Monday 22 January 2018

Full house as newsman turned author Murphy launches first book of poetry

Dr Jeannine Woods
with Michael Murph
Dr Jeannine Woods with Michael Murph

The first floor of Hodges Figgis bookshop in Dawson Street in Dublin was filled to capacity last Thursday evening when the psycho-analyst, writer and broadcaster Michael Murphy launched his first book of poetry Republic of Love. Michael has already published a literary memoir At Five in the Afternoon, My Battle with Male Cancer which became a bestseller in 2009.

There are 25 poems in Republic of Love, divided into sections 'Flowers', 'Spain' (where he and his partner of 28 years, Terry O'Sullivan, spend a great deal of time), 'Sexuality', 'Emotions', 'Radio' and 'Love'. The final poem in the book is 'Epithalamion', the poem Michael recited for Terry at their civil partnership ceremony in Dublin.

The book was introduced by Dr Jeannine Woods of NUI Galway, who has also written the foreword to the collection, and there were readings from Senator Katherine Zappone, RTE's Eileen Dunne and sports broadcaster Pauric Lodge, musicologist and broadcaster Eamonn Lawlor and Emer O'Kelly of the Sunday Independent.

The attendance at the launch included Mary McEvaddy, subject of the poem 'Auburn – for Mary', the writer Deirdre Purcell and many of Michael and Terry's lifelong friends, including some who had travelled from his native Castlebar for the occasion.

The Republic of Love is published by Liberties Press, with illustrations by Brianan Clancy, priced at €12.99.

 

From the Republic of Love by Michael Murphy

Auburn – For Mary

Auburn is the name of a Georgian house in Malahide, Co Dublin, the home of my friend Mary. The poem refers to Ferdia, who suffered from motor neurone disease and who has sadly passed away.

 

Faced with my helplessness

Not knowing how to help

I placed my hand under his elbow

And welcomed Ferdia home

We were married once

We have three children together

We found ourselves at a place

Where he didn't want to be

It hurts too much to be intimate

Now that this has happened again

I have some idea what it means

To have hope stolen

To fear for the future

So I touch him lightly on the elbow

Knowing there's no cure

We communicate through writing

As though he were still absent

He types a reply on his laptop

Attempting to correct the predictor

And I get called away

The tragedy of losing a voice

Enduring the pain, surviving

Alone with no redemption

Too much for anyone to bear

So I place my hand under his elbow

Helping Ferdia home

 

Ferdia O'Dowd was a notable motoring journalist, campaigning writer and public relations professional who died on April 19 last year. After he and his wife parted, she went on to live with the businessman Ulick McEvaddy in Malahide.

Irish Independent

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