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When you think of touristy locales, Italy is at the top of the list,
Picking a specific place at random would be wise to desist,
The options are so many that one is spoilt for choice,
But at the end of it all, it is a matter to rejoice

Overlooking the sunny Amalfi Coast, Positano boasts of a picturesque landscape,
Colorful, cliffside villas beckon visitors wanting to experience the "great escape",
The sophisticated resort town is the jewel of southern Italy's iconic Amalfi Coast,
The spectacular setting of this vertical town is so enchanting that it deserves a toast

Positano is just a forty minute ferry ride from neighboring town Sorrento,
The sound of waves crashing against the pebbled shores is sheer gusto,
Not surprising that Positano translated means a "place to stop",
The visual dramatic vertical panorama of colors serves the perfect backdrop

Seen from the sea, Positano projects a stunning color combo that is visually transcendent,
The unmissable green of the Monti Lattari mountain range appears so gloriously resplendent,
The white, pink and yellow of the cascading Mediterranean houses have a vertiginous effect,
The blue of the sea and the silvery grey of the pebble beaches provide the surreal connect

The imposing, colorful majolica-tiled dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is iconic,
A testament to Positano's beauty and history, seeing it's revered architectural work is euphoric,
A Byzantine-inspired icon of the ****** Mary can be seen in the church's interior,
It is popular for exchanging wedding vows, with an impressive belltower on the exterior

Positano's waterfront is the Spiaggia Grande pristine beach whose grandoise is no empty boast,
Spanning in excess of three hundred meters, it is one of the largest in the Amalfi Coast,
Reputed for it's ever crowded sandy shores and a postcard-worthy view that is breathtakingly intense,
As visitors chill out in umbrella-shaded lounge chairs, savoring an unforgettable experience

Access to downtown involves climbing steps, steep winding walkways and narrow streets,
Trendy fashion brands on display in numerous cute clothing boutiques are a visual treat,
Art galleries, souvenir shops and ceramicware shops abound every step of the way,
One cannot but pause and admire the various artisans' intricate works that hold sway

Handmade leather sandals, customized and readily crafted to perfection is an authentic Positano experience,
Rows and rows of designer clothing shops convey local artisans' innovative ways of wielding purchasing influence,
Limoncello liquer made with Amalfi Coast lemons is a Positano specialty that absolutely must be tasted,
That it is the second most popular liquer in Italy (after Campari) and made from neutral alcohol cannot be understated

Amalfi lemons are very sweet, prized for their low acidity and delicate flavor,
Used for making jams, sorbettos, preserves and various desserts to savor,
Campania cuisine have a generous dose of flavoring with Amalfi lemon juice or zest,
Visitors thronging local restaurants are treated to delicacies that are some of the best

Positano's countless romantic restaurants serve a plethora of seafood offerings and local specialties,
Barilotto is an unique cheese that is subtly sweet with creamy and mild flavors, sans any trivialities,
The cheese aromas are delicate, fresh and buttery with a hard, smooth and firm texture offering,
Made from water buffalo's milk by heating the whey & aged for at least forty days, before becoming a serving

The memories of this picturesque town linger long after the visit is done,
As you tick off another scenic Italian locale that has hearts to be won,
Images of the colorful setting (s) remain hard to erase from the mind,
As you set about planning the next adventure, leaving this one behind
In this haunting city where the summer is humid and also sticky,
the sun blisters the naked skin
As silver Beads of sweat trickle
Like sweet gelato drizzling in the blazing heat.

There is poetry in the streets
Of graffiti, mellow lights and yellowed walls.
Of cobblestones and of riches
Dazzling every inch of this old city.

The air is laden with soulful music
Of long, lost love
Of passion
And of words rolling melodically and melancholically in modern Latin.

The souls gone by
Of artists, slaves and martyrs
Wander eternally in this ancient city.

They whisper softly in the evening wind
Knowing every tourist and every Roman,
Enchanting gently to their soulful being.

