Breath & Shadow
Spring 2016 - Vol. 13, Issue 2
"Mutability" and "New Mexico"
Mark A. Murphy
What is she doing out here in the suburbs, so far
from her woodland home, surveying the yard next door?
Perhaps she hungers for worldly things,
human yards paved with gold?
Oh, we know, she is no magpie, and still
the nude silver-birch loves her kind
as we love them both in their kindnesses.
Our tree a constant friend through seasons thick and thin.
The wood pigeon a one-time visitor to these parts
where man covets man
in the long struggle of the flesh
for goods and power over his neighbour.
What shall we call her this early morning, perched
as she is in our favourite silver birch,
quite remarkable in her winter finery, feathers plumed
against the cold?
Some names are forgotten in time, some deeds good and bad
pass us by, but the simple act of a bird feeding
in our favourite tree, as she passes by,
is just enough to make the morning worthwhile.
My love is heading to the desert, seeking solace
from the world of bodies,
conurbations, towns, cities on heat.
What she will find there is beyond knowing,
she hardly speaks beyond, I love you,
which hurts beyond the telling
since her new man has arrived with guitar and gun,
as if he might coax the tree rats from their runs.
and the world might yet forgive,
fail twice and your enemy might well come knocking.
So we hide behind the fire door, not knowing
who or what waits in hiding for us
beyond the arrest warrant
and the impending sense of doom.
Do your worst, love,
to annihilate what might bind man and wife, the truth
is hardly black or white, lacking
cohesion, go to the desert if you must.
Mark A. Murphy’s first full length collection, Night-watch Man & Muse was published in November 2013 from Salmon Poetry (Eire). He is currently looking for a publisher for his first full length play, Lenny’s Wake.