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These are early poems of mine, written as a high school student in the 10th grade.

as Time walked by
by Michael R. Burch

yesterday i dreamed of us again,
when
the air, like honey,
trickled through cushioning grasses,
softly flowing, pouring itself upon the masses
of dreaming flowers...
then
the sly impish Hours
were tentative, coy and shy
while the sky
swirled all its colors together,
giving pleasure to the appreciative eye
as Time walked by.

sunbright, your smile
could fill the darkest night
with brilliant light
or thrill the dullest day
with ecstasy
so long as Time did not impede our way...
until It did,
as It did.

for soon the summer hid
her sunny smile...
the honeyed breaths of wind
became cold,
biting to the bone
as Time sped on,
fled from us
to be gone
Forevermore.

this morning i awakened to the thought
that u were near
with honey hair and happy smile
lying sweetly by my side,
but then i remembered—u were gone,
that u'd been toppled long ago
like an orchid felled by snow
as the bloom called “us” sank slowly down to die
and Time roared by.

This poem appeared in my high school literary journal and was probably written around age 15-16, or thereabouts. This was during my 'cummings period, ' which started after I/i discovered e.e. cummings in an English textbook. "as Time walked by" and the next poem "hymn to Apollo" are companion poems, written around the same time and perhaps even on the same day.



hymn to Apollo
by Michael R. Burch

something of sunshine attracted my i
as it lazed on the afternoon sky,
golden,
splashed on the easel of god . . .

what,
i thought,
could this elfin stuff be,
to, phantomlike,
flit through tall trees
on fall days, such as these?

and the breeze
whispered a dirge
to the vanishing light;
enchoired with the evening, it sang;
its voice
enchantedly
rang
chanting “Night!” . . .

till all the bright light
retired,
expired.

This poem appeared in my high school literary journal; I believe I was around 15 or 16 when I wrote it.



Have I been too long at the fair?
by Michael R. Burch

Have I been too long at the fair?
The summer has faded,
the leaves have turned brown;
the Ferris wheel teeters ...
not up, yet not down.
Have I been too long at the fair?

This is one of my early poems, written around age 15 and published in my high school literary journal.



When last my love left me
by Michael R. Burch

The sun was a smoldering ember
when last my love left me;
the sunset cast curious shadows
over green arcs of the sea;
she spoke sad words, departing,
and teardrops drenched the trees.

This poem was published by my college literary journal, Homespun, issue 1976-1977. I believe I wrote the original version around age 16.



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

Eagle, raven, blackbird, crow . . .
What you are I do not know.
Where you go I do not care.
I’m unconcerned whose meal you bear.
But as you mount the sun-splashed sky,
I only wish that I could fly.
I only wish that I could fly.

Robin, hawk or whippoorwill . . .
Should men care if you hunger still?
I do not wish to see your home.
I do not wonder where you roam.
But as you scale the sky's bright stairs,
I only wish that I were there.
I only wish that I were there.

Sparrow, lark or chickadee . . .
Your markings I disdain to see.
Where you fly concerns me not.
I scarcely give your flight a thought.
But as you wheel and arc and dive,
I, too, would feel so much alive.
I, too, would feel so much alive.

I think this poem was written around age 16.



Damp Days
by Michael R. Burch

These are damp days,
and the earth is slick and vile
with the smell of month-old mud.

And yet it seldom rains;
a never-ending drizzle
drenches spring's bright buds
till they droop as though in death.

Now Time
drags out His endless hours
as though to bore to tears
His fretting, edgy servants
through the sheer length of His days
and slow passage of His years.

Damp days are His domain.

Irritation
grinds the ravaged nerves
and grips tight the gorging brain
which fills itself, through sense,
with vast seas of soggy clay
while the temples throb in pain
at the thought of more damp days.
I wrote the first version of this poem around age 16.



El Dorado
by Michael R. Burch

It's a fine town, a fine town,
though its alleys recede into shadow;
it's a very fine town for those who are searching
for an El Dorado.

