Two poems by Hayden Murphy

For many years, the Edinburgh-based Irish poet Hayden Murphy has been producing wonderful keepsake poems to mark Bloomsday and since 1992 he has been collaborating with the artist and publisher Hugh Bryden. Hayden himself will no doubt be known to many of you as not only a poet, but a fine critic and man-of-letters as well as the editor of the legendary literary periodical Broadsheet (1967-1978). These two examples of Hayden’s Bloomsday poems are part of a series I will be publishing on this site in the run-up to Bloomsday proper. The first poem here, an elegy for one of Scotland’s greatest poets, Hugh MacDiarmid, hails from 1992 and the second, a birthday celebration for the 80th birthday of another of Scotland’s finest poets, Edwin Morgan, is from 2000. The latter is particularly pertinent now, considering that 2020 marks Morgan’s centenary. In the photo below, taken in 2014 at the Irish consulate in Edinburgh, Hayden Murphy (left) drinks a jar of Guinness with Hugh Bryden, his collaborator.

Scan_H&H 20200605

 

 

FEATHER  AND STONE

I.M. Christopher Murray Grieve (1892-1978)

 

Eel nouns, crowned

Teeth, capped on Riding

Day with sombre headdress.

 

Handed over the grave,

Blown needle thin

Are tree-drawn wind

Flayed words

Into memory.

                                                     Feather

Testimony of tribe.

Scribe, chieftain

Of rock-hewn terms

Of agreement. Water

Gently marking

Divides.

               Red

Woven into black

Meeting blue

Flat on the palm

Against the palm

Handing over the grave

A leaf grained feather.

                                                       Stone

Earthed. Against

Grey skin, the watching

Sky, a white veiled

Rose is worn. Stubborn

As black.

                  Plain,

Pale, brave.

 

Mole verbs, tapped

Tongue , horse-drawn

Freeman crowned.

 

 

 

ANAPHORA

For Edwin Morgan beyond 80

 

Grey blue

                                  River laid against

The key stone polishes

                                                         Low

Pebbles   sounding   out   an    eddy

Echo

              River fluid

                                                      Under

                                                    bridges

Hymns the sentence

                                              Greek blue

River rhetoric

                                  Moves to whisper

Out a liquid line

                                      Retelling

                                                           Sins

Recalling crossing journeys

Greek blue

                               Waters tippling over

An untidy tale as two

                                           Remembering

To cojoin within

                              Loose pages

                                                                All

All memory meandering

                                                     Between

Embrace

                     Condensed

                                                Greek blue.

 

One thought on “Two poems by Hayden Murphy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s