Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
The memories fade milliseconds before I drown in another one
Frozen in fear at the irreversible end of an uncorked weapon
A canon hand cannon
Staring down the rifled barrel of a hunting gun
I can't comprehend the timing of when to run
Most always find myself in a state of stun

©2024
These are poems about sinking, poems about drowning, poems about loss, and poems about new discoveries we sometimes make while feeling lost...



Sinking
by Michael R. Burch

for Virginia Woolf

Weigh me down with stones…
fill all the pockets of my gown…
I’m going down,
mad as the world
that can’t recover,
to where even mermaids drown.



What Goes Around, Comes
by Michael R. Burch

This is a poem about loss
so why do you toss your dark hair—
unaccountably glowing?

How can you be sure of my heart
when it’s beyond my own knowing?

Or is it love’s pheromones you trust,
my eyes magnetized by your bust
and the mysterious alchemies of lust?

Now I am truly lost!



Sonnet 26
by Giacomo da Lentini
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I've seen it rain on sunny days;
I’ve seen the darkness split by light;
I’ve seen white lightning fade to haze;
Seen frozen snow turn water-bright.

Some sweets have bitter aftertastes
While bitter things can taste quite sweet:
So enemies become best mates
While former friends no longer meet.

Yet the strangest thing I've seen is Love,
Who healed my wounds by wounding me.
Love quenched the fire he lit before;
The life he gave was death, therefore.

How to warm my heart? It eluded me.
Yet extinguished, Love sears all the more.

Giacomo da Lentini, also known as Jacopo da Lentini or by the appellative Il Notaro (“The Notary”), was an Italian poet of the 13th century who has been credited with creating the sonnet.



The Discovery
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

What use were my arms, before they held you?
What did my lips know of love, before they encountered yours?
I learned I was made for your heart, so true,
to overwhelm with its tender force.



Grave Oversight I
by Michael R. Burch

The dead are always with us,
and yet they are naught!

Grave Oversight II
by Michael R. Burch

for Jim Dunlap, who winked and suggested “not”

The dead are either naught
or naughty, being so sought!



Door Mouse
by Michael R. Burch

I’m sure it’s not good for my heart—
the way it will jump-start
when the mouse scoots the floor
(I try to **** it with the door,
never fast enough, or
fling a haphazard shoe...
always too slow too)
in the strangest zig-zaggedy fashion
absurdly inconvenient for mashin’,
till our hearts, each maniacally revvin’,
make us both early candidates for heaven.



Birthday Poem to Myself
by Michael R. Burch

LORD, be no longer this Distant Presence,
Star-Afar, Righteous-Anonymous,
but come! Come live among us;
come dwell again,
happy child among men—
men rejoicing to have known you
in the familiar manger’s cool
sweet light scent of unburdened hay.
Teach us again to be light that way,
with a chorus of angelic songs lessoned above.
Be to us again that sweet birth of Love
in the only way men can truly understand.
Do not frown darkening down upon an unrighteous land
planning fierce Retributions we require, and deserve,
but remember the child you were; believe
in the child I was, alike to you in innocence
a little while, all sweetness, and helpless without pretense.
Let us be little children again, magical in your sight.
Grant me this boon! Is it not my birthright—
just to know you, as you truly were, and are?
Come, be my friend. Help me understand and regain Hope’s long-departed star!



You Never Listened
by Michael R. Burch

You never listened,
though each night the rain
wove its patterns again
and trembled and glistened...

You were not watching,
though each night the stars
shone, brightening the tears
in her eyes palely fetching...

You paid love no notice,
though she lay in my arms
as the stars rose in swarms
like a legion of poets,

as the lightning recited
its opus before us,
and the hills boomed the chorus,
all strangely delighted...



Time Out
by Michael R. Burch

Time is running out,
no doubt.
Time is running out.

I don’t know what the LORD’s about,
since Time is running out, the Lout!,
and leaving me with gas and gout.

I don’t know what the LORD’s about;
still, it does no good to grouse or pout,
since Time is merely running out,
like quail before a native scout.

’Twill do no good to shout or flout:
Time’s running out,
I have no doubt,
though who knows what the LORD’s about?

