Sunday, June 18, 2017

Summer Solstice/Father’s Day—A Slightly Out of Sync Murfin Verse

The Green Man or Oak King of Midsummer.

Two years ago Father’s Day fell on June 21, which was Summer Solstice.  Such calendar coincidences move me to the commission of poetry like a prune juice and X-Lax smoothie facilitates an explosive bowl movement.  Depending on your outlook the results may be equally as messy and disgusting.
This year Solstice falls on Wednesday.  Some ancient peoples marked the occasion with such astonishing precision involving monoliths, mounds, and monuments that it has enabled a basic cable cottage industry of pseudo-science documentaries speculating about aliens.  But for many others, the precise date was hard to pin down.  Changes to the length of day were too subtle to be measured precisely.  Instead they spread out the celebration over a cluster of days under various names.  Modern Pagans, who have made up a lot of stuff to fill in the gaps of what is known call those days Litha after and old Anglo-Saxon name for a summer month.  Taken together the various pre-christian celebrations are often lumped together as Midsummer, as good a name as any.
Was Father’s day, at least subconsciously set in spitting distance of Midsummer if not on the precise day?  Probably not.  But there are those who say that there is no such thing as pure coincidence.  Call it kismet or serendipity, it was enough to set my head spinning and impel my fingers on the keyboard.
The last picture with my Dad, the old woodsman, W.M. Murfin in Alberton, Montana in 1989.

Summer Solstice/Father’s Day
June 21, 2015

Perhaps, after all, I am the Green Man,
          and by Father before me
                    who took to the woods with rod and rifle
          and his father before him
                    who grew strawberries by the porch
          and the fathers before  him
                    who were orchard men in Ohio
          and back to those earlier yet
                    who pulled stones from Yorkshire fields
                    for their masters.

Save the complexion, I look the part enough
          with shaggy goatee, wild eyebrows,
                    and neglected hair which could sprout
                    oak and ivy.

But my wild forest years are well behind me,
          I plant nothing but my feet on the sidewalk
                    and my butt in a desk chair,
          I raise nothing but questions, concerns,
                    and indignation,
          my fertility was snipped away
                    long decades past
          my virility—don’t make me laugh,
                    no Goddess  awaits in a glade
                    under the triumphant Sun.

Perhaps I am not the Green Man after all
          just an old fool and fraud,
          but, hey, isn’t that all that is needed
          to be just Dad instead.

—Patrick Murfin

As a new Dad with Maureen in Chicago, 1983

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