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Bardo Jun 16
At a funeral recently I met a lot of people I hadn't seen in ages
Like from a hundred years ago (so it seemed)
What got me was, some of them it looked like they'd hardly aged at all
They looked....they looked nearly exactly the same
Now Me! I'd changed... I'd aged a lot
The trials and tribulations of this life had taken their toll
I said to one of them "Y'know you're still as young looking as I remember you
Is there some kind of Dorian Gray thing going on here
You don't have some mysterious portrait hidden away up in the attic"
I went on "Y'know you could do a movie and you could play yourselves
And when you go up to the attic and unveil the picture
Me! I could play the part of The Portrait staring back at you
You'd recoil in horror O! It's my true self, it's... it's so decrepit, so terrible looking (LoL)".

Me! when I look in the mirror all I see is a ghost
The very distant memory of a once beautiful looking kid.
A bit exaggerated this (I'm not that bad looking I think LoL) but this came into my head at the time, on seeing these youthful old mates of mine. The Feckers LoL.
Ceyhun Mahi Jan 29
That kiss of me, under the spring-time rain,
Upon your blooming cheek is gone today.
My lips feel cold, but in my burning brain,
That distant memory is warm as May.
I remember your hands all over me,
Rolling upon the summer-grass with joy,
Reawakening a passion of glee,
Taking back every movement that was coy.
It seemed as if we were released from chains
Of commitment, still having many seasons,
To be exploring love, without restrains,
But still held back, because of idle reasons.
    We were quite broken by the loss of trust,
    Wanting to forget, through a play of lust.
Bongha Lee Sep 2021
You were a Japanese Denim
And I a Parisian Oxford
Bubbling in old polaroid, in suits and dress
Like bachelors at a jazz bar

Each note flourished into an embossed riverbed of roses.  
Gentle raindrops on a red, turquoise rug,
Your golden arms and marvels,
And you pulled my necktie and kissed,
Where the balcony was kind.
A breeze of Lalique, O woman, and a beardless me.
Une nuit sensationnelle!

Sing me, captain, for the old time’s sake.
I the bar maid and you the butcher boy,
Tattered dirt road wagon on the moor?
A ship of napkins and a house of cards?
The rags, the stains, and the stinks?
Let us lift our grail, the Destiny’s gift
And celebrate our nuclear, indestructible love
Une nuit cérémonieuse!

Your royal Bachelorette, my lady,
I will chisel your name in the celestial body
To make this glorious night immortal
With this new ballad, my bootless cries.
A candle to me, a candle to you
For our dauntless youth, our pride.
Till the raven finds my eyes hollow,
Withered, frayed, and lone
My silver crown will bellow in the dark
To your name, the serrated leaves.
Une nuit spectrale!
Your comments will be appreciated
Michael R Burch Dec 2020
Juvenilia by Michael R. Burch

I call these poems my Juvenilia, or early poems, because they were written between the ages of around age 11 to my late teens. I have tried to keep the poems in roughly chronological order, creating a timeline or chronology of sorts.



Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good
half the Bible
is libel.

I read the Bible from cover to cover at age 11, ten chapters per day, at the suggestion of my parents. The so-called "word of God" left me aghast. How could anyone possibly claim the biblical god Yahweh/Jehovah was good, wise, loving, just, etc.? I came up with this epigram to express my conclusions sometime between ages 11 to 13.



Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

Salzburg.
Seeing Mozart’s baby grand piano.
Standing in the presence of sheer incalculable genius.
Grabbing my childish pen to write a poem & challenge the Immortals.
Next stop, the catacombs!

This is a poem I wrote about a vacation my family took to Salzburg when I was a boy, age 11 or perhaps a bit older.



Playmates
by Michael R. Burch

WHEN you were my playmate and I was yours,
we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and the sorrows and cares of our indentured days
were uncomprehended ... far, far away ...
for the temptations and trials we had yet to face
were lost in the shadows of an unventured maze.

Then simple pleasures were easy to find
and if they cost us a little, we didn't mind;
for even a penny in a pocket back then
was one penny too many, a penny to spend.

Then feelings were feelings and love was just love,
not a strange, complex mystery to be understood;
while "sin" and "damnation" meant little to us,
since forbidden cookies were our only lusts!

