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Dearly Beloved
by Michael R. Burch

for Suzan Blacksmith

She was

Dearly Beloved by her children, who gather
to pay their respects; they remember her
as they clung together through frightful weather,
always learning that Love can persevere ...

She was

Dearly Beloved by family and friends
who saw her great worth, even as she grew frail;
for they saw with Love’s eyes how Love’s vision transcends,
how her heart never faltered, through cyclones and hail ...

She is

Dearly Beloved, well-loved, sadly missed ...
and, while we mourn the lost days of a life too-soon ended,
we also rejoice that her suffering is past ...
she now lives in the Light, by kind Angels befriended.

And if

others were greater in fortune and fame,
and if some had iron wills when life’s pathways grew dark ...
still, since Love’s the great goal, we now reaffirm her claim
to the highest of honors: a mother’s Heart.

Keywords/Tags: Suzan Blacksmith, elegy, eulogy, epitaph, memorial, tribute, remembrance, farewell, goodbye, last respects
Perhat Tursun

Perhat Tursun (1969-) is one of the foremost living Uyghur language poets, if he is still alive. Born and raised in Atush, a city in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tursun began writing poetry in middle school, then branched into prose in college. Tursun has been described as a "self-professed Kafka character" and that comes through splendidly in poems of his like "Elegy." Unfortunately, Tursun was "disappeared" into a Chinese "reeducation" concentration camp where extreme psychological torture is the norm. According to a disturbing report he was later "hospitalized." Apparently no one knows his present whereabouts or condition, if he has one. According to John Bolton, when Donald Trump learned of these "reeducation" concentration camps, he told Chinese President Xi Jinping it was "exactly the right thing to do." Trump’s excuse? "Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal."

Elegy
by Perhat Tursun
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

"Your soul is the entire world."
―Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Asylum seekers, will you recognize me among the mountain passes' frozen corpses?
Can you identify me here among our Exodus's exiled brothers?
We begged for shelter but they lashed us bare; consider our naked corpses.
When they compel us to accept their massacres, do you know that I am with you?

Three centuries later they resurrect, not recognizing each other,
Their former greatness forgotten.
I happily ingested poison, like a fine wine.
When they search the streets and cannot locate our corpses, do you know that I am with you?

In that tower constructed of skulls you will find my dome as well:
They removed my head to more accurately test their swords' temper.
When before their swords our relationship flees like a flighty lover,
Do you know that I am with you?

When men in fur hats are used for target practice in the marketplace
Where a dying man's face expresses his agony as a bullet cleaves his brain
While the executioner's eyes fail to comprehend why his victim vanishes, ...
Seeing my form reflected in that bullet-pierced brain's erratic thoughts,
Do you know that I am with you?

In those days when drinking wine was considered worse than drinking blood,
did you taste the flour ground out in that blood-turned churning mill?
Now, when you sip the wine Ali-Shir Nava'i imagined to be my blood
In that mystical tavern's dark abyssal chambers,
Do you know that I am with you?

Keywords/Tags: Perhat Tursun, Uyghur, translation, Uighur, Xinjiang, elegy, Kafka, China, Chinese, reeducation, prison, concentration camp, mrbuyghur

TRANSLATOR NOTES: This is my interpretation (not necessarily correct) of the poem's frozen corpses left 300 years in the past. For the Uyghur people the Mongol period ended around 1760 when the Qing dynasty invaded their homeland, then called Dzungaria. Around a million people were slaughtered during the Qing takeover, and the Dzungaria territory was renamed Xinjiang. I imagine many Uyghurs fleeing the slaughters would have attempted to navigate treacherous mountain passes. Many of them may have died from starvation and/or exposure, while others may have been caught and murdered by their pursuers.



The Fog and the Shadows
adapted from a novel by Perhat Tursun
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

“I began to realize the fog was similar to the shadows.”

I began to realize that, just as the exact shape of darkness is a shadow,
even so the exact shape of fog is disappearance
and the exact shape of a human being is also disappearance.
At this moment it seemed my body was vanishing into the human form’s final state.

After I arrived here,
it was as if the danger of getting lost
and the desire to lose myself
were merging strangely inside me.

While everything in that distant, gargantuan city where I spent my five college years felt strange to me; and even though the skyscrapers, highways, ditches and canals were built according to a single standard and shape, so that it wasn’t easy to differentiate them, still I never had the feeling of being lost. Everyone there felt like one person and they were all folded into each other. It was as if their faces, voices and figures had been gathered together like a shaman’s jumbled-up hair.

