Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Sunday, 1 November 2015


For the Daughters of Eve

I need more than sympathy or pity
but I'll settle for them
and even look for them.

Why can't the blind girl see
the tears in my eyes
or the drowning man inside me
clinging to waves?

12 July 1985

This is the second of the Drowning Man poems. Once the idea of a part of me drowning in emotions became fixed it was a long time before it left me. I think the last poem in the series is ‘Drowning Women’ (#633) which I finished in March 1989.

There were a lot of women around me in the eighties. F. was still very much a part of my life and our clandestine relationship continued with all the associated guilt but the immediacy of those first few months had gone. I wasn’t bored with her. The problem was I needed more that was practical and so found myself turning to other women but not for sex. Sex was never that important which is an odd thing to say when that was what propelled my relationship with F. but it was more a matter of cutting our cloth. I spent a lot of time without her and so, like the emotional vampire I became, fed wherever and whenever I could.


All we are told about Adam's offspring is that his first son was named Cain, the second was named Abel and, after Abel's murder, another son named Seth came along as a replacement for Abel. After that, according to Genesis 5:4, Adam “had other sons and daughters.” None of the daughters are named which was typical enough at the time but I chose the title for this poem because I wanted to underline the namelessness of these women in my life. They all have names and I can probably remember them all but the thing was I wasn’t really fussy. We all know how powerful the sex drive can be. What I was discovering was how powerful my emotional drives were.


Kass said...

The extent of your self-awareness is remarkable to me (even if it came years after the fact). Most men in my experience don't have this, or if they do, won't admit or expound upon it.

Jim Murdoch said...

As I say in the new book, Kass, “[M]y focus has always been myself. I have been the only subject I could hope to devote time to and trust what my eyes, heart and brain reported. It did not leave me with a glowing picture of humanity—assuming I was a representative sample—though doubtless it is an honest one; I’ll leave truth to the professionals.” Of course it’s a fictional character saying this. I’m not sure that being completely honest with oneself is any wiser than being completely honest with others.

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