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LEGEND POETS Jul 9
Gem
“We play at paste,
Till qualified for pearl,
Then drop the paste,
And deem ourself a fool.
The shapes, though, were similar,
And our new hands
Learned gem-tactics
Practising sands.”

-Emily Dickinson.
My most popular poems on the Internet, according to Google ...

A number of my poems and translations have gone viral, according to Google, and some have been copied onto hundreds of web pages. That’s a lot of cutting and pasting, which suggests someone likes the writing enough to take the time to share it …

This translation returns over 1,000 results, according to Google:

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
― Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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This translation of a Sappho epigram returns more than 500 results, according to Google:

Sappho, fragment 42
translation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains
uprooting oaks.

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This original epigram returns more than 400 results:

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.

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My translation/interpretation/modernization of Robert Burns’s “To a Mouse” also has more than 400 results.

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This epigram returns more than 300 results:

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

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This poem, based on a phrase I found in a comic book as a boy, returns more than 300 results:

Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable ...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this—
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss ...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live two artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her Tears ...

Note: The phrase "frail envelope of flesh" was one of my first encounters with the power of poetry, although I read it in a superhero comic book as a young boy (I forget which one). More than thirty years later, the line kept popping into my head, so I wrote this poem. I have dedicated it to the mothers and children of Gaza and the Nakba. The word Nakba is Arabic for "Catastrophe."

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Others with more than 100 results:

Speechless
by Ko Un
translation by Michael R. Burch

At Auschwitz
piles of glasses,
mountains of shoes ...
returning, we stared out different windows.

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Shattered
by Vera Pavlova
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I shattered your heart;
now I limp through the shards
barefoot.

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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

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The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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Come, investigate loneliness!
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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Ah butterfly,
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
― Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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While you decline to cry,
high on the mountainside
a single stalk of plumegrass wilts.
―Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick; Donald Trump speaks loudly and carries a big shtick.—Michael R. Burch

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How Long the Night
(anonymous Middle English poem, circa early 13th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts
with the mild pheasants' song ...
but now I feel the northern wind's blast—
its severe weather strong.
Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!
And I, because of my momentous wrong
now grieve, mourn and fast.

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The Burning of the Books
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he’d been excluded!

He rushed to his desk, full of contemptuous wrath,
to write fiery letters to the incompetents in power —
Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen —
Haven’t I always reported the truth?
Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
Burn me!

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Auschwitz Rose
by Michael R. Burch

There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar,
a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name.
The world forgot her, and is not the same.
I still love her and extend this sacred fire
to keep her memory exalted flame
unmolested by the thistles and the nettles.

On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles!
They sleep alike—diminutive and tall,
the innocent, the "surgeons." Sleeping, all.

Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals,
if accidents of coloration, gall
my heart no less. Amid thick weeds and muck
there lies a rose man's crackling lightning struck:
the only Rose I ever longed to pluck.
Soon I'll bed there and bid the world "Good Luck."

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Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses’
recesses
are not for excesses!

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Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.

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Asstronomical
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
proved E equals MC squared.
And so mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my *** declared!

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Like Angels, Winged
by Michael R. Burch

Like angels—winged,
shimmering, misunderstood—
they flit beyond our understanding
being neither evil, nor good.

They are as they are ...
and we are their lovers, their prey;
they seek us out when the moon is full;
they dream of us by day.

Their eyes—hypnotic, alluring—
trap ours with their strange appeal
till like flame-drawn moths, we gather ...
to see, to touch, to feel.

And in their arms, enchanted,
we feel their lips, grown old,
till with their gorging kisses
we warm them, growing cold.

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Pale Though Her Eyes
by Michael R. Burch

Pale though her eyes,
her lips are scarlet
from drinking of blood,
this child, this harlot

born of the night
and her heart, of darkness,
evil incarnate
to dance so reckless,

dreaming of blood,
her fangs—white—baring,
revealing her lust,
and her eyes, pale, staring ...

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Neglect
by Michael R. Burch

What good are tears?
Will they spare the dying their anguish?
What use, our concern
to a child sick of living, waiting to perish?

What good, the warm benevolence of tears
without action?
What help, the eloquence of prayers,
or a pleasant benediction?

Before this day is over,
how many more will die
with bellies swollen, emaciate limbs,
and eyes too parched to cry?

I fear for our souls
as I hear the faint lament
of theirs departing ...
mournful, and distant.

How pitiful our "effort,"
yet how fatal its effect.
If they died, then surely we killed them,
if only with neglect.

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Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!

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Sappho, fragment 156
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.

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Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.

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Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.

