Alan was still writing songs in the 1970’s, while I turned out historical narratives in iambic pentameter. We were much influenced by the Greek Alexandrian poet Konstantin Kavafy, and his sexual candor. We also admired A.L. Rowse’s exposé of Homosexuals in History and Mary Renault’s historical novels. Such reading inspired this poem, which was my first sonnet.
In the house where a father lies dying,
grown-up daughters and sons
have begun surreptitiously grieving
while hospice nurses, like nuns,
murmur their grave observations:
the patient has passed beyond pain,
beyond intransigent passions
and the filial bonds that remain.
Timothy Murphy's books are The Deed of Gift, Story Line Press, 1998; Set The Ploughshare Deep, Ohio University Press, 2000; Very Far North, Waywiser Press (London), 2002, and Beowulf, A Longman Critical Edition (co-translator with Alan Sullivan), 2004.