Then we never worried about what we had,
and we were both sure—what was good, what was bad.
And we sometimes quarreled, but we didn't hate;
we seldom gave thought to the uncertainties of fate.

Hell, we seldom thought about the next day,
when tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things couldn't last.

Still, we never worried about getting by,
and we didn't know that we were to die ...
when we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and I was your playmate, and we were boys.

This is probably the poem that "made" me, because my high school English teacher called it "beautiful" and I took that to mean I was surely the Second Coming of Percy Bysshe Shelley! "Playmates" is the second "intentional" poem I remember writing; I believe I was around 13 or 14 at the time. It was originally published by The Lyric.



Smoke
by Michael R. Burch

The hazy, smoke-filled skies of summer I remember well;
farewell was on my mind, and the thoughts that I can't tell
rang bells within (the din was in) my mind, and I can't say
if what we had was good or bad, or where it is today.
The endless days of summer's haze I still recall today;
she spoke and smoky skies stood still as summer slipped away ...

I wrote this early poem around age 14 and it appeared in my high school journal, the Lantern, and my college literary journal, Homespun. It has since been published by The Eclectic Muse (Canada), Fullosia Press and Better Than Starbucks, and translated into Romanian and published by Petru Dimofte. I find it interesting that I was able to write a "rhyme rich" poem at such a young age. In six lines the poem has 26 rhymes and near rhymes.



Bound
by Michael R. Burch

Now it is winter—the coldest night.
And as the light of the streetlamp casts strange shadows to the ground,
I have lost what I once found
in your arms.

Now it is winter—the coldest night.
And as the light of distant Venus fails to penetrate dark panes,
I have remade all my chains
and am bound.

This poem appeared in my high school journal, the Lantern. I seem to remember writing it around age 14 or 15. It was originally titled "Why Did I Go?"



An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was as hushed as the breath of a bee
and the world was bathed in shades of palest gold
when I awoke.

She came to me with the sound of falling leaves
and the scent of new-mown grass;
I held out my arms to her and she passed

into oblivion ...

This is one of my early poems, written around age 16 and published in my high school literary journal, The Lantern.



Elegy for a little girl, lost
by Michael R. Burch

... qui laetificat juventutem meam...
She was the joy of my youth,
and now she is gone
.... requiescat in pace...
May she rest in peace
.... amen...
Amen.

I wrote this poem around age 17.



Observance
by Michael R. Burch

Here the hills are old and rolling
carefully in their old age;
on the horizon youthful mountains
bathe themselves in windblown fountains...

By dying leaves and falling raindrops,
I have traced time's starts and stops,
and I have known the years to pass
almost unnoticed, whispering through treetops...

For here the valleys fill with sunlight
to the brim, then empty again,
and it seems that only I notice
how the years flood out, and in...

This is the other early poem that made me feel like a real poet. I remember writing it in the break room of the McDonald's where I worked as a high school student. I believe that was at age 17.



hymn to Apollo
by Michael R. Burch

something of sunshine attracted my i
as it lazed on the afternoon sky,
   golden,
splashed on the easel of god ...

what,
i thought,
could this elfin stuff be,
to, phantomlike,
   flit
through tall trees
on fall days, such as these?

and the breeze
whispered a dirge
to the vanishing light;
enchoired with the evening, it sang;
its voice
enchantedly
rang
chanting “Night!” ...

till all the bright light
retired,
expired.

This poem appeared in my high school literary journal, the Lantern. I believe I wrote it around age 16-17.



Something
by Michael R. Burch

Something inescapable is lost—
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.

Something uncapturable is gone—
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
and remembrance.

Something unforgettable is past—
blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,
which finality has swept into a corner, where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.

This was the first poem that I wrote that didn't rhyme. I believe I wrote it around age 18-19.



Infinity
by Michael R. Burch

Have you tasted the bitterness of tears of despair?
Have you watched the sun sink through such pale, balmless air
that your heart sought its shell like a crab on a beach,
then scuttled inside to be safe, out of reach?

