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annh Feb 21
Let me fall
Deeply into the heart
Of the wanderer,
Under the dappled skin
Into the belly of the thing
Heavy and warm;
The hermit and the outcast
Is met in me
By the stomp of a hoof,
The shifting
Of weight
As he steadies himself;
I look down at my feet
Aware of toes and heels
Colliding with the ground.

I met an Appaloosa the other week. Pale, dappled and distant among a herd of sleek blacks and solid chestnuts. His name is Cherokee.

‘Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.’
- Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
for Thomas Raine Crowe

...These nights bring dreams of Cherokee shamans
whose names are bright verbs and impacted dark nouns,
whose memories are indictments of my pallid flesh...
and I hear, as from a great distance,
the cries tortured from their guileless lips, proclaiming
the nature of my mutation.

NOTE: My “mutation” is that my family appears to contain English, Scottish, German and Cherokee blood, meaning that my ancestors were probably at war with each other. Did my English ancestors force my Cherokee ancestors to walk the Trail of Tears?

I have recently created these new translations of Native American poems, proverbs and sayings ...

What is life?
The flash of a firefly.
The breath of a winter buffalo.
The shadow scooting across the grass that vanishes with sunset.
—Blackfoot saying, translation by Michael R. Burch

Speak less thunder, wield more lightning. — Apache proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

The more we wonder, the more we understand. — Arapaho proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Adults talk, children whine. — Blackfoot proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Don’t be afraid to cry: it will lessen your sorrow. — Hopi proverb

One foot in the boat, one foot in the canoe, and you end up in the river. — Tuscarora proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Our enemy's weakness increases our strength. — Cherokee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

We will be remembered tomorrow by the tracks we leave today. — Dakota proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

No sound's as eloquent as a rattlesnake's tail. — Navajo saying, translation by Michael R. Burch

The heart is our first teacher. — Cheyenne proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Dreams beget success. — Maricopa proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Knowledge interprets the past, wisdom foresees the future. — Lumbee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

The troublemaker's way is thorny. — Umpqua proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
When Pigs Fly
by Michael R. Burch

On the Trail of Tears,
my Cherokee brothers,
why hang your heads?
Why shame your mothers?
Laugh wildly instead!
We will soon be dead.

When we lie in our graves,
let the white-eyes take
the woodlands we loved
for the *** and the rake.
It is better to die
than to live out a lie
in so narrow a sty.

In October 1838 the Cherokees began to walk the "Trail of Tears." Most of them made the thousand mile journey west to Oklahoma on foot. An estimated 4,000 people, or a quarter of the tribe, died en route. The soldiers "escorting" the Cherokees at bayonet point refused permission for the dead to be buried, threatening to shoot anyone who disobeyed. So the living were forced to carry the corpses of the dead until camp was made for the night. Years after the Cherokees had been rounded up and driven down the Trail of Tears, John G. Burnett reflected on what he and his fellow soldiers had done, saying, "Schoolchildren of today do not know that we are living on lands that were taken from a helpless race at the bayonet point, to satisfy the white man's greed... ****** is ****** and somebody must answer, somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country... Somebody must explain the four thousand silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile." Keywords/Tags: Cherokee, Native American, Trail of Tears, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, ******, Evil, Death, March, Death March, Infanticide, Matricide, Racism, Racist, Discrimination, Violence, Fascism, White Supremacists, Horror, Terror, Terrorism, Greed, Gluttony, Avarice, Lust, ****, mrbpig, mrbpigs



Cherokee Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I walk life's trails
imperiled by the raging wind and rain,
grant, O Great Spirit,
that yet I may always
walk like a man.

This prayer makes me think of Native Americans walking the Trail of Tears with far more courage and dignity than their “civilized” abusers.



Native American Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Help us learn the lessons you have left us
in every leaf and rock.



Native American Travelers' Blessing
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us walk together here
among earth's creatures great and small,
remembering, our footsteps light,
that one wise God created all.



Sioux Vision Quest
by Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux, circa 1840-1877
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues.



Cherokee Travelers' Blessing I
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will extract the thorns from your feet.
For yet a little while, we will walk life's sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.

Published by Better Than Starbucks and Cherokee Native Americans



Cherokee Travelers' Blessing II
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Happily may you walk
in the paths of the Rainbow.
                  Oh,
and may it always be beautiful before you,
beautiful behind you,
beautiful below you,
beautiful above you,
and beautiful all around you
where in Perfection beauty is finished.

Published by Better Than Starbucks



Cherokee Travelers' Blessing III
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May Heaven’s warming winds blow gently there,
where you reside,
and may the Great Spirit bless all those you love,
this side of the farthest tide.
And wherever you go,
whether the journey is fast or slow,
may your moccasins leave many cunning footprints in the snow.
And when you look over your shoulder, may you always find the Rainbow.

Published by Better Than Starbucks



Warrior's Confession
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh my love, how fair you are—
far brighter than the fairest star!



Cherokee Proverb
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Before you judge
a man for his sins
be sure to trudge
many moons in his moccasins.



Cherokee Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I walk life's trails
imperiled by the raging wind and rain,
grant, O Great Spirit,
that yet I may always
walk like a man.

When I think of this prayer, I think of Native Americans walking the Trail of Tears.



The Receiving of the Flower
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us sing overflowing with joy
as we observe the Receiving of the Flower.
The lovely maidens beam;
their hearts leap in their *******.

Why?

Because they will soon yield their virginity to the men they love!



The Deflowering
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Remove your clothes;
let down your hair;
become as naked as the day you were born—

virgins!



Prelude to *******
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lay out your most beautiful clothes,
maidens!
The day of happiness has arrived!

Grab your combs, detangle your hair,
adorn your earlobes with gaudy pendants.
Dress in white as becomes maidens ...

Then go, give your lovers the happiness of your laughter!
And all the village will rejoice with you,
for the day of happiness has arrived!



