Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Esu Lanlu
Esu Elegbara
Esu Odara
Esu, the scared child of heaven
Esu, a reviled, respected,
Yet misunderstood being.
Esu, all creations dance to your best of life
Esu Dagunro
Esu Lukuluku
Esu Apagbe
Esu, the quickest and fastest one
Esu, confuser of many
Esu, the disruptor of order
Esu, the iconic one
Esu, the master of linguistics
Esu, the conciliatory peacemaker
Esu, the divine alchemist
Esu, the trickster
Esu, the pusher of those,
Who doesn't carry Olodumare's wishes.
Esu, the inseparable friend of Orunmila
Papa Legba
Legba Atibon
Papa La Bas
Esu, divine messenger of transformation
Esu, ebora to luti la nbo
Esu, Okunrin ori ita
Esu, a quick responder when consulted
Esu, divine messenger of the gods
Esu Odara, the divine one of Ose Otura
Esu, carrier of the ase of sensuality and fertility
Esu Lanlu, king of dance
Esu, keeper and imparter of ase
Esu, the fundamental Orisa
Esu, the manifest of greatness
Esu, the one who is as hard as Rock
Esu Akeregbaye
Esu, the shedder of blood who knows no one's tears
Esu, the controller of earth
Esu, the special middle man between heaven and Earth
Esu, the anointed rope to success and wealth
Esu Lanlu
Esu Elegbara
Esu Odara

Written by Tosan Oluwakemi Thompson
This poem I wrote titled "Esu" is an eulogy to Esu and the praises of Esu.
Paige White Jun 2020
I received a few little letters
Scattered by my shining sun
Digitally mastered, he has overcome
Somewhat (insert a pause)
(I struggle for the word
For mixing up letters - you know the one)
He enquired about his grand sire
Wanting to know everything
Every little thing
For he perished when he was very young
He then recounted to me
His one remaining memory
Of finding a tiny little turtle
With great glee and awe
On a walk between our two houses
And their interchange there and back
Now I can but wonder
Would he have any idea
that one small adventure
Would be all that remained
In a boy’s mind, now a man
With two boys of his own
Of their short time together in life?
When he swung his walking stick
And batted that tiny turtle into the pond
Would he have reached over
And picked it up instead?
Or let the boy who was so excited
To find a tiny turtle on a walk
With his beloved Papaw
That memory has the same impact
As your walking stick on a tiny turtle
I suppose.
I do indeed wonder as I sit to compose
Words for my grand babes to find
And come to know me by
And I let that Sun’s memory guide me
On our little walks now....
We might find a little tiny turtle.
True story. I would appreciate honest feedback. I’m leaving a revised version in my journal for my children and grandchildren when I am gone.
Marri May 2020
It’s 3 am and I’m writing poetry.
Not my usual go to love poem though.
(I promised multiple people I wouldn’t write anymore about that one person)
(You know that one guy.)
I’m writing poetry at 3 am.
(Not love poetry,)
Just poetry poetry.

I can’t write anymore poems about (missing) you,
(Wanting you,)( or even still loving you.)
(Yes, I remember my promise.)

So, I’ll write this—
My 3 am poem.

My poetry comes alive in the nighttime.
(Or should I say unreasonable hours of the day when I really should be asleep, but I think I might have borderline insomnia.)

My mind runs at a million miles per hour,
I think of everything at once.
Metaphors, onomatopoeia, and allusions.
And you know me,
I just can’t resist the perfect stanza.

I become fixated on it.
I tell myself no,
No, no, no,
You need to sleep.

But here I am,
Writing, writing, writing.

And guess what?
I even write in my sleep.
My dreams create prose better than I ever could.

It’s a tragedy that I’m sure even Shakespeare was a victim of.

Writers don’t sleep,
Poets don’t sleep,
No one does.

Or else everything falls apart.

You forget how commas work,
You forget how to spell the word ‘Apricot’,
And you forget the meaning of it all.