Might I lift you tonight from earth’s wreckage and damage
on these waves gently rising to pay the moon homage?
Or better, perhaps, let me say that I, too,
have dreamed of infinity... windswept and blue.

This is one of the first poems that made me feel like a "real" poet.  I wrote it around age 18.



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

There was a moment
  without the sound of trumpets or a shining light,
    but with only silence and darkness and a cool mist
      felt more than seen.
      I was eighteen,
    my heart pounding wildly within me like a fist.
  Expectation hung like a cry in the night,
and your eyes shone like the corona of a comet.

There was an instant...
  without words, but with a deeper communion,
    as clothing first, then inhibitions fell;
      liquidly our lips met
      —feverish, wet—
    forgotten, the tales of heaven and hell,
  in the immediacy of our fumbling union...
when the rest of the world became distant.

Then the only light was the moon on the rise,
and the only sound, the communion of sighs.

Written around age 18.



These Hallowed Halls
by Michael R. Burch
a young Romantic Poet mourns the passing of an age ...

I.

A final stereo fades into silence
and now there is seldom a murmur
to trouble the slumber
of these ancient halls.

I stand by a window where others have watched
the passage of time alone,
not untouched,
and I am as they were—
                                       unsure,
and the days
stretch out ahead,
a bewildering maze.

II.

Ah, faithless lover—
that I had never touched your breast,
nor felt the stirrings of my heart,
which until that moment had peacefully slept.

For now I have known the exhilaration
of a heart that has leapt from the pinnacle of love,
and the result of every infatuation—
the long freefall to earth, as the moon glides above.

III.

A solitary clock chimes the hour
from far above the campus,
but my peers,
returning from their dances,
heed it not.

And so it is
that we seldom gauge Time’s speed
because He moves so unobtrusively
about His task.

Still, when at last
we reckon His mark upon our lives,
we may well be surprised
at His thoroughness.

IV.

Ungentle maiden—
when Time has etched His little lines
so carelessly across your brow,
perhaps I will love you less than now.

And when cruel Time has stolen
your youth, as He certainly shall in course,
perhaps you will wish you had taken me
along with my broken heart,
even as He will take you with yours.

V.

A measureless rhythm rules the night—
few have heard it,
but I have shared it,
and its secret is mine.

To put it into words
is as to extract the sweetness from honey
and must be done as gently
as a butterfly cleans its wings.

But when it is captured, it is gone again;
its usefulness is only
that it lulls to sleep.

VI.

So sleep, my love, to the cadence of night,
to the moans of the moonlit hills
that groan as I do, yet somehow sleep
through the nightjar’s cryptic trills.

But I will not sleep this night, nor any ...
how can I, when my dreams
are always of your perfect face
ringed in whorls of fretted lace,
and a tear upon your pillowcase?

VII.

If I had been born when knights roamed the earth
and mad kings ruled strange lands,
I might have turned to the ministry,
to the solitude of a monastery.

But there are no monks or hermits today—
theirs is a lost occupation
carried on, if at all,
merely for sake of tradition.

For today man abhors solitude—
he craves companions, song and drink,
seldom seeking a quiet moment,
to sit alone by himself, to think.

VIII.

And so I cannot shut myself
off from the rest of the world,
to spend my days in philosophy
and my nights in tears of self-sympathy.

No, I must continue as best I can,
and learn to keep my thoughts away
from those glorious, uproarious moments of youth,
centuries past though lost but a day.

IX.

Yes, I must discipline myself
and adjust to these lackluster days
when men display no chivalry
and romance is the "old-fashioned" way.

X.

A single stereo flares into song
and the first faint light of morning
has pierced the sky's black awning
once again.

XI.

This is a sacred place,
for those who leave,
leave better than they came.

But those who stay, while they are here,
add, with their sleepless nights and tears,
quaint sprigs of ivy to the walls
of these hallowed halls.

I wrote this poem as a college freshman, age 18, watching my peers return to their dorms from a hard night of partying ...



Regret
by Michael R. Burch

1.
Regret,
a bitter
ache to bear ...

once starlight
languished
in your hair ...

a shining there
as brief
as rare.

2.
Regret ...
a pain
I chose to bear ...

unleash
the torrent
of your hair ...

and show me
once again—
how rare.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 19. I may have been thinking about Rapunzel.