The Flower-Strewn Pool
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You have arrived at last in the woods
where no one can see what you do
at the flower-strewn pool ...
Remove your clothes,
unbraid your hair,
become as you were
when you first arrived here
naked and shameless,
virgins, maidens!



Native American Proverbs

The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.
—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A woman’s highest calling is to help her man unite with the Source.
A man’s highest calling is to help his woman walk the earth unharmed.
—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
—White Elk, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What is life?
The flash of a firefly.
The breath of a winter buffalo.
The shadow scooting across the grass that vanishes with sunset.
—Blackfoot saying, translation by Michael R. Burch

Speak less thunder, wield more lightning. — Apache proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

The more we wonder, the more we understand. — Arapaho proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Adults talk, children whine. — Blackfoot proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Don’t be afraid to cry: it will lessen your sorrow. — Hopi proverb

One foot in the boat, one foot in the canoe, and you end up in the river. — Tuscarora proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Our enemy's weakness increases our strength. — Cherokee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

We will be remembered tomorrow by the tracks we leave today. — Dakota proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

No sound's as eloquent as a rattlesnake's tail. — Navajo saying, translation by Michael R. Burch

The heart is our first teacher. — Cheyenne proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Dreams beget success. — Maricopa proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Knowledge interprets the past, wisdom foresees the future. — Lumbee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

The troublemaker's way is thorny. — Umpqua proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch



Earthbound
an original poem by Michael R. Burch

Tashunka Witko, better known as Crazy Horse, had a vision of a red-tailed hawk at Sylvan Lake, South Dakota. In his vision he saw himself riding a spirit horse, flying through a storm, as the hawk flew above him, shrieking. When he awoke, a red-tailed hawk was perched near his horse.

Earthbound,
and yet I now fly
through the clouds that are aimlessly drifting ...
so high
that no sound
echoing by
below where the mountains are lifting
the sky
can be heard.

Like a bird,
but not meek,
like a hawk from a distance regarding its prey,
I will shriek,
not a word,
but a screech,
and my terrible clamor will turn them to clay—
the sheep,
the earthbound.



Years after the Cherokees had been rounded up and driven down the Trail of Tears, John G. Burnett reflected on what he and his fellow soldiers had done, saying, "Schoolchildren of today do not know that we are living on lands that were taken from a helpless race at the bayonet point, to satisfy the white man's greed ... ****** is ****** and somebody must answer, somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country ... Somebody must explain the four thousand silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile."

In the same year, 1830, that Stonewall Jackson consigned Native Americans to the ash-heap of history, Georgia Governor George Gilmer said, "Treaties are expedients by which ignorant, intractable, and savage people are induced ... to yield up what civilized people have the right to possess." By "civilized" he apparently meant people willing to brutally dispossess and **** women and children in order to derive economic benefits for themselves.

These nights bring dreams of Cherokee shamans
whose names are bright verbs and impacted dark nouns,
whose memories are indictments of my pallid flesh . . .
and I hear, as from a great distance,
the cries tortured from their guileless lips, proclaiming
the nature of my mutation.
―Michael R. Burch, from "Mongrel Dreams" (my family is part Cherokee, English and Scottish)

After Jackson was re-elected with an overwhelming majority in 1832, he strenuously pursued his policy of removing Native Americans, even refusing to accept a Supreme Court ruling which invalidated Georgia's planned annexation of Cherokee land. But in the double-dealing logic of the white supremacists, they had to make the illegal resettlement of the Indians appear to be "legal," so a small group of Cherokees were persuaded to sign the "Treaty of New Echota," which swapped Cherokee land for land in the Oklahoma territory. The Cherokee ringleaders of this infamous plot were later assassinated as traitors. (****** was similarly obsessed with the "legalities" of the **** Holocaust; isn't it strange how mass murderers of women and children can seek to justify their crimes?)

Native Americans understood the "circle of life" better than their white oppressors ...

When we sit in the Circle of the People,
we must be responsible because all Creation is related
and the suffering of one is the suffering of all
and the joy of one is the joy of all
and whatever we do affects everything in the universe.
—"Lakota Instructions for Living" by White Buffalo Calf Woman, translated by Michael R. Burch



Veiled
by Michael R. Burch

She has belief
without comprehension
and in her crutchwork shack
she is
much like us . . .

tamping the bread
into edible forms,
regarding her children
at play
with something akin to relief . . .

ignoring the towers ablaze
in the distance
because they are not revelations
but things of glass,
easily shattered . . .

and if you were to ask her,
she might say:
sometimes God visits his wrath
upon an impious nation
for its leaders’ sins,

and we might agree:
seeing her mutilations.

Published by Poetry Super Highway and Modern War Poems.



Ali’s Song
by Michael R. Burch

They say that gold don’t tarnish. It ain’t so.
They say it has a wild, unearthly glow.
A man can be more beautiful, more wild.
I flung their medal to the river, child.
I flung their medal to the river, child.

They hung their coin around my neck; they made
my name a bridle, “called a ***** a *****.”
They say their gold is pure. I say defiled.
I flung their slave’s name to the river, child.
I flung their slave’s name to the river, child.

Ain’t got no quarrel with no Viet Cong
that never called me ******, did me wrong.
A man can’t be lukewarm, ’cause God hates mild.
I flung their notice to the river, child.
I flung their notice to the river, child.

They said, “Now here’s your bullet and your gun,
and there’s your cell: we’re waiting, you choose one.”
At first I groaned aloud, but then I smiled.
I gave their “future” to the river, child.
I gave their “future” to the river, child.

My face reflected up, dark bronze like gold,
a coin God stamped in His own image―BOLD.
My blood boiled like that river―strange and wild.
I died to hate in that dark river, child,
Come, be reborn in this bright river, child.

