The Ballad of Murphy Paul (Part 1)

by Brendan Strong

My mini project for this week is to do a poem a day based on the front pages of the papers. Probably the Irish Times.  I’ve only an hour or two to do this, so apologies for quality. It’s an exercise.  For my American friends, I’ll stick a link in somewhere to explain what the story is about. Today, it’s Paul Murphy

Nobody calls him “Murphy Paul”
Perhaps in a phone book, if at all
But fame for the sake of infamy
Demands heightened pseudonymity.

At six fifty-five on a Monday morning
Silence arrested by crows as they scattered
Outside Murphy Paul’s, without warning
Six guardians of the peace were gathered.

The first guard knocks and asks:
“Are you the one they call Murphy Paul:
Scourge of the establishment and water tax?”
Says Murphy Paul: “It is you who says it all –

“But half a dozen guards seems fawning –
Am I such a force in this matter?”
“You’re under arrest, stop stalling
With claims that we aim to flatter.

“We know you from your protest pranks
In November, we remember them all:
How cars would rock and voices chant
And you said you’d no power at all!”

“I represent my people, that is all.
I do not control their banter”
With dismay they look upon Murphy Paul
Who says  “Seriously, I just bring the Fanta!”

“You arrived with the sun at day’s dawning:
And I will go with you without clatter”
And the journalists all seemed to be filled in:
Within moments there were reports and chatter.

The mysterious power of Murphy Paul
And its nature may never be known:
Why did he have to be arrested at all?
And who got the journos on the phone?