So with longing I think of Rome
As i feel the whispers in the evening wind.
Hypnotised, spellbound; knowing that somehow -
i  am rome.
Matt Nov 2021
Crows caw
And the women chatter
While trees saw
A thousand matters
And a cats claw
And the wind carries
Whispers old and new
While, there, married
The fools who haven’t a clue
The voices within
Die in ignorance
Surface sighted men
Are idiots to patience
A thousand voices quieted
To the world rested in palms
As no appetites are wetted
We’ve forgotten old psalms
Gone is what matters
Supple sustenance for soul
Replaced by glass shattered
Yet the heart still grows
Nay it starves
For sustenance denied
Chosen laws’ Harvard
And empty A.I.
A thousand voices quieted
Craving cars within
Superficially saturated
Inside your Gods’ light dims
And restless is Morpheus
Emptied is Khemenu’s basin
Writing to your inner Boethius
And the day is out
I’ve been here since night
Watching the thoughtless come about
Enter prison, now returned in sight
Back are the chattering women
Gone is the silent respite
Abandoned is Gods Heaven
Be it not for the last flicker of light
But the Old Ones have spoken
Hymns of liberation
Visions be woven
Songs of man’s abomination
Dance and joy
Lust and pride
Forget the inner boy
Behind left a sight wide
Traded for shallow waters
Cyclopean cities of nigh
Tapped by the unbothered
Phantom of the dead city R’lyeh
Your newfound liberation is devolution
Freedom is your cage
For thoughts ceased their convolution
Once again bound by animal rage
Inward no
Outward tempts
Surface grows
Depth nonexistent
Pretentious know it alls
Who know nothing
In their selfish muse they fall
Without an original thought of something
And the wild kingdom
Expands its reign
Filled by blind fandom
And Zealous feign
The Old One herds it’s sheep
Eyes turned off
Their minds gone to sleep
While the unwilling scoff
They count their days
But the unicorn finds arrogance
For to the cattle they’ll fall prey
For they’ve abandoned their righteous penance
Forget the last as you commit the next
Crime, how soon until the ultimate crime
Hope not for the fallen, for let’s
Wash clean our soul in brine
But prey not fall to the Beast
Of the sea
Ready for your soul feast
To devour your faith and dreams
But still His word you pervert
And winged demon still steals
As His will you subvert
Your life turned into its meal
For they’ve abandoned their gift
Of independence
The point has been missed
And we are all so dependent
God is in the TV
Question and answers that are hard to solve
Oh Darling, please believe me
The darkest hour is right before the dawn
Yourself forgotten
A thousand faces in your mirror
Each day a new allotment
Not your voice, but theirs you hear
Valorless galore
Against the Krakens tide
Because their thoughts matter more
Your true self hides
The bird has rid its wings
A bird it is no more
And forgotten how to sing
A bird it is no more
Lions Pride becomes Hordes Chant
They’ve died and returned a Lich
Not a King, just a scamp
Just another stitch
There, there lies bones apart
Empty within
How can your revolution start
When with yourself you can’t begin
Turn back time
Reach into before
Bathe with the swine
Across a barren shore
Take your hatred out of me
I don’t have to listen
Campaign speech of liberty
Theatre masks gone missing
Love and joy
War and peace
Meat and soy
Sinner and the priest
You are everything
And I am one
Your hate deliberating
Murdered is the one
I am the animal
Who will not be himself
Thought unfathomable
Unrealized hell
Demons whisper in your ear
And I start to hear them
Your will a fulfilled fear
From you, Baal stems
Pride and humility
A spectrums range
Greed and charity
Perspectives change
Across the water
Unfairness praised
Unjust no bother
Open eyes hazed
What’s it then if I find my demise
A number for their ends
Begone to those who dare question
Just a means to their end
SUNDARAM SARMA Oct 2021
It is not without reason that Italy is a tourist haven,
If you missed a tourist spot, you could be forgiven,
Numerous scenic eye-catching locales are so much fun,
Its as if the country exists for more hearts to be won

