Eileen R. Tabios is a poet working in multiple genres and in-between. She also loves books by writing, reading, publishing, critiquing, romancing and advocating for them. This blog will feature her bibliophilic activities with posts on current book engagements and links to her books and projects related to books.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I received a gift from a poet in Ohio, Robert Murphy.  Reading through I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH.... he shares:

I opened I Take Thee, English for My Beloved, my fingers first arriving, serendipitously, (out of the immigrant shipwreck of his many lives), to "In The Empty Throne Room" -- and later dipped here, there and elsewhere, and will continue to do so like a bee pausing at each flower as the bee's want, in the gathering of pollen and nectar, as if laying down kisses on newly found love -- not knowing what he might bring back to his hermit's hive, solitary worker that he has become, caring for the invisible queen -- so now in prepare of winter's sustain, alongside the clover, honeylocust, and buckwheat flowers; the lavender and thyme of his garden, your own heady honey now thickens and distills, not to say ferments in him -- rich and dark and of the herb and spice of heretofore unvisited lands, and of how in compare he feels pale and bodiless, but having tasted such and refreshed, suddenly feels that he might actually want to live again.

What an ideal response to a poet’s words, and it makes sense the source is a poet, too! And what I appreciate about Robert's response is how, among other things, it gives me a reason to pay attention to an individual poem.  In being so prolific over the years, the emphasis on individual poems is not something I’ve had a chance to relish much.  I went back to read “In The Empty Throne Room” because of his response.  I hadn’t read it since the book came out NINE years ago!  Thank you, Robert, for making me rediscover my own poem:

In The Empty Throne Room
after Day of the Bees by Thomas Sanchez

The bee keeper cannot speak
“but he is not crippled”

He bears the nose of a "lucky boxer"
who deflected major blows
so the nose is imprinted
but not broken
by the brief, devastating lives
of swung fists

My thighs open to unleash
the honey of the sea—
salty froth before the heated sky of your gaze

Don’t break me, please

The bee keeper cannot speak
but knows to bring the Queen home
Scraps of paper bear his scrawl:
Honey of Lavender, Honey of the Roses
of Abbe Senanque, Honey
of Mont Ventoux, Honey
of Wild Rosemary

We are always surrounded
by the centuries-old musk
of misspent passion from fervent pilgrims

Another man’s gold loops around
my neck whose terrain you have memorized
with bared teeth
You ripped off another man’s gold
to etch your brand around my wrists,
blue veins distended,               throbbing

“People cry at weddings
because they are jealous”

Christ wept when he washed the feet
of Mary Magdalene
for he knew the only parts of her body
he could touch, he could hold,
were Mary’s two feet
already like fishes swimming away,
borne in the river rushing from him
towards a fate of more salt—

“Always, there is the heaven before the hell”

My Love, be a bee keeper
and I shall be your most fertile Queen
At the end of the rain-slick streets of Paris
awaits a honeycomb exuding
a dusty scent of pollen, the sweet
smell of lavender, the pungent
crush of wild thyme                              rising
towards the dawning sky over Cathedral Sainte-Chapelle


Tyrone Williams has a lovely interesting essay on the "Oracular Redux" of Robert Murphy (and Ralph La Charity) over at the Poetry Foundation.  Check it out HERE!

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