Even the men and women seemed identical.
You could only tell them apart by stripping off their clothes and examining them.
The men’s faces were beardless like women’s and their skin was very delicate and unadorned.
I was always surprised that they could tell each other apart.
Later I realized it wasn’t just me: many others were also confused.

For instance, when we went to watch the campus’s only TV in a corridor of a building where the seniors stayed when they came to improve their knowledge. Those elderly Uyghurs always argued about whether someone who had done something unusual in an earlier episode was the same person they were seeing now. They would argue from the beginning of the show to the end. Other people, who couldn’t stand such endless nonsense, would leave the TV to us and stalk off.

Then, when the classes began, we couldn’t tell the teachers apart.
Gradually we became able to tell the men from the women
and eventually we able to recognize individuals.
But other people remained identical for us.

The most surprising thing for me was that the natives couldn’t differentiate us either.
For instance, two police came looking for someone who had broken windows during a fight at a restaurant and had then run away.
They ordered us line up, then asked the restaurant owner to identify the culprit.
He couldn’t tell us apart even though he inspected us very carefully.
He said we all looked so much alike that it was impossible to tell us apart.
Sighing heavily, he left.



The Encounter
by Abdurehim Otkur
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I asked her, why aren’t you afraid? She said her God.
I asked her, anything else? She said her People.
I asked her, anything more? She said her Soul.
I asked her if she was content? She said, I am Not.



The Distance
by Tahir Hamut
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We can’t exclude the cicadas’ serenades.
Behind the convex glass of the distant hospital building
the nurses watch our outlandish party
with their absurdly distorted faces.

Drinking watered-down liquor,
half-****, descanting through the open window,
we speak sneeringly of life, love, girls.
The cicadas’ serenades keep breaking in,
wrecking critical parts of our dissertations.

The others dream up excuses to ditch me
and I’m left here alone.

The cosmopolitan pyramid
of drained bottles
makes me feel
like I’m in a Turkish bath.

I lock the door:
Time to get back to work!

I feel like doing cartwheels.
I feel like self-annihilation.



Refuge of a Refugee
by Ablet Abdurishit Berqi aka Tarim
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I lack a passport,
so I can’t leave legally.
All that’s left is for me to smuggle myself to safety,
but I’m afraid I’ll be beaten black and blue at the border
and I can’t afford the trafficker.

I’m a smuggler of love,
though love has no national identity.
Poetry is my refuge,
where a refugee is most free.

The following excerpts, translated by Anne Henochowicz, come from an essay written by Tang Danhong about her final meeting with Dr. Ablet Abdurishit Berqi, aka Tarim. Tarim is a reference to the Tarim Basin and its Uyghur inhabitants...

I’m convinced that the poet Tarim Ablet Berqi the associate professor at the Xinjiang Education Institute, has been sent to a “concentration camp for educational transformation.” This scholar of Uyghur literature who conducted postdoctoral research at Israel’s top university, what kind of “educational transformation” is he being put through?

Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, has said it’s “like the instruction at school, the order of the military, and the security of prison. We have to break their blood relations, their networks, and their roots.”

On a scorching summer day, Tarim came to Tel Aviv from Haifa. In a few days he would go back to Urumqi. I invited him to come say goodbye and once again prepared Sichuan cold noodles for him. He had already unfriended me on Facebook. He said he couldn’t eat, he was busy, and had to hurry back to Haifa. He didn’t even stay for twenty minutes. I can’t even remember, did he sit down? Did he have a glass of water? Yet this farewell shook me to my bones.

He said, “Maybe when I get off the plane, before I enter the airport, they’ll take me to a separate room and beat me up, and I’ll disappear.”

Looking at my shocked face, he then said, “And maybe nothing will happen …”

His expression was sincere. To be honest, the Tarim I saw rarely smiled. Still, layer upon layer blocked my powers of comprehension: he’s a poet, a writer, and a scholar. He’s an associate professor at the Xinjiang Education Institute. He can get a passport and come to Israel for advanced studies. When he goes back he’ll have an offer from Sichuan University to be a professor of literature … I asked, “Beat you up at the airport? Disappear? On what grounds?”