The toe of Italy's boot-shaped peninsula in extreme south is the region of Calabria,
Herein, perched above the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the pretty town of Tropea,
Located on a reef, Tropea has all the trappings of a rocky balcony,
That it is a most sought-after holiday destination, is not just baloney

Tropea is a mythical seaside resort, with stunning fantastic beaches aplenty,
It's coastline, known as 'Coast of the Gods', appears to stretch to eternity,
Between dramatic cliffs and golden sandy beaches & edged by translucent sea,
The glittering water with gentle waves is picture-perfect as it can possibly be

With endless cobbled streets, Tropea is a puzzle of cafes, bars & piazzas; spectacular sunsets aside,
Piazza Ercole is the central square most lively and vibrant with impressive buildings on all sides,
Corso Vittorio Emmanuale is a long street teeming with tourists enjoying beer, coffee or gelato,
People lazily wander up and down the road throughout the day, though with lack of gusto

The classic postcard shot of Tropea is the iconic Santa Maria dell'Isola monastery,
Perched atop a cliff, the church with it's pristine façade is a classic example of imagery,
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the panoramic view of rugged coastline and beaches is breathtaking,
Endless clicking of selfies and group photos with the sanctuary backdrop, is for memoirs in the making

The Historic Center of pedestrian-only narrow winding streets and lanes is a medieval maze,
Old patrician houses and palazzi painted in pastel colors present a pleasant sight to gaze,
Restaurants, pizzerias, cafes, gelaterie, artisan shops flanking the streets add to the local mileu,
One senses adventurous excitement in the air when delving into history without much ado

Tropea is the only place in the world that produces red onions that are sweet,
Attributed to the soil and climate, the delicate mild flavor makes it a delectable treat,
Seeing them hanging at vegetable stands and stacked by the roadside makes it memorable,
From salads to jarred marmalades, local restaurants prepare them in every way imaginable

Eating tartufo in Tropea is a must-have unique experience for the traveling hedonistic epicurean,
Dual ice cream flavors molded around frozen fruit and coated with cocoa powder, make up the tasty union,
Served in frozen solid form, rich melted chocolate spills from the center when you dive in with a spoon,
A no-bake dessert recipe with numerous combinations of fruit and ice cream flavors, that makes one swoon

Vacations in Italy are never complete without the sweet tooth experience of the famed gelato,
Gelatarias abound in Tropea dishing out a variety of flavors waiting to be savored on-the-go,
Gelatos are frozen desserts of Italian origin that are sans eggs, having more milk and less cream,
From chocolatey to fruity to nutty and everything in-between, every flavor is a scream

Tropea's dramatic cliffs provide a perfect backdrop for the gorgeous sunsets in the evening,
Crowds make a beeline for the chic cafes on the town's edge to enjoy vantage viewing,
The occasional purple hue of the sea on some days makes for a great visual treat,
The sun setting over the Tyrrhenian vibrant red-orange fiery sky makes it impossible to retreat

Tropea's azure blue sea and white sand beaches are an ideal setting to relax the mind,
Cliffs, coves, grottos and dramatic rock formations dot the long coastline,
Visitors rent umbrellas, enjoy the sun and take a dip in the sparkling Caribbean-like water,
Blissfully relaxing while soaking in nature's wonder, oblivious of trivialities that don't matter

Emotions engulf you when it comes to the end of the stay,
You fervently wish that you could just stay for another day,
But the thought of other travel adventures waiting to be explored,
Makes you realize that there is seldom a moment to be bored
SUNDARAM SARMA Sep 2021
Italy's Capri admirably fits the bill as an enchanted island,
Nestled in the Bay of Naples, it's apt to call it wonderland,
It is famous as a coastal resort and a celebrated beauty spot,
Little wonder of it being touristy and a location often sought