Originally published by Black Medina

Note: Cassius Clay, who converted to Islam and changed his “slave name” to Muhammad Ali, said that he threw his Olympic boxing gold medal into the Ohio River. Confirming his account, the medal was recovered by Robert Bradbury and his wife Pattie in 2014 during the Annual Ohio River Sweep, and the Ali family paid them $200,000 to regain possession of the medal. When drafted during the Vietnamese War, Ali refused to serve, reputedly saying: “I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong; no Vietnamese ever called me a ******.” The notice mentioned in my poem is Ali's draft notice, which metaphorically gets tossed into the river along with his slave name. I was told through the grapevine that this poem appeared in Farsi in an Iranian publication called Bashgah. ―Michael R. Burch



evol-u-shun
by Michael R. Burch

does GOD adore the Tyger
while it’s ripping ur lamb apart?

does GOD applaud the Plague
while it’s eating u à la carte?

does GOD admire ur intelligence
while u pray that IT has a heart?

does GOD endorse the Bible
you blue-lighted at k-mart?



Enheduanna, the daughter of the famous King Saragon the Great of Akkad, is the first ancient writer whose name remains known today. She appears to be the first named poet in human history and the first known author of prayers and hymns. Enheduanna, who lived circa 2285-2250 BCE, is also one of the first women we know by name.

Lament to the Spirit of War
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

You hack down everything you see, War God!

Rising on fearsome wings
you rush to destroy the land,
descending like a raging storm,
howling like a hurricane,
screaming like a tempest,
thundering, raging, ranting, drumming,
whiplashing whirlwinds!

Men falter at your approaching footsteps.

Tortured dirges scream
on your lyre of despair.

Like a fiery Salamander you poison the land:
growling over the earth like thunder,
vegetation collapsing before you,
blood gushing down a mountainside.

Spirit of hatred, greed and vengeance!

******* of heaven and earth!

Your ferocious fire consumes our land.

Whipping your stallion
with furious commands,
you decide our fate.

You triumph over all human rites and prayers.

Who can explain your tirade,
why you go on so?



Temple Hymn 15
to the Gishbanda Temple of Ningishzida
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Most ancient and terrible shrine,
set deep in the mountain,
dark like a mother's womb...

Dark shrine,
like a mother's wounded breast,
blood-red and terrifying...

Though approaching through a safe-seeming field,
our hair stands on end as we near you!

Gishbanda,
like a neck-stock,
like a fine-eyed fish net,
like a foot-shackled prisoner's manacles...
your ramparts are massive,
like a trap!

But once we’re inside,
as the sun rises,
you yield widespread abundance!

Your prince
is the pure-handed priest of Inanna, heaven's Holy One,
Lord Ningishzida!

Oh, see how his thick, lustrous hair
cascades down his back!

Oh Gishbanda,
he has built this beautiful temple to house your radiance!
He has placed his throne upon your dais!



The Exaltation of Inanna: Opening Lines and Excerpts
by Enheduanna, the daughter of Sargon I of Akkad and the high priestess of the Goddess Inanna
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lady of all divine powers!
Lady of the resplendent light!
Righteous Lady adorned in heavenly radiance!

Beloved Lady of An and Uraš!
Hierodule of An, sun-adorned and bejeweled!
Heaven’s Mistress with the holy diadem,
Who loves the beautiful headdress befitting the office of her own high priestess!

Powerful Mistress, seizer of the seven divine powers!
My Heavenly Lady, guardian of the seven divine powers!
You have seized the seven divine powers!
You hold the divine powers in your hand!
You have gathered together the seven divine powers!
You have clasped the divine powers to your breast!

You have flooded the valleys with venom, like a viper;
all vegetation vanishes when you thunder like Iškur!
You have caused the mountains to flood the valleys!
When you roar like that, nothing on earth can withstand you!

Like a flood descending on floodplains, O Powerful One, you will teach foreigners to fear Inanna!

You have given wings to the storm, O Beloved of Enlil!
The storms do your bidding, blasting the unbelievers!

Foreign cities cower at the chaos You cause!
Entire countries cower in dread of Your deadly South Wind!
Men cower before you in their anguished implications,
raising their pitiful outcries,
weeping and wailing, beseeching Your benevolence with many wild lamentations!

But in the van of battle, everything falls before You, O Mighty Queen!

My Queen,
You are all-conquering, all-devouring!
You continue Your attacks like relentless storms!
You howl louder than the howling storms!
You thunder louder than Iškur!
You moan louder than the mournful winds!
Your feet never tire from trampling Your enemies!
You produce much wailing on the lyres of lamentations!

My Queen,
all the Anunna, the mightiest Gods,
fled before Your approach like fluttering bats!
They could not stand in Your awesome Presence
nor behold Your awesome Visage!

Who can soothe Your infuriated heart?
Your baleful heart is beyond being soothed!

Uncontrollable Wild Cow, elder daughter of Sin,
O Majestic Queen, greater than An,
who has ever paid You enough homage?

O Life-Giving Goddess, possessor of all powers,
Inanna the Exalted!

Merciful, Live-Giving Mother!
Inanna, the Radiant of Heart!
I have exalted You in accordance with Your power!
I have bowed before You in my holy garb,
I the En, I Enheduanna!

Carrying my masab-basket, I once entered and uttered my joyous chants ...

But now I no longer dwell in Your sanctuary.
The sun rose and scorched me.
Night fell and the South Wind overwhelmed me.
My laughter was stilled and my honey-sweet voice grew strident.
My joy became dust.

O Sin, King of Heaven, how bitter my fate!

To An, I declared: An will deliver me!
I declared it to An: He will deliver me!

But now the kingship of heaven has been seized by Inanna,
at Whose feet the floodplains lie.

Inanna the Exalted,
who has made me tremble together with all Ur!

