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Ayesha Aug 2021
There, she lies on the altar
Almost held the sun she—
almost in her hands
Opened up, a rose-bud chaste
petal by petal by blood, with
a sting, oh, so sweet and sweet, as
sunset reborn a bee; she was
gold and silver and black at once.

Almost held the sun she—
and no wax wings used
Oh, Icarus, loved you did a wild sky,
— yourself a light-licked doom  
as your father cried,
Your father cried for you.
A veil, as purity, as tear-coated eyes, she wore
as wings of wasps
as beetles she giggled—

Icarus, flew that you,
—and with tongue-tied elation too
she rambled on for hours long.
A letter she held in spring kissed of hands
—I will wed you to the sun,
her father had sworn.
The sun—and oh a sun he was,
child of the sea, some sword in honey
dipped; now her awaiting.
And blushed she did herself a dawn,
a fall's first bronze, a flicker's
childish song—

The altar, on the altar.
Almost held the sun she—
Swallowed a mayhem for the father's sin.
Icarus, tell me of the plummet.
Tell me of the greens you saw,
of blues, of whites,
of the whirling world—

Men tread around around her
their leather-hard soles all ready
to crush lost skulls an empty moor.

the dust, like may have, her hair
before the wedding day
Strands and strands, gently styled—
Of rays of stars, blurry through clouds,
of boughs, of wings of swans.

Spears, swords,
rubbed and rubbed to mirrors,
to lakes' lifeless serenity.
Armours, and ships laden with life, with
sails, the fluttering doves;
As the winds dance once more—
as harbours vacated, as waves torn apart for the horde, as move they on— on too the sun— as
She still lies.

Icarus, Icarus, was it the ocean
that cupped its palms, or did the soil cave in
as down into the dark's slick throat you slid?
Surely, was soft
the sea's well-loved mouth,
Surely soft or true

She lies on the altar
a trinket glossy
on a hoof, a ****** in the bell,
how does one say—
the valley of lilies, she grew it inside.
Spilled out on the stones, they are fed
to the flies.
Almost held the sun she—
Icarus, must you know

You did not sleep a wretched silence
within the womb of war.
No crescent blades you drank
down a leaking throat—
She lies on the altar,
Vanquished for moon
— for metal upon bone
for blood, for blood, for blood.

A father’s green promise—
Seasoned to rust before the king
a wilt, a quiet; a plucking, a rustle, a quiet once more as the shore is cleaned—
a speck of brown among
a thousand more
beneath the feet of the sky.

Icarus, on the altar she lies—
as insects swarm about
a ripened land far, far away—
Icarus, Icarus,
on the altar
Credits (half-heartedly given):
Typed (very clumsily) by little brother, or as he likes to call himself, DevilPlays, because I had to study, but it doesn’t really matter ‘cause it took me 30 minutes to fix his spelling mistakes anyway. Well, credits anyway ‘cause he insisted so.

Iphigenia, daughter of Agamelon. Need I say more?
I stand just beside you
unseen in your frame
How much ever I try anew
People identify me with your name.

We both have the same talent
but I'm ranked with the boors.
You are a famous gallant
As victory is always yours

We are still together
Smile, laugh and enjoy
But Deep inside I wither
Like Achilles in the war of troy
lua Aug 2020
fierce and benevolent
these eyes of gold
warm and shattering against the light
of sunkissed skin on marble floors
he's sweet as figs
and sharp as a sword
and his heels pink and unmarred
by the heat of the sun
when our bodies touch for the first time
two souls intertwine
sewn together by threads of fate
i feel nothing other than him
and his gentle gaze and soft hair
but dawn comes around
during the pouring of blood from our cupped hands
onto tainted sheets
of dishonour and rage
and when i breathe my last breath
he roars, like a lion
loud enough for the gods to hear
and does not stop until his face hits the earth
with a smile.
patroclus and achilles
Alex Jul 2020
Paris came back to troy
And saw Hector on the shore.
He told him he had found his love
But what he found was war.
Sharon Talbot Mar 2020
Lost on the plains of ancient  Ílion,
Treading the windswept soil and stone,
I sense the ghosts of warriors and horsemen,
Of dark-eyed women and jealous kings.
Their history scattered, burned and ruined,
Pressed by time and scavenging hordes,
Yet restored to life in song and verse.
When poets and imagining hearts were stirred
To find heroes among brutal soldiers
And reasons for violence masked as greed.

