February 21, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Peter Hershey photo



Mark A. Murphy




Clayton Fields



Through the fire, I see a shimmering girl.

She’s collecting water for tea

and I’m immersed in her whereabouts,

what she will do, who she will be.


Sometimes we put our lives on hold

whilst waiting for others

to join us on the path of right and wrong,

as if heaven or hell mattered a jot.


So we busy ourselves with goat’s cheese

and carrot, a little garlic and onion,

a little tangerine. These are the laws

we must live by if we are ever to find


meaning beyond the orchard garden.

It’s not enough to imbibe the fruit

and be merry. We must check ourselves

daily to find parables beyond the telling.


Once we were lovers. Now a certain sadness

fills my eyes as I look upon you

beyond the fire, beyond our little picnic,

at peace with your life, but not with me.


As I rake over the hot ashes, I find

another voice calling me from afar,

reigniting my dreams of belonging

and so we move ineluctably apart


as if for the last time over our strange lunch

on the allotment, our feelings

never defined, only talked over the phone

as a kind of bind, an uninformed union.





Condolences Haibun or The Persistence of Adrenalin


(for Oli)



We look out of death’s window

both picturing our own ends

out on the road below.


Today the vituperative adder will eat the blue jay’s eggs without any thought

for tomorrow. Disquieted by the strange unreality of falling, we each in turn

panic at the thought of it. Then the news you’ve dreaded all week – the cancer

has finally taken your aunt. What can I tell you, my friend, except, cry your heart

out whilst you can? Tonight death’s window will call to us again, beckoning

like a beacon of heaven. And we will resist temptation, slowly but surely,

learning more each day how to avoid senseless pain.


Today the black bear will not save the raven from a watery grave.






Mark A. Murphy

Mark A. Murphy was born in 1969. His first collection of poems, Tin Cat Alley was published in 1996. His full length collection, Night-watch Man & Muse was published in 2013 by Salmon Poetry, Eire. He is currently looking for a publisher.

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