Stay Her anger, or let Her heart be soothed by my supplications!
I, Enheduanna will offer my supplications to Inanna,
my tears flowing like sweet intoxicants!
Yes, I will proffer my tears and my prayers to the Holy Inanna,
I will greet Her in peace ...

O My Queen, I have exalted You,
Who alone are worthy to be exalted!
O My Queen, Beloved of An,
I have laid out Your daises,
set fire to the coals,
conducted the rites,
prepared Your nuptial chamber.
Now may Your heart embrace me!

These are my innovations,
O Mighty Queen, that I made for You!
What I composed for You by the dark of night,
The cantor will chant by day.

Now Inanna’s heart has been restored,
and the day became favorable to Her.
Clothed in beauty, radiant with joy,
she carried herself like the elegant moonlight.

Now to the Noble Hierodule,
to the Wrecker of foreign lands
presented by An with the seven divine powers,
and to my Queen garbed in the radiance of heaven ...

O Inanna, praise!



The Exaltation of Inanna: Opening Lines, an Excerpt
Nin-me-šara by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Lady of all divine powers,
Lady of the all-resplendent light,
Righteous Lady clothed in heavenly radiance,
Beloved Lady of An and Uraš,
Mistress of heaven with the holy diadem,
Who loves the beautiful headdress befitting the office of her high priestess,
Powerful Mistress who has seized all seven divine powers,
My lady, you are the guardian of the seven divine powers!
You have seized the divine powers,
You hold the divine powers in your hand,
You have gathered up the divine powers,
You have clasped the divine powers to your breast!
Like a dragon you have spewed venom on foreign lands that know you not!
When you roar like Iškur at the earth, nothing can withstand you!
Like a flood descending on alien lands, O Powerful One of heaven and earth, you will teach them to fear Inanna!



Temple Hymn 7: an Excerpt
to the Kesh Temple of Ninhursag
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, high-situated Kesh,
form-shifting summit,
inspiring fear like a venomous viper!

O, Lady of the Mountains,
Ninhursag’s house was constructed on a terrifying site!

O, Kesh, like holy Aratta: your womb dark and deep,
your walls high-towering and imposing!

O, great lion of the wildlands stalking the high plains!...



Temple Hymn 17: an Excerpt
to the Badtibira Temple of Dumuzi
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, house of jeweled lapis illuminating the radiant bed
in the peace-inducing palace of our Lady of the Steppe!



Temple Hymn 22: an Excerpt
to the Sirara Temple of Nanshe
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, house, you wild cow!
Made to conjure signs of the Divine!
You arise, beautiful to behold,
bedecked for your Mistress!



Temple Hymn 26: an Excerpt
to the Zabalam Temple of Inanna
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O house illuminated by beams of bright light,
dressed in shimmering stone jewels,
awakening the world to awe!



Temple Hymn 42: an Excerpt
to the Eresh Temple of Nisaba
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, house of brilliant stars
bright with lapis stones,
you illuminate all lands!

...

The person who put this tablet together
is Enheduanna.
My king: something never created before,
did she not give birth to it?



Update of "A Litany in Time of Plague"
by Michael R. Burch

THE PLAGUE has come again
To darken lives of men
and women, girls and boys;
Death proves their bodies toys
Too frail to even cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Tycoons, what use is wealth?
You cannot buy good health!
Physicians cannot heal
Themselves, to Death must kneel.
Nuns’ prayers mount to the sky.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Beauty’s brightest flower?
Devoured in an hour.
Kings, Queens and Presidents
Are fearful residents
Of manors boarded high.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

We have no means to save
Our children from the grave.
Though cure-alls line our shelves,
We cannot save ourselves.
"Come, come!" the sad bells cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

NOTE: This poem is meant to capture the understandable fear and dismay the Plague caused in the Middle Ages, and which the coronavirus has caused in the 21st century. We are better equipped to deal with this modern plague, thanks to advances in science, medicine and sanitation. We do not have to succumb to fear, but it would be wise to have a healthy respect for the nasty bug and heed the advice of medical experts.--MRB



Regret
by Michael R. Burch

Regret,
a bitter
ache to bear . . .

once starlight
languished
in your hair . . .

a shining there
as brief
as rare.

Regret . . .
a pain
I chose to bear . . .

unleash
the torrent
of your hair . . .

and show me
once again―
how rare.

Published by The HyperTexts and The Chained Muse



The Stake
by Michael R. Burch

Love, the heart bets,
if not without regrets,
will still prove, in the end,
worth the light we expend
mining the dark
for an exquisite heart.

Originally published by The Lyric



If
by Michael R. Burch

If I regret
fire in the sunset
exploding on the horizon,
then let me regret loving you.

If I forget
even for a moment
that you are the only one,
then let me forget that the sky is blue.

If I should yearn
in a season of discontentment
for the vagabond light of a companionless moon,
let dawn remind me that you are my sun.

If I should burn―one moment less brightly,
one instant less true―
then with wild scorching kisses,
inflame me, inflame me, inflame me anew.

Originally published by The HyperTexts



The Effects of Memory
by Michael R. Burch

A black ringlet
curls to lie
at the nape of her neck,
glistening with sweat
in the evaporate moonlight ...
This is what I remember

now that I cannot forget.

And tonight,
if I have forgotten her name,
I remember:
rigid wire and white lace
half-impressed in her flesh ...

our soft cries, like regret,

... the enameled white clips
of her bra strap
still inscribe dimpled marks
that my kisses erase ...

now that I have forgotten her face.



Villanelle: Because Her Heart Is Tender
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

She scrawled soft words in soap: "Never Forget,"
Dove-white on her car's window, and the wren,
because her heart is tender, might regret
it called the sun to wake her. As I slept,
she heard lost names recounted, one by one.

She wrote in sidewalk chalk: "Never Forget,"
and kept her heart's own counsel. No rain swept
away those words, no tear leaves them undone.

