Ballade of Timothy Murphy
after Richard Wilbur
Who was the man who could recall
His Auden, Yeats, and de la Mare,
And liked to make his poems small
And chatty, with a talker’s flair
For drafting quatrains by the pair,
In meters that are sprightly, trim,
And North Dakota debonair?
He was, inimitably, Tim.
What Yalie had such wherewithal
For song in words that he was heir
To Hardy with a Yankee drawl
And Frost served up with Catholic fare?
What dude made Anglo-Saxon blare
American, and out of dim
Old Beowulf wrote verse with hair?
That singing contradiction, Tim.
Who had the energy and gall
To foster hogs and laissez-faire,
And nearly drown in alcohol
And find a Light in his despair?
Whose love of hunting, men, and prayer
Had fiery Irish verve and vim
That time and troubles didn’t wear?
Intrepid never tepid Tim.
But it’s beside the point to air
This fit of rhyme recalling him,
Because his rhymes themselves declare
The man who authored them was Tim.