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J.D. Murphy: a poem

The Year of the Stonemasons

There will be an aw-

kward opening,

a blinking step from cobwebbed doorways,

as if a second spring called us

to cautiously approach trestle tables,

ice cream stalls,

like squirrels doubting outstretched hands,

weighing the promise of bread

against the chance of death.

There will be a reckoning

of bellies grown

and shrunk,

of intended flowers

at unmarked graves,

and a reckoning too

of those who saved,

who did not quit the field

nor yield to fear

the hope that carrion feeder craves.

There will be more spaces on park benches,

and more benches too, each one

mounted with a dedication that was not

given in speech, that was not managed in time.

Power will still be power.

Love will still be sadness

and, beneath the troubled gaze of age,

youth will still harry death, undimmed.

But it was a good year for the stonemasons.

J.D. Murphy won the Dun Laoghaire 1500 Prize for poetry, and has had poems published by Plume Magazine and the International Library of Poetry. Another poem was highly commended and published as part of the “Poet of the Year Collection” by Hilton House Publishers. He also won the Heritage Arts Stones and Stories Radio Play competition, and was shortlisted for the Spread The Word Life Writing Prize. He's had two stage plays performed professionally, including performances at the QEH theatre, Bristol, the London Festival of Visual Theatre, the Exeter Arts Festival, and a limited UK tour.

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