Because her heart is tender with regret,
bruised by razed towers' glass and steel and stone
that shatter on and on and on and on,
she stitches in wet linen: "NEVER FORGET,"
and listens to her heart's emphatic song.

The wren might tilt its head and sing along
because its heart once understood regret
when fledglings fell beyond, beyond, beyond ...
its reach, and still the boot-heeled world strode on.

She writes in adamant: "NEVER FORGET"
because her heart is tender with regret.



To the boy Elis
by Georg Trakl
translation by Michael R. Burch

Elis, when the blackbird cries from the black forest,
it announces your downfall.
Your lips sip the rock-spring's blue coolness.

Your brow sweats blood
recalling ancient myths
and dark interpretations of birds' flight.

Yet you enter the night with soft footfalls;
the ripe purple grapes hang suspended
as you wave your arms more beautifully in the blueness.

A thornbush crackles;
where now are your moonlike eyes?
How long, oh Elis, have you been dead?

A monk dips waxed fingers
into your body's hyacinth;
Our silence is a black abyss

from which sometimes a docile animal emerges
slowly lowering its heavy lids.
A black dew drips from your temples:

the lost gold of vanished stars.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: I believe that in the second stanza the blood on Elis's forehead may be a reference to the apprehensive ****** sweat of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. If my interpretation is correct, Elis hears the blackbird's cries, anticipates the danger represented by a harbinger of death, but elects to continue rather than turn back. From what I have been able to gather, the color blue had a special significance for Georg Trakl: it symbolized longing and perhaps a longing for death. The colors blue, purple and black may represent a progression toward death in the poem.



Turkish Poetry Translations

Attilâ İlhan (1925-2005) was a Turkish poet, translator, novelist, screenwriter, editor, journalist, essayist, reviewer, socialist and intellectual.

Ben Sana Mecburum: “You are indispensable”
by Attila Ilhan
translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch

You are indispensable; how can you not know
that you’re like nails riveting my brain?
I see your eyes as ever-expanding dimensions.
You are indispensable; how can you not know
that I burn within, at the thought of you?

Trees prepare themselves for autumn;
can this city be our lost Istanbul?
Now clouds disintegrate in the darkness
as the street lights flicker
and the streets reek with rain.
You are indispensable, and yet you are absent ...

Love sometimes seems akin to terror:
a man tires suddenly at nightfall,
of living enslaved to the razor at his neck.
Sometimes he wrings his hands,
expunging other lives from his existence.
Sometimes whichever door he knocks
echoes back only heartache.

A screechy phonograph is playing in Fatih ...
a song about some Friday long ago.
I stop to listen from a vacant corner,
longing to bring you an untouched sky,
but time disintegrates in my hands.
Whatever I do, wherever I go,
you are indispensable, and yet you are absent ...

Are you the blue child of June?
Ah, no one knows you―no one knows!
Your deserted eyes are like distant freighters ...

Perhaps you are boarding in Yesilköy?
Are you drenched there, shivering with the rain
that leaves you blind, beset, broken,
with wind-disheveled hair?

Whenever I think of life
seated at the wolves’ table,
shameless, yet without soiling our hands ...
Yes, whenever I think of life,
I begin with your name, defying the silence,
and your secret tides surge within me
making this voyage inevitable.
You are indispensable; how can you not know?



Fragments
by Attila Ilhan
loose English translations/interpretations by Michael R. Burch

The night is a cloudy-feathered owl,
its quills like fine-spun glass.

It gazes out the window,
perched on my right shoulder,
its wings outspread and huge.

If the encroaching darkness seems devastating at first glance,
the sovereign of everything,
its reach infinite ...

Still somewhere within a kernel of light glows secretly
creating an enlightened forest of dialectics.

In September’s waning days one thinks wanly of the arrival of fall
like a ship appearing on the horizon with untrimmed, tattered sails;
for some unfathomable reason fall is the time to consider one’s own demise―
the body smothered by yellowed leaves like a corpse rotting in a ghoulish photograph ...

Bitter words
crack like whips
snapping across prison yards ...

Then there are words like pomegranate trees in bloom,
words like the sun igniting the sea beyond mountainous horizons,
flashing like mysterious knives ...

Such words are the burning roses of an infinite imagination;
they are born and they die with the flutterings of butterflies;
we carry those words in our hearts like pregnant shotguns until the day we expire,
martyred for the words we were prepared to die for ...

What I wrote and what you understood? Curious and curiouser!



Mehmet Akif Ersoy: Modern English Translations of Turkish Poems

Mehmet Âkif Ersoy (1873-1936) was a Turkish poet, author, writer, academic, member of parliament, and the composer of the Turkish National Anthem.



Snapshot
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Earth’s least trace of life cannot be erased;
even when you lie underground, it encompasses you.
So, those of you who anticipate the shadows,
how long will the darkness remember you?



Zulmü Alkislayamam
"I Can’t Applaud Tyranny"
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I can't condone cruelty; I will never applaud the oppressor;
Yet I can't renounce the past for the sake of deluded newcomers.
When someone curses my ancestors, I want to strangle them,
Even if you don’t.
But while I harbor my elders,
I refuse to praise their injustices.
Above all, I will never glorify evil, by calling injustice “justice.”
From the day of my birth, I've loved freedom;
The golden tulip never deceived me.
If I am nonviolent, does that make me a docile sheep?
The blade may slice, but my neck resists!
When I see someone else's wound, I suffer a great hardship;
To end it, I'll be whipped, I'll be beaten.
I can't say, “Never mind, just forget it!” I'll mind,
I'll crush, I'll be crushed, I'll uphold justice.
I'm the foe of the oppressor, the friend of the oppressed.
What the hell do you mean, with your backwardness?



