Timothy Murphy

Jasper Lake

Perched on a granite peak
where golden eagles shriek
my love and I peer down,
watching the Rockies drown—
crag and evergreen
sunk in aquamarine.
Over the lake last night
speckled trout took flight,
leaping the mirrored moon.
Now in the warmth of noon
gullied glaciers groan,
pouring silt and stone
into the seething streams.
Brief! Brief! a marmot screams,
diving under the scree
as its mountain heads for the sea.

Conestoga Bark

My mate feathers the spindled wheel
to right our tipsy bark,
luffing to windward as we heel
rail under in the dark.

Where boys are brown and salt air sweet,
seafarers find no rest
but wake aground in the waving wheat
that runs forever west.

Cold Front

For want of oil a moaning
comes from the weathervane—
spindle and socket groaning
as north winds blow again
and send the real geese flying
to Texas or Mexico.
Our brass goose is dying
to join them, but cannot go.

Here firewood is essential
for keeping folks alive.
Where windchill’s exponential
only the snowmen thrive.
Someday we’ll board a clipper
and catch a Norther bound
south from the Little Dipper
for Virgin Gorda Sound.

My love (once such a darling)
is now a wintry spouse,
sullen—sometimes snarling—
because I’m a lying souse,
because I can’t quit tippling
or spirit us from the snow—
or be the winsome stripling
he wooed so long ago.

Timothy Murphy farmed and still hunts in the Dakotas. "Jasper Lake" was first published in The Deed of Gift (Story Line Press, 1998); "Conestoga Bark" was first published in Chimaera; "Cold Front" was first published in The Hudson Review.