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