Jim Murdoch: Two poems

The Only Way

Lay siege to feelings.
It’s the only way.
You cannot best them.
They’re sharper, smarter,
crueller and strong
and your only hope
is to starve them out.

Don’t engage with them.
Don’t negotiate.
Don’t trust their white flags.

Hold out until they
devour themselves then
once the wailing ends
and the miasma fades,
shoulder your shovel,
say a few last words
and don’t mark the graves.


Our body talks to us in awkward ways,
in aches and pains, during dreams and nightmares,
through half-formed notions, voices of dead ones
and imaginings.

It communicates
shrewdly—in reflections, in echoes, murmurs
and asides. It never says what it means.
It leads us astray.

It eggs us on but
seldom lets slip if we’re on the right track.
Is that twinge in your chest your heart, just wind
or perchance true love?

Why can’t you forget
that night, that girl, that slight vacillation
yet can’t call to mind that smile or her name?
What is it hiding?

Why is it hidden?
What could your body know or think it does?


Copyright © Jim Murdoch 2013

Jim Murdoch is a Scottish poet and novelist living just outside Glasgow. He’s published three novels, a collection of poems and has just brought out his first book of short stories, Making Sense. You can find out more about him via his blog The Truth About Lies and his website.

About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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