Shades of blue lost to time reappear.
In their winding brains goddesses walked,
Holding an aegis made that bore a Gorgon’s face
Or gods who guided arrows and chose the dead.
Bards ever kept alive the rival gods
Before whom King Priam bowed and Achilles defiled.

Across the grape-blood waters of the Hellespont,
Aphrodite savored her own victory and watched
As Paris still kept the women she had given him.
Love was not among her calculations
Nor those of Zeus when he forbade hindrance
By the gods, who yet battled among themselves.

As mortal enemies fought the coming of allies.
For ten years, ships and horses swarmed to aid
The unbowed city, even Memnon and Penthesilia,
Both slain by the sword for reasons then forgot,
So their sacrifices failed to dent a lust for blood.

Yet armies tired and war ended, as all wars do,
Through fatigue or fire or the scattering of slaves.
Now time has whitened the ruins and sands
And Boreas sweeps away the shards of stain
That dyed the cities’ walls and columns.

The scarlet buried below Herculaneum is gone,
And saffron gowns on dancing virgins,
All the horses’ indigo manes and hyakinthos
Sandals of Achilles, whose mother dyed them
Before he sailed, forgetting his Stygian bath.

He was clad in red to hide his blood,
So when wounded, his men would not cower.
Yet one arrow alone took his life; how telling
That more valiant men lost theirs closer to the soul!

Gone are the sheep, red-fleeced with madder
And argamon robes of brides and Cybele’s priests.
No sacrificial lambs or holy men walk here now,
On the bone white land and relics of a kingdom,
Yet the north wind, the lone god, continues to wail.

March 5, 2020
A salute to the Trojans, who fought such violent foes, the Achaeans (known to the West as Greeks), and the importance of their various colors, especially blue, purple and red, between what we see there now and what once was. I wanted to give what I viewed as a possible perspective from the Trojans.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
To Have Loved
by Michael R. Burch

"The face that launched a thousand ships ..."

Helen, bright accompaniment,
accouterment of war as sure as all
the polished swords of princes groomed to lie
in mausoleums all eternity ...

The price of love is not so high
as never to have loved once in the dark
beyond foreseeing. Now, as dawn gleams pale
upon small wind-fanned waves, amid white sails, ...

now all that war entails becomes as small,
as though receding. Paris in your arms
was never yours, nor were you his at all.
And should gods call

in numberless strange voices, should you hear,
still what would be the difference? Men must die
to be remembered. Fame, the shrillest cry,
leaves all the world dismembered.

Hold him, lie,
tell many pleasant tales of lips and thighs;
enthrall him with your sweetness, till the pall
and ash lie cold upon him.

Is this all? You saw fear in his eyes, and now they dim
with fear’s remembrance. Love, the fiercest cry,
becomes gasped sighs in his once-gallant hymn
of dreamed “salvation.” Still, you do not care

because you have this moment, and no man
can touch you as he can ... and when he’s gone
there will be other men to look upon
your beauty, and have done.

Smile―woebegone, pale, haggard. Will the tales
paint this―your final portrait? Can the stars
find any strange alignments, Zodiacs,
to spell, or unspell, what held beauty lacks?

Published by The Raintown Review, Triplopia, The Electic Muse, The Chained Muse, The Pennsylvania Review, and in a YouTube recital by David B. Gosselin. This is, of course, a poem about the famous Helen of Troy, whose face "launched a thousand ships."
Keywords/Tags: Helen, Troy, Paris, love, war, gods, fate, destiny, portrait, fame, famous, stars, Zodiac, Zodiacs, star-crossed, spell, charm, potion, enchantment, Greece, Greek, mythology, legend, Homer, Odyssey, accompaniment, accouterment, eternal, eternity, immortal

Les Bijoux (“The Jewels”)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My lover **** and knowing my heart's whims
Wore nothing more than a few bright-flashing gems;
Her art was saving men despite their sins—
She ruled like harem girls crowned with diadems!

She danced for me with a gay but mocking air,
My world of stone and metal sparking bright;
I discovered in her the rapture of everything fair—
Nay, an excess of joy where the spirit and flesh unite!

Naked she lay and offered herself to me,
Parting her legs and smiling receptively,
As gentle and yet profound as the rising sea—
Till her surging tide encountered my cliff, abruptly.

A tigress tamed, her eyes met mine, intent ...
Intent on lust, content to purr and please!
Her breath, both languid and lascivious, lent
An odd charm to her metamorphoses.

Her limbs, her *****, her abdomen, her thighs,
Oiled alabaster, sinuous as a swan,
Writhed pale before my calm clairvoyant eyes;
Like clustered grapes her ******* and belly shone.