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An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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Postcard 1
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Out of Bulgaria, the great wild roar of the artillery thunders,
resounds on the mountain ridges, rebounds, then ebbs into silence
while here men, beasts, wagons and imagination all steadily increase;
the road whinnies and bucks, neighing; the maned sky gallops;
and you are eternally with me, love, constant amid all the chaos,
glowing within my conscience — incandescent, intense.
Somewhere within me, dear, you abide forever —
still, motionless, mute, like an angel stunned to silence by death
or a beetle hiding in the heart of a rotting tree.

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Postcard 2
by Miklós Radnóti
written October 6, 1944 near Crvenka, Serbia
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A few miles away they're incinerating
the haystacks and the houses,
while squatting here on the fringe of this pleasant meadow,
the shell-shocked peasants sit quietly smoking their pipes.
Now, here, stepping into this still pond, the little shepherd girl
sets the silver water a-ripple
while, leaning over to drink, her flocculent sheep
seem to swim like drifting clouds.

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Postcard 3
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The oxen dribble ****** spittle;
the men pass blood in their ****.
Our stinking regiment halts, a horde of perspiring savages,
adding our aroma to death's repulsive stench.

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Postcard 4
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I toppled beside him — his body already taut,
tight as a string just before it snaps,
shot in the back of the head.
"This is how you’ll end too; just lie quietly here,"
I whispered to myself, patience blossoming from dread.
"Der springt noch auf," the voice above me jeered;
I could only dimly hear
through the congealing blood slowly sealing my ear.

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This was his final poem, written October 31, 1944 near Szentkirályszabadja, Hungary. "Der springt noch auf" means something like "That one is still twitching."

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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 you are 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.

Keywords/Tags: most popular poems Google social media viral copy paste replication
A Simillacrum Jun 2018
If you are going to do
what you are going to do,
then, me, too.

You know what they say,
"It's eye for an eye!" It's
never been a better time
to hoard your money or
build your fortress. If you
use your opulence just to
defend the devil's rigging,
it's not too far off to believe

others will come,
sneak in w/ gasoline
others will come,
sneak in w/ gasoline

speak in fire what they can't
say with words, still unheard
status as we know it
is based on make believe
is it so, so strange some
intend to burn

at inferno temperatures
in a city that infights
copy and paste?

then, is it strange,
except for the few,
the rich sit on their *****?

If you are going to do
what you are going to do,
then, me, too.

Me, too.
Me, too.
Poetic T Apr 2018
Some of us are just carbon copies
of others wanting
              to be other than ourselves.

We should embrace our individuality,
or become stale,
                   weaker copies of another.
Why do other have a need to copy others, we should embrace our individuality or just become lesser copies of others.
K Balachandran Mar 2016
She cooks her dishes with such panache and zest,
as if both are  two new  dishes for me to taste,
her dainty waist, arrested my eyes,
then the mind ******, thunder thighs,
all I want is to stick to her all over like curry paste.
wicked mind never would let one rest..to fight or surrender?
Steve Jong Un Apr 2015
[PART ONE]
xeroxed, RT'd and plagiarized
so many times on so many blogs
tween blogs to republican blogs
to blogs in Russia and
blogs no one ever scrolls though...
original content is prey
but I have a warning for they:

overrated, over-shared
content aggregators beware
the lines you swap can
rot and ware
the World Wide Web
does not care.

[PART TWO]
original content
original contests
original continent
original controversy
original coordination between strangers
original calvary riding their connection into the battlefield of internet memes; creating nothing and sharing everything

[COMMENTARY]
original nothing, nowhere, nobody except facebook "Funny Vidoes!" & "Cool Quotes!". 'Like' pages whose sole originality lies within their own existence but nothing they share. They steal from the rest of the web and re-post what they find for out-of-the-loop troglodytes; often done so in inferior context and with no perspective. The 'refried beans' phenomenon, I call it. I find it fitting because 'refried beans' are a double misnomer. The name comes from 'frijoles refritos' - which means 'well-fried' not 'refried'. They are also never traditionally fried more than once. Yet the name sticks, it gets repeated, it gets re-shared and now that's what they are: refried beans. This phenomenon is why I believe art and all original content eventually become so over-shared and overrated that it's no longer interesting but irritating. These three parts of the poem "Original Content" are separated in abstract authorial presentation. The author has clearly expressed his dislike for the disjunct un-imagination of the internet and presents it as such.

[PART THREE]
original authors losing control of their audiences who believe they are the creators and the artist's art is somewhat shareable
original miscommunication between web 1.0 and web 2.0 reality
original alphabet they use to type on their keyboards
original grammar they learned in school
original money their gov't printed
original content they re-post
original refried beans
original content
orginal contet
ogrinal cotent
ognal ctt
oc
.
No copy pasterino pls
Serenity Elliot Oct 2014
Ctrl + C* me onto your heart
Ctrl + X me out and hang me above your bed
Ctrl + V my words into the poetry of your thoughts
Ctrl + S me from these lonely nights
Ctrl + W the door and let's dance

— The End —