Poem of the week: Hearth by Hayden Murphy

Murphy was born in Dublin in 1945 and is now living in Edinburgh

Stones from Roscommon built St. Enda’s in Limerick.
Early I learned to listen and learn. Bridget from Strokestown knew
How the windstraws built the thatched roof to home nest.

Dismounting Oisin fell to earth and aged. Some say redeemed by Patrick’s
Faith. Others will tell of faith to Pagan truths. Sharing his fate, I remounted
My tricycle and was guided by Finbarr of Gougane Barra to pedal on.

Later, tucked within the wing flaps of Sweeney, I landed, magpie fashion,
In the caves of Barcelona, the caverns of London, cellars in Berlin.
A loose stone in Belfast and Glasgow. Saved and sealed by ivy in Dumfries.
Eliding with age, settled, as a leaf in the forest, in New Town Edinburgh.

Close to candle flame I slipped into my shadow. There where lies the heart.
Now I am here, where I am never abroad from Dublin. Inside this shadowlife
The Day’s Bride is the Mother Night. Friends of the Light keep the fire alight.

Exiled in Edinburgh. Mere absentee from my Dublin. Its river runs still
In the bloodstream. Transfusions of words take heart in the hearth that is
Home. In time, distance will shrink, and I will have Bas in Eireann.

But not yet. Here in the hearth, I have still the fire to fuel.

Poet and arts journalist Hayden Murphy was born in Dublin in 1945 and is now living in Edinburgh. He was editor of Broadsheet (1967-1978). His latest publication is In the Ear of the Owl (Roncadora Press, 2018). This is the latest in a series of annual poems marking the arrival of the Irish Consulate for Scotland in Edinburgh in 1998