The isle is seriously beautiful, sans any blemish in its splendor,
So little room for any shortcoming, chances of which are slender,
Breathtaking views from any angle makes Capri appear so scenic,
Futile to draw comparison to any other isle that is so panoramic

Capri is known as the isle of the sirens in Greek mythology,
It has very little to do though with any aspect of theology,
Long considered a preserve of celebrities and the super-rich,
The small precipitous island is a must-visit travel agent's sales pitch

Accessible only by ferry or hydrofoil from Naples and its surrounds,
The idyllic isle with sheer cliffs and dazzling seascapes visually astounds,
Steep cliffs rise majestically from an almost impossibly blue sea,
That the isle has that tangible deluxe feel, is for all to see

The island has a mythical charm with its jaw-dropping natural beauty,
Stunning landscapes from rocky caves to the horizon's edge lend to the popularity,
Shimmering sea views, secluded grottos lure visitors in droves to be on board,
Amazing cuisine, world-class shopping are bells and whistles; lest you get bored

Blue Grotto is an oceanic cave at the water's edge with an opening to the sea,
Optical effects created by sunlight bouncing on the cave walls, is a sight to see,
Water lit turquoise hues from below, by the sun, creates a magical atmosphere,
Shimmering cobalt-blue light images beckons us to a virtual optical stratosphere

Through the water on the floor of the cave, Roman remains are clearly visible,
Supposedly used as a bathing place by Emperor Tiberius, a reason nigh plausible,
This lagoon was probably a Roman villa with statues decorating the whole floor,
Other entrances to the grotto were created to improve irrigation, per Greek folklore

Capri's standout are three rocky peaks emerging from the azure blue water,
Called the Faraglioni, the limestone stacks are discernible to any spotter,
Formed by erosion, separated by water thro' collapse of solid land mass,
Emerging as steep rocks rising out of the sea, surprisingly not as a morass

La Piazzetta, aka chiazza, is a bustling diminutive square in the heart of Capri,
Table settings of the handful of cafes are meant for one to be carefree,
The colorful clock tower chimes every quarter hour throughout the day,
With thronging crowds at all times, little surprise why the place holds sway

Post ferry drop-off at Marina Grande, a road trip from Capri to Anacapri is a must,
Brace yourselves for a 3-km. stretch of hairpin bends en route in the mini bus,
On the slopes of Mount Solaro and at a higher elevation than Capri,
The more authentic side of the island and less crowded, is Anacapri

Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri town is the bustling bus stop square where one alights,
Sauntering thro' colorful bougainvillea, geranium festooned lanes is sheer delight,
Behold a mix of Neapolitan tailor shops, artisan shoemakers and souvenir shops,
Enjoy the aerial whiff of the town's lemon groves pervading everywhere, nonstop

Museum of Villa San Michele is a building articulating at various levels,
Ancient artifacts, Roman paving, marble columns are sights that revel,
An elevated garden with granite Sphinx and Greek tomb is a perfect setting,
For a sweeping view of the Bay of Naples below, that looks so enchanting

Continuing downhill, the Church of Santa Sofia is the pride of the town,
The adjoining Piazza Armando Diaz bustling with activity is a place of its own,
Locals chatting and reading newspapers presents such a wonderful sight,
Seated on hand painted majolica benches, as if conveying life is so bright

A visit to Capri is incomplete without tasting the famed Caprese salad,
The taste is so exquisite that one tends to break into a ballad,
Tomatoes, milky mozzarella, aromatic basil leaves are the sole ingredients,
A drizzle of sharply flavored olive oil does little to serve as an impediment

Restaurants abound the lanes with crowds' incessant chatter,
Panino Caprese being made in a jiffy is no laughing matter,
So popular is the salad that it can be found on every menu,
Strolling along past excited visitors, makes for the perfect milieu

It is with a heavy heart that you ferry back to mainland at the trip's end,
While enjoying the panoramic stunning views again, as if there's no end,
It is not without reason that Capri's famed "cliff beauty" is so majestic,
The only describable feeling of the experience is that it is "ecstatic"!
Travel poetry
Michael R Burch Aug 2021
These are my modern English translations of poems by Dante Alighieri.