Skilled in more spells than evil imps can muster,
To break the peace which had possessed my heart,
She flashed her crystal rocks’ hypnotic luster
Till my quietude was shattered, blown apart.

Her waist awrithe, her ******* enormously
Out-******, and yet ... and yet, somehow, still coy ...
As if stout haunches of Antiope
Had been grafted to a boy ...

The room grew dark, the lamp had flickered out,
Till firelight, alone, lit each glowing stud;
Each time the fire sighed, as if in doubt,
It steeped her pale, rouged flesh in pools of blood.


Speechless at Auschwitz
by Ko Un
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

Ko Un speaks for all of us, by not knowing what to say about the evidence of the Holocaust, and man's inhumanity to man.

Ko Un was speechless at Auschwitz.
Someday, when it’s too late,
will we be speechless at Gaza?
—Michael R. Burch

Booksellers laud authors for novel editions
as pimps praise their ****** for exotic positions.
—Thomas Campion, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A question that sometimes drives me hazy:
am I or are the others crazy?
—Albert Einstein, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Elevate your words, not their volume. Rain grows flowers, not thunder.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Why should I brood when every petal of my being is blossoming?—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What you seek also pursues you.—Rumi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This is love: to fly toward a mysterious sky,
to cause ten thousand veils to fall.
First, to stop clinging to life,
then to step out, without feet ...
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love renders reason senseless.
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I test the tightrope
balancing a child
in each arm.
—Vera Pavlova, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let me live with joy today, since tomorrow is unforeseeable.
—Palladas of Alexandria, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To live without philosophizing is to close one's eyes and never attempt to open them. – Rene Descartes, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Religion is the ****** of the people.—Karl Marx
Religion is the dopiate of the sheeple.—Michael R. Burch

How happy the soul who speeds back to the Source,
but crowned with peace is the one who never came.
—a Sophoclean passage from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Improve yourself by others' writings, attaining freely what they purchased at great expense.
—Socrates, translation by Michael R. Burch


Brief Fling
by Michael R. Burch

means cram,
then scram!

Published by Brief Poems, Poem Today and The HyperTexts

Brief Fling II
by Michael R. Burch

To write an epigram,
If you lack wit, scram!

Published by Brief Poems, Ethnu Couplet and The HyperTexts

Brief Fling III
by Michael R. Burch

No one gives a **** about my epigram?
And yet they’ll spend billions on Boy George and Wham!
Do they have any idea just how hard I cram?

Nod to the Master
by Michael R. Burch

for the Divine Oscar Wilde

If every witty thing that’s said were true,
Oscar Wilde, the world would worship You!

Stage Fright
by Michael R. Burch

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

****** Errata
by Michael R. Burch

I didn’t mean to love you; if I did,
it came unbid-
en, and should’ve remained hid-

by Michael R. Burch

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once.
But joys are wan illusions to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.

Love is either wholly folly,
or fully holy.
—Michael R. Burch

by Michael R. Burch

Let mercy surround us
with a sweet persistence.

Let love propound to us
that life is infinitely more than existence.

Less Heroic Couplets: Marketing 101
by Michael R. Burch

Building her brand, she disrobes,
naked, except for her earlobes.

Less Heroic Couplets: Shell Game
by Michael R. Burch

I saw a turtle squirtle!
Before you ask, “How fertile?”
The squirt came from its mouth.
Why do your thoughts fly south?

The best tonic for other people's bad ideas is to think for oneself.—Michael R. Burch

I will never grok picking a picky rule over a Poem!—Michael R. Burch

Experience is the best teacher but a hard taskmaster.—Michael R. Burch

Wayne Gretzky was pure skill poured into skates.—Michael R. Burch

Neither the leaf nor the tree laments karma.—Michael R. Burch

Less Heroic Couplets: Gilded Silence
by Michael R. Burch

Golden silence reigned supreme
in my nightmare and her dream.

Villanelle of an Opportunist
by Michael R. Burch

I’m not looking for someone to save.
A gal has to do what a gal has to do:
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

How many highways to hell must I pave
with intentions imagined, not true?
I’m not looking for someone to save.

Fools praise compassion while weaklings rave,
but a gal has to do what a gal has to do.
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

Some praise the Lord but the Devil’s my fave
because he has led me to you!
I’m not looking for someone to save.

