The Cause of Daylight

by Sheila Murphy. Published by J. Lehmus/EXP Office 2003: J. Lehmus, Kauristie 24, 02860 Esporo, Finland.

Book Review by

One sometimes needs a taste: Section 17 of Shelia E. Murphy’s The Cause of Daylight:

bongoes
from afar
become
the scoop
neck of
percussion

Isn’t it like Cage, in the sense that there is this silence that surrounds these words, which is not at all part of these words at all but must be part of them to be ’ so there is this balance which is then music. This is Murphy at her best. While these are short lines I love reading all of S.E.M.’s lines. You will too. They are real lines of poetry. She has a sense of the line as a unit of measure in the poetry. The sections, there are 30 of them, clash with the reading mind, like constellations of sound. Once you get to the end of the note, there is no beginning of the next note, only the note’s next beginning. The work is always pulling at you. Back. Forth. This is a tension one enjoys. A startle in the silence of all of the endless sheep jumping sleepy poetry. And while I like the wonderment and the play of sound upon sound, clashing and measured breath and breathing, beneath all of these words is a life and this proves that a new poetry can have genuine heart as well as lung.