Little sparks may ignite great Infernos.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In Beatrice I beheld the outer boundaries of blessedness.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She made my veins and even the pulses within them tremble.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her sweetness left me intoxicated.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love commands me by dictating my desires.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Follow your own path and let bystanders gossip.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The devil is not as dark as depicted.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

There is no greater sorrow than to recall how we delighted in our own wretchedness.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As he, who with heaving lungs escaped the suffocating sea, turns to regard its perilous waters.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

O human race, born to soar heavenward, why do you nosedive in the mildest breeze?
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

O human race, born to soar heavenward, why do you quail at the least breath of wind?
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Midway through my life’s journey
I awoke to find myself lost in a trackless wood,
for I had strayed far from the straight path.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

INSCRIPTION ON THE GATE OF HELL
Before me nothing created existed, to fear.
Eternal I am, eternal I endure.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Sonnet: “Ladies of Modest Countenance” from LA VITA NUOVA
by Dante Alighieri
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You, who wear a modest countenance,
With eyelids weighed down by such heaviness,
How is it, that among you every face
Is haunted by the same pale troubled glance?

Have you seen in my lady's face, perchance,
the grief that Love provokes despite her grace?
Confirm this thing is so, then in her place,
Complete your grave and sorrowful advance.

And if, indeed, you match her heartfelt sighs
And mourn, as she does, for the heart's relief,
Then tell Love how it fares with her, to him.

Love knows how you have wept, seeing your eyes,
And is so grieved by gazing on your grief
His courage falters and his sight grows dim.



Paradiso, Canto III:1-33, The Revelation of Love and Truth
by Dante Alighieri
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That sun, which had inflamed my breast with love,
Had now revealed to me―as visions move―
The gentle and confounding face of Truth.

Thus I, by her sweet grace and love reproved,
Corrected, and to true confession moved,
Raised my bowed head and found myself behooved

To speak, as true admonishment required,
And thus to bless the One I so desired,
When I was awed to silence! This transpired:

As the outlines of men’s faces may amass
In mirrors of transparent, polished glass,
Or in shallow waters through which light beams pass

(Even so our eyes may easily be fooled
By pearls, or our own images, thus pooled):
I saw a host of faces, pale and lewd,

All poised to speak; but when I glanced around
There suddenly was no one to be found.
A pool, with no Narcissus to astound?

But then I turned my eyes to my sweet Guide.
With holy eyes aglow and smiling wide,
She said, “They are not here because they lied.”



Sonnet: “A Vision of Love” or “Love’s Faithful Ones” from LA VITA NUOVA
by Dante Alighieri
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To every gentle heart true Love may move,
And unto whom my words must now be brought
For wise interpretation’s tender thought,
I greet you in our Lord's name, which is Love.

Through night’s last watch, as winking stars, above,
Kept their high vigil over men, distraught,
Love came to me, with such dark terrors fraught
As mortals may not casually speak of.

Love seemed a being of pure Joy and held
My heart, pulsating. On his other arm
My lady, wrapped in thinnest gossamers, slept.
He, having roused her from her sleep, then made
My heart her feast—devoured with alarm.
He then departed; as he left, he wept.



Excerpts from LA VITA NUOVA
by Dante Alighieri

Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur mihi.
Here is a Deity, stronger than myself, who comes to dominate me.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Apparuit iam beatitudo vestra.
Your blessedness has now been manifested unto you.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Heu miser! quia frequenter impeditus ero deinceps.
Alas, how often I will be restricted now!
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fili mi, tempus est ut prætermittantur simulata nostra.
My son, it is time to cease counterfeiting.
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ego tanquam centrum circuli, cui simili modo se habent circumferentiæ partes: tu autem non sic.
Love said: “I am as the center of a harmonious circle; everything is equally near me. No so with you.”
―Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Sonnet: “Love’s Thoroughfare” from LA VITA NUOVA
by Dante Alighieri
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

“O voi che par la via”

All those who travel Love's worn tracks,
Pause here, awhile, and ask
Has there ever been a grief like mine?

