Monday, June 20, 2022

Close Enough for Horseshoes—Father’s Day and Summer Solstice With Murfin Verse

The Green Man, or Oak King, pagan ruler of Midsummer.

Yesterday was Father’s Day.  Tomorrow the Summer Solstice which will be at 4:13 am Central Daylight Time.  On this interim day we will revisit Such a calendar coincidence when both fell on the same day seven years ago and moved 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.

Some ancient peoples marked the Solstice 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.

The Old Man as Green Man, ready to sprout oak leaves.

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.

My father, W. M. Murfin, in Cheyenne circa 1959.

Summer Solstice/Father’s Day

June 21, 2015


Perhaps, after all, I am the Green Man,

            and my 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 Cornish 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


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