Spirit in Matter – a poem by Emily Peña Murphey

Spirit in Matter

This was the morning when I saw through their grey veils
The souls of the stones.
Suggestions of weathered faces
Peered from beneath hoods of moss and the detritus of fallen leaves.
One bore a beard of pale lichen,
Another sported a downy cockade of unfurling fern.
A slick quartz boulder revealed itself the group’s leader;
The others encircled, it heeding a silent homily
Imparting the wisdom that accrues
To a being that has lodged for centuries in an earthen hollow.

Round about the trees kept watch,
Drawn up erect, all cellular senses honed;
Their alert intelligence vibrated
With the hum of a tautly-stretched wire.

Regiments of bloodroot
Massed on a southward slope
With green mantles folded beneath snowy helms,
Awaiting the high-pitched blast
Of a fairy trumpet.

Meanwhile, a grateful pool slowly filled
As a replenishing brook rushed down its throaty channel.

To be here at such a time each year,
To be silent,
To perceive the world with unnamed senses;
This is my commitment.


Emily Peña Murphey is a retired psychotherapist who has published work in several literary journals. She was recently designated a finalist in the short story and essay categories of the Adelaide Voices Literary Contest. She has family roots in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Texas’ Río Grande Valley.  She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S.A.










Emily Peña 2016


    1. Thank you so much! Though I committed to seeing these sights every spring, I was destined to move far away a year or two after the poem was written, and sometime later in another season a tree was felled across the stand of bloodroot. Ephemeral!


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