Most pictures and words from Anthony C Murphy

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Photos by me and Sean Murphy.


Once upon a time there was a baby who appeared from nowhere
Mr and Mrs Porkett were amazed
They gazed in wonder at the boy for a whole day and night
He was like a piglet with bigger feet and no tail
The baby boy gurgled and gurned and was fallen in love with
As the sun started to warm the earth
And rouse the chickens
Worries arrived within poverty
The farmers gnashed their teeth and wrang their hands for hours
It would be good about now to see and heed a sign
A sign that all would be well…

They decided to ask the village elder if they had been blessed

After his breakfast of worms the elder came
He entered the hut and squinted at the wrinkly pink child
The boy wriggled and squealed and played with his feet
The elder gave a sigh but smiled and placed his palm against the boy’s sole
The foot and hand were exactly the same size
And then tickled the infant’s little pot-belly

The elder looked at the parents with his watery eyes
He shall cause upset wherever he goes
There was much nodding

A payment was made of a fistful of eggs
And the elder softly left
The poor parents hugged each other and sobbed with woe
So did not hear as the elder popped back in to say
In his forgetful way
He shall be a cheery child, as happy as a mucky hog

True to foretelling
The boy crashed blissfully through his young life
As soon as he could walk there followed a trail of brokenness
Doors, carts, barns and bones
As soon as he could talk he could apologise
And always with a smile so genuine that he was quickly forgiven
He would burst like sunshine through the most humdrum days
He had his head rubbed or patted umpteen times a week
And was always being given a turnip to take home to his parents

But time forms shadows
And age makes weary

The villagers started to tut and cluck
They watched the boy’s poor father work hard to fix all the broken things
They knew of hardship and would help out
Releasing the father from his duty
So it was that as the boy grew the father fell in to debt
The villagers became dismayed at this mess in their midst
It was time for a gathering

There and then it was decided to place the boy into the apprenticeship of the Smith
This brought gasps and sobs of horror
And woe
From the boy’s mother
Who imagined all sorts of catastrophes involving fire and molten metal
The Smith would have sobbed too but he thought it unbecoming
Yet mother was calmed as
The village elder explained the ruling

The Smith lives on the outskirts of the village
So the boy cannot cause too much mayhem
The Smith can forge strong chains to keep the boy in check until he learns
The boy needs something to occupy
That wandering mind and those waddling feet of his

All at the assembly murmured and nodded approval
They looked at the boy
Who had been seated serenely throughout the hubbub
And they were filled with a warm glow
They thought themselves wise in their solution and slept soundly on it

By the age of fourteen the boy had become the best Smith’s striker in the shire
His hammer blows rang out from morning until twilight
Farmers came from outlying boroughs to purchase the sharpest ploughshares anywhere
His muscular legs had developed in proportion with the once cumbersome feet that propped them up
His arms were full of knotted power that had older milkmaids yearning over their buckets
His handsome face
Once so open and sunny
Was now dark all day with concentration
His brow was thick with soot and sweat
His mouth was permanently twisted with effort
Even in sleep
Which was deeper than he had ever known
For now he had no time to dream
And he never smiled again

Saturday, 28 January 2012




The bit of the River Forth in Stirling where William Wallace won


England from Hadrian's Wall


Monday, 23 January 2012


Me and Dermot were browsing the Laines for nick-nacks, curios and what-not; a quiver full of turkey-feathered, willow strip Algonquin arrows; various useless brass chandlery; art deco nude lampshades and of course any stuffed mammal I could get my hands on. Dermot was of a more ornithological bent and fancied himself creating a fabulous diorama like the cock robin scene lately observed at Jamaica Inn's bizarre museum. We both did quite well and grasped many bargains. By the time it got to four o'clock, even with a short stop for gin and ginger, I was pooped, so I said,
"Call us a taxi, Derm!"
And we both stood there groaning under the weight.

Saturday, 21 January 2012


I wait in line
At airport security
Behind a hairy woman
Who frets over boot buckles
As two kids hang from her freckled arms
She is practised
Unlike the neophyte behind me
Smiling before his ordeal
Beerily benign
Within all this enforced authority
The youth does not care
He is on his way home from oblivion
And is not prepared
I watch a border guard
As my sundries trundle through
The x ray machine
She’s an old mother 
In her fifties and candled onto that seat
A grey seen it all head
And her body has soaked enough venom and produced enough puke
There are not to be any shocks
Nothing but the little incidents to take home and report
No more adventure for her
But intrigued
By the image of my bag
She had to ask
What’s inside? Open it!
It is only my dad
Now in a brown plastic urn
With a tatty bit of paper stuck on
To tell the date of death and such
The details
For that’s all he is
And she knows
She lets me go with good luck
 I walk through the white lights
Sick of duty free
Into arrivals
There are families with tears
And strain on their cheeks
Some expect presents
Some yawn
There are guys with suits and signs
They look at us
But we have no one to meet
Only a hole to fill

Friday, 20 January 2012


I opened my window to let the smoke out and there was the song this time it went did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you did you  I DON’T KNOW HOW THE BIRDS CAN GET SO HORNY THIS EARLY IN THE YEAR when even their bones are still cold

Thursday, 19 January 2012


There is the space
Between forefinger and thumb
Where I sat
In expectation
Of some dark pressure
Whilst in this place
I heard a raucous call

There is a charming voice
After all these years
Deep like light and yours

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Crapulus and his sister, Bloody Mary, visited me in bed
They brought with them some girl called Lucidity
And this is what they said


It made sense to me
right then
I had my head phones in

No Aitch In New York

                                                                 Billy Collins


Monday, 2 January 2012