Poetry
by Michael R. Burch

Poetry, I found you
where at last they chained and bound you;
with devices all around you
to torture and confound you,
I found you—shivering, bare.

They had shorn your raven hair
and taken both your eyes
which, once cerulean as Gogh's skies,
had leapt at dawn to wild surmise
of what was waiting there.

Your back was bent with untold care;
there savage brands had left cruel scars
as though the wounds of countless wars;
your bones were broken with the force
with which they'd lashed your flesh so fair.

You once were loveliest of all.
So many nights you held in thrall
a scrawny lad who heard your call
from where dawn’s milling showers fall—
pale meteors through sapphire air.

I learned the eagerness of youth
to temper for a lover’s touch;
I felt you, tremulant, reprove
each time I fumbled over-much.
Your merest word became my prayer.

You took me gently by the hand
and led my steps from child to man;
now I look back, remember when
you shone, and cannot understand
why now, tonight, you bear their brand.

                     *

I will take and cradle you in my arms,
remindful of the gentle charms
you showed me once, of yore;
and I will lead you from your cell tonight
back into that incandescent light
which flows out of the core
of a sun whose robes you wore.
And I will wash your feet with tears
for all those blissful years ...
my love, whom I adore.

I consider "Poetry" to be my Ars Poetica. I believe I wrote the first version in my late teens, probably around age 19.



Am I
by Michael R. Burch

Am I inconsequential;
do I matter not at all?
Am I just a snowflake,
to sparkle, then to fall?

Am I only chaff?
Of what use am I?
Am I just a feeble flame,
to flicker, then to die?

Am I inadvertent?
For what reason am I here?
Am I just a ripple
in a pool that once was clear?

Am I insignificant?
Will time pass me by?
Am I just a flower,
to live one day, then die?

Am I unimportant?
Do I matter either way?
Or am I just an echo—
soon to fade away?

This is one of my earliest poems; if I remember correctly, it was written the same day as “Time,” which appeared in my high school sophomore poetry assignment booklet. If not, it was a companion piece written around the same time. The refrain “Am I” is an inversion of the biblical “I Am” supposedly given to Moses as the name of God. I was around 14 or 15 when I wrote the two poems.



Time
by Michael R. Burch

Time,
where have you gone?
What turned out so short,
had seemed like so long.

Time,
where have you flown?
What seemed like mere days
were years come and gone.

Time,
see what you've done:
for now I am old,
when once I was young.

Time,
do you even know why
your days, minutes, seconds
preternaturally fly?

This is a companion piece to "Am I." It appeared in my high school project notebook "Poems" along with "Playmates," so I was probably around 14 or 15 when I wrote it.



El Dorado
by Michael R. Burch

It's a fine town, a fine town,
though its alleys recede into shadow;
it's a very fine town for those who are searching
for an El Dorado.

Because the lighting is poor and the streets are bare
and the welfare line is long,
there must be something of value somewhere
to keep us hanging on
to our El Dorado.

Though the children are skinny, their parents are fat
from years of gorging on bleached white bread,
yet neither will leave
because all believe
in the vague things that are said
of El Dorado.

The young men with the outlandish hairstyles
who saunter in and out of the turnstiles
with a song on their lips and an aimless shuffle,
scuffing their shoes, avoiding the bustle,
certainly feel no need to join the crowd
of those who work to earn their bread;
they must know that the rainbow's end
conceals a *** of gold
near El Dorado.

And the painted “actress” who roams the streets,
smiling at every man she meets,
must smile because, after years of running,
no man can match her in cruelty or cunning.
She must see the satire of “defeats”
and “triumphs” on the ambivalent streets
of El Dorado.

Yes, it's a fine town, a very fine town
for those who can leave when they tire
of chasing after rainbows and dreams
and living on nothing but fire.
But for those of us who cling to our dreams
and cannot let them go,
like the sad-eyed ladies who wander the streets
and the junkies high on snow,
the dream has become a reality
—the reality of hope
that grew too strong
not to linger on—
and so this is our home.

We chew the apple, spit it out,
then eat it "just once more."
For this is the big, big apple,
though it is rotten to the core,
and we are its worm
in the night when we squirm
in our El Dorado.