Çanakkale Sehitlerine
"For the Çanakkale Martyrs"
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Was there ever anything like the Bosphorus war?―
The earth’s mightiest armies pressing Marmara,
Forcing entry between her mountain passes
To a triangle of land besieged by countless vessels.
Oh, what dishonorable assemblages!
Who are these Europeans, come as rapists?
Who, these braying hyenas, released from their reeking cages?
Why do the Old World, the New World, and all the nations of men
now storm her beaches? Is it Armageddon? Truly, the whole world rages!
Seven nations marching in unison!
Australia goose-stepping with Canada!
Different faces, languages, skin tones!
Everything so different, but the mindless bludgeons!
Some warriors Hindu, some African, some nameless, unknown!
This disgraceful invasion, baser than the Black Death!
Ah, the 20th century, so noble in its own estimation,
But all its favored ones nothing but a parade of worthless wretches!
For months now Turkish soldiers have been vomited up
Like stomachs’ retched contents regarded with shame.
If the masks had not been torn away, the faces would still be admired,
But the ***** called civilization is far from blameless.
Now the ****** demand the destruction of the doomed
And thus bring destruction down on their own heads.
Lightning severs horizons!
Earthquakes regurgitate the bodies of the dead!
Bombs’ thunderbolts explode brains,
rupture the ******* of brave soldiers.
Underground tunnels writhe like hell
Full of the bodies of burn victims.
The sky rains down death, the earth swallows the living.
A terrible blizzard heaves men violently into the air.
Heads, eyes, torsos, legs, arms, chins, fingers, hands, feet ...
Body parts rain down everywhere.
Coward hands encased in armor callously scatter
Floods of thunderbolts, torrents of fire.
Men’s chests gape open,
Beneath the high, circling vulture-like packs of the air.
Cannonballs fly as frequently as bullets
Yet the heroic army laughs at the hail.
Who needs steel fortresses? Who fears the enemy?
How can the shield of faith not prevail?
What power can make religious men bow down to their oppressors
When their stronghold is established by God?
The mountains and the rocks are the bodies of martyrs! ...
For the sake of a crescent, oh God, many suns set, undone!
Dear soldier, who fell for the sake of this land,
How great you are, your blood saves the Muslims!
Only the lions of Bedr rival your glory!
Who then can dig the grave wide enough to hold you. and your story?
If we try to consign you to history, you will not fit!
No book can contain the eras you shook!
Only eternities can encompass you! ...
Oh martyr, son of the martyr, do not ask me about the grave:
The prophet awaits you now, his arms flung wide open, to save!



Sessiz Gemi (“Silent Ship”)

by Yahya Kemal Beyatli
loose translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch

for the refugees

The time to weigh anchor has come;
a ship departing harbor slips quietly out into the unknown,
cruising noiselessly, its occupants already ghosts.
No flourished handkerchiefs acknowledge their departure;
the landlocked mourners stand nurturing their grief,
scanning the bleak horizon, their eyes blurring ...
Poor souls! Desperate hearts! But this is hardly the last ship departing!
There is always more pain to unload in this sorrowful life!
The hesitations of lovers and their belovèds are futile,
for they cannot know where the vanished are bound.
Many hopes must be quenched by the distant waves,
since years must pass, and no one returns from this journey.



Full Moon
by Yahya Kemal Beyatli
loose translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch

You are so lovely
the full moon just might
delight
in your rising,
as curious
and bright,
to vanquish night.

But what can a mortal man do,
dear,
but hope?
I’ll ponder your mysteries
and (hmmmm) try to
cope.

We both know
you have every right to say no.



The Music of the Snow
by Yahya Kemal Beyatli
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This melody of a night lasting longer than a thousand years!
This music of the snow supposed to last for thousand years!

Sorrowful as the prayers of a secluded monastery,
It rises from a choir of a hundred voices!

As the *****’s harmonies resound profoundly,
I share the sufferings of Slavic grief.

My mind drifts far from this city, this era,
To the old records of Tanburi Cemil Bey.

Now I’m suddenly overjoyed as once again I hear,
With the ears of my heart, the purest sounds of Istanbul!

Thoughts of the snow and darkness depart me;
I keep them at bay all night with my dreams!

Translator’s notes: “Slavic grief” because Beyatli wrote this poem while in Warsaw, serving as Turkey’s ambassador to Poland, in 1927. Tanburi Cemil Bey was a Turkish composer.



Thinking of you
by Nazim Hikmet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Thinking of you is beautiful, hopeful―
like listening to the most beautiful songs
sung by the earth's most beautiful voices.
But hope is insufficient for me now;
I don't want to listen to songs.
I want to sing love into birth.



I love you
by Nazim Hikmet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love you―
like dipping bread into salt and eating;
like waking at night with a raging fever
and thirstily lapping up water, my mouth to the silver tap;
like unwrapping the unwieldy box the postman delivers,
unable to guess what's inside,
feeling fluttery, happy, doubtful.
I love you―
like flying over the sea the first time
as something stirs within me
while the sky softly darkens over Istanbul.
I love you―
as men thank God gratefully for life.



Sparrow
by Nazim Hikmet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Little sparrow,
perched on the clothesline,
do you regard me with pity?
Even so, I will watch you
soar away through the white spring leaves.



The Divan of the Lover

the oldest extant Turkish poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All the universe as one great sign is shown:
God revealed in his creative acts unknown.
Who sees or understands them, jinn or men?
Such works lie far beyond mere mortals’ ken.
Nor can man’s mind or reason reach that strand,
Nor mortal tongue name Him who rules that land.
Since He chose nothingness with life to vest,
who dares to trouble God with worms’ behests?
For eighteen thousand worlds, lain end to end,
Do not with Him one atom's worth transcend!



Fragment
by Prince Jem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Behold! The torrent, dashing against the rocks, flails wildly.
The entire vast realm of Space and Being oppresses my soul idly.
Through bitterness of grief and woe the sky has rent its morning robe.
Look! See how in its eastern palace, the sun is a ****** globe!
The clouds of heaven rain bright tears on the distant mountain peaks.
Oh, hear how the deeply wounded thunder slowly, mournfully speaks!