You forget the reason for writing,
You forget the passion of spoken word.

The only sleep that a poet will ever receive is when they are truly immortalized in their work.

And as you can see,
That is not happening anytime soon for me.

So, I’ll stay up every night.
Trying to remember the meaning of oxymoron,
With the word eulogy on the tip of my tongue.

You’ll never understand me,
And that’s alright.

Other poets will never understand me,
And that’s just fine.

All we’ll ever understand about each other is that words don’t sleep,
And it seems that neither will we.

(-The Poetic Insomniacs, 3:12 am)
Michael R Burch May 2020
Athenian Epitaphs
by Michael R. Burch

These are epitaphs placed on gravestones and monuments by the ancient Greeks in remembrance of their dead.

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls
in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

Tell the Spartans we lie
Lifeless at Thermopylae:
Dead at their word,
Obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Since I'm dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones.
Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that suckled and nurtured me;
Once again I take rest at your breast.
—Michael R. Burch, after Erycius

These men earned a crown of imperishable glory,
nor did the maelstrom of death obscure their story.
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

He lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.
—Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon

They observed our fearful fetters,
marched to confront the surrounding darkness;
now we extol their excellence.
Bravely, they died for us.
—Michael R. Burch, after Mnasalcas

Be ashamed, O mountains and seas,
that these valorous men lack breath.
Assume, like pale chattels,
an ashen silence at death.
—Michael R. Burch, after Parmenio

Stripped of her stripling, if asked, she'd confess:
"I am now less than nothingness."
—Michael R. Burch, after Diotimus

Blame not the gale, nor the inhospitable sea-gulf, nor friends' tardiness,
mariner! Just man's foolhardiness.
—Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

Stranger, flee!
But may Fortune grant you all the prosperity
she denied me.
—Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

I am loyal to you, master, even in the grave:
just as you now are death's slave.
—Michael R. Burch, after Dioscorides

Having never earned a penny
nor seen a bridal gown address the floor,
still I lie here with the love of many,
to be the love of yet one more.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Little I knew—a child of five—
of what it means to be alive
and all life's little thrills;
but little also—(I was glad not to know)—
of life's great ills.
—Michael R. Burch, after Lucian

I lie by stark Icarian rocks
and only speak when the sea talks.
Please tell my dear father I gave up the ghost
on the Aegean coast.
—Michael R. Burch, after Theatetus

Everywhere the sea is the sea, the dead are the dead.
What difference to me—where I rest my head?
The sea knows I'm buried.
—Michael R. Burch, after Antipater of Sidon

Pity this boy who was beautiful, but died.
Pity his monument, overlooking this hillside.
Pity the world that bore him, then foolishly survived.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Insatiable Death! I was only a child!
Why did you ****** me away, in my infancy,
from those destined to love me?
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Tell Nicagoras that Strymonias
at the setting of the Kids
lost his.
—Michael R. Burch, after Nicaenetus

Now his voice is prisoned in the silent pathways of the night:
his owner's faithful Maltese...
but will he still bark again, on sight?
—Michael R. Burch, after Tymnes

Poor partridge, poor partridge, lately migrated from the rocks;
our cat bit off your unlucky head; my offended heart still balks!
I put you back together again and buried you, so unsightly!
May the dark earth cover you heavily: heavily, not lightly...
so she shan't get at you again!
—Michael R. Burch, after Agathias

Dead as you are, though you lie still as stone,
huntress Lycas, my great Thessalonian hound,
the wild beasts still fear your white bones;
craggy Pelion remembers your valor,
splendid Ossa, the way you would bound
and bay at the moon for its whiteness,
bellowing as below we heard valleys resound.
And how brightly with joy you would canter and run
the strange lonely peaks of high Cithaeron!
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Aeschylus, graybeard, son of Euphorion,
died far away in wheat-bearing Gela;
still, the groves of Marathon may murmur of his valor
and the black-haired Mede, with his mournful clarion.
—Michael R. Burch, after Aeschylus