I believe I wrote the first version during my “Romantic phase” around age 16-19. This poem was definitely written in my teens because it appears in a poetry contest folder that I put together and submitted during my sophomore year in college.



Each Color a Scar
by Michael R. Burch

What she left here,
upon my cheek,
is a tear.

She did not speak,
but her intention
was clear,

and I was meek,
far too meek, and, I fear,
too sincere.

What she can never take
from my heart
is its ache;

for now we, apart,
are like leaves
without weight,

scattered afar
by love, or by hate,
each color a scar.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 20-21.



Ambition
by Michael R. Burch

Men speak of their “ambition”
and I smile to hear them say
that within them burns such fire,
such a longing to be great ...

But I laugh at their “Ambition”
as their wistfulness amasses;
I seek Her tongue’s indulgence
and Her parted legs’ crevasses.

I was very ambitious about my poetry, even as a teenager. I wrote this one around age 18 or 19.



Analogy
by Michael R. Burch

Our embrace is like a forest
lying blanketed in snow;
you, the lily, are enchanted
by each shiver trembling through;

I, the snowfall, cling in earnest
as I press so close to you.
You dream that you now are sheltered;
I dream that I may break through.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 18. The lily symbolizes purity and virginity.



As the Flame Flowers
by Michael R. Burch

As the flame flowers, a flower, aflame,
arches leaves skyward, aching for rain,
but it only encounters wild anguish and pain
as the flame sputters sparks that ignite at its stem.

Yet how this frail flower aflame at the stem
reaches through night, through the staggering pain,
for a sliver of silver that sparkles like rain,
as it flutters in fear of the flowering flame.

Mesmerized by a distant crescent-shaped gem
which glistens like water though drier than sand,
the flower extends itself, trembles, and then
dies as scorched leaves burst aflame in the wind.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem in my late teens. The flower aflame yet entranced by the moon is, of course, a metaphor for destructive love and its passions.



Gentry
by Michael R. Burch

The men shined their shoes
and the ladies chose their clothes;
the rifle stocks were varnished
till they were untarnished
by a speck of dust.

The men trimmed their beards;
the ladies rouged their lips;
the horses were groomed
until the time loomed
for them to ride.

The men mounted their horses,
the ladies did the same;
then in search of game they went,
a pleasant time they spent,
and killed the fox.

This poem was published in my college literary journal, Homespun, in 1977, along with "Smoke" and four other poems of mine. I have never been a fan of hunting or fishing, or inflicting pain on other creatures. I believe I wrote the poem around age 18.



The Beautiful People
by Michael R. Burch

They are the beautiful people,
and their shadows dance through the valleys of the moon
to the listless strains of an ancient tune.

Oh, no ... please don't touch them,
for their smiles might fade.
Don’t go ... don’t approach them
as they promenade,
for they waltz through a vacuum
and dream they're not made
of the dust and gross dankness
to which men degrade.

They are the beautiful people,
and their spirits sighed in their mothers’ wombs
as the distant echoings of unearthly tunes.

Winds do not blow there
and storms do not rise,
and each hair has its place
and each gown has its price.
And they whirl through the darkness
untouched by our cares
as we watch them and long for
a "life" such as theirs.

I believe I wrote this poem around 1976, at age 18 or thereabouts.



I Am Lonely
by Michael R. Burch

Oh God, I am lonely;
I am weak and sore afraid.
Now, just who am I to turn to
when my heart is torn in two?

Oh God, I am lonely
and I cannot find a mate.
Now, just who am I to turn to
when the best friend that I’ve made

remains myself?

This poem appeared in my high school journal the Lantern. I believe it was written circa age 16.



Impotent
by Michael R. Burch

Tonight my pen
is barren
of passion, spent of poetry.

I hear your name
upon the rain
and yet it cannot comfort me.

I feel the pain
of dreams that wane,
of poems that falter, losing force.

I write again
words without end,
but I cannot control their course . . .

Tonight my pen
is sullen
and wants no more of poetry.

I hear your voice
as if a choice,
but how can I respond, or flee?

