Thomas Hurley

Pine Row Issue No. 9 Spring 2024 - Featured Poet

Walking Up the Road in Early January


Perhaps the animal in us sensed the coming storm,

in the exposed branches and a pallid sun that never rose

above the treetops, as if too tired or half-dreaming.


Sure enough, snow began falling as we slept

and had muffled the woods by morning. Cardinals

flocked to the ice-rimed feeders and juncos


fought for every seed that fell, pink claws scratching

in the snow. Blue jays speared the nuts we scattered

and flew off to bury them in secret caches.


Sometimes I long for a hunger that primal. Not

food for the body but a spirit fire, a purpose

so fierce and focused only its feeding matters.


Last night I dreamed that my father had died.

My sister came to tell me. He was walking across

an empty field and just dropped his body, she said,


like an old coat no longer needed. Then

he went on, the air around him glowing.

This morning, I went out to shovel snow


and feed the birds. The tracks of a fox

edged the meadow, where in the fertile dark

underground, seeds we have sown slumber.

About the poem:  as shared by the poet

Regarding the poem: After a long career in other fields, I finally have the opportunity to focus on poetry. This was one of my first attempts to weave several dimensions of experience together more intentionally. One of the things I love most both in writing and reading poetry is opening to the mysteries of what it means to be human in a more-than-human world. 

As a writer new myself to the process of writing more intentionally, I would encourage other new writers to share their work with others, listen carefully to their feedback, and then use that to help them clarify more deeply both what they want to say and how best to say it. 

Thomas John Hurley is a poet, photographer, and leadership consultant. He is a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, and his Celtic heritage manifests in a deep love of nature, a gift for story, and passion for the unseen dimensions of life, soul, and spirit. He and his wife are rewilding land in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

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