Because the lighting is poor and the streets are bare
and the welfare line is long,
there must be something of value somewhere
to keep us hanging on
to our El Dorado.

Though the children are skinny, their parents are fat
from years of gorging on bleached white bread,
yet neither will leave
because all believe
in the vague things that are said
of El Dorado.

The young men with the outlandish hairstyles
who saunter in and out of the turnstiles
with a song on their lips and an aimless shuffle,
scuffing their shoes, avoiding the bustle,
certainly feel no need to join the crowd
of those who work to earn their bread;
they must know that the rainbow's end
conceals a *** of gold
near El Dorado.

And the painted “actress” who roams the streets,
smiling at every man she meets,
must smile because, after years of running,
no man can match her in cruelty or cunning.
She must see the satire of “defeats”
and “triumphs” on the ambivalent streets
of El Dorado.

Yes, it's a fine town, a very fine town
for those who can leave when they tire
of chasing after rainbows and dreams
and living on nothing but fire.

But for those of us who cling to our dreams
and cannot let them go,
like the sad-eyed ladies who wander the streets
and the junkies high on snow,
the dream has become a reality
—the reality of hope
that grew too strong
not to linger on—
and so this is our home.

We chew the apple, spit it out,
then eat it "just once more."
For this is the big, big apple,
though it is rotten to the core,
and we are its worm
in the night when we squirm
in our El Dorado.

This is an early poem of mine. I believe I wrote the first version during my “Romantic phase” around age 16 or perhaps a bit later. It was definitely written in my teens because it appears in a poetry contest folder that I put together and submitted during my sophomore year in college. Keywords/Tags: El Dorado, big apple, worms, New York City, junkies, streetwalkers, hookers, prostitutes, actors, actresses, hustlers, conmen




Easter, in Jerusalem
by Michael R. Burch

The streets are hushed from fervent song,
for strange lights fill the sky tonight.
A slow mist creeps
up and down the streets
and a star has vanished that once burned bright.
Oh Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
who tends your flocks tonight?
"Feed my sheep,"
"Feed my sheep,"
a Shepherd calls
through the markets and the cattle stalls,
but a fiery sentinel has passed from sight.

Golgotha shudders uneasily,
then wearily settles to sleep again,
and I wonder how they dream
who beat him till he screamed,
"Father, forgive them!"
Ah Nazareth, Nazareth,
now sunken deep into dark sleep,
do you heed His plea
as demons flee,
"Feed my sheep,"
"Feed my sheep . . ."

The temple trembles violently,
a veil lies ripped in two,
and a good man lies
on a mountainside
whose heart was shattered too.
Galilee, oh Galilee,
do your waters pulse and froth?
"Feed my sheep,"
"Feed my sheep,"
the waters creep
to form a starlit cross.

According to my notes, I wrote this poem around age 15-16.



Of You
by Michael R. Burch

There is little to write of in my life,
and little to write off, as so many do . . .
so I will write of you.

You are the sunshine after the rain,
the rainbow in between;
you are the joy that follows fierce pain;
you are the best that I've seen
in my life.

You are the peace that follows long strife;
you are tranquility.
You are an oasis in a dry land
. . . and . . .
you are the one for me!

You are my love; you are my life; you are my all in all.
Your hand is the hand that holds me aloft . . .
without you I would fall.

This was the first poem of mine that appeared in my high school journal, the Lantern, and thus it was my first poem to appear on a printed page. A fond memory, indeed! I have tried to remember when I wrote the poem, but that memory remains elusive. This one feels “younger” to me, so I will guess a composition date around age 16.



I Am Lonely
by Michael R. Burch

Oh God, I am lonely;
I am weak and sore afraid.
Now, just who am I to turn to
when my heart is torn in two?

Oh God, I am lonely
and I cannot find a mate.
Now, just who am I to turn to
when the best friend that I’ve made

remains myself?

This poem appeared in my high school journal; I believe it was written around age 15-16.