Not Rocky Trachis,
nor the thirsty herbage of Dryophis,
nor this albescent stone
with its dark blue lettering shielding your white bones,
nor the wild Icarian sea dashing against the steep shingles
of Doliche and Dracanon,
nor the empty earth,
nor anything essential of me since birth,
nor anything now mingles
here with the perplexing absence of you,
with what death forces us to abandon...
—Michael R. Burch, after Euphorion

Though they were steadfast among spears, dark Fate destroyed them
as they defended their native land, rich in sheep;
now Ossa's dust seems all the more woeful, where they now sleep.
—Michael R. Burch, after Aeschylus

Sail on, mariner, sail on,
for when we were perishing,
greater ships sailed on.
—Michael R. Burch, after Theodorides

We who left the thunderous surge of the Aegean
of old, now lie here on the mid-plain of Ecbatan:
farewell, dear Athens, nigh to Euboea,
farewell, dear sea!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

My friend found me here,
a shipwrecked corpse on the beach.
He heaped these strange boulders above me.
Oh, how he would wail
that he "loved" me,
with many bright tears for his own calamitous life!
Now he sleeps with my wife
and flits like a gull in a gale
—beyond reach—
while my broken bones bleach.
—Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus

All this vast sea is his Monument.
Where does he lie—whether heaven, or hell?
Well friend, perhaps when the gulls repent—
their shriekings may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

Cloud-capped Geraneia, cruel mountain!
If only you had looked no further than Ister and Scythian
Tanais, had not aided the surge of the Scironian
sea's wild-spurting fountain
filling the dark ravines of snowy Meluriad!
But now he is dead:
a chill corpse in a chillier ocean—moon led—
and only an empty tomb now speaks of the long, windy voyage ahead.
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

His white bones lie shining on some inhospitable shore:
a son lost to his father, his tomb empty; the poor-
est beggars have happier mothers!
—Michael R. Burch, after Damegtus

The light of a single morning
exterminated the sacred offspring of Lysidice.
Nor do the angels sing.
Nor do we seek the gods' advice.
This is the grave of Nicander's lost children.
We merely weep at its bitter price.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Pluto, delighting in tears,
why did you bring our son, Ariston,
to the laughterless abyss of death?
Why—why? —did the gods grant him breath,
if only for seven years?
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Although I had to leave the sweet sun,
only nineteen—Diogenes, hail! —
beneath the earth, let's have lots more fun:
till human desire seems weak and pale.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Once sweetest of the workfellows,
our shy teller of tall tales
—fleet Crethis! —who excelled
at every childhood game...
now you sleep among long shadows
where everyone's the same...
—Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus

Passing by, passing by my oft-bewailed pillar,
shudder, my new friend to hear my tragic story:
of how my pyre was lit by the same fiery torch
meant to lead the procession to my nuptials in glory!
O Hymenaeus, why did you did change
my bridal song to a dirge? Strange!
—Michael R. Burch, after Erinna

Suddenly this grave
holds our nightingale speechless;
now she lies here like a stone,
who voice was so marvelous;
while sunlight illumining dust
proves the gods all reachless,
as our prayers prove them also
unhearing or beseechless.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

I, Homenea, the chattering bright sparrow,
lie here in the hollow of a great affliction,
leaving tears to Atimetus
and all scattered—that great affection.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Wert thou, O Artemis,
overbusy with thy beast-slaying hounds
when the Beast embraced me?
—Michael R. Burch, after Diodorus of Sardis

A mother only as far as the birth pangs,
my life cut short at the height of life's play:
only eighteen years old, so brief was my day.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

We mourn Polyanthus, whose wife
placed him newly-wedded in an unmarked grave,
having received his luckless corpse
back from the green Aegean wave
that deposited his fleshless skeleton
gruesomely in the harbor of Torone.
—Michael R. Burch, after Phaedimus

Here Saon, son of Dicon, now rests in holy sleep:
say not that the good die, friend, lest gods and mortals weep.
—Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus

Keywords/Tags: translation, epitaph, epitaphs, eulogy, Ancient Greek, epigram, epigrams, death, mrbepi, grave, funeral, spirit, ghost, memorial, tribute, praise

by Michael R. Burch

Reason’s treason!
cries the Heart.

