murphy poems

(you may buy books of my works at search for james r murphy and find my personal poetry as well as translations)

i was bitten by the poetry bug as a young undergraduate in boston, massachusetts, and the infection has been life long. i have a data base of 1400 or so poems of mine. there are two book length collections accessible on the left. an example of an early poem when i used the pen name charlie pratt follows.

sense rarely comes the way
we tell our clotured lives
the shams we show today
snicker through as knives
yammering inside our heads

there should be times we're free
from fears of failing scenes
a subtle reality
become an end of means
a successful might-have-said

our thoughts would prey their way
from toe to tongue to them
the elusive sense of may
at once the cold hard gem
of once and twice through read




as an older man i began to translate poets. i was attracted to writing murphy poems using their inspirations as a guide for my own efforts. this was how i connected and communicated with them. the first poet i encountered this way was rumi. then i moved on to chinese poets, and as you can see du fu became a constant companion.

drinking wine

build your house in the middle of people
but don't listen to the sound of traffic
just try to imagine how to do this
let your heart go to somewhere out of the way
to pick chrysanthemums in a small garden
and look up over everything else to mountains
you can see sun's glorious leaving
you can see birds fly home to roost
then you can know that to hear anything
you want to hear,  forget the words

murphy sitting at the kitchen table

tau chyen
six dynasties period
about 400 AD