I was hoping to find something on a father theme, and somehow this morning I knew I’d find it in my book of Timothy Murphy poems, my only book of Timothy Murphy poems, the only thing I have that gives me any scrap of information about Timothy Murphy, about whom I know almost nothing save the year of his birth, 1951. It’s hard to say if he’s an Irish poet or an American poet, though apparently he’s a midwestern American poet. But what I mean is, there are poems of his that draw directly on Yeats (that, in fact, make punning use of Yeats’s titles and themes), and this poem seems directly related, not once or twice removed, to Seamus Heaney’s bog poems. Perhaps it’s that word "hummock." It’s no heartfelt father’s day poem the way Billy Collins’s "The Lanyard" is for moms, but talks to me about how certain things are born, and then might grow up to be barely recognizable. Enjoy,
FATHER OF THE MAN
Last night I sought the lost scout in my dreams.
After a twilight slog
I found him in a bog
sobbing amid a maze of braided streams.
Bloodied by leeches, maddened by the buzz
of deerflies round his ears,
and half-blinded by tears,
the lad had no notion where he was–
yards from a hummock which two pathways crossed.
His small hand holds me fast
though thirty years have passed
and I confuse the searcher with the lost.