I’m glad you liked the poems! Thank you! : )


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