[The following poem was written to his mother by Dwight Murphey for Mother’s Day 1967.  In part, it reflects his experiences while seriously ill with hypothyroidism in the spring of 1965.  The reference to the Crest is to the tallest mountain at Palmer Lake, Colorado; to the Lane is to the park-like area down the path from our cabins in Glen Park at Palmer Lake; to Columbine Hill is to the small mountain we climbed over to get from Rich Creek to Tumble Creek in the Buffalo Peaks area near Fairplay, Colorado; and to Pepper is to our Springer Spaniel we had to rescue from the Colorado River on a fishing outing.]


This poem is followed by one written in 1986.


I looked into the face of Love 


                                                There are times

                                                When all is distilled

                                                From our lives

                                                            but the very essence

                                                            of that

                                                                        which is most


                                                Times when life itself

                                                            is of little moment

                                                And that which courses most

                                                            through the soul,

                                                As the one thing that

                                                Truly has meaning,

                                                            is the love we bear

                                                            and have borne

                                                For those who have touched

                                                            the very quick

                                                            of our lives

                                                And have lent it brightness

                                                            and warmth.


                                                I remember such a time

                                                            in my own life,

                                                Two years ago,

                                                Which I have survived

                                                            to go on


                                                            to the ever-recurrent flow

                                                                        of living routine.


                                                I looked into the face of Love

                                                            and saw there

                                                            two faces:

                                                The exquisite delicacy

                                                            of my wife’s ethereal loveliness,

                                                A woman garbed for future


                                                And a face of countless

                                                            tender memories:

                                                            the face

                                                                        of my mother,

                                                A dear and precious face

                                                Whose memory

                                                            carries me back

                                                            across the years

                                                            to the threshold

                                                                        of that life

                                                That she,

                                                            one hot desert day,

                                                            gave to me.

                                                I remember mercurochrome

                                                            on ancient wounds;

                                                 A spur taken with loving care

                                                            from a boy’s young foot;

                                                A turtle and some baby chicks;

                                                A goat with tiny horns,

                                                            and a too-friendly cook;

                                                Easter egg shells,

                                                            and one not disarmed;

                                                            and always

                                                                        a chocolate bunny.


                                                There are times we have hiked

                                                            upon the Crest,

                                                Times we have waded

                                                            in the cool summer waters

                                                            of the stream in the Lane

                                                And have picnicked on

                                                            peanut butter and grape jelly.


                                                She has tucked me in

                                                            countless times

                                                And has “come see”

                                                            when a boy’s small voice

                                                                        has called out

                                                                        its proud report.


                                                I remember the cakes she has baked:

                                                            white, with chocolate icing;

                                                The liver in disguise,

                                                            as tasty as a steak;

                                                The fried chicken

                                                            of a woman whose elegant meals

                                                            and beautiful tables

                                                Have revealed her spirit,

                                                A spirit of love

                                                            and of real concern.


                                                There are memories, too,

                                                            of walks over Columbine Hill,

                                                            of mountain raspberries

                                                                        picked and shared,

                                                Of a special night on the

                                                            Fourth of July

                                                With the fireworks

                                                            at Sphinx Park;

                                                Of a holiday on the Colorado:

                                                            mosquitoes and a precious

                                                                        little Pepper

                                                            floating downstream.


                                                All of this

                                                            and more

                                                Came flooding back

                                                In those hours

                                                            of special meaning

                                                Which revealed so clearly

                                                The faces

                                                            of those I loved.


                                                And now

                                                            the wife is a mother

                                                            and the mother a grandmother:

                                                A baby girl’s face makes three

                                                The faces of those

                                                            who       in all the world

                                                            mean the most

                                                                        to me.



The following poem was written to his mother in January 1986 after he spent six days at her bedside as she seemed to be dying (which she did in July of that year).  A note sent with it told her "Ginny [Dwight's wife] says it's OK to call you 'the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.'"


The Most Beautiful Woman


All around us there is beauty.


There is the sunrise over the San Juans.


The moonlight over the Atlantic.


Kansas, its wheat gold on a summer's day.


In our modern showcase, there are the beautiful people,

Starlets as they rush by flashbulbs into Grauman's,

Faces, voices, that film and sound

        give us, only partly real.


My wife, dear to me from half a lifetime of sharing,

is beautiful.

        Her face entrances me, her laughter.

        I love it when, happy,

        She dances without music,

                The echoes of her majorette days,

        Telling me without words

                That life is good.


Our children are beautiful,

They shine in worlds of their own,

Vickie full of bounce and hope,

        Eager to enter a broader world,

Brad cool, a good guy, his future slumbering

        Like an unawakened giant.


I saw this morning the flickering of ten thousand


        Clusters of galaxies

        Planets with nine whirling moons.


        But nowhere has beauty been more truly found


Than in my mother as she consoles us in her sickness.


        She came to us as though by a resurrection

        Talking to us, seeing us after I thought all was



        She gave me six precious days.


        She is a woman who, reborn, laughed when a gentle doctor,

                        a visiting angel,


                told her ever so kindly

                the measure of her earthly time.


        A woman to whom the measure means a lifetime.


Hers is the beauty of love, of boys hugged close,

        of brothers reliving with her their Septembers in

                Icy Cave Canyon an age ago,

                of two sweet parents, ever present,

                of tender friends, long shared,

                of the gentle hands of nurses aides,

                        Welma, Ruth, Sarah and Cathy,

                        alert and tender, soldiers in the army

                                of Compassion.


        Of strength, unpretentious in nightgowned frame.


        Of courage tempered in the fires of camp, years ago,

                on the back of Lookout Mountain

                among the dark pine with two small boys.


        Of great good humor, spoken with soft sparkle

                from lips kept moist with cream.


Without a crown or golden gowns,

But with a smile and fine white hair,

        She makes her chair by the window a simple throne.

        (No wonder someone's called her a queen.)


But in this age when royalty wear hollow crowns,

She is much more than that.


        There, in this hour,

                The glow of love to and fro,

        She is the most beautiful woman

        I have ever seen.