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He was a rat, she was a rat
down in one hole we did dwell
both were as pale as a witch's cat
they loved each other well.

He had a tail, she had a tail
both long and fine
each said 'yours is the finest tall
in the world, except for mine.'

He smelt the cheese, she smelt the cheese,
they both said it was good.
both remarked it would greatly add
to the taste of our daily food.

He went out, she went out,
I saw them go with pain
what happened to them i never can tell
for they never came back again.
Folorunsho Mike Iyanuoluwa
Mayflies
by Michael R. Burch

These standing stones have stood the test of time
but who are you
                             and what are you
                                                             and why?
As brief as mist, as transient, as pale ...
Inconsequential mayfly!

Perhaps the thought of love inspired hope?
Do midges love? Do stars bend down to see?
Do gods commend the kindnesses of ants
to aphids? Does one eel impress the sea?

Are mayflies missed by mountains? Do the stars
regret the glowworm’s stellar mimicry
the day it dies? Does not the world go on
as if it’s no great matter, not to be?

Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose.
And yet somehow you’re everything to me.

Originally published by Clementine Unbound. Keywords/Tags: mayfly, mayflies, time, mist, transient, transience, pale, inconsequential, stars, sea, everything, A. E. Housman quote
Kindred (II)
by Michael R. Burch

Rise, pale disastrous moon!
What is love, but a heightened effect
of time, light and distance?

Did you burn once,
before you became
so remote, so detached,

so coldly, inhumanly lustrous,
before you were able to assume
the very pallor of love itself?

What is the dawn now, to you or to me?
We are as one,
out of favor with the sun.

We would exhume
the white corpse of love
for a last dance,

and yet we will not.
We will let her be,
let her abide,

for she is nothing now,
to you
or to me.

Published by Songs of Innocence. Keywords/Tags: moon, pale, disastrous, remote, detached, cold, inhuman, lustrous, pallor, love, itself, white, corpse
Sometimes the Dead
by Michael R. Burch

Sometimes we catch them out of the corners of our eyes—
     the pale dead.
          After they have fled
the gourds of their bodies, like escaping fragrances they rise.

Once they have become a cloud’s mist, sometimes like the rain
     they descend;
they appear, sometimes silver like laughter,
to gladden the hearts of men.

Sometimes like a pale gray fog, they drift
     unencumbered, yet lumbrously,
          as if over the sea
there was the lightest vapor even Atlas could not lift.

Sometimes they haunt our dreams like forgotten melodies
     only half-remembered.
          Though they lie dismembered
in black catacombs, sepulchers and dismal graves; although they have committed felonies,

yet they are us. Someday soon we will meet them in the graveyard dust
     blood-engorged, but never sated
          since Cain slew Abel.
But until we become them, let us steadfastly forget them, even as we know our children must ...

Keywords/Tags: pale, dead, shades, shadows, fragrance, mist, vapor, fog, rain, forgotten, melodies, dismembered, tombs, graves, catacombs, sepulchers, mausoleums, graveyard, dust
Kin
Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?

Keywords/Tags: moon, pale, austere, haughty, beauty, goddess, love, kin, kinship, duty
Erin
by Michael R. Burch

All that’s left of Ireland is her hair—
bright carrot—and her milkmaid-pallid skin,
her brilliant air of cavalier despair,
her train of children—some conceived in sin,
the others to avoid it. For nowhere
is evidence of thought. Devout, pale, thin,
gay, nonchalant, all radiance. So fair!

How can men look upon her and not spin
like wobbly buoys churned by her skirt’s brisk air?
They buy. They ***** to pat her nyloned shin,
to share her elevated, pale Despair ...
to find at last two spirits ease no one’s.

All that’s left of Ireland is the Care,
her impish grin, green eyes like leprechauns’.

Keywords/Tags: sonnet, Ireland, Erin, hair, red, carrot, skin, pale, pallid, fair, devout, children, sin, adultery, gay, skirt, skirts, men, lust, desire, passion, arousal, radiance, nylon, nylons, tights, stockings, pantyhose, beer, ale, alcohol, *****, spirits, drink, drinking, pub, bar, club, care, worry, anxiety, grin, smile, green eyes, leprechauns
The Divide
by Michael R. Burch

The sea was not salt the first tide ...
was man born to sorrow that first day,
the moon a pale beacon across the Divide,
the brighter for longing, an object denied,
the tug at his heart's pink, bourgeoning clay?

The sea was not salt the first tide ...
but grew bitter, bitter ... man's torrents supplied.
The bride of their longing forever astray,
her shield a cold beacon across the Divide,
flashing pale signals: "Decide. Decide.
Choose me, or His Brightness, I will not stay."

The sea was not salt the first tide ...
imploring her, ebbing: "Abide, abide."

The silver fish flash there, the manatees gray.

The moon, a pale beacon across the Divide,
has taught us to seek Love's concealed side:
the dark face of longing, the poets say.

The sea was not salt the first tide ...
the moon a pale beacon across the Divide.

NOTE: "The Divide" is essentially a villanelle despite the non-formal line breaks.

Published by Neovictorian/Cochlea, The Eclectic Muse, Freshet, Better Than Starbucks, Sonnetto Poesia, The New Formalist and Pennsylvania Review

Keywords/Tags: Villanelle, sea, salt, first, tide, moon, pale, beacon, Divide, love, concealed side, dark side of the moon, longing, passion, desire, lust
TD Mar 4
The scowling moon
sports a feathery mustache.
His countenance
and dashing upper lip
affronted thwarted
by teasing wisps askew.

Still he preens pale
a veritable dandy
against an obsidian cape
donned in a fit of pique.
Brooding, refined.

And underneath his shadows cast
tittering is heard
fans and hearts a flutter
as his path draws coquettish glances
longing trails impressions
left by his buckled heels.
Skeleton!
Tell us what you lack ...
the ability to love,
your flesh so slack?

Will we frighten you,
grown as pale & unsound ...
when we also haunt
the unhallowed ground?

Keywords/Tags: Halloween, skeleton, pale, haunt, grave, graveyard, unhallowed, ground, thin, kin, frighten, frightening, scary, horror, terror, slack, flesh, fleshless, bone, bony, unsound, haunting
Mark Wanless Feb 17
i saw a pale horse
grazing on the grass
in a field   peacefully
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