I feel a flame
I cannot name
that sends me searching for a word,

but there is none
not over-done,
unless it's one I never heard.

I believe this poem was written in my late teens or early twenties.



It's Halloween!
by Michael R. Burch

If evening falls
on graveyard walls
far softer than a sigh;
if shadows fly
moon-sickled skies,
while children toss their heads
uneasy in their beds,
beware the witch's eye!

If goblins loom
within the gloom
till playful pups grow terse;
if birds give up their verse
to comfort chicks they nurse,
while children dream weird dreams
of ugly, wiggly things,
beware the serpent's curse!

If spirits scream
in haunted dreams
while ancient sibyls rise
to plague nightmarish skies
one night without disguise,
as children toss about
uneasy, full of doubt,
beware the Devil's lies . . .
it's Halloween!

I believe I wrote this poem around age 20.



Nevermore!
by Michael R. Burch

Nevermore! O, nevermore
shall the haunts of the sea—
the swollen tide pools
and the dark, deserted shore—
mark her passing again.

And the salivating sea
shall never kiss her lips
nor caress her ******* and hips
as she dreamt it did before,
once, lost within the uproar.

The waves will never **** her,
nor take her at their leisure;
the sea gulls shall not have her,
nor could she give them pleasure . . .
She sleeps forevermore.

She sleeps forevermore,
a ****** save to me
and her other lover,
who lurks now, safely smothered
by the restless, surging sea.

And, yes, they sleep together,
but never in that way!
For the sea has stripped and shorn
the one I once adored,
and washed her flesh away.

He does not stroke her honey hair,
for she is bald, bald to the bone!
And how it fills my heart with glee
to hear them sometimes cursing me
out of the depths of the demon sea . . .

their skeletal love—impossibility!

Published by Romantics Quarterly and Penny Dreadful



Blue Cowboy
by Michael R. Burch

He slumps against the pommel,
a lonely, heartsick boy—
his horse his sole companion,
his gun his only toy
—and bitterly regretting
he ever came so far,
forsaking all home's comforts
to sleep beneath the stars,
he sighs.

He thinks about the lover
who waits for him no more
till a tear anoints his lashes,
lit by the careless stars.
He reaches to his aching breast,
withdraws a golden lock,
and kisses it in silence
as empty as his thoughts
while the wind sighs.

Blue cowboy, ride that lonesome ridge
between the earth and distant stars.
Do not fall; the fiends of hell
would leap to feast upon your heart.

Blue cowboy, sift the burnt-out sand
for a drop of water warm and brown.
Dream of streams like silver seams
even as you gulp it down.

Blue cowboy, sing defiant songs
to hide the weakness in your soul.
Blue cowboy, ride that lonesome ridge
and wish that you were going home
as the stars sigh.

I believe I wrote this poem during my songwriting phase, sometime between 1974 and 1976, around age 16 or a bit later.



Morning
by Michael R. Burch

It was morning
and the bright dew drenched the grasses
like tears the trembling lashes of my lover;
another day had come.

And everywhere the flowers
were turning to the sun,
just as the night before
I had turned to the one
for whom my heart yearned.

It was morning
and the sun shone in the sky
like smoldering embers in the eyes of my lover—
another night gone by.

And everywhere the terraces
were refreshed by bright assurances
of the early-fallen rain
which had doused the earth
and morning’s birth
with their sweet refrain.

It was morning
and the bright dew drenched the grasses
like tears the trembling lashes of my lover;
another day had come.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 14, then according to my notes revised it around age 17. In any case, it was published in my high school literary journal.



You didn't have time
by Michael R. Burch

You didn't have time to love me,
always hurrying here and hurrying there;
you didn't have time to love me,
and you didn't have time to care.

You were playing a reel like a fiddle half-strung:
too busy for love, "too old" to be young . . .
Well, you didn't have time, and now you have none.
You didn't have time, and now you have none.

You didn't have time to take time
and you didn't have time to try.
Every time I asked you why, you said,
"Because, my love; that's why."  And then
you didn't have time at all, my love.
You didn't have time at all.

You were wheeling and diving in search of a sun
that had blinded your eyes and left you undone.
Well, you didn't have time, and now you have none.
You didn't have time, and now you have none.

