Sunday, May 7, 2023

Murfin Verse for Tree Of Life UU Congregation Creativity Worship

The Old Poet reading his verse in 2016 at a Tree of Life Haystack's Coffee House and Open Mic.

As a would-be poet, I am sometimes asked what creative process  I use.  The answer is, many different ones depending on topic and inspiration.  But no matter how original the conception is, most verse requires a process of refinement.

Moss agate stones polished in a tumbler.

How Poems Come to Be


An inauspicious lump of gravel

            tossed in the tumbler,

            turned, turned,

            until gleaming smooth,

            handsome moss agate

            admired and mounted

on a new bolo tie slide.


A thing of pride and beauty.


But how much more did it yearn

            to be a geode

            struck once just so,

            split to reveal

            the perfect,

            dazzling crystal. 


—Patrick Murfin

On the other hand, sometime a verse emerges whole.  This one actually did come to me in a dream, or at least the catch phraseBeckon the Night.”  Quite early one morning I woke up suddenly with the phrase in my head and headed directly to the computer to pound out some verse, which subsequently underwent far less than usual editing and revising.  It was directly inspired by film noir—but that genre had its roots and got most of its stories from cheap detective pulp magazines.  The two forms were meant for each other.

An on-line tool let me create a classic pulp book cover, but only in the Sci-fi genre, not in the Film noir mode the poem evoked.

It Came to Him in a Dream


“It came to him in a dream!”

The urgent, rumbling voice intones,

architectural letters scroll the screen—

            Beckon the Night.


This gift of Morpheus

sticking, as almost nothing ever does

when brought bolt upright

by an insistent alarm.


I’ll need a double shot

of Dashiell Hammett for this,

pulled from the second desk draw

next to the snub nose

poured into a greasy tumbler.


And a dame, gotta have a dame,

ash blonde and weeping

wreathed in Herbert Tareyton garlands.


A snap brim hat and trench coat,

’41 Ford Coupe headlights

to glimmer on wet pavement,

a bluesy cornet riff.


What else ya’ gonna do with

            Beckon  the Night?

Write a goddam fairy tale?


Patrick Murfin



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