An Ecstasy of Fumbling
by Michael R. Burch

The poets believe
everything resolves to metaphor—
a distillation,
a vapor
beyond filtration,
though perhaps not quite as volatile as before.

The poets conceive
of death in the trenches
as the price of art,
not war,
fumbling with their masque-like
dissertations
to describe the Hollywood-like gore

as something beyond belief,
abstracting concrete bunkers to Achaemenid bas-relief.



Excerpts from “Travels with Einstein”
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

I went to Berlin to learn wisdom
from Adolph. The wild spittle flew
as he screamed at me, with great conviction:
“Please despise me! I look like a Jew!”

So I flew off to ’Nam to learn wisdom
from tall Yankees who cursed “yellow” foes.
“If we lose this small square,” they informed me,
earth’s nations will fall, dominoes!”

I then sat at Christ’s feet to learn wisdom,
but his Book, from its genesis to close,
said: “Men can enslave their own brothers!”
(I soon noticed he lacked any clothes.)

So I traveled to bright Tel Aviv
where great scholars with lofty IQs
informed me that (since I’m an Arab)
I’m unfit to lick dirt from their shoes.

At last, done with learning, I stumbled
to a well where the waters seemed sweet:
the mirage of American “justice.”
There I wept a real sea, in defeat.

Originally published by Café Dissensus



The Leveler
by Michael R. Burch

The nature of Nature
is bitter survival
from Winter’s bleak fury
till Spring’s brief revival.

The weak implore Fate;
bold men ravish, dishevel her . . .
till both are cut down
by mere ticks of the Leveler.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 20, in 1978 or thereabouts. It has since been published in The Lyric, Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly and The Aurorean.



The Hippopotami
by Michael R. Burch

There’s no seeing eye to eye
with the awesomely huge Hippopotami:
on the bank, you’re much taller;
going under, you’re smaller
and assuredly destined to die!



The Echoless Green
by Michael R. Burch

for and after William Blake

At dawn, laughter rang
on the echoing green
as children at play
greeted the day.

At noon, smiles were seen
on the echoing green
as, children no more,
many fine vows they swore.

By twilight, their cries
had subsided to sighs.

Now night reigns supreme
on the echoless green.



Unlikely Mike
by Michael R. Burch

I married someone else’s fantasy;
she admired me despite my mutilations.

I loved her for her heart’s sake, and for mine.
I hid my face and changed its connotations.

And in the dark I danced—slight, Chaplinesque—
a metaphor myself. How could they know,

the undiscerning ones, that in the glow
of spotlights, sometimes love becomes burlesque?

Disfigured to my soul, I could not lose
or choose or name myself; I came to be

another of life’s odd dichotomies,
like Dickey’s Sheep Boy, Pan, or David Cruse:

as pale, as enigmatic. White, or black?
My color was a song, a changing track.



Spring Was Delayed
by Michael R. Burch

Winter came early:
the driving snows,
the delicate frosts
that crystallize

all we forget
or refuse to know,
all we regret
that makes us wise.

Spring was delayed:
the nubile rose,
the tentative sun,
the wind’s soft sighs,

all we omit
or refuse to show,
whatever we shield
behind guarded eyes.

Originally published by Borderless Journal



The Shijing or **** Jing (“Book of Songs” or “Book of Odes”) is the oldest Chinese poetry collection, with the poems included believed to date from around 1200 BC to 600 BC. According to tradition the poems were selected and edited by Confucius himself. Since most ancient poetry did not rhyme, these may be the world’s oldest extant rhyming poems.

Shijing Ode #4: “JIU MU”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the South, beneath trees with drooping branches
thick with vines that make them shady,
we find our lovely princely lady:
May she repose in happiness!

In the South, beneath trees with drooping branches
whose clinging vines make hot days shady,
we wish love’s embrace for our lovely lady:
May she repose in happiness!

In the South, beneath trees with drooping branches
whose vines, entwining, make them shady,
we wish true love for our lovely lady:
May she repose in happiness!

Shijing Ode #6: “TAO YAO”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The peach tree is elegant and tender;
its flowers are fragrant, and bright.
A young lady now enters her future home
and will manage it well, day and night.

The peach tree is elegant and tender;
its fruits are abundant, and sweet.
A young lady now enters her future home
and will make it welcome to everyone she greets.

The peach tree is elegant and tender;
it shelters with bough, leaf and flower.
A young lady now enters her future home
and will make it her family’s bower.

Shijing Ode #9: “HAN GUANG”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the South tall trees without branches
offer men no shelter.
By the Han the girls loiter,
but it’s vain to entice them.
For the breadth of the Han
cannot be swum
and the length of the Jiang
requires more than a raft.

When cords of firewood are needed,
I would cut down tall thorns to bring them more.
Those girls on their way to their future homes?
I would feed their horses.
But the breadth of the Han
cannot be swum
and the length of the Jiang
requires more than a raft.

When cords of firewood are needed,
I would cut down tall trees to bring them more.
Those girls on their way to their future homes?
I would feed their colts.
But the breadth of the Han
cannot be swum
and the length of the Jiang
requires more than a raft.

Shijing Ode #10: “RU FEN”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By raised banks of the Ru,
I cut down branches in the brake.
Not seeing my lord
caused me heartache.

By raised banks of the Ru,
I cut down branches by the tide.
When I saw my lord at last,
he did not cast me aside.

The bream flashes its red tail;
the royal court’s a blazing fire.
Though it blazes afar,
still his loved ones are near ...

