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Zywa May 22
In the inside yard

with trees cut into a floor --


there are birds, whining.
Composition "Return to the Garden" (2024, Elizabete Beate Rudzinska), performed in the Organpark on May 17th, 2024 by Elizabete Beate Rudzinska (*****) and Luka Schuurman (performance)

Collection "org ANP ark" #191
SORROWS OF THE WILD GEESE by HUANG E

Sent to My Husband
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The wild geese never fly beyond Hengyang ...
how then can my brocaded words reach Yongchang?

Like wilted willow flowers I am ill-fated indeed;
in that far-off foreign land you feel similar despair.

“Oh, to go home, to go home!” you implore the calendar.
“Oh, if only it would rain, if only it would rain!” I complain to the heavens.

One hears hopeful rumors that you might soon be freed ...
but when will the Golden **** rise in Yelang?

A star called the Golden **** was a symbol of amnesty to the ancient Chinese. Yongchang was a hot, humid region of Yunnan to the south of Hengyang, and was presumably too hot and too far to the south for geese to fly there.




Luo Jiang's Second Complaint
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The green hills vanished,
pedestrians passed by
disappearing beyond curves.

The geese grew silent, the horseshoes timid.

Winter is the most annoying season!

A lone goose vanished into the heavens,
the trees whispered conspiracies in Pingwu,
and people huddling behind buildings shivered.



Bitter Rain, an Aria of the Yellow Oriole
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These ceaseless rains make the spring shiver:
even the flowers and trees look cold!

The roads turn to mud;
the river's eyes are tired and weep into in a few bays;
the mountain clouds accumulate like ***** dishes,
and the end of the world seems imminent, if jejune.

I find it impossible to send books:
the geese are ruthless and refuse to fly south to Yunnan!



Broken-Hearted Poem
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My tears cascade into the inkwell;
my broken heart remains at a loss for words;
ever since we held hands and said farewell,
I have been too listless to paint my eyebrows;
no medicine can cure my night-sweats,
no wealth repurchase our lost youth;
and how can I persuade that ****** bird singing in the far hills
to tell a traveler south of the Yangtze to return home?

These are my modern English translations of poems by the Chinese poet Huang E (1498–1569), also known as Huang Xiumei. She has been called the most outstanding female poet of the Ming Dynasty, and her husband its most outstanding male poet. Were they poetry’s first power couple? Her father Huang Ke was a high-ranking official of the Ming court and she married Yang Shen, the prominent son of Grand Secretary Yang Tinghe. Unfortunately for the young power couple, Yang Shen was exiled by the emperor early in their marriage and they lived largely apart for 30 years. During their long separations they would send each other poems which may belong to a genre of Chinese poetry I have dubbed "sorrows of the wild geese."



Springtime Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

They’ll have to grow like crazy,
the springtime baby geese,
if they’re to fly to balmier climes
when autumn dismembers the leaves ...

And so I toss them loaves of bread,
then whisper an urgent prayer:
“Watch over these, my Angels,
if there’s anyone kind, up there.”

Originally published by Borderless Journal (Singapore)



The Mallard
by Michael R. Burch

The mallard is a fellow
whose lips are long and yellow
with which he, honking, kisses
his *****, boisterous mistress:
my pond’s their loud bordello!



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.



Hangovers
by Michael R. Burch

We forget that, before we were born,
our parents had “lives” of their own,
ran drunk in the streets, or half-******.

Yes, our parents had lives of their own
until we were born; then, undone,
they were buying their parents gravestones

and finding gray hairs of their own
(because we were born lacking some
of their curious habits, but soon

would certainly get them). Half-******,
we watched them dig graves of their own.
Their lives would be over too soon

for their curious habits to bloom
in us (though our children were born
nine months from that night on the town

when, punch-drunk in the streets or half-******,
we first proved we had lives of our own).



Breakings
by Michael R. Burch

I did it out of pity.
I did it out of love.
I did it not to break the heart of a tender, wounded dove.

But gods without compassion
ordained: Frail things must break!
Now what can I do for her shattered psyche’s sake?

I did it not to push.
I did it not to shove.
I did it to assist the flight of indiscriminate Love.

But gods, all mad as hatters,
who legislate in all such matters,
ordained that everything irreplaceable shatters.



Habeas Corpus
by Michael R. Burch

from “Songs of the Antinatalist”

I have the results of your DNA analysis.
If you want to have children, this may induce paralysis.

I wish I had good news, but how can I lie?
Any offspring you have are guaranteed to die.

It wouldn’t be fair—I’m sure you’ll agree—
to sentence kids to death, so I’ll waive my fee.



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
and 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.

Held in their arms, enchanted,
we feel their lips, so old!,
till with their gorging kisses
we warm them, growing cold.



Update of "A Litany in Time of Plague"
by Michael R. Burch

THE PLAGUE has come again
To darken lives of men
and women, girls and boys;
Death proves their bodies toys
Too frail to even cry.
I am sick, I must die.

Lord, have mercy on us!
Tycoons, what use is wealth?
You cannot buy good health!
Physicians cannot heal
Themselves, to Death must kneel.
Nuns’ prayers mount to the sky.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Beauty’s brightest flower?
Devoured in an hour.
Kings, Queens and Presidents
Are fearful residents
Of manors boarded high.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

We have no means to save
Our children from the grave.
Though cure-alls line our shelves,
We cannot save ourselves.
"Come, come!" the sad bells cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!



faith(less)
by Michael R. Burch

Those who believed
and Those who misled
lie together at last
in the same narrow bed

and if god loved Them more
for Their strange lack of doubt,
he kept it well hidden
till he snuffed Them out.

ah-men!



The Cosmological Constant
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein the frizzy-haired
claimed E equals MC squared.
Thus all mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my *** declared!



