Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-06-2018, 03:28 AM
John Beaton's Avatar
John Beaton John Beaton is offline
Able Muse/Eratosphere Sponsor Appreciation!
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 7,518

i.m. Tim Murphy

Redheaded lover of words,
of dogs and hogs and booze,
partaker of many a dinner
of wildfowl chased with Jim Beam
and lost to religion, a sinner
for being a Catholic gay,
you relished the mountain and stream
yet gambled all you could lose
and whittled your assets away
like you whittled small sticks as a Scout,
wondering how to come out.

In the midst of startled birds
you fired your faithful gun
at a cock as it crossed the sun
and, blinded by the light,
eager, as ever, to write,
you charged your pen with rapture;
as the glorious pheasant dropped
on golden fields you’d cropped
you swelled your scripts with Scripture
and laded the Word with laud.
Helpless not to believe,
you achieved what was left to achieve.

And your Church made a fine retrieve.


I felt I should contribute and I've posted this just after drafting it. Oh for the benefit of workshopping!

Sometimes there's a line in a poem that just knocks your socks off. The final line in the poem framed at Tim's funeral exemplifies that (and thanks for posting it, Maryann):

and leave unburied these decaying beams
to teach us the temerity of dreams.
In the old days of The Deep End workshop, the collaboration would sometimes result in a similar "eureka" line. It happened to me with one of Tim's poems. I was able to make a suggestion for the last line that clinched it.

I was in correspondence with him before he died and he sent me a copy of his book, "Devotions". I thanked him and told him I would read it carefully and repeatedly. Today I started reading and found a note at the front:

For Johnno "(here he quoted the line I came up with)." Tim thanks you. Pentecost 2018
I found the poem in the book. It symbolized the results of the workshop, from which I think we both benefited greatly.

Tim was always generous of spirit (well, almost). He was a fine and dedicated poet, a hell of a character, and a force of humanity. I'm so pleased to have known him.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2018, 04:35 AM
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin's Avatar
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is online now
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Saeby, Denmark
Posts: 2,845

Nice, John! The last four lines feel unfinished. I think "faithful" is too loaded to describe "gun". Perhaps "steady"?

Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2018, 05:17 AM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 7,747

I'll put this hear as this thread is the thread of record:

Third Sancerre for Timothy Murphy

You were everything that’s good and bad
about sestinas, hunting, and Catholicism.
Redolent of scotch and Balm of Gilead,
transcendent, gay, and full of catechism,
you conveyed, O Murderer of Birds,
the heavy Canine soul. King David psalms
in better English, Protégé of old
Penn Warren. Double barreled Brahms
and cloistered forests were the things you told
us over and again. In other words,
Purveyor of the Kennel Trunk, the sonnet.
With its sonic turn, its orthodox
and crusty bucket list. And you were on it,
captured and released, O Paradox
of Capture. Choir of the Eternal Thirds.

"Third Sancerre" is the name I gave this 15-line sonnet form when I wrote a bunch of them.

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 07-06-2018 at 08:45 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2018, 08:59 PM
Robert Pecotte's Avatar
Robert Pecotte Robert Pecotte is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Cavalier, ND
Posts: 633
Default Wede Away

David's Wede Away, which I read to Tim as he lay dying and struggling for consciousness, roused him.

He struggled with speech, but he gasped out (paraphrase): " If we...if we...If we had sonnet with his sense...then...then we...we would have done something." And he sank back down on his bead. It was an incredible moment, and I think well deserved praise for David.

And, I think he was still trying to teach me while on his death bed.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2018, 04:27 PM
Patrick Murtha Patrick Murtha is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Kansas
Posts: 217

Father and all who knew Tim Murphy,

It is a blessing to anyone to have so many friends and so many prayers upon. I, for one, though I never knew him, for his sake and yours will keep him in my prayers.

I wrote this little piece--and tried to stay away from all the archaisms that I am often accused of--for your pleasure and Tim Murphy's honor.

The Ave’s mend though hearts still break
And story-tellers choke with tears.
The grief is great, but to my awe
I still am merry at this wake
And raise a chalice for his cheer—
For such is Murphy’s law.