Pause here, from that mad race;
Patiently hear my case:
Is it not a piteous marvel and a sign?

Love, not because I played a part,
But only due to his great heart,
Afforded me a provenance so sweet

That often others, as I went,
Asked what such unfair gladness meant:
They whispered things behind me in the street.

But now that easy gait is gone
Along with the wealth Love afforded me;
And so in time I’ve come to be

So poor that I dread to ponder thereon.
And thus I have become as one
Who hides his shame of his poverty

By pretending happiness outwardly,
While within I travail and moan.



Sonnet: “Cry for Pity” from LA VITA NUOVA
by Dante Alighieri
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These thoughts lie shattered in my memory:
When through the past I see your lovely face.
When you are near me, thus, Love fills all Space,
And often whispers, “Is death better? Flee!”

My face reflects my heart's blood-red dammed tide,
Which, fainting, seeks some shallow resting place;
Till, in the blushing shame of such disgrace,
The very earth seems to be shrieking, “Die!”

’Twould be a grievous sin, if one should not
Relay some comfort to my harried mind,
If only with some simple pitying
For this great anguish which fierce scorn has wrought
Through faltering sights of eyes grown nearly blind,
Which search for death now, like a blessed thing.



Excerpt from Paradiso
by Dante Alighieri
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

****** Mother, daughter of your Son,
Humble, yet exalted above creation,
And the eternal counsel’s apex shown,

You are the Pinnacle of human nature,
Your nobility instilled by its Creator,
Who did not, having you, disdain his creature.

Love was rekindled in your perfect womb
Where warmth and holy peace were given room
For this, Perfection’s Rose, once sown, to bloom.

Now unto us you are a Torch held high
Our noonday sun―the light of Charity,
Our wellspring of all Hope, a living sea.

Madonna, so pure, high and all-availing,
The man who desires grace of you, though failing,
Despite his grounded state, is given wing!

Your mercy does not fail, but, Ever-Blessed,
The one who asks finds oftentimes his quest
Unneeded: you foresaw his first request!

You are our Mercy; you are our Compassion;
you are Magnificence; in you creation
Unites whatever Goodness deems Salvation.



THE MUSE

by Anna Akhmatova
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My being hangs by a thread tonight
as I await a Muse no human pen can command.
The desires of my heart ― youth, liberty, glory ―
now depend on the Maid with the flute in her hand.

Look! Now she arrives; she flings back her veil;
I meet her grave eyes ― calm, implacable, pitiless.
“Temptress, confess!
Are you the one who gave Dante hell?”

She answers, “Yes.”



I have also translated this poem written by Marina Tsvetaeva for Anna Akhmatova:

Excerpt from “Poems for Akhmatova”
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You outshine everything, even the sun
at its zenith. The stars are yours!
If only I could sweep like the wind
through some unbarred door,
gratefully, to where you are ...
to hesitantly stammer, suddenly shy,
lowering my eyes before you, my lovely mistress,
petulant, chastened, overcome by tears,
as a child sobs to receive forgiveness ...


Dante Criticism by Michael R. Burch

Dante’s was a defensive reflex
against religion’s hex.
―Michael R. Burch


Dante, you Dunce!
by Michael R. Burch

The earth is hell, Dante, you Dunce!
Which you should have perceived―since you lived here once.

God is no Beatrice, gentle and clever.
Judas and Satan were wise to dissever
from false “messiahs” who cannot save.
Why flit like a bat through Plato’s cave
believing such shadowy illusions are real?
There is no "hell" but to live and feel!



