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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Sea Holly” by Richard Murphy

In this poem, Richard Murphy expresses the incredible phenomenon of sea holly growing where no other plant can. As we move from spring into summer, these lines are a reminder of the resilience, perseverance, and true beauty that comes from thriving in adverse conditions.

Sea Holly

Thrives upon sand where no other plant can live
Close to high water mark on haggard shores,
And crops up briefly in summer wearing stiff
Armour embossed with mauve and sapphire flowers.
All the rest of the year it spends underground
In stupefying torpor. How can it raise
Enough energy to rise above the sand
Piled over it by waves, and open its eyes?
Like yours, the colour of hurt, they want to hide
Until in a blaze of blue spikes they explode.

Richard Murphy, from Collected Poems 1952–2000 (2001)

"Sea Holly" by Richard Murphy from COLLECTED POEMS 1952–2000

Categories: Poem of the Week, Richard MurphyTags: ,

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