This is a song-poem that I wrote during my early songwriter phase, around age 17.



"Of You" was the first poem of mine that appeared in my high school journal, The Lantern, and thus it was my first poem to appear on a printed page. A fond memory, indeed.

Of You
by Michael R. Burch

There is little to write of in my life,
and little to write off, as so many do . . .
so I will write of you.

You are the sunshine after the rain,
the rainbow in between;
you are the joy that follows fierce pain;
you are the best that I've seen
in my life.

You are the peace that follows long strife;
you are tranquility.
You are an oasis in a dry land
               and
you are the one for me!

You are my love; you are my life; you are my all in all.
Your hand is the hand that holds me aloft . . .
without you I would fall.

I have tried to remember when I wrote this poem, but that memory remains elusive. It was definitely written by 1976 because the poem was published in The Lantern then. But many of those poems were written earlier and this one feels “younger” to me, so I will guess a composition date in 1974,  around age 16.



49th Street Serenade
by Michael R. Burch

It's four o'clock in the mornin'
and we're alone, all alone in the city . . .
     your sneakers 're torn
     and your jeans 're so short
that your ankles show, but you're pretty.

I wish I had five dollars;
I'd pay your bus fare home,
     but how far canya go
     through the sleet 'n' the snow
for a fistful of change?
'Bout the end of Childe’s Lane.

Right now my old man is sleepin'
and he don't know the hell where I am.
     Why he still goes to bed
     when he's already dead,
I don't understand,
but I don't give a ****.

Bein' sixteen sure is borin'
though I guess for a girl it's all right . . .
     if you'd let your hair grow
     and get some nice clothes,
I think you'd look outta sight.

And I wish I had ten dollars;
I'd ask you if you would . . .
     but wishin's no good
     and you'd think I'm a hood,
so I guess I'll be sayin' good night.

This is one of my earliest poems; I actually started out writing songs when some long-haired friends of mine started a band around 1974. But I was too introverted and shy to show them to anyone. This one was too **** for my high school journal.



130 Refuted
by Michael R. Burch

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red ...
— Shakespeare, Sonnet 130

Seas that sparkle in the sun
without its light would have no beauty;
but the light within your eyes
is theirs alone; it owes no duty.
And that flame, not half as bright,
is meant for me, and brings delight.

Coral formed beneath the sea,
though scarlet-tendriled, cannot warm me;
while your lips, not half so red,
just touching mine, at once inflame me.
And the searing flames your lips arouse
fathomless oceans fail to douse.

Bright roses’ brief affairs, declared
when winter comes, will wither quickly.
Your cheeks, though paler when compared
with them?—more lasting, never prickly.
And your cheeks, so dear and warm,
far vaster treasures, need no thorns.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly

I believe I wrote this poem as a college freshman; if not as a freshman, then definitely by my sophomore year. I composed my refutation in my head as I walked back to my dorm from an English class where I had read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130.” This was my first attempt at a sonnet, but I dispensed with the rules, as has always been my wont.



With my daughter, by a waterfall
by Michael R. Burch

By a fountain that slowly shed
its rainbows of water, I led
my youngest daughter.

And the rhythm of the waves
that casually lazed
made her sleepy as I rocked her.

By that fountain I finally felt
fulfillment of which I had dreamt
feeling May’s warm breezes pelt

petals upon me.
And I held her close in the crook of my arm
as she slept, breathing harmony.

By a river that brazenly rolled,
my daughter and I strolled
toward the setting sun,

and the cadence of the cold,
chattering waters that flowed
reminded us both of an ancient song,

so we sang it together as we walked along
―unsure of the words, but sure of our love―
as a waterfall sighed and the sun died above.

This poem was published by my college literary journal, Homespun, in 1977. I believe I wrote it the year before, around age 18.



All My Children
by Michael R. Burch

It is May now, gentle May,
and the sun shines pleasantly
upon the blousy flowers
of this backyard cemet'ry,
upon my children as they sleep.

Oh, there is Hank in the daisies now,
with a mound of earth for a pillow;
his face as hard as his monument,
but his voice as soft as the wind through the willows.

