Dr. James Snyder,
Director of the Marist Honors Program

“Millbrook”
by Ryan Murphy

We live no longer In a tense.
The grass grows A branch breaks
And the you and I A bough.
This is not a feature film.

If you think of it
One day, perhaps not soon,
Not too soon,
Pull down The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara (University of California Press)
And start at the bottom
Of page 30.
No, the sun is out
After the thunderstorm, The bees trapped between The window and the screen, And the flowers, fleshy And damp blown
From the tulip tree.
No one writes back.
Or they do it is too late, No one listening any more.
Go down gunning.

“Millbrook” is a poem that is in part about returning home to a small village after many years. It captures the timelessness of our hometowns, how nothing seems to change, even ourselves. This has always been my experience of returning to Troy, NY, where I grew up. It’s at once familiar and frightening. Also, the poem is about where I have lived now for many years now. It is where my wife and I have put down our roots and are raising our children. Murphy’s poem captures the beauty and frustrations of living in the small that we call home.

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