The Story Behind “bind” by Chris Murray

CMurray HeadshotToday’s post is written by Chris Murray. We published two of her poems from ‘bind’ in our Spring 2017 issue. 

‘bind’ is a short book, that is not quite a chapbook. It is set on peripheries, within self-imposed psychic borders and it is limited by human psychological boundaries, concerns that operate in silence for the most part. ‘bind’ takes its name from my use of triple hyphenation in the beginning part of the book:



if there are birds here,

they are of stone.

draughts of birds



‘bind’ is a winter to spring book. Winter > Spring comprises the unstated and almost invisible movement of the book. It is a ‘cold’ book that contains within it the germ of a human spring, barely sensed among the humus and detritus of an unidentified winter ‘place’.

In ‘small mirror’, the image of a small leaf caught in frozen water at the foot of a tree (frozen /floating/ static) represents the triple-lock binding of an /object which began in chapter one with ‘flesh-bone-wing’.


Small mirror

tree’s bole coldfoots the mire, she

gathers to herself a small black mirror,

enclosing, then into her skin

a stray leaf dereliction

(frozen /floating/ static)


The book started its life as a collaborative text, which had not succeeded. It became a necessary operation to rescue my original text from the oblivion of the filing cabinet. A finished collection ‘Delicate’ was filed away in order to unpick and rescue ‘bind’ and its symbols from the original collaboration.

‘bind’ is divided into ‘chapters’, ‘bind’ (‘bind again’), ‘a hierarchy of halls’, ‘babel’, ‘wintering’ and ‘the halved stone’. The book is largely unpeopled and without human presence until ‘babel’ at least, wherein speech begins to enter the fray of  ideas, ephemeral shapes and silent bird life that are picking at the stitches that bind us to silence. These things/objects, the hidden germinating seed for instance, carry out their necessitous operations. Their necessary growth in the decaying half-spoken landscape represent that which cannot be held back or held in because we are grieving or wanting to stop.

Germination, survival and development are shown to be as necessary as our breath, our breathing (outbreath). The work of necessity underpins the idea of ‘bind’. Human endeavour continues beneath the ground which is a scorched earth. Small hopes emerge, often despite us.

this is not the prospect of, nor image

of a flower,

but the very thing itself.

In the midst of writing, editing and submitting other works, the text of ‘bind’ and its tropes became an obsession and its completion was necessary to my health. I began to unpick the entire manuscript as it was then, the process was long and it was traumatic. Some poems from the text have been published.

Thanks for the opportunity to write about how the book emerged. It echoed the book’s ideas, in that it was partly buried, difficult to unpick from a collaborative effort and stitched piece by piece back together as painstakingly as the process of its original creation. I am delighted to have the entire manuscript finished after a process that took two years and much obsession about how to move it forward without rending its fragile structure.

About the Author

Chris Murray is an Irish poet. Her chapbook Three Red Things was published by Smithereens Press in June 2013. A small collection of interrelated poems in series and sequence, Cycles, was published by Lapwing Press in autumn 2013. A book-length poem, The Blind, was published by Oneiros Books in 2013. Her second book-length poem, She, was published by Oneiros in spring 2014. A chapbook, Signature, was published by Bone Orchard Press in March 2014. “A Modern Encounter with ‘Foebus abierat’: On Eavan Boland’s ‘Phoebus Was Gone, all Gone, His Journey Over’ ” was published in Eavan Boland: Inside History (Editors: Nessa O’Mahony and Siobhán Campbell) by Arlen House in 2016.


  1. Thank you lovelies

  2. Mare leonard says

    Loved bind The form and the images. Reminds me of a Haibon

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