The Ox Cart of Time (by My friend on Texas Death Row)

-From site owner-

Patrick Henry Murphy my penfriend for 2.5 years.

He asked me this essay he wrote to post as many place I can,

So I decided To post my blog.






The Ox cart of Time


Have you ever seen or watched an ox cart? They are very slow and have only three speeds of slow,slower and dead stop.The ox just plods along at it’s slow pace,only wanting to reach its destination and get this load off of its back.


The Buddha taught us,”IF one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind,suffering follows,as a wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart.”(Dkammapada V.I)


Whenever I read this verse I see that oxcart just plodding along.Well I can certainly testify that suffering does indeed follow a corrupt act.Just look at me,sitting on death row.

And just like that slow moving oxcart,

suffering can be very slow.Like sitting in this cell waiting for time to pass,and waiting for ‘thAt’ time to come.

All prisoners know about the slow suffering of doing time.It is as if we are in our own time,or in a separate place in time.We wait to go to eat,to go to school or to work.We wait,all tensed up,for the next fight,or the next cell search.Wait,hoping to hear our name of mail call,or especially to go to a visit.

We anxiously for that day,late at night,almost like a sweet dream,or a secret shared between cellies,when the guard quietly says “Pack your stuff,you’re going home.”


Our families and loved ones live on edges of this time zone while they wait for the postman to arrive,When the phone rings unexpectantly,is if him/her,or is if the chaplain with bad news.They enter it briefly,like traveling to a foreign land,driving to prisons,waiting outside the gates with hopeful smiles and plastic bags of coins.Then for a brief two hours you sit holding hands,or touching glass.Almost,but not quiet,in synch for this brief moment in time.Then they regretfully,and gratefully,leave to re-enter their own time of suffering.

A tear begins as they near the gates and the loneliness and emptiness rushes to greet them once again.


I use to think that slow suffering was only for the condemned.Then I looked at the guards and listened to the news,and realized that everyone is experiencing this slow suffering.That everyone is condemned.

There is an answer through,”If one speaks or acts with a serene mind,happiness follows,as surely as one’s shadow.”(Dhp.v.2)


Have you ever played with your shadow?

Many nights while babysitting my siblings,I entertained them with shadow puppets on the wall.I remember seeing a child playing with her shadow,the antics of lifting her feet,waving her arms,jumping and such to see her shadow following every move,then skipping merrily along her way.These memories still bring smiles to my face.


I did not realize it when I began this story.

But I am  grateful to be here in this cell at this time,behind this slow moving oxcart,Perhaps when it is time for me to move on to the next life,then maybe just maybe,some of my karmic debt will be already paid.For I long to be re-united with my friend.

    Me and my Shadow!

                                 With Palms Folded

                                 Patrick H.Murphy

                                 Texas Death Row