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

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


The Bedroom in Autumn

It felt older.
But so did we.
And the rhythm of life was slower.

Even the bells hung
in the cooler air
to open the way for echoes past.

Now the fading shadows
reach out of the tired bed
as if, just to touch us one last time.

4 September 1989
This is the second in a sequence of poems. The first was originally entitled ‘The Bedroom’ (#591) and when I’d finished it as far as I was concerned it was done. Three and a half years later this one popped out of nowhere. It would be 1996 before the other two arrived within two months of each other.
For a guy who doesn’t have much time for ghosts or other spooky things I’ve actually written a fair bit about what happens after death. The dead are a great literary device; that’s my only reason. In this poem the “fading shadows” are echoes or whatever you want to call them of the lovers from ‘The Bedroom’. In fact this whole series of poems ends up being about what I guess you’d call a psychic imprint, i.e. an echo of an emotion, an emotional memory of an event that occurred by those who experienced it. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like it myself but when has lack of knowledge or personal experience ever stopped a writer?
If you want to read the complete sequence it was published here in 2012.


vito pasquale said...

I remember reading the series but it doesn't seem possible that it was almost 5 years ago. I'd not noticed then how the first and second lines of each stanza get progressively more syllables as the poem progresses. The steady 9 syllables of the last lines like the rock (the bed itself?) on which the poem is built. As we get older the time passes more quickly, the past becomes a longer and longer trail of that which is mostly forgotten. That hope, for one last time, almost always comes too late.

Jim Murdoch said...

It wasn’t intentional, Vito, but well caught. I spent a long time on the first poem in the series, a very long time. The poem refused to flow and it surprised the hell out of me that I’d try to do it again but what real choice do we have over these things? This is without a doubt a poem I will have read aloud albeit to myself to make sure it worked. Just because I shy away from public readings and insist my poems were only intended to exist on the page doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a sound. I may not read the poems aloud but I still “hear” them in my head.

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