In the ‘author’s note’ to his most recent book of aphorisms, Quick, George Murray describes aphorisms as “poetic essences” or “poems without all the poetry getting in the way.” “With an aphorism,” he writes, “I am trying to convey a poetic idea, or a moment of epiphany in the most economical way possible, but without losing the elegance and solidity of the well-crafted poem.” The idea and experience of epiphany is perhaps the best organizational principle through which to approach George’s work. His aphorisms are carefully distilled tinctures, administered with pinpoint accuracy and utmost efficacy across a wide range of issues and concerns, including the subject of epiphanies…
Epiphany is the third ball thrown towards hands that have already caught one each.
Many of his aphorisms are, in fact, “poetic essences”: the essential image, shorn of any formal superstructure—the artichoke’s heart without its choke, thorns or petals…
Each leaf is a table at which the sun dines.
The brain is a catcher’s mitt.
Memory is the purest form of imagination.
(Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”)
Jugglers are thieves pickpocketing the air.
A man standing at a dead end need only turn around to see the road continue.
Two things that are equal are each halves.
Other aphorisms are more politically minded, achieving at times a kind of imagistic social satire:
Politics weaponizes idiocy.
Age is a process of coming to terms with the unmade bedding of one’s own eyes each morning.
At birth we are presented with a menu and life is the couple of minutes the waitress is giving us to decide.
Leaders are seldom the first to arrive.
Quick rewards readers with memorable insights and imagery, delivered with grace and precision. And if you like these extracts, check out George’s previous collection, Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, which I blogged about back on January 21 2011.