A midnight shade of blue
by Michael R. Burch

You thought you saw a shadow moving somewhere in the night—
a lost and lonely stranger searching for a little light—
so you told me to approach him, ask him if he'd like a room . . .
how sweet of you to think of one alone out in the gloom,
but he was only ...  a midnight shade of blue.

I thought I saw an answer shining somewhere in the night—
a spark of truth irradiating wisdom sweet and bright—
but when I sought to seize it, to bring it home to you . . .
it fluttered through my fingers like a wispy curlicue,
for it was only ... a midnight shade of blue.

We thought that we had found true love together in the night—
a love as fine and elegant as wine by candlelight—
but when we woke this morning, we knew it wasn't true . . .
the "love" we'd shared was less than love; I guess we owe it to
emotion ... and a midnight shade of blue.

I wrote this poem around age 16.



Liar
by Michael R. Burch

Chiller than a winter day,
quieter than the murmur of the sea in her dreams,
eyes softer than the diaphanous spray
of mist-shrouded streams,
you fill my dying thoughts.

In moments drugged with sleep
I have heard your earnest voice
leaving me no choice
save heed your hushed demands
and meet you in the sands
of an ageless arctic world.

There I kiss your lifeless lips
as we quiver in the shoals
of a sea that, endless, rolls
to meet the shattered shore.
Wild waves weep, "Nevermore,"
as you bend to stroke my hair.

That land is harsh and drear,
and that sea is bleak and wild;
only your lips are mild
as you kiss my weary eyes,
whispering lovely lies
of what awaits us there

in a land so stark and bare,
beyond all hope . . . and care.

This is one of my early poems, written as a high school sophomore or junior.


Keywords/tags: early, early poem, juvenile, juvenalia, child, childhood, boy, boyhood, teen, teenage, student, study, studies, high school, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, college, first love, time
Ahmad Attr Feb 8
Little boy wake up from your dreams
Your woollen world is not what it seems
Your paper dolls are going to come after you
the monsters are taking forms
from the crayon paintings you drew

Little boy wake up from your dreams
Your crochet clothes are going to rip at the seams
Your plastic toys are to going be forgotten
The ribboned curtains will unveil
A colourless world oh so rotten

And when you go to sleep make sure
To shut your windows and you flowery door
Cover your ears with your hands firmly
Don’t listen to the sound in evil tone
‘’little boy stop playing with your xylophone’’

take off your navy sweater
Put on the armor and make your way
To the world of terror
Infiltrate the ****** castle
Save your distressed damsel

Little boy wake up from your dreams
Your times of boyhood have reached their extremes
You won’t sleep under starry ceilings no more
Be prepared for the world that is calling you
Filled with people whose glass hearts can’t be mend with glue

Be a man, right to the bones
Little boy, stop playing with your xylophone
The colorful splendor of childhood slowly dissolving into mundane adult life
Man Nov 2020
boyhood hid nothing
the snow only recently, laid to rest
to hang like rhime
but adolescence gave it a new lense
breathed in new breath
and animated the rotten corpse
to be so in shock, sickening awe
as to shriek out
"𝘐𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴!"
Chris Saitta May 2020
Mothers come gently to our rooms, the sunset kiss on the forehead,
Woven homilies from their baskets of forgiveness and spools of yarn.

But for the grave, this heart its coiled sunset unspools, so long entwined
In woods and seas that redden now into the soul of all sunsets combined.
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Small Tales
by Michael R. Burch

When Artur and Cai and Bedwyr
were but scrawny lads
they had many a ***** adventure
in the still glades
of Gwynedd.
When the sun beat down like an oven
upon the kiln-hot hills
and the scorched shores of Carmarthen,
they went searching
and found Manawydan, the son of Llyr.
They fought a day and a night
with Cath Pulag (or a screeching kitten),
rousted Pen Palach, then drank a beer
and told quite a talltale or two,
"till thems wasn’t so shore which’un’s tails wus true."

