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willy knight Jun 2010
My Blood Burns, as the Call Comes
My Blood Burns, as I Listen
My Blood Burns, as the Family is Hurt
My Blood Burns, as I Scream
My Blood Burns, as the Order is Issued
My Blood Burns, as I Tense in Anticipation
My Blood Burns, as You Ask my Opinion
My Blood Burns, as I Call for War
My Blood Burns, as I Ready for Battle
My Blood Burns, as the Lines are Drawn
My Blood Burns, as I Chose my Target
My Blood Burns, as I Call for Revenge
My Blood Burns, as I Wait for the Inevitable
My Blood Burns, as the Fight Begins
My Blood Burns, as I Spill their Blood
My Blood Burns, as I Lose Control
This is my call to a fight
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Comin Thro the Rye
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, Jenny's all wet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry;
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Should a body meet a body
Comin' through the rye,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need anybody cry?

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Should a body meet a body
Comin' through the glen,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need all the world know, then?

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

The poem "Comin Thro the Rye" by Robert Burns may be best-known today because of Holden Caulfield's misinterpretation of it in "The Catcher in the Rye." In the book, Caulfield relates his fantasy to his sister, Phoebe: he's the "catcher in the rye," rescuing children from falling from a cliff. Phoebe corrects him, pointing out that poem is not about a "catcher" in the rye, but about a girl who has met someone in the rye for a kiss (or more), got her underclothes wet (not for the first time), and is dragging her way back to a polite (i.e., Puritanical) society that despises girls who are "easy." Robert Burns, an honest man, was exhibiting empathy for girls who were castigated for doing what all the boys and men longed to do themselves. Keywords/Tags: Robert Burns, Jenny, rye, petticoats, translation, modernization, update, interpretation, modern English, song, wet, body, kiss, gossip, puritanism, prudery


Translations of Scottish Poems

Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar [1460-1525]
loose translation/interpretation 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.



Ballad
by William Soutar
translation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

O, surely you have seen my love
Down where the waters wind:
He walks like one who fears no man
And yet his eyes are kind!

O, surely you have seen my love
At the turning of the tide:
For then he gathers in his nets
Down by the waterside!

Yes, lassie we have seen your love
At the turning of the tide:
For he was with the fisher folk
Down by the waterside.

The fisher folk worked at their trade
No far from Walnut Grove:
They gathered in their dripping nets
And found your one true love!

Keywords/Tags: William Soutar, Scottish, Scot, Scotsman, ballad, water, waterside, tide, nets, nets, fisher, fishers, fisher folk, fishermen, love, sea, ocean, lost, lost love, loss



Lament for the Makaris (“Lament for the Makers, or Poets”)
by William Dunbar (c. 1460-1530)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

i who enjoyed good health and gladness
am overwhelmed now by life’s terrible sickness
and enfeebled with infirmity;
the fear of Death dismays me!

our presence here is mere vainglory;
the false world is but transitory;
the flesh is frail; the Fiend runs free;
how the fear of Death dismays me!

the state of man is changeable:
now sound, now sick, now blithe, now dull,
now manic, now devoid of glee;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

no state on earth stands here securely;
as the wild wind waves the willow tree,
so wavers this world’s vanity;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

Death leads the knights into the field
(unarmored under helm and shield)
sole Victor of each red mêlée;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

that strange, despotic Beast
tears from its mother’s breast
the babe, full of benignity;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

He takes the champion of the hour,
the captain of the highest tower,
the beautiful damsel in full flower;
how the fear of Death dismays me!

He spares no lord for his elegance,
nor clerk for his intelligence;
His dreadful stroke no man can flee;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

artist, magician, scientist,
orator, debater, theologist,
all must conclude, so too, as we:
“the fear of Death dismays me!”

in medicine the most astute
sawbones and surgeons all fall mute;
they cannot save themselves, or flee,
and the fear of Death dismays me!

i see the Makers among the unsaved;
the greatest of Poets all go to the grave;
He does not spare them their faculty,
and the fear of Death dismays me!

i have seen Him pitilessly devour
our noble Chaucer, poetry’s flower,
and Lydgate and Gower (great Trinity!);
how the fear of Death dismays me!

since He has taken my brothers all,
i know He will not let me live past the fall;
His next victim will be —poor unfortunate me!—
and how the fear of Death dismays me!

there is no remedy for Death;
we must all prepare to relinquish breath,
so that after we die, we may no more plead:
“the fear of Death dismays me!”



To a Mouse
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Sleek, tiny, timorous, cowering beast,
why's such panic in your breast?
Why dash away, so quick, so rash,
in a frenzied flash
when I would be loath to pursue you
with a murderous plowstaff!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
has broken Nature's social union,
and justifies that bad opinion
which makes you startle,
when I'm your poor, earth-born companion
and fellow mortal!

I have no doubt you sometimes thieve;
What of it, friend? You too must live!
A random corn-ear in a shock's
a small behest; it-
'll give me a blessing to know such a loss;
I'll never miss it!

Your tiny house lies in a ruin,
its fragile walls wind-rent and strewn!
Now nothing's left to construct you a new one
of mosses green
since bleak December's winds, ensuing,
blow fast and keen!

You saw your fields laid bare and waste
with weary winter closing fast,
and cozy here, beneath the blast,
you thought to dwell,
till crash! the cruel iron ploughshare passed
straight through your cell!

That flimsy heap of leaves and stubble
had cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you're turned out, for all your trouble,
less house and hold,
to endure the winter's icy dribble
and hoarfrosts cold!

But mouse-friend, you are not alone
in proving foresight may be vain:
the best-laid schemes of Mice and Men
go oft awry,
and leave us only grief and pain,
for promised joy!