Requiescat in pace!

Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2018, 06:47 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 5,535

I sent this to Tim in 2012. The context: He had told me that although he was praying for my ill daughter (and for himself to get control of the alcoholic relapse he was in at the time), he doubted the efficacy of his prayers because he was so unworthy.

To my surprise, Tim responded to the poem by asking me to consider dedicating it to him. I told him that every poem I'd ever sent him in the course of our theological arguments was dedicated to him by default, because he was its only intended audience. (Then we continued arguing over whether, and how, one might measure prayer's "efficacy.") But I'll dedicate it to him now. Here you go, Tim:

The Maverick

for Timothy Murphy

You deem your wayward ways a disincentive
for Christ to heed your cries for help. You say
the Shepherd's ears are surely more attentive
to tame, obedient stock than to a stray.
Your sheepishness, my friend, is too inventive.
I don't recall the parable that way.

(Luke 15:3-7)
Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2018, 11:37 PM
Robert Pecotte's Avatar
Robert Pecotte Robert Pecotte is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Cavalier, ND
Posts: 633
Default Maryann


Do I detect an inference in the last line to Msgr. Laliberte's homily which focused on Three Words to describe Tim: Unique, Grace, and Suffering? If not, how about "Like his conclusion" instead of concision?It would be most fitting.

Thanks for the great conversation at the post funeral luncheon and the poem for Tim. And may your poetry, along with your soul, prosper.


Fr. Rob
Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2018, 02:59 AM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,175

I never met Tim in person, but he encouraged me often here at the sphere. He was always generous and supportive and shared hundreds of pages of his poetry with me.

My small attempt to thank him.

Timothy Murphy

In rhyme he shared his joy and pain.
His body now returns to earth;
the man he loved, their tears, their mirth,
the boats they sailed, the trails they blazed,
his labradors, the birds he chased,
his prayers, his search for faith, remain.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2018, 07:15 AM
Maryann Corbett's Avatar
Maryann Corbett Maryann Corbett is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Posts: 9,565

Julie, that one's excellent!

Fr. Rob, thanks for the good words and the suggestions.

I confess I'm not thinking here about the funeral itself, as moving as it was, since most of those who might possibly read a poem about Tim won't have been there. Alluding to the life history, and the meters, that people know from Tim's own poems, seems the most effective approach.

But I agree that Fr. Laliberte's homily was excellent and I'm glad I could be there to hear it.

More tinkering posted above.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2018, 01:02 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 4,655

I met Tim only once in person, at the one West Chester conference I went to, back in 1999. He was on the panel of a translation seminar I attended. I was blown away by his knack for reciting poetry—it must have been from his and Alan’s translation of Beowulf. I admired his childlike excitement and love of poetry, which filled his voice when he recited.

But my main experience of him was as a unique presence right here on the Sphere. My contribution to this thread comes from that and from his beloved mentor Richard Wilbur’s ballade for Anthony Hecht.

A Virtual Ballade for Tim
after R.W.

Who was this man who joined us all
inside a sphere up in the air,
who liked to keep his poems small
and cocky, with a windbag’s flair
for drafting quatrains by the pair,
whose cadences were sprightly, trim,
and North-Dakota debonair?
He was, inimitably, Tim.

Whose ear so picked up on the call
of song in words that he was heir
to Hardy with a yankee drawl
and Frost served up with hunter’s fare?
Who helped make Anglo-Saxon blare
American, and out of dim
old Beowulf made verse with hair?
That living contradiction, Tim.

Who had the energy and gall
to live his dreams out on a dare
and pickle them in alcohol
and pull them off with some to spare?
Whose love of Alan, life, and prayer
had fiery Irish verve and vim
that time and troubles didn’t wear?
Intrepid never tepid Tim.

Sphere, thank you for the chance to share
this doggerel evoking him,
and for the platform to declare
I virtually spent time with Tim.

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 07-10-2018 at 12:25 AM.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,942
Total Threads: 19,712
Total Posts: 254,772
There are 91 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online