Poetry from Mark Murphy

Snowfall in June

The civilised man only has will to conquer himself. –


Some nights when the snow is silent

only the moon hisses as it arcs

through the night

cheating moonflower and evening star

into confiding in its magic

But magic alone is not enough

to secure the applecart

or endow the adder with agency

Some nights even the Stix freezes over

giving the snow a chance

to shine bright as Charon’s solitude

caught between ice and fire

in long nights of ferrying and panic


Now suppliant and lickspittle move in

for the kill in a bid to steal

obolus from the mouths of the dead –

only to find the Nightbird has flown

proffering snow as a metaphor

for exiting hell


Hard to swallow yet another yarn

but you continue to thread the needle

with no lack of imagination

like a man accustomed to telling

the piece-mender

how to mend

as if the string-along

was natural as tying your boot laces


Not so much ‘losing the thread’

as ‘losing the plot’

as you spout ancient nothings

about soul science

and the lower fourth dimension


To rid itself of parasites and enable

new growth,

the sidestepping cobra slowly sheds its skin

but do not be fooled

by the sight of one predator leaving

itself defenseless as it eradicates another.

You must always be on your guard

and remember –

even without coiling

to assume the strike position

danger strikes

silently spitting venom without warning.


Anyone unfortunate enough to be acquainted

with the hooded menace

might wish to keep a mongoose

at hand to offset any material losses,

prevent further trespass

and send him packing (not before time)

into the dustbin of all your past mistakes.