In the land of the free and the home of the brave,
a gal has to do what a gal has to do.
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

Every day without meds becomes a close shave
and the razor keeps tempting me too.
I’m not looking for someone to save:
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

She is brighter than dawn
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

There’s a light about her
like the moon through a mist:
a bright incandescence
with which she is blessed

and my heart to her light
like the tide now is pulled . . .
she is fair, O, and bright
like the moon silver-veiled.

There’s a fire within her
like the sun’s leaping forth
to lap up the darkness
of night from earth's hearth

and my eyes to her flame
like twin moths now are drawn
till my heart is consumed.
She is brighter than dawn.

The Difference
by Michael R. Burch

The chimneysweeps
will weep
for Blake,
who wrote his poems
for their dear sake.

The critics clap,
polite, for you.
Another poem
for poets,

by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

A cockroach could live nine months on the dried mucous you scrounge from your nose
then fling like seedplants to the slowly greening floor ...

You claim to be the advanced life form, but, mon frere,
sometimes as you ****** encrusted kinks of hair from your Leviathan ***
and muse softly on zits, icebergs snap off the Antarctic.

You’re an evolutionary quandary, in need of a sacral ganglion
to control your enlarged, contradictory hindquarters:
surely the brain should migrate closer to its primary source of information,
in order to ensure the survival of the species.

Cockroaches thrive on eyeboogers and feces;
their exoskeletons expand and gleam like burnished armor in the presence of uranium.
But your cranium
     is not nearly so adaptable.

“Crunch” is a poem about evolution and survival of the fittest which questions where human beings really are the planet earth’s most advanced life forms. Keywords/Tags: evolution, global warming, insects, cockroaches, advance life form, survival of the fittest, adaptability

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

Viral Donald (I)
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Donald Trump is coronaviral:
his brain's in a downward spiral.
His pale nimbus of hair
proves there's nothing up there
but an empty skull, fluff and denial.

Viral Donald (II)
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Why didn't Herr Trump, the POTUS,
protect us from the Coronavirus?
That weird orange corona of hair's an alarm:
Trump is the Virus in Human Form!

Limerick-Ode to a Much-Eaten ***
by Michael R. Burch

There wonst wus a president, Trump,
whose greatest *** (et) wus his ****.
It was padded ’n’ shiny,
that great orange hiney,
but to drain it we’d need a sump pump!

The Less-Than-Divine Results of My Prayers to be Saved from Televangelists
by Michael R. Burch

I’m old,
no longer bold,
just cold,
and (truth be told),
been bought and sold,
by the wolves and the lambs in the fold.

Who’s to be told
by this worn-out scold?
The complaint department is always on hold.

Poets laud Justice’s
high principles.
Trump just gropes
her raw genitals.
—Michael R. Burch

Teeter Tots
by Michael R. Burch

For your spuds to become Tater Tots,
first, artfully cut out the knots,
then dice them to cubes
deep-fried, served to rubes,
(but not if they’re acting like snots).
Carlo C Gomez Dec 2019
I leave it to you with fondness.

How you used to fill it on those lazy Sundays
with fresh blooms from the neighbor's garden.

You would blame the kids from across
the street and we'd laugh
as their dad chased them around the yard
with a belt.

And when they would die, as they were wont to do,
you'd replace them with your paranoid
king's fiddlesticks.

He'd come out of the castle in a dither.

But you always convinced him
it was the handiwork of little green men
--who looked very much like
the kids from across the street.

Ah, remember the fire and how we danced?

Yes, my dearest captive
--the face that launched a thousand ships--

I leave it to you with only the warmest sentiments.

Love, Paris.
Amaris Jul 2019
Gods, I’ve been forsaken!
I – formerly blessed by the sun –
Cry out to you, you who leave
My words unheard.
Once a daughter to kings, I wait
Inside an indiscernible prison
For the fall of my beloved city.
I predicted this, my people, but
I cannot blame you, my people
I spurned the sun, burned my fate
And now no one will heed me.
They tell me I am
beautiful, I am brilliant, I am
They tell me
To leave the future to kings.
I spoke to you, my people
The contents of the horse
I spoke to you, my people
When we shall catch our demise
With axe and fire, I rush,
Only to face the barrage of disbelief
I hear them laughing, my people
Those who will carve their place
Where you once stood
But you will not listen.
Based on Greek myth of Kassandra, a Trojan princess cursed by Apollo to speak prophecies but never be believed.
Oskar Erikson Jul 2019
i understand the Greeks
When they wrote of boys
turning to men as
“in the flush of their strength”.
as if the tides of youth,
had burst it’s banks
flooding childhood, like the Mycenae
against Troy.
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