Poem: Lights Out (by Ralph Murre)

we need to sit on the rim

of the well of darkness

and fish for fallen light

~ pablo neruda


Is it to be you over there, against us here, or are we

together somewhere in this labyrinth of want or need

and is it greed on my part to desire, still, to

have and hold some old bit of civility? Will we sit

across a table, or shall we build some towering wall on

the border of red and blue, a fence on the

     boundary of us and you, place guns, if we’re able, along the rim

of lake and sea, bunkers on the banks of

every river, where we’ll hunker down upon the

sodden shores of enmity? Can we both drink from the one well

we know, or will my kids, or yours, have to let go of

this sweet water and drink gall? Then, when it’s all darkness,

will some child again find match and candle and

will some new savior feed a few from loaf and fish,

do you suppose? And will some great-great-grand wish for

some sort of monument in that place we’ve fallen,

say it’s only right to remember the ones who shot out the light?

~ ralph murre


Ralph Murre is a longtime resident of the peninsula who sometimes claims to be a poet or artist. People occasionally fall for it, and they’ve named him Door County’s 2015-17 poet laureate. Much of his work from recent years can be found in various reviews and in several of his own books.

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