And these have been passed down to me, and to you.

According to legend, Arthur and Kay grew up together in Ector’s court, Kay being a few years older than Arthur. Borrowing from Mary Stewart, I am assuming that Bedwyr (later Anglicized to Bedivere) might have befriended Arthur at an early age. By some accounts, Bedwyr was the original Lancelot. In any case, imagine the adventures these young heroes might have pursued (or dreamed up, to excuse tardiness or “lost” homework assignments). Manawydan and Llyr were ancient Welsh gods. Cath Pulag was a monstrous, clawing cat. (“Sorry teach! My theme paper on Homer was torn up by a cat bigger than a dragon! And meaner, too!”) Pen Palach is more or less a mystery, or perhaps just another old drinking buddy with a few good beery-bleary tales of his own. This poem assumes that many of the more outlandish Arthurian legends began more or less as “small tales,” little white lies which simply got larger and larger with each retelling. It also assumes that most of these tales came about just as the lads reached that age when boys fancy themselves men, and spend much of their free time drinking and puking! Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, boy, boyhood, *****, drinking, beer, ale, tall tales, Wales
Marco Feb 2020
snakes surrounding my trailer
kick down the door
break all windows
knock me to the floor
I know what they're here for

they want me
I know that they want me
they don't even hide it
black eyes, black hair, black stare
he doesn't even hide it

a punch to the guts
a cut on my cheek
kisses me with a fist
my eye as black as his
he knew he wouldn't miss

and they want me
I can feel they want me
he doesn't even hide it

whisper into the night
hissing like vipers
biting like vipers
poisoning my wine
running out my nose
poisoning my mind

they got me
they know that they got me
I don't even hide it
black eye, black hair, blank stare
he takes my hand
and leads me out.
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
My finest dusk was the watermelon kind,
When bats skitted in the shortcomings of light,
And on a picnic bench in the cool June of outside,
I felt the dogwoods and pines and other apple-greens
Fidget with insects in the newness of night,
I felt the only grace was
The watermelon kind, and though the world was newly
Dying in its freshness, the pulp squirmed
From my bloated, gleaming lips like
Blubber split from a whale’s side.
No, I do not condone killing whales.  Just a carefree, reminiscence of boyhood and little-boy grossness of imagination.
Lawrence Hall Jul 2019
Why should I do that? I can hear all right
And I can’t see behind my ears anyway
I never use my ears for work or play -
I’ll just give them a washrag-wash tonight

Why is that old woman talkin’ at me
I wasn’t botherin’ that bossy old cow
Ain’t none of her busy beeswax anyhow -
I wish all them women would let me be

Old women asked if I washed behind my ears -
So long ago –
                          I kinda miss the nosy old dears
Your ‘umble scrivener’s site is:
Reactionarydrivel.blogspot.com
It’s not at all reactionary, tho’ it might be drivel.
Lawrence Hall’s vanity publications are available on amazon.com as Kindle and on bits of dead tree:  The Road to Magdalena, Paleo-Hippies at Work and Play, Lady with a Dead Turtle, Don’t Forget Your Shoes and Grapes, Coffee and a Dead Alligator to Go, and Dispatches from the Colonial Office.
Glenn Currier Nov 2018
Can't remember last time
I knelt down to dig in the dirt
but I do recall all us boys who'd climb
the sandy loam pile in the yard

to make castles, caves and highways
and let our fantasies reign -
oh what glorious days
when fun was simple and plain.

We cared not about smudges
holey pants or muddy feet
had not learned about grudges
nor become expert in deceit

hadn’t yet been betrayed
enough to live in hurt
and conjure all the ways
we could spite and spread dirt.

Maybe every now and again
I'd benefit from kneeling down
and digging deeper grain by grain
in earthy dirt - to find my being’s ground.
David Hutton Oct 2017
It came very late at midnight,
Evolving like a parasite.
Twist and bend and inverse,
This mind gets too perverse.
My body craves fresh appetite.
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