“That’s how Xinjiang is,” he said without any surprise in his voice. “When a Uyghur comes back from being abroad, that can happen.”…



With my translations I am trying to build awareness of the plight of Uyghur poets and their people, who are being sent in large numbers to Chinese "reeducation" concentration camps which have been praised by Trump as "exactly" what is "needed." This poem helps us understand the nomadic lifestyle of many Uyghurs, the hardships they endure, and the character it builds...

Iz (“Traces”)
by Abdurehim Otkur
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We were children when we set out on this journey;
Now our grandchildren ride horses.

We were just a few when we set out on this arduous journey;
Now we're a large caravan leaving traces in the desert.

We leave our traces scattered in desert dunes' valleys
Where many of our heroes lie buried in sandy graves.

But don't say they were abandoned: amid the cedars
their resting places are decorated by springtime flowers!

We left the tracks, the station... the crowds recede in the distance;
The wind blows, the sand swirls, but here our indelible trace remains.

The caravan continues, we and our horses become thin,
But our great-grand-children will one day rediscover those traces.

The original Uyghur poem:

Yax iduq muxkul seperge atlinip mangghanda biz,
Emdi atqa mingidek bolup qaldi ene nevrimiz.
Az iduq muxkul seperge atlinip chiqanda biz,
Emdi chong karvan atalduq, qaldurup chollerde iz.
Qaldi iz choller ara, gayi davanlarda yene,
Qaldi ni-ni arslanlar dexit cholde qevrisiz.
Qevrisiz qaldi dimeng yulghun qizarghan dalida,
Gul-chichekke pukinur tangna baharda qevrimiz.
Qaldi iz, qaldi menzil, qaldi yiraqta hemmisi,
Chiqsa boran, kochse qumlar, hem komulmes izimiz.
Tohtimas karvan yolida gerche atlar bek oruq,
Tapqus hichbolmisa, bu izni bizning nevrimiz, ya chevrimiz.

Other poems of note by Abdurehim Otkur include "I Call Forth Spring" and "Waste, You Traitors, Waste!"



My Feelings
by Dolqun Yasin
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The light sinking through the ice and snow,
The hollyhock blossoms reddening the hills like blood,
The proud peaks revealing their ******* to the stars,
The morning-glories embroidering the earth’s greenery,
Are not light,
Not hollyhocks,
Not peaks,
Not morning-glories;
They are my feelings.

The tears washing the mothers’ wizened faces,
The flower-like smiles suddenly brightening the girls’ visages,
The hair turning white before age thirty,
The night which longs for light despite the sun’s laughter,
Are not tears,
Not smiles,
Not hair,
Not night;
They are my nomadic feelings.

Now turning all my sorrow to passion,
Bequeathing to my people all my griefs and joys,
Scattering my excitement like flowers festooning fields,
I harvest all these, then tenderly glean my poem.

Therefore the world is this poem of mine,
And my poem is the world itself.



To My Brother the Warrior
by Téyipjan Éliyow
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I accompanied you,
the commissioners called me a child.
If only I had been a bit taller
I might have proved myself in battle!

The commission could not have known
my commitment, despite my youth.
If only they had overlooked my age and enlisted me,
I'd have given that enemy rabble hell!

Now, brother, I’m an adult.
Doubtless, I’ll join the service soon.
Soon enough, I’ll be by your side,
battling the enemy: I’ll never surrender!

Another poem of note by Téyipjan Éliyow is "Neverending Song."
Marco Aug 5
Here, starry, open road
   the promise of finding God or Yahweh or Buddha
   on the highway,
the roof down, wind in our hair and dirt,
   red sand of the canyon vast around us, setting sun and personal American dream,
   drifting further into your arms and our souls mile by mile,
the burning blue of the sky ahead, inflamed by all the reds and oranges the dying sun can
    possibly bleed,
and my hand, drifting on the driving wind,
   finds its way into your heat-swept hair, soft and dark and handsome,
   all memory of cold end of '47 erased in the face of your warmth
as we fly down the street -
   I'm sorry I only gave us six decades,
   I would have aimed for more if I'd known about your untimely nightfall…
-but this Cadillac is stolen, fast, free and green;
   wheels burning hot in their devotion to carry us anywhere,  
   the leather backseat our warm and welcome marital bed,
for this, surely, is our honeymoon -
Yes, indeed, we got engaged in that small cot in Harlem,
   said "I do" on the cool, cracked asphalt of some nightly Texan road.
You promised me forever,
   swore me eternal love & friendship in your own voice,
  with your own words -
     the sweet, darkest-soul-illuminating true Western twang of your blue-eyed,
     full-and-clear-hearted vow.
What of it now?
   Where your voice? Where your face, your knees, your hands -
   Where your shoulders made strong by carrying all of
   America?
   Where your feet glued to gas pedals and roadside sand,
   where your soles -
Where your soul but up in Heaven, surely?
   Up in Heaven…