It was apparently believed that the bream’s tail turned red when it was in danger. Here the term “lord” does not necessarily mean the man in question was a royal himself. Chinese women of that era often called their husbands “lord.” Take, for instance, Ezra Pound’s famous loose translation “The River Merchant’s Wife.” Speaking of Pound, I borrowed the word “brake” from his translation of this poem, although I worked primarily from more accurate translations. In the final line, it may be that the wife or lover is suggesting that no matter what happens, the man in question will have a place to go, or perhaps she is urging him to return regardless. The original poem had “mother and father” rather than “family” or “loved ones,” but in those days young married couples often lived with the husband’s parents. So a suggestion to return to his parents could be a suggestion to return to his wife as well.

Shijing Ode #12: “QUE CHAO”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The nest is the magpie's
but the dove occupies it.
A young lady’s soon heading to her future home;
a hundred carriages will attend her.

The nest is the magpie's
but the dove takes it over.
A young lady’s soon heading to her future home;
a hundred carriages will escort her.

The nest is the magpie's
but the dove possesses it.
A young lady’s soon heading to her future home;
a hundred carriages complete her procession.

Shijing Ode #26: “BO ZHOU” from “The Odes of Bei”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This cypress-wood boat floats about,
meandering with the current.
Meanwhile, I am distraught and sleepless,
as if inflicted with a painful wound.
Not because I have no wine,
and can’t wander aimlessly about!

But my mind is not a mirror
able to echo all impressions.
Yes, I have brothers,
but they are undependable.
I meet their anger with silence.

My mind is not a stone
to be easily cast aside.
My mind is not a mat
to be conveniently rolled up.
My conduct so far has been exemplary,
with nothing to criticize.

Yet my anxious heart hesitates
because I’m hated by the herd,
inflicted with many distresses,
heaped with insults, not a few.
Silently I consider my case,
until, startled, as if from sleep, I clutch my breast.

Consider the sun and the moon:
how did the latter exceed the former?
Now sorrow clings to my heart
like an unwashed dress.
Silently I consider my options,
but lack the wings to fly away.



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

O little yellow flower
like a star ...
how beautiful,
how wonderful
we are!



Published as the collection "When Pigs Fly"
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
Cherokee Proverb
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Before you judge
a man for his sins
be sure to trudge
many moons in his moccasins.

Originally published by The HyperTexts
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
Cherokee Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I walk life's trails
imperiled by the raging wind and rain,
grant, O Great Spirit,
that yet I may always
walk like a man.

This prayer makes me think of Native Americans walking the Trail of Tears with far more courage and dignity than their “civilized” abusers.
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
Cherokee Travelers' Blessing III
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May Heaven’s warming winds blow gently there,
where you reside,
and may the Great Spirit bless all those you love,
this side of the farthest tide.
And wherever you go,
whether the journey is fast or slow,
may your moccasins leave many cunning footprints in the snow.
And when you look over your shoulder, may you always find the Rainbow.

Published by Better Than Starbucks
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
Cherokee Travelers' Blessing II
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Happily may you walk
in the paths of the Rainbow.
                  Oh,
and may it always be beautiful before you,
beautiful behind you,
beautiful below you,
beautiful above you,
and beautiful all around you
where in Perfection beauty is finished.

Published by Better Than Starbucks
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
Cherokee Travelers' Blessing I
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will extract the thorns from your feet.
For yet a little while, we will walk life's sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.

Published by Better Than Starbucks and Cherokee Native Americans

I have recently created these new translations of Native American poems ...

What is life?
The flash of a firefly.
The breath of a winter buffalo.
The shadow scooting across the grass that vanishes with sunset.
—Blackfoot saying, translation by Michael R. Burch

Speak less thunder, wield more lightning. — Apache proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

The more we wonder, the more we understand. — Arapaho proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Adults talk, children whine. — Blackfoot proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Don’t be afraid to cry: it will lessen your sorrow. — Hopi proverb

One foot in the boat, one foot in the canoe, and you end up in the river. — Tuscarora proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Our enemy's weakness increases our strength. — Cherokee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

We will be remembered tomorrow by the tracks we leave today. — Dakota proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

No sound's as eloquent as a rattlesnake's tail. — Navajo saying, translation by Michael R. Burch

The heart is our first teacher. — Cheyenne proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Dreams beget success. — Maricopa proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

Knowledge interprets the past, wisdom foresees the future. — Lumbee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

The troublemaker's way is thorny. — Umpqua proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
...
..
.



next line is mine
sew what
?



...
..
.
knots for the
notes
...
..
.
Clouds rolling across our azure sky
As far as my eyes could see.
The white man told us another lie
For he just couldn’t let us be.
Behind us all of our homes were burned,
Nothing as far as they were concerned.
Destroying us and all our years
Marching us onto the trail of tears.

Behind the mask they wore a disguise
In an attempt to cover their lies.
Teardrops falling like rain
While our blood spilled again and again.
One in front of another across our sacred land,
Oh if only we could have had our last stand.
Destroying us and all our years
Marching us on the trail of tears.

First the weakest fell, then the old
Then the youngest, all turning cold.
First my Aunt, then my mother,
Then father, my son, my brother.
I carried them all as far as I could
While the soldiers beat my manhood.
Destroying us and all our years
Marching us into the trail of tears.

I focused on one soldier with a crooked cross
As he told us it wasn’t far off -
I must killed him a thousand times.
He laughed and spoke in white man’s rhymes
As my feet began to bleed.
Cold, hunger, thirst, the water we need -
Denied to us and all our years
Marching us down the trail of tears.

More than a thousand miles we walked
And yet today my people are un-talked.
Could you walk barefoot in the cold that long
When all those you loved fell so wronged?
All for nothing but a gold filled piece of land
From which we, my people were banned -
Removing us and all of our years.
Crawling us along in our trail full of tears.
Somewhere in this society there is something so evil afoot. It's not anything new. As a matter of fact it's more common than you think. Daily the news is full of man's injustice to man. Yet all it would ever take is for those who claim to be good or righteous to stand up and put a stop to it all. But in corners of the world the trail of tears continues. All for some form of greed. I just don't understand.
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