John Saunders


Murphy is Out for the Summer


We passed him nearly every day during the warm months,

sure to keep to our side of the road

on the margin of his maddened presence,

fearful that he’d hurt in a way unimaginable to young minds.


He wore a brown overcoat, cowboy hat, hobnail boots.

Once he lashed out with an ash stick,

narrowly missed the most daring of us,

Patricia Barnes, who had crossed over to taunt.


A troubled creature, who suffered from his nerves,

his dirty face sweated like a stone wall.

He walked up and down the town, muttering.


We didn’t know where he came from,

could not understand how he was beyond reason,

knew only that his coming and going beckoned a change of season.

John Saunders is a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group. His collections are After the Accident (Lapwing Press, 2010) and Chance (New Binary Press, 2013). One of three featured poets in Measuring: Dedalus New Writers, 2012, he was shortlisted in the 2012 inaugural Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition and is a 2014 Pushcart Nominee. John’s poems have appeared in journals in Ireland, the UK and America, on many online sites, and been included in The New Binary Press Anthology of Poetry, The Stony Thursday Book, The Scaldy Detail 2013, Conversations with a Christmas Bulb (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2013), The Poetry of Sex, (Penguin, 2014), Fatherhood Anthology (Emma Press UK, 2014), and The Fate of Berryman Anthology (Arlen House, 2014). He was born in Co. Wexford, and now lives in Co. Offaly, Ireland.