And us - him, me, her -
   left behind, to drown in ***** or go mad with longing,
   to be forgotten by the dead.
And nothing of you now
   but highway ashes and lovesick poems, black-and-white camera roll…
inspired by Allen Ginsberg's writings about Neal Cassady
Dema Jul 26
An empty room.
A tidy bed.
There fell a loom
with a snipped thread.
I search, consumed,
for any trace
of your perfume.
I seek your face
in walls so dull
And curtains closed
In closets full
of silent clothes.
At last I pull
your blanket close,
The last of you
wilts like a rose.

I face the precipice
of dying innocence.

A vacant couch
where aching bones
once sat. A house,
no more a home.
The extra mug
and extra chair.
The painful tug
of pure despair.
And tears they claw
and sear my throat.
Inside I’m raw;
Outside composed.
No tears can clean
me from this pain,
For in my genes,
you are ingrained.

And here I face the precipice
of dying innocence
Swift were the wings of death
In their benevolence.
In memory of my mother. May her soul rest in peace.
Lately,while I was
Scouring the internet
A shock I felt
Up on learning
A tragic news
A google-found friend
Of mine
On the western end of
My continent
But for a while
We experienced
A disconnect
To my grief
Had turned brief.

What a depriving blow
What a depriving blow
To poetry fans
That missed
Words of wisdom
From his mind that flow.
Life, love,
Hope and salvation packed
Musical words that praise God
In a style and manner untold.

No reader fails to wonder
In figurative speeches
He is a past master.

No doubt
As his time and energy
Were devoted to
Praising the Lord
In a paradise
A special place
He will hold.

He is survived by
His wife, two children
And his book
"The Revelation of Love"
That will babble
Generations' brook
By surprise
Traditional publishers
As it took .

I did notice
When he wrote pupils' poem
Savory, unerringly it used to
Hit home.

When I chose and asked him
To write a blurb for
"Ouroboros" my book
He did it in a manner
Supper fit for sales hook.

-->Envoy

A gifted poet has to be
In a hurry
Before a profound wisdom
And skill
Along with
His/her dead body
People burry.
Devoted to Rev author-poet Dr.Gideon Cecil. He was  also a contributing member of  the web www.Novel collective.com.
Lament for the Makaris ("Lament for the Makers/Poets")
by William Dunbar [c. 1460-1530]
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

i who enjoyed good health and gladness
am overwhelmed now by life’s terrible sickness
and enfeebled with infirmity ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

our presence here is mere vainglory;
the false world is but transitory;
the flesh is frail; the Fiend runs free ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

the state of man is changeable:
now sound, now sick, now blithe, now dull,
now manic, now devoid of glee ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

no state on earth stands here securely;
as the wild wind shakes the willow tree,
so wavers this world’s vanity ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

Death leads the knights into the field
(unarmored under helm and shield)
sole Victor of each red mêlée ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

that strange, despotic Beast
tears from its mother’s breast
the babe, full of benignity ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

He takes the champion of the hour,
the captain of the highest tower,
the beautiful damsel in full flower ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

He spares no lord for his elegance,
nor clerk for his intelligence;
His dreadful stroke no man can flee ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

artist, magician, scientist,
orator, debater, theologist,
must all conclude, so too, as we:
“how the fear of Death dismays me!”

in medicine the most astute
sawbones and surgeons all fall mute;
they cannot save themselves, or flee ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

i see the Makers among the unsaved;
the greatest of Poets all go to the grave;
He does not spare them their faculty ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

i have seen the Monster pitilessly devour
our noble Chaucer, poetry’s flower,
and Lydgate and Gower (great Trinity!) ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

since He has taken my brothers all,
i know He will not let me live past the fall;
His next victim will be—poor unfortunate me!—
how the fear of Death dismays me!

there is no remedy for Death;
we all must prepare to relinquish breath
so that after we die, we may be set free
from “the fear of Death dismays me!”