***-tronomical
by Michael R. Burch

Relativity, the theorists’ creed,
claims mass increases with speed.
My (m)*** grows when I sit it.
Mr. Einstein, get with it;
equate its deflation, I plead!



The Hair Flap
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

The hair flap was truly a scare:
Trump’s bald as a billiard back there!
The whole nation laughed
At the state of his graft;
Now the man’s wigging out, so beware!



Salvation of a Formalist, an Ode to Entropy
by Michael R. Burch

Entropy?
God's universal decree
That I get to be
Disorderly?
Suddenly
My erstwhile boxed-in verse is free?
Wheeeeee!

Keywords/Tags: Chinese poetry, China, sorrow, sorrows, geese, rain, heavens, hills, winter, trees, rivers, mountains, books, birds, spring, springtime, baby, babies, pray, prayer, angels
These are modern English translations of poems by the Chinese poet Huang E, , also known as Huang Xiumei.
And over the specks of dust and rose-colored evenings,
in the melancholic fate of soliloquy;
yet as wretched as her soul be, her very first breath was, “Have mercy.”
 
The pale, starry-eyed of April’s sky ends, and it’s pouring; the trees are swaying in their places; the sun is impressed by the rising of the lilies.
Daunted by the ray of light, quietly caressing its innocence.
 
She looked over the moon, as if it were painted by someone she knew.
In hope, she clenched her fist and whispered again and again and again.
Like the petals of dried daisies fallen from the moon.
 
She knew it’s written on the stars; someone knows her name.
 
The airy summer between spring and March’s language, an imprecise grief of longing,
a desert of bones starved on
an ethereal ghost of past summers and the sickening void of the night sky,
she needed to endure
something in her holler with violence—some rage kept on the other side of her old pillow.
 
And yet it’s still written on the stars—someone knows her name.
 
Where the river flows, she follows.
In hopes she’d be directed to the one who wrote her;
achingly believing she’s the muse this time.
Who else could have written her the way she is?
 
With her eyes the same as the earthly sand,
her lips alive in light gray, with the way she lit up when the moon reveals himself to her,
the sea pushes upon the land as if it were longing to kiss her weary feet.
 
With the way her hips dance when she walks, when she closes her eyes, only she can hear her author’s note at the back of her heart. Slowly yet surely whispering, “It’s written on the stars. I wrote your name, my love.”
 
And so she follows the flow of the river, faithfully locking her eyes in the waters' steepness. She gently brushes the cold river, and so it quietly blushes at the thought of her.

That someone like her was cared for enough by her own artist.
april, you were legendary and momentary. good days are coming.
TheKatIsDead Apr 21
to choose the forest is to be
lost, and lost in the trees
guided by stars, not to a journey
but turning to some place worth exploring

you loved life with your being
and passed the forest for its trees;
the string of red ribbons happens to be
constellations within the captive sea

but lost you were with your own
itself ripped apart of definition
looking back, its love brings you
back to its original destination

though their signposts lead to more obstacles
and landmarks fetter into miserable,
its fractures into a blissful wonder
in place of stars for faded luster
Man Apr 18
Roses fall, silent;
In moonlight, like pouring rain.
On the leaves, dew hangs
BLD Apr 18
I envisioned these days so often,
fearful of the independence soon to come.
Repression has surpassed to grant this favor
of forgetful remembrance –
or perhaps my memory you’ve stripped as well.

Loneliness stalks even the proudest of prey,
probing the crevices stashed deep away
to betray the very promises endemic to your core.


Now do I savor the silence I once abhorred.


I lie and I listen to the serenity all around,
obscurities of the day whispering from my walls
as an auburn Cardinal serenades from outside.

The moon beckons me near, apologetic murmurs
of her needless façade from the past –
a revered box fan underwhelms the silence
and disperses my diffused Siberian fir,
crips notes of pine and aromatic wintergreen
to soothe the comfort of my nightly routine.


Now do I know myself more than ever before.
Heidi Franke Apr 13
Out of the darkness
I claw and rise to see
There is a forest inside.
The green surrounds me.
The sun's rays splatter
Me awake to my open body.
I let in the light
I lean into the forest
With the trees holding me up
- as I tilt to fall
Reinforcing my stand I forgot
- I was a part of.

The green has grown so strong
Like the blood that sweeps away
Inside of me to a rivers tune.
I don't want to leave this place,
Fearing it will be taken beyond
Or that it was never mine.
Reinventing this woodland
That has always been inside.
The pine, the wind through the branches, the owl winks.
It has always been here with me
Compelled to germinate
Waiting for my return.
I lift up my head and the sky
- Is so blue.
Recovery from PTSD
Isaace Apr 8
As I drew the Philosophical Tree, darkness swarmed around me,
And I knew a new Line and had a new sense of myself and how had I came to be.
I knew how matter had been constructed and how it formed when unlocked from its shackles,
Designed to be unburdened by reality.

Now I see the lyrics of one million liars dancing about me;
And I pray for those who remain lost
And those who are yet to be set free.
Hadrian Veska Feb 21
Rolling hills beneath a low grey sky
The rippling water in the back of my eyes
Stillness hallowed, forlorn and sweet
The black sacred ground beneath my feet

The earth is rich yet nothing here grows
The river has dried and no longer flows
The trees are bare of leaves but not fruit
An omen of something below the deep roots

Does anyone here but lost husks remain
If I stay will anything thus here be gained
Does the sun here rise or does it merely set
The twilight stretches on but cannot end yet
A journey from when to where
Steve Page Feb 19
It's seems way too early
for blossom
and for blossom to fall.
But who am I to judge?
I've never borne such beauty.
Walked past a tree and was showered in white blossom
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