s
s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MLC

GO TO MLC HOMEPAGE


FOOL FOR POETRY
INTERNATIONAL CHAPBOOK
COMPETITION 2017


 

submit
Submit to Southword

 

 

ONLINE BOOKSTORE FEATURED TITLES

 

New Irish Voices
Poetry chapbooks by
Roisin Kelly & Paul McMahon

 

 

Liberty Walks Naked
by Maram al-Masri, trans. Theo Dorgan

 

 

Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition

 

 

Richesses

Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes

 

 

 

 

Munster Literature Centre

Create your badge

 

 

 

 

 

Arts Council

 

 

Cork City Council

 

 

Foras na Gaeilge

 

 

Cork County Council

   

 

 

JOHN MURPHY

 

 

 

John Murphy’s debut collection, The Book of Water, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2012. His second collection, The Language Hospital, was published by Salmon in December 2016. He won the Strokestown International Poetry Prize in 2015, and for a second time running in 2016. He was a finalist in the 2016 UK National Poetry Competition, and has been shortlisted four times for the Bridport Prize (Prizewinner 2013), and three times for the Hennessy/ Irish Times writing awards. Poems are currently appearing in Poetry Ireland Review and Crannog

 

 

 

 

Last Game of the Night

 

 

It was precisely the wrong moment
I chanced to look through the skylight
to a cosmos where I was but a far-off
fish, my mind adrift. Pythagoras the puma
dealt the shiny new deck with a flick
of his wrist. Aquinas the hyena muttered
his usual Tamquam Ignotums, and Plato
the lion's prawn chilli sandwiches
did their ideal work, though the armagnac  
was almost gone. I'd cleaned them out,
more or less, and the best of them,
Gödel the chimpanzee, had fifty at most.
The pot was replete but a long black shape
was ghosting the sky in that narrow
rectangle of night as I swigged
the last of the golden liquor, wiped
my fin, and cleared my scalded throat.
Then something came over me: I sang
like I never sang before, eight rattling bars
of an aria I'd heard at the Wexford opera. 
Bravo! croaked Heisenberg the horned toad,
but Euclid the anaconda winked at Gödel,
and I knew I'd missed a trick when Pauli
the owl screeched a bibliopole scrunt
of delight and threw down a house
before shading the pot with his wings.
Then Riemann the croc dunted my ribs
with a claw, his maw a show of crushed
chillies and a skull that looked familiar,
his fat tongue lolling the skylight
where the glass had shattered and Dirac
the whale was fluking from the roof
to slip me an ace. It was '45 all over again:
Los Alamos, last game of the night, all-in,
with only me and Einstein the octopus
in the frame, the whole nine yards
in an inky pile and one card to go—
Trying to be nonchalant, I reprised the aria
with extra vibrato, but I was off-key
and my ballast popped when I spread
my flush with gusto, the table dropping
through oort clouds of boiling chilli breath
to an abyssal zone, a hadal depth where
nothing is proved, and all of us blown
through money and glass to a winter of stars.

 

 

©2017 John Murphy

 

 

Author Links

 

'Bird' in Poetry Ireland Review

'As If She Were Close', winner of the Strokestown International Poetry Prize 2016

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS BACK TO TOP NEXT POEM

 

 

   
 
©2009 Southword Editions
and
Munster Literature Centre
   

Southword 6 Southword No 7 Southword No 8 Southword No 9 Southword No 10 Southword 11 southword 12 Southword No 14 Southword No 15