Love’s insane,
replies the Brain.

Originally published by Light

The Greatest of These ...
by Michael R. Burch

The hands that held me tremble.
The arms that lifted

Angelic flesh, now parchment,
is held together with gauze.

But her undimmed eyes still embrace me;
there infinity can be found.

I can almost believe such love
will reach me, underground.


Fairest Diana
by Michael R. Burch

Fairest Diana, princess of dreams,
born to be loved and yet distant and lone,
why did you linger―so solemn, so lovely―
an orchid ablaze in a crevice of stone?

Was not your heart meant for tenderest passions?
Surely your lips―for wild kisses, not vows!
Why then did you languish, though lustrous, becoming
a pearl of enchantment cast before sows?

Fairest Diana, as fragile as lilac,
as willful as rainfall, as true as the rose;
how did a stanza of silver-bright verse
come to be bound in a book of dull prose?

Published by Tucumcari Literary Journal and Night Roses

Will There Be Starlight
for Princess Diana
by Michael R. Burch

Will there be starlight
while she gathers
and lilac
and sweet-scented heathers?

And will she find flowers,
or will she find thorns
guarding the petals
of roses unborn?

Will there be starlight
while she gathers
and mussels
and albatross feathers?

And will she find treasure
or will she find pain
at the end of this rainbow
of moonlight on rain?

She Was Very Strange, and Beautiful
for Princess Diana
by Michael R. Burch

She was very strange, and beautiful,
like a violet mist enshrouding hills
before night falls
when the hoot owl calls
and the cricket trills
and the envapored moon hangs low and full.

She was very strange, in a pleasant way,
as the hummingbird
flies madly still,
so I drank my fill
of her every word.
What she knew of love, she demurred to say.

She was meant to leave, as the wind must blow,
as the sun must set,
as the rain must fall.
Though she gave her all,
we had nothing left...
yet we smiled, bereft, in her receding glow.

The Peripheries of Love
for Princess Diana
by Michael R. Burch

Through waning afternoons we glide
the watery peripheries of love.
A silence, a quietude falls.

Above us―the sagging pavilions of clouds.
Below us―rough pebbles slowly worn smooth
grate in the gentle turbulence
of yesterday’s forgotten rains.

Later, the moon like a ******
lifts her stricken white face
and the waters rise
toward some unfathomable shore.

We sway gently in the wake
of what stirs beneath us,
yet leaves us unmoved...
curiously motionless,

as though twilight might blur
the effects of proximity and distance,
as though love might be near―

as near
as a single cupped tear of resilient dew
or a long-awaited face.

The Aery Faery Princess
for Princess Diana
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a princess lighter than fluff
made of such gossamer stuff―
the down of a thistle, butterflies’ wings,
the faintest high note the hummingbird sings,
moonbeams on garlands, stands of bright hair...
I think she’s just you when you’re floating on air.

I Pray Tonight
for Princess Diana
by Michael R. Burch

I pray tonight
the starry light
surround you.

I pray
by day
that, come what may,
no dark thing confound you.

I pray ere tomorrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels' white chorales
sing, and astound you.

Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar 1460-1525
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sweet rose of virtue and of gentleness,
delightful lily of youthful wantonness,
richest in bounty and in beauty clear
and in every virtue that is held most dear―
except only that death is merciless.

Into your garden, today, I followed you;
there I saw flowers of freshest hue,
both white and red, delightful to see,
and wholesome herbs, waving resplendently―
yet everywhere, no odor but rue.

