Mark A. Murphy



(United Kingdom)




Socratic Paradox


“ I know that I know nothing.” – Socrates


Like Socrates, we are aware of our own limitations,

yet the panorama of our century

opens up in war, genocide and slavery,

as though we have learned nothing

in the intervening millennia since his death.

We poor poets refuse to fight

the wars of the rich, knowing, as we do,

that society can’t feed the poor, yet it can fund

its many ‘dirty’ wars over seas.

We know our politicians never lie, except

when it is in our own interests,

like the declared ‘war on poverty’,

when what we really have is a war on the poor.

We are sure which religion is most peaceful,

and that God (as Napolean’s General said)

is on the side of the big battalions –

despite all our prayers for peace.

How do we know, knowing nothing at all,

except love squeezes the answers

from our invisible and indivisible breath?




August Ontology


There is no mercy in the eyes of ignorance,

see the empty-headed boor

repeatedly punch the destitute man in the head.

This vulgarian is no police man,

nobodies hired thug,

and yet he conspires, as far as he can,

to inflict as much suffering as his fists allow.


What of brotherhood this war-torn August

where the ripe flowering lavender

heeds the absence of the bee,

yet man’s inhumanity to man goes unnoticed

in the high street and the desert,

in the popular consciousness

where the vulnerable are bulldozed by the oafish?


So the heat of the day eats up our moral sense,

and we lack all care

for the pollinating bee, the destitute poor,

the world’s refugees – pleading

for our concern, at the border walls without,

and the unlettered walls within

our hearts, blind to the suffering of all.




21st Century Poem


What of God’s betrayal, assuming that

God exists at all,

when the coffin of your beloved child

lies open to the crowded room?

For whom do we cry

at times like this, if not ultimately, for our selves

and the absence of paradise

here on Earth, believing as we might, in no life after death

when the coffin lid is fixed down











Mark A. Murphy was born in 1969 in the UK where he still lives. He studied philosophy (BA) at Stafford and poetry (MA) at Huddersfield University. His poems have been published in over 100 magazines and ezines world wide, including Poetry New ZealandPoetry ScotlandThe Warwick Review (UK), Istanbul Literature Review (Turkey), The Paris Atlantic Journal (France), The American Dissident (US), The Tampa Review (US), Left Curve (US) and The Stinging Fly (Ireland). He is the creator and editor of the online poetry journal POETiCA. Mark A. Murphy’s first full length collection, Night-watch Man & Muse was published in November 2013 from Salmon Poetry (Eire).

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