No need for faith or even doubt,
since Time is merely running out,
like water from a rusty spout
or mucous from a leaky snout.

Yes, Time is merely running out,
and yet I feel inclined to pout
and truth be told, sometimes to doubt
just what the hell the LORD’s about.



Pointed Art
by Michael R. Burch

The point of art is that
there is no point.
(A grinning, quick-dissolving cat
from Cheshire
must have told you that.)

The point of art is this—
the hiss
of Cupid’s bright bolt, should it miss,
is bliss
compared to Truth’s neurotic kiss.



Haiku

Am I really this old,
so many ghosts
beckoning?
—Michael R. Burch

Sleepyheads!
I recite my haiku
to the inattentive lilies.
—Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
the sound of petals
drifting down softly together...
—Miura Chora, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sky tries to assume
your eyes’ azure
but can’t quite pull it off.
—Michael R. Burch

The sky tries to assume
your eyes’ arresting blue
but can’t quite pull it off.
—Michael R. Burch

Early robins
get the worms,
cats waiting to pounce.
—Michael R. Burch

Two bullheaded frogs
croaking belligerently:
election season.
—Michael R. Burch

An enterprising cricket
serenades the sunrise:
soloist.
—Michael R. Burch

A single cricket
serenades the sunrise:
solo violinist.
—Michael R. Burch

My life:
how little remains
of a night so brief?
—Masaoka Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

(Masaoka Shiki struggled with tuberculosis and died at age 35.)

Yesterday’s snows
that fell like cherry blossoms
are mudpuddles again.
—Koshigaya Gozan, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I write, erase, revise, erase again,
and then...
suddenly a poppy blooms!
—Katsushika Hokusai, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Vanishing spring:
songbirds lament,
fish weep with watery eyes.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wearily,
I enter the inn
to be welcomed by wisteria!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pale moonlight:
the wisteria’s fragrance
seems equally distant.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By such pale moonlight
even the wisteria's fragrance
seems distant.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pale moonlight:
the wisteria’s fragrance
drifts in from afar.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pale moonlight:
the wisteria’s fragrance
drifts in from nowhere.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Plum flower temple:
voices ascend
from the valleys.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

limping to the grave under the sentence of death,
should i praise ur LORD? think i’ll save my breath!
–michael r. burch

The Ultimate Haiku Against God
by Michael R. Burch

Because you made a world
where nothing matters,
our hearts lie in tatters.



Homer translations

Surrender to sleep at last! What a misery, keeping watch all night, wide awake. Soon you’ll succumb to sleep and escape all your troubles. Sleep. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Passage home? Impossible! Surely you have something else in mind, Goddess, urging me to cross the ocean’s endless expanse in a raft. So vast, so full of danger! Hell, sometimes not even the sea-worthiest ships can prevail, aided as they are by Zeus’s mighty breath! I’ll never set foot on a raft, Goddess, until you swear by all that’s holy you’re not plotting some new intrigue! — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let’s hope the gods are willing. They rule the vaulting skies. They’re stronger than men to plan, execute and realize their ambitions. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Few sons surpass their fathers; most fall short, all too few overachieve. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Death is the Great Leveler, not even the immortal gods can defend the man they love most when the dread day dawns for him to take his place in the dust. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Any moment might be our last. Earth’s magnificence? Magnified because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than at this moment. We will never pass this way again. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Beauty! Ah, Terrible Beauty! A deathless Goddess, she startles our eyes! — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Many dread seas and many dark mountain ranges lie between us. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The lives of mortal men? Like the leaves’ generations. Now the old leaves fall, blown and scattered by the wind. Soon the living timber bursts forth green buds as spring returns. Even so with men: as one generation is born, another expires. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since I’m attempting to temper my anger, it does not behoove me to rage unrelentingly on. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Overpowering memories subsided to grief. Priam wept freely for Hector, who had died crouching at Achilles’ feet, while Achilles wept himself, first for his father, then for Patroclus, as their mutual sobbing filled the house. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