And there is Meg beside the spring
that sings her endless sleep.
Though it’s often said of stiller waters,
sometimes quicksilver streams run deep.

And there is Frankie, little Frankie,
tucked in safe at last,
a child who weakened and died too soon,
but whose heart was always steadfast.

And there is Mary by the bushes
where she hid so well,
her face as dark as their berries,
yet her eyes far darker still.

And Andy ... there is Andy,
sleeping in the clover,
a child who never saw the sun
so soon his life was over.

And Em'ly, oh my Em'ly ...
the prettiest of all ...
now she's put aside her dreams
of lovers dark and tall
for dreams dreamed not at all.

It is May now, merry May
and the sun shines pleasantly
upon these ardent gardens,
on the graves of all my children ...

But they never did depart;
they still live within my heart.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 15-16.

Keywords/Tags: Juvenilia, early poems, early writing, early work, young, youthful, teenage, high school, college
Astrid Love Oct 2020
Pay attention to the fascination,
The fascination is the most endless trance of all.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the fascination,
Gently it goes - the sempiternal, the perpetual, the long.

I saw the youthful emotionalism of my generation destroyed,
How I mourned the passion.
Now vernal is just the thing,
To get me wondering if the passion is immature.

One afternoon I said to myself,
"Why isn't the concept smaller?"
Are you upset by how grownup it is?
Does it tear you apart to see the conception so older?

Just like an imaginative expression, is the imagination.
Does the imagination make you shiver?
does it?
Colm Aug 2020
When you grow like a tree over property lines
  And are drawn into a yard unwanting and free
    It’s not the sharpest saw which cuts the deepest ties
      But the quiet in moving away from beneath
We've all been there (at least most of us have). And you learn from it quickly, or slowly if need be. Time passes by, and you grow like trees. Slowly in learning.
Now 20 turning 21 this month, but you don't realize the time and where it went until you reach a certain age.
20 still young but not as young when you think back to years ago.
When i was 10 i thought my teenage and adult life would be filled with what we see on the movies, full of life, party and fun.
But it really isn't like that, when you reach a certain age maybe for some what you wish you had may never become.
Never being able to join the cool kids, go to parties to have sleep overs because you're not labeled as "cool".
Time's have changed since back in your days, or our days.
No more house parties as we used to see, just more reckless than what old generation of the youthful playful teens would be.
I used to think drugs, parties, alcohol, loud music, *** and being popular would be cool, (isn't that what we all thought high school would be like?)
but now i look back and think it wouldn't be fun to...
die from drugs, puke from poison, carry maybe syphilis.
But maybe being able to join a party or 2 and be a bit popular and be liked would be cool.
Or would it?
If you had a chance to experience this Youthful Playful young life, please explain down below how it really made you feel?
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Excerpts from the Journal of Dorian Gray
by Michael R. Burch

It was not so much dream, as error;
I lay and felt the creeping terror
of what I had become take hold . . .

The moon watched, silent, palest gold;
the picture by the mantle watched;
the clock upon the mantle talked,
in halting voice, of minute things . . .

Twelve strokes like lashes and their stings
scored anthems to my loneliness,
but I have dreamed of what is best,
and I have promised to be good . . .

Dismembered limbs in vats of wood,
foul acids, and a strangled cry!
I did not care, I watched him die . . .

Each lovely rose has thorns we miss;
they ***** our lips, should we once kiss
their mangled limbs, or think to clasp
their violent beauty. Dream, aghast,
the flower of my loveliness,
this ageless face (for who could guess?),
and I will kiss you when I rise . . .

The patterns of our lives comprise
strange portraits. Mine, I fear,
proved dear indeed . . . Adieu!
The knife’s for you.

Keywords/Tags: Oscar Wilde, portrait, Dorian Gay, journal, ageless, face, youthful, unchanging, rose, thorns, *****, vat, acid, acids, dismembered limbs, violent beauty, knife
Àŧùl Sep 2019
Oh my love, you are so youthful,
And you are so beautiful.

Oh my love, you are so exotic,
And you are so energetic.

Oh my love, you are so pretty,
And you are such a cutie.

Marrying you will do good,
Let me be finally blessed.
My HP Poem #1772
©Atul Kaushal
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