I fear that March with his last arctic blast
has slain my fair rose of pallid and gentle cast,
whose piteous death does my heart such pain
that, if I could, I would compose her roots again―
so comforting her bowering leaves have been.
Michael R Burch May 2020
by Michael R. Burch

Our distance is frightening:
a distance like the abyss between heaven and earth
interrupted by bizarre and terrible lightning.


by Michael R. Burch

How can she bear her grief?
Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight
of one fallen star.


Laughter’s Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.
Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.


Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

All things become one
Through death’s long division
And perfect precision.


Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

It’s not that every leaf must finally fall,
it’s just that we can never catch them all.


Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

If we strip away all the accouterments of war,
perhaps we’ll discover what the heart is for.


Here and Hereafter
by Michael R. Burch

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter ...
wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter.


Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.


by Michael R. Burch

Black waters,
deep and dark and still . . .
all men have passed this way,
or will.


by Michael R. Burch

love is a little treble thing—
prone to sing
and (sometimes) to sting


The Shrinking Season
by Michael R. Burch

With every wearying year
the weight of the winter grows
and while the schoolgirl outgrows
her clothes,
the widow disappears
in hers.


by Michael R. Burch

what would u give
to simply not exist—
for a painless exit?
he asked himself, uncertain.
then from behind
the hospital room curtain
a patient screamed—
"my life!"


by Michael R. Burch



Stage Fright
by Michael R. Burch

To be or not to be?
In the end Hamlet
opted for naught.


Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It's true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the "bon voyage" is hard
and the objections loud.


Athenian Epitaphs
by Michael R. Burch

Here he lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.
—Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon

Blame not the gale, or the inhospitable sea-gulf, or friends’ tardiness,
mariner! Just man’s foolhardiness.
—Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

tell the Spartans we lie
here, dead at their word,
obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Now that I am dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones.
Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that nurtured me, that held me;
I take rest at your breast.
—Michael R. Burch, after Erycius

Keywords/Tags: epigram, epigrams, epitaph, epitaphs, Greek, translation, Greece, life, life and death, grief, mother, mother and child, eulogy, dirge
Zhavaed Haemaed Apr 2020
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.
She didn't die of Corona. No,
an outsider stands accused
of sullying September romance
with Springtime spousal abuse.

Household groups line the Larkman.
The cortege glides glumly past.
To Norfolk April's big blue, blackfeathered
nags add somber cockney class.

Some mourners are still in pyjamas.
And I can smell a condolent joint.
But their respects, they're no less sincere;
presence or absence here the point.

Workingclass communities
don't know what social distancing means.
She died in the pursuit of closeness,
but not from Covid-19.
Psychostasis Apr 2020
I've been thinking a lot lately

In the last few years I've been to two funerals
In the next few years that number could jump to six

So how do you do it?
How does one manage to speak at a funeral?
What do you say to encapsulate the entire lifespan of a human
In just a few sentences?

How am I supposed to be able to talk about all the good and compassionate deeds
While also talking about all the hurtful and venomous actions and words?
And more importantly how do you speak in general?

The last two times, my voice became a snow covered field cricket
I stared at their stone-like, alien faces
And could only focus on the open casket.

I had words to speak, yes
But the dictionary I keep in mind was slammed shut and shoved into a melting iron safe
The absolute SECOND I couldn't recognize who lay before me at first glance.
Did I try to speak?
I avoided the tearful, dagger filled looks of the room by my own volition

Maybe it wasn't my place.
Maybe those words weren't meant for me to say in a room full of grieving and tired eyes
But if no one else is capable of speaking the truth no matter how heart-wrenching it may be
Where do those words come from?

I know it'll be my turn to speak one day
And I know on that day my voice will scream and cry
My vocal chords will rip and I will sob more so than I have ever dared to before.

On that day I'll understand how to say goodbye
And how it leads to an acceptable
Goodbye Forever
Funeral Thoughts
Next page