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Poems from Afar
Hard to imagine
the inferiority of one mountain,
one stone set against another,
yet the garage floor
behind the pebbled yard diminishes,
perishes in the suicide
of a great uncle. Years later
in the thinness of time
our children will not fret
the insolent rut of rope
about the neck.
Chalk it up to experience,
the beguiling father who rolls
weighing and imposing hate
on the living siblings
who may yet still rise in old Ohio
on beds of ice.
So we look to the amethyst
in the yard
that finds its way
into the hands of a seven year old boy.
We who are experts in pain will seek
and cut the palm
in the name of the rose
and white-hot-iron abstinence.
Once there was sunlight
on Lake Austin,
now only amethyst
stands between worldly oblivion,
the broken windows
of the cathedral, and the drunk consciousness
of adulthood. Shatter the pane
with your fist,
open your veins if you insist.
Though we are sick and far beyond
flight, a boy’s gift might yet bring
our histories together.
Too old in years, our worlds bereft,
no occasion to cry,
none to laugh.
Drink from the black carafe
as if your life depended upon it.
Spy Aidan’s stone
if you will
in the bowed but delighted
hours of a lifetime.
Once more the small hours
with Austin’s unforgettable verse,
and we die a little
in the brittle starlight of night.
So the cruel
and unyielding dead
come to steal the talismanic stone.
Listen to the lament
in this song,
hard to imagine, somewhere, we do belong.
Once I was your 'brave Irish poet,'
pitted against butcher
who would ruin you and enslave
the poor girl and the crucified Christ.
Hard to imagine that men
would dare to dice
for His cloak under the eyes of heaven.
Now we leave our humble disguises
behind as we move
from one decade's debacle to another
O, we know other pilgrims
have trod the path
where family and friends may tread.
drink the blood –
I'm coming with nought
but amethyst, bed-rock, immersed
in the mysteries of heaven-sent sunsets.
Mark A. Murphy’s first full length collection, Night-watch Man & Muse was published in November 2013 from Salmon Poetry (Eire). His poems have appeared in over 100 magazines around the world. He is currently looking for a publisher for his first full length play, Lenny’s Wake.