How Dante Forgot Christ
by Michael R. Burch

Dante ****** the brightest and the fairest
for having loved―pale Helen, wild Achilles―
agreed with his Accuser in the spell
of hellish visions and eternal torments.
His only savior, Beatrice, was Love.

His only savior, Beatrice, was Love,
the fulcrum of his body’s, heart’s and mind’s
sole triumph, and their altogether conquest.
She led him to those heights where Love, enshrined,
blazed like a star beyond religion’s hells.

Once freed from Yahweh, in the arms of Love,
like Blake and Milton, Dante forgot Christ.

The Christian gospel is strangely lacking in Milton’s and Dante’s epics. Milton gave the “atonement” one embarrassed enjambed line. Dante ****** the Earth’s star-crossed lovers to his grotesque hell, while doing exactly what they did: pursing at all costs his vision of love, Beatrice. Blake made more sense to me, since he called the biblical god Nobodaddy and denied any need to be “saved” by third parties.



Dante’s Antes
by Michael R. Burch

There’s something glorious about man,
who lives because he can,
who dies because he must,
and in between’s a bust.

No god can reign him in:
he’s quite intent on sin
and likes it rather, really.
He likes *** touchy-feely.

He likes to eat too much.
He has the Midas touch
and paves hell’s ways with gold.
The things he’s bought and sold!

He’s sold his soul to Mammon
and also plays backgammon
and poker, with such antes
as still befuddle Dantes.

I wonder―can hell hold him?
His chances seem quite dim
because he’s rather puny
and also loopy-******.

And yet like Evel Knievel
he dances with the Devil
and seems so **** courageous,
good-natured and outrageous

some God might show him mercy
and call religion heresy.



Of Seabound Saints and Promised Lands
by Michael R. Burch

Judas sat on a wretched rock,
his head still sore from Satan’s gnawing.
Saint Brendan’s curragh caught his eye,
wildly geeing and hawing.

I’m on parole from Hell today!
Pale Judas cried from his lonely perch.
You’ve fasted forty days, good Saint!
Let this rock by my church,
my baptismal, these icy waves.
O, plead for me now with the One who saves!

Saint Brendan, full of mercy, stood
at the lurching prow of his flimsy bark,
and mightily prayed for the mangy man
whose flesh flashed pale and stark
in the golden dawn, beneath a sun
that seemed to halo his tonsured dome.
Then Saint Brendan sailed for the Promised Land
and Saint Judas headed Home.

O, behoove yourself, if ever your can,
of the fervent prayer of a righteous man!

In Dante’s Inferno, Satan gnaws on Judas Iscariot’s head. A curragh is a boat fashioned from wood and ox hides. Saint Brendan of Ireland is the patron saint of sailors and whales. According to legend, he sailed in search of the Promised Land and discovered America centuries before Columbus.



RE: Paradiso, Canto III
by Michael R. Burch

for the most “Christian” of poets

What did Dante do,
to earn Beatrice’s grace
(grace cannot be earned!)
but cast disgrace
on the whole human race,
on his peers and his betters,
as a man who wears cheap rayon suits
might disparage men who wear sweaters?

How conventionally “Christian” ― Poet! ― to ****
your fellow man
for being merely human,
then, like a contented clam,
to grandly claim
near-infinite “grace,”
as if your salvation was God’s only aim!
What a scam!

And what of the lovely Piccarda,
whom you placed in the lowest sphere of heaven
for neglecting her vows ―
She was forced!
Were you chaste?



Intimations V
by Michael R. Burch

We had not meditated upon sound
so much as drowned
in the inhuman ocean
when we imagined it broken
open
like a conch shell
whorled like the spiraling hell
of Dante’s Inferno.

Trapped between Nature
and God,
what is man
but an inquisitive,
acquisitive
sod?

And what is Nature
but odd,
or God
but a Clod,
and both of them horribly flawed?



Endgame
by Michael R. Burch

The honey has lost all its sweetness,
the hive―its completeness.

