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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section One Earth

David Murphy

Cracks in the porcelain
grey are known as grykes –
haphazard slits of lime dust,
seeps and calcareous drips,
respite from sun and gouging wind,
damp and shady recesses,
perfect cradles in the slabs
for rare orchids and buds.

Photo Credit: Marie Murphy

Grykes are all around,
not just on rocky landscapes:
in every familiar territory,
some invisible, others plain,
shelters from limestone certainty,
havens for growth and surprise,
nurseries, orphanages, in the entrails
of a slab-strewn world.
I smell in my nose
the fields and drumlins
lush with growth.
Scent of wild grass,
fuchsia, river, mountain.
The longest day is past.
Holidays ring trees;
trunk-loads of annual memory.
Call of a hundred miles.
The cradle we laid in lies empty,
taken for granted, gone.
Reminders exist: names, sounds,
sights and signs big and small,
the lure of lives faded now.
Another bay beckons;
the spume feels not the same.
Sap in the limbs flows not as smoothly,
shadows not as long.

His younger generational self built tower blocks
and chose a mansion with book-lined walls
and leaded windows from which he watched
his family stroll in walled-in gardens
where orchards bloomed every Spring.
Now he looks at a shrinking yard hemmed in
by crumbling walls and heaps of turds,
where grass shrivels like fescue lost in a lawn
long since overgrown with weeds and nettles
that sting his seeds of boom; a garden overlooked
by boarded-up apartment blocks. Wilting hotel
portfolios threaten his withering investments
with a plague of repossession and moral hazard.
His older delusional self still walks with a landlord’s
swagger. Deep in his roots he knows the apples
are rotting. The sun has set and all his ferns
lie low. His buds and petals close up their heads
for the long night that waits like pestilence or blight.
David Murphy Cork-born David Murphy’s poetry has been published many times in various magazines and anthologies in Ireland and abroad, including The Poetry Bus, Stony Thursday Book, Every Day Poets, Boyne Berries, Revival, The Burning Bush and other venues. He is also a short story writer and novelist. Visit his website at





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