Mark A. Murphy’s first full length collection, Night-watch Man & Muse was published in November 2013 from Salmon Poetry (Eire). Murphy’s poems have been published in over 100 magazines and ezines in 17 different countries world wide.
What did we seek at the top of Pikes Peak?
Only each other, love. Only each other.
I answer out of wonder.
We were riding on the cog railway,
the highest in the world
at over 14000 feet –
when I wrapped my reefer jacket around you,
sweeping you up in my arms
whilst the blizzard raged
outside the train, but that was long ago
and today we have little idea
of where we are going.
I doubt we will ride that cog railway
again in this lifetime,
but the memory
of it still envelops me in the certainty
that is you, now sleeping,
and there can be no sadness in going on,
only the dream that we
shall live again.
And, from under the wet rhododendrons
you will rise and leave that garden
quite mystified as to why
you had to leave,
your mother shouting for you in the summer rain,
no slight rain as you remember
but the kind that soaks a person to the bone.
Strange, they might say, a boy
baring his boyish chest to the rain
as though the rain might heal him, like a memory.
Already we have seen in you the man
that you will be, striding through puddles
in the ruined cities of adulthood,
lending hand and ear
to the weary stragglers on reflection,
arriving at the gable end from the virgin moors
with visions of childhood –
seven starlings about to stir and start, alighting,
about to swoop and sing
in the early morning drizzle, eschewing darkness.
Our sweet Irish homecoming –
We once knew of a beginning but where will it all end?
The marriage party left Dublin in disarray,
dismal and drunk, with no care for sleeping,
no care for England or America.
My wife and I felt as though we were leaving home,
leaving Dublin for what might turn out
to be an eternity. We slept peacefully
in Dublin’s arms. Now we sleep apart.
Even in the deepest dark, married as we are, we fear it
like children separated and alone
with no means of going back,
of going on. Our city has shrunk from view.
With memories of our dead friends we inhabit
our divided continents, driven lives,
living as we do for tomorrow
where we might sleep once more
without fear in Dublin – for us – the city of love.
I kiss her uncovered thighs whilst she daydreams,
caress her Delta of Venus
with my mouth
in her slumber, the origin of all morality
mortality, godliness. How could she know
the miracles she bestows
upon my tongue,
swollen now with a new sense of loving?
Siren she is to me (corporeal being) giving nothing
away but beatitudes
to the living man –
in her honour he utters his daily prayers.
Now there is no one between her and I, only
the thin sense of years,
miles that separate
two bodies frantically seeking to be one.
Sleep, lady, sleep: while our friends, the stars
dance and wheel above us
in the northern sky.
Close your sleepy eyes and let the highest oak
be your resting place in the cool jewelled darkness.
Now the moon spreads its silver wings
over all the land,
the parks and playing fields lie dormant
and nothing but the old zephyr stirs in the silver trees.
Sleep, little one, sleep in my mortal body, in my soul,
as you have never slept before.
Let no creatures of the night worry your dreams.
Imagine nothing now but the last repose
of the candle flame.
Tomorrow you will wake with poems
under your pillow,
the hum of my voice in your ear
and the scent of hibiscus in your early morning tea.