This is my modern English translation of "Lament for the Makaris," an elegy by the great early Scottish poet William Dunbar [c. 1460-1530]. Dunbar was a court poet in the household of King James IV of Scotland. The Makaris were "makers," or poets. The original poem is a form of danse macabre, or "dance of death," in which people of all social classes are summoned by Death. The poem has a refrain: every fourth line is the Latin phrase "timor mortis conturbat me" ("the fear of death dismays me" or "disturbs/confounds me"). The poem was probably composed around 1508 A.D., when Dunbar was advancing in age and perhaps facing the prospect of death himself (it is not clear exactly when he died). In his famous poem Dunbar mentions other poets who passed away, including Geoffrey Chaucer, John Lydgate, and John Gower. Dunbar is generally considered to have been the greatest Scottish poet before Robert Burns, and he is noted for his comedies, satires, and sometimes ribald language. Keywords/Tags: Dunbar, translation, Scottish, dialect, Scotland, lament, makaris,  makers, poets, mrbtr, danse, macabre, refrain, Latin, timor, mortis, conturbat, dirge, lamentation, eulogy, epitaph, death, dismay, sorrow, fear, terror, writing, death, evil, sympathy, sorrow



Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

This poem is dedicated to my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt

Between the prophecies of morning
and twilight’s revelations of wonder,
the sky is ripped asunder.

The moon lurks in the clouds,
waiting, as if to plunder
the dusk of its lilac iridescence,

and in the bright-tentacled sunset
we imagine a presence
full of the fury of lost innocence.

What we find within strange whorls of drifting flame,
brief patterns mauling winds deform and maim,
we recognize at once, but cannot name.
Parin May 31
I think that I’m going crazy,
as all my thoughts are unclear and hazy,
the incident was a nightmare so dark,
that it left on me a permanent mark.
 
She was my guardian,
she was my best friend,
my mother was one in a trillion,
on whom I could always depend.
 
No one can ever take her place,
a mother will always hold a special spot in your heart,
even though she's been gone now for months and days,
yet it feels like this is just the start.
 
I can’t stop crying,
I see her everywhere,
to reach out to her is what I am trying,
but oh she is not really there.
 
I feel as if I’m dying from inside,
people all around try to bring me comfort,
but it’s like all the flowers around me have died,
and their comforting words seem to me as useless as the dirt.
 
I am missing her so much,
it’s beyond my capability to explain,
the memory of my mom's soft and gentle touch,
is something with me that will always remain.
 
I am numb,
I feel empty,
weightless such as a falling leaf,
the very leaf that settled on my mother’s grave,
that lies now in front of me.

After all she was my mother,
no one can understand how I feel,
I can lament all summer,
but this is something from what I have to heal.
Please tell me that how can I improve, it would mean a lot.
thank you
Regina May 30
How can the fireflies flit
from a bough to a highest place
just below the Milky Way,
without you here.

How can the blooms of summer
arise in your absence,
how can the cherish that
sparkles between young adults
conversing on a park bench -
go on, without us,
in my memory,
we walk by them,
holding hands, as,
we were once them.

Is this but a tragic dream -
as I pray over your
bedding of repose,
your gleaming white headstone,
in a long unwavering line
of other white headstones,
then, sweet assurance
speaks to me,
though the song of taps
separated us,
one day, the song of taps
will unite us.
In Loving memory of my late husband, who was a Navy veteran.
fray narte May 19
if only icarus had fallen in love with the moon,
for the sea is her pining lover.

if only he had fallen in love with the moon this time,
then maybe,
the seafoam would have understood the heartbreak,
would have been kind enough to caress his dead body
onto the shore.

sweet one,
poems are for when you fall in love
with someone who just breaks your heart,
and this is
an elegy.
My evening star stopped shining bright
It went off course, into the dark night
I saw it not, for it was.. perhaps a year
Or so it appeared to a brooding mind
I had nurtured it true, for my sore eyes
Every ev'ning, its twinkle w'd bring me
Delight; but off it went, into the black
Never to soothe my eternal sore eyes
It left me stranded, who w'd have seen
The end to our rendezvous, I c'd never
Foresee_ it had been pure intimacy of
A different kind; why then retire into
The dark night, why resign dear, w'out
A single sigh ! A shining star, my wont
Eternal companion of the forever sky?
Alas ! It flickered bright then died out.
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