The Mirror Wall

The Mirror Wall

by Richard Murphy
     
 

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Halfway up the remote fortress of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka is a long wall of polished plaster, with mysterious golden women painted on the rock above, who seem to be dancing in the clouds. Twenty of these frescoes have survived since the end of the fifth century. The “Mirror Wall,” as it’s called, is covered with graffiti: hundreds of songs

Overview

Halfway up the remote fortress of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka is a long wall of polished plaster, with mysterious golden women painted on the rock above, who seem to be dancing in the clouds. Twenty of these frescoes have survived since the end of the fifth century. The “Mirror Wall,” as it’s called, is covered with graffiti: hundreds of songs relating to these cloud nymphs, composed by nobles, merchants, travelers and Buddhist monks during the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries. These songs or lyrics were sung, probably with vina, flute and drums, in the gallery beneath the portraits, where the words were written on the wall: love poems, satires, and curses; happy, witty, ironical, and sad celebrations of beautiful, erotic, festive, and sometimes painful experiences. Richard Murphy’s poems were inspired by the songs of the Mirror Wall. Some keep close to the intricate forms and meaning of their Old Sinhala originals. More often they are free versions, elaborating particular images and ideas, bringing in modern voices or combining several songs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780916390365
Publisher:
Wake Forest University Press
Publication date:
10/28/1989
Pages:
82
Product dimensions:
5.66(w) x 8.83(h) x 0.51(d)

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Meet the Author

Richard Murphy was born in 1927 in Co. Mayo, the son of an officer in colonial service in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and later Governor of the Bahamas. He received a scholarship to Oxford, where C. S. Lewis was his tutor. Having lived for many years in Connemara, he now divides his time between Dublin and Durban, South Africa. Richard Murphy’s many volumes of poetry include The Archaeology of Love (1955); Sailing to an Ireland (1955, 1963, 1968); The Battle of Aughrim and The God Who Eats Corn (1968); Selected Poems (1979); The Price of Stone and Earlier Poems (1985); New Selected Poems (1989); The Mirror Wall (1989); and Collected Poems (2000). His poetry has also been collected in several anthologies. His memoir, The Kick, was published in 2001. A member of Aosdána and of the Royal Society of Literature, he has received numerous literary awards, including the British Arts Council Award, the Marten Toonder Award, and the American Irish Foundation Literary Award.

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