“Genius is discovered in adversity, not prosperity.” — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ruin, the eldest daughter of Zeus, blinds us all with her fatal madness. With those delicate feet of hers, never touching the earth, she glides over our heads, trapping us all. First she entangles you, then me, in her lethal net. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Death and Fate await us all. Soon comes a dawn or noon or sunset when someone takes my life in battle, with a well-flung spear or by whipping a deadly arrow from his bow. — Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Death is the Great Leveler, not even the immortal gods can defend the man they love most when the dread day dawns for him to take his place in the dust.—Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: Homer translations, Haiku translations, life, death, sinking, drowning, bitter, sweet, rain, darkness, love, fire, fate, ruin, genius, memory, memories
These are English translations of Homer's poetry, English translations of haiku by Basho, Buson and other Oriental masters, and original haiku and other poems by Michael R. Burch.
Randi Apr 14
Drowning in a lake, perhaps to be found or left behind
Feeding what remains with body and mind

Drowning in a pool, a body of chlorination and polution
For even in death the rich are fools and cannot recieve absolution

Drowning in the ocean, returning flesh to old kin
Returning body to the waters to feed whats within
rk Apr 11
you were the moonlit shore
and i had been drowning at sea
nothing had ever been
more beautiful
as if poseidon
had moulded you himself
the storm in your eyes
my own salvation.
Jeremy Betts Mar 29
Laying motionless on a riverbed,
Drowning at rock bottom constantly
I hate to admit it but
That's where you'll most commonly find me
No landmarks, no marked miles,
Got lost on the back roads to recovery
I finally pulled out of this nosedive of false certainty
Just to expectedly fall back into the same trajectory
Distractions follow closely,
Waiting to complicate the wrong actions I already make consistently
That's a disastrous recipe
That's what has made my present day a fraction of what I think it oughta be
This has to be far more than what I have coming to me
Like what I've repaid triggers karma's selective memory

©2024
rstlss Mar 26
How does one ask for help
in a helpless situation?

Drowning,
crying,
struggling to find the words
in a vacuum of doubt

and loneliness.


When nobody's there,
how deep does the ocean go
until I stop drifting away?

How does one ask
without needing to say?
i feel so distant with my friends i miss them :(
TS Feb 29
When you promised me forever, I was silly to think you'd keep your word
Because I was taught that those things should be felt louder than they're heard

Promises by their definition are strength and willingness
To hold your word up higher than your own satiated bliss.

I could never be enough for you or anything you hoped we'd be
Thought I was exploring the sand ***** but was really drowning in your sea.

I've lived in the shadow of your former lover which we both knew could never last
And still I stayed with shallow hope that you'd bring me back after each cast

The rhythm in which I write now is filled with chaos and urgency
To get out every feeling quick enough, grasping at who I'm trying to be.

The promises I made to you through letters, painting, and home baked cookies
Are the ones that echo in my mind when I wipe the quiet and slow tears from my cheeks

Healing, growing, moving on feel a little stranger now
Deep breaths, a slight grin and even a softened brow

Silly little me promised to always love you.
And though that may look different now,
I forever still do.






-t.s.
Amanda Kay Burke Dec 2023
You treat me like minefield
Challenging to navigate
Wrong step will cause me to explode
You take caution with your gait
Got pocketfuls of problems
Neither can seem to fix
Each door we try to open
Leads to wall of bricks
You keep telling me think positively
Optimism is the key to success
When the half-full glass topples over
Still makes the same size mess
Got a fence built between bodies
Separating flaws we don't wish to see
Compatability questionable
Cannot be who you want me to be
Your expectations of me skyscrapers
So high I will never reach the top
To scale distance I'd need to sprout wings
I won't fly because I'm scared of the drop
Good enough worry is not what I am
Painting your colors dark grey
Overhead clouds pour rain and we're drowning
Wouldn't blame you if you decided not to stay
I am fragile like a bomb not fragile like a flower
Angela Rose Nov 2023
Being the sun in your misery is dimming me
It’s parasitic
I used to see us symbiotically, I used to think we balanced each others sadness to reach mutual happiness
I was incorrect

Being the blood to your vampiric nature is draining me
It’s bloodsucking
I used to see us as co-unit, I used to think we were an equal part to each others madness and in turn we could reach sanity
I was mistaken

Being the floating device to your endless ocean is sinking me
It’s so heavy
I used to see us a lifeboat, I used to think we were carrying each other through the sea to reach the shore
You’re drowning me
Next page