Now ambient dust, the drones lie dead.
The workers weep, their King long fled
(who always had been ****, invisible,
his “kingdom” atomic, divisible,
and pathetically risible).

The queen has flown,
long Dis-enthroned,
who would have given all she owned
for a promised white stone.

O, Love has fled, has fled, has fled ...
Religion is dead, is dead, is dead.



The Final Revelation of a Departed God’s Divine Plan
by Michael R. Burch

Here I am, talking to myself again . . .

******* at God and bored with humanity.
These insectile mortals keep testing my sanity!

Still, I remember when . . .

planting odd notions, dark inklings of vanity,
in their peapod heads might elicit an inanity

worth a chuckle or two.

Philosophers, poets . . . how they all made me laugh!
The things they dreamed up! Sly Odysseus’s raft;

Plato’s Republic; Dante’s strange crew;

Shakespeare’s Othello, mad Hamlet, Macbeth;
Cervantes’ Quixote; fat, funny Falstaff!;

Blake’s shimmering visions. Those days, though, are through . . .

for, puling and tedious, their “poets” now seem
content to write, but not to dream,

and they fill the world with their pale derision

of things they completely fail to understand.
Now, since God has long fled, I am here, in command,

reading this crap. Earth is Hell. We’re all ******.

Keyword/Tags: Dante, Italian, translation, sonnet, Italian sonnet, crown of sonnets, rhyme, love, affinity and love, Rome, Italy, Florence, terza rima
David P Carroll Jul 2021
Dear Lord Jesus
You are in my heart
Day and night and
You are my strength
And my hope in life and
I'm so very grateful
For you in my life
And you hold me tight
In your heart softly
Kissing me day and
Night and you make me
Stronger every day and
I love you more
With each passing day
Amen Lord Jesus Christ.
A Prayer For Italy
Congratulations 👏🎇 💕💕😍🙏🙏
Kamila Jun 2021
Isn't it weird how fast I've fallen?
I already miss your spirit, sunshine.
To be frank, wherever I'm going
I feel the urge to be back all the time

I miss museums and ancient buildings,
The river, the grass and the trees.
I miss the way I was usually feeling
While I was walking down your streets.

I don't honestly know how it happened,
How quickly you captured my heart,
But I could've never imagined
That I'd miss Roma so hard
Chris Saitta May 2021
When she folds into me and weeps,
The world of empty things falls into me
Like the wetness of July in antiquated Rome,
Mother of tears, Mater Lachrymarum, in Forum stone,
The rain-addled veneers of Octavia’s portico.

Gather up these black sickened bellies of ruins,
Turn them out to make hunger the den of the skies,
Let the cracked whisper of each monument and temple
Breathe as Caesar, in unending stillness like a bare road.

A road is the sadness of seeing our beginning
But knowing love its far-off end is foretold.
ria geneva May 2021
the light tore through her eyes
as she rolled in the green grass
laughing through her tears
as she watched the sun’s demise

and seeing the sky turn from arctic to indigo
she lifted herself from the earthen bed
rosy cheeks aglow

tumbling drunkenly down cobbled ground
hearing the concertina player’s refrain
the air cradling the forte of the sound
and the breeze thickened with the cool evening veil
so she walked
past the mosaic homes,
sleeping in their wake,
somewhat yearning for the mundane
and her heart begins to ache

for she slept
not in the cotton sheets of a sun-warmed bed
nor in the arms of another
because her eyes streamed storms
and she belonged to the wild

waltzing between cities that she had long forgotten
gently removing the bandages of long-healed wounds
bright unsure eyes like a child

and though her hair was held in beautiful black drapes
and her body clothed in a flowing white dress
her curiosity like a little boy’s traipse

her heart roared fires
spitting with ash and flame
her mind like a tiger
no man could tame

she was a living breathing storm
calm on its surface
fickle to transform

so as she rolled through the grass
watching the sun’s demise
golden fires blazed in her eyes.
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