About the Author

George Murray

George Murray's three previous books of poetry include The Hunter (McClelland & Stewart, 2003) and The Cottage Builder's Letter (M&S, 2001). His poems, fiction and criticism have appeared in many publications in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and Europe. Murray won the 2003 New York Festivals Radio and Television Gold Medal for Best Writing for his broadcast poem "Anniversary: A Personal Inventory" and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is the editor and publisher of the popular literary website Bookninja.com and a contributing editor for several literary magazines, including Canadian Notes and Queries and The Drunken Boat. He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Books by this Author

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A Book of Second Thoughts
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Diversion

Diversion

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Glimpse

Glimpse

Selected Aphorisms
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Aphorisms
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Aphorisms by George Murray

 

1

 

Every opening of the eye is an entry.

 

2

 

Epiphany is the third ball thrown towards hands that have already caught one each.

 

3

 

The first boy to snip a flower from your garden for his lover is an enterprising lad, but every one after that is a thief.

 

4

 

Stupidity is society’s shitty weather: there’s no use complaining about it.

 

5

 

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while looking for a different result; of course, this is also the definition of science.

 

6

 

Life is to poetry as a random number generator is to math: it screws everything up until it accidentally makes everything right.

 

7

 

Intention is a photograph that hasn’t yet been taken.

 

8

 

A stroke of genius and a stroke are separated only by hospital time.

 

9

 

Dare is the larval form of deed.

 

10

 

The problem with now is it’s over before you kn

 

11

 

Fears are like clothing: for years you grow into and out of them until you stop growing and find the ones that fit you best.

 

12

 

Humanity: even after all this evolution we’re still smiling and biting with the same teeth.

 

13

 

Quiet reflection doesn’t lead to epiphany, it just leads to knowing your mind, in which all epiphanies are already present.

 

14

 

The closer one comes to perfection the more disappointing the failure.

 

15

 

Memory is the purest form of imagination.
(Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”)

 

16

 

A man’s worst enemy is his best friend’s envy.

 

17

 

The gulf between an ass and a fool is narrower than the one between a pompous ass and a pompous fool.

 

18

 

Friendship is the park in which power likes to play.

 

19

 

People wear their politics like bathing suits: some like board shorts, some like Speedos.

 

20

 

As said by mystics and proctologists both: this too shall pass.

 

21

 

Politics weaponizes idiocy.

 

22

 

Friends are the things you have while searching for brothers.

 

23

 

Believing you believe in something is a fundamentalist act.

 

24

 

The asshole’s mantra: if you can’t be in charge, be the sheriff.

 

25

 

A riot is one person’s problems communicated.

 

26

 

Yes may grow from maybe but maybe seldom grows from no.

 

27

 

It takes fewer movements to make a gesture than gestures to make a movement.

 

28

 

One of the hardest lessons one learns growing up is that the lessons weren’t just for you.

 

29

 

Commiseration is a full enough meal for the heart.
(Bishop, “The Fish”)

 

30

 

Are mistakes made at the point of action or the point of recognition?

 

31

 

Today and tomorrow are neighbours and the fence between them is you.

 

32

 

The fire of any idea is subject to the rain of any given day.

 

33

 

A noose is a one-person net.

 

34

 

Everybody: the prime concern of average people.

 

35

 

Living well includes living poorly; in fact, it relies on failure.

 

36

 

Each leaf is a table at which the sun dines.

 

37

 

If the emperor had got those clothes on sale, no one would have complained.

 

38

 

Why doesn’t 50 percent seem as significant as one in every two?

 

39

 

Fog becomes rain when you move through it.

 

40

 

Dignity is what we call the constellation of panics and solutions that form a sense of self.

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The Hunter
Excerpt

WOLF
The architect of the cottage on the hill
never took into account
its foundations. Having been paid

for a hasty erection, he forgot what damage
the ages might do
to a dwelling built in a passion for ease.

It’s not the noise of the city that distracts,
it’s the narrative.
It’s the urge to pluck order, a through-­line,

purpose, from the seeming chaos. It’s the need
to make sense from nonsense
that occupies waking moments and coaxes

inactivity from accomplishment.
O for a pair of red eyes
in the woods. What should we fear

in an age that has killed emergency,
when stakes of destruction
have been jacked so high no one

can match the ante? The kindness
in the eyes of the dog
is not the opposite of the malice

dripping from the wolf’s maw. For now
we must share these shadows
with the dark, for it does not have its own.
For now we must go where they
do not want us.
For now we must explore.

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The Rush to Here

The Rush to Here

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Whiteout

Whiteout

Poems
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Wow Wow and Haw Haw

Wow Wow and Haw Haw

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