Still, friend, you're blessed compared with me!
Only present dangers make you flee:
But, ouch!, behind me I can see
grim prospects drear!
While forward-looking seers, we
humans guess and fear!



To a Louse
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hey! Where're you going, you crawling hair-fly?
Your impudence protects you, barely;
I can only say that you swagger rarely
Over gauze and lace.
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparely
In such a place.

You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by both saint and sinner,
How dare you set your feet upon her—
So fine a lady!
Go somewhere else to seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Off! around some beggar's temple shamble:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now hold you there! You're out of sight,
Below the folderols, snug and tight;
No, faith just yet! You'll not be right,
Till you've got on it:
The very topmost, towering height
Of miss's bonnet.

My word! right bold you root, contrary,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry.
Oh, for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or dread red poison;
I'd give you such a hearty dose, flea,
It'd dress your noggin!

I wouldn't be surprised to spy
You on some housewife's flannel tie:
Or maybe on some ragged boy's
Pale undervest;
But Miss's finest bonnet! Fie!
How dare you jest?

Oh Jenny, do not toss your head,
And lash your lovely braids abroad!
You hardly know what cursed speed
The creature's making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice-taking!

O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions:
What airs in dress and carriage would leave us,
And even devotion!



A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, my love is like a red, red rose
that's newly sprung in June
and my love is like the melody
that's sweetly played in tune.

And you're so fair, my lovely lass,
and so deep in love am I,
that I will love you still, my dear,
till all the seas run dry.

Till all the seas run dry, my dear,
and the rocks melt with the sun!
And I will love you still, my dear,
while the sands of life shall run.  

And fare you well, my only love!
And fare you well, awhile!
And I will come again, my love,
though it were ten thousand miles!



Auld Lange Syne
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And days for which we pine?

For times we shared, my darling,
Days passed, once yours and mine,
We’ll raise a cup of kindness yet,
To those fond-remembered times!



Banks o' Doon
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, banks and hills of lovely Doon,
How can you bloom so fresh and fair;
How can you chant, diminutive birds,
When I'm so weary, full of care!
You'll break my heart, small warblers,
Flittering through the flowering thorn:
Reminding me of long-lost joys,
Departed―never to return!

I've often wandered lovely Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine;
And as the lark sang of its love,
Just as fondly, I sang of mine.
Then gaily-hearted I plucked a rose,
So fragrant upon its thorny tree;
And my false lover stole my rose,
But, ah! , he left the thorn in me.

"The Banks o' Doon" is a Scots song written by Robert Burns in 1791. It is based on the story of Margaret (Peggy)Kennedy, a girl Burns knew and the area around the River Doon. Keywords/Tags: Robert Burns, air, song, Doon, banks, Scots, Scottish, Scotland, translation, modernization, update, interpretation, modern English, love, hill, hills, birds, rose, lyric
Jim Sularz Jun 2012
(Creation to the end of an Ice Age)
© 2008 (Jim Sularz)

Sun’s first rise over life-less skies, the earth cools, and the waters pool -
the sun burns East to West.
And the planet’s broken plates quake and move.

Lightning strikes, the waters stir, and the bonds of life begin to churn -
the sun burns East to West.
And the waters swirl in a living urn.

Strange aquatic things, they all evolve, some spiny finned, start to crawl -
the sun burns East to West.
And they slowly stretch ***** and tall.

Eons past where the cunning reign, a savage place, with small sized brains -
the sun burns East to West.
And the dead surrender their twisted remains.

An asteroid streaks from the sky, blocks out the sun, cause most to die -
the sun burns East to West.
And all in the blink of time’s eye.

Footprints in stone, some on mountainsides, make it clear that rocks don’t lie -
the sun burns East to West.
And the fossils always tell the time.

Eons past and eons more, the fittest evolves, and man is born -
the sun burns East to West.
And the early brain, once fast asleep, begins to dream and mourn.

The first million years, man lives in fear, learns to hunt, invents the spear -
the sun burns East to West.
And migrates to claim the vast frontiers.

Tools from stone and controlled fire, creates language, that shake man’s empire -
the sun burns East to West.
And splash cave paintings with human inspire.

Life-times of hunter-gathering, and story-telling in the dark -
the sun burns East to West.
And a world spins with a million hearts.

The earth starts to warm, the oceans rise, and the waters shape the lands -
the sun burns East to West.
And when an Ice Age ends, then comes, the Age of Man.
Readers:    I wrote most of this poem in Morrison, Colorado at Dinosaur Ridge, not far from my home.   It's a wonderful place where dinosaurs have been found fully intact.    Up the mountainside, there are dinosaur tracks that are now exposed on the surface for all to enjoy.   It's an amazing place that's just on the east side of Red Rocks amphitheater where the best entertainers now perform.  
Check it out:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinosaur_Ridge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rocks_Amphitheatre

I hope you enjoy the poem,

Jim Sularz
Michael R Burch Apr 2023
TRANSLATIONS OF SCOTTISH POETS

These are my modern English translations of poems by the Scottish poets William Dunbar, Robert Burns, William Soutar and Hugh MacDiarmid.

Ballad
by William Soutar
translation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

O, surely you have seen my love
Down where the waters wind:
He walks like one who fears no man
And yet his eyes are kind!

O, surely you have seen my love
At the turning of the tide:
For then he gathers in his nets
Down by the waterside!

Yes, lassie we have seen your love
At the turning of the tide:
For he was with the fisher folk
Down by the waterside.

The fisher folk worked at their trade
No far from Walnut Grove:
They gathered in their dripping nets
And found your one true love!



The Watergaw
by Hugh MacDiarmid
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

One wet forenight in the sheep-shearing season
I saw the uncanniest thing—
a watergaw with its wavering light
shining beyond the wild downpour of rain
and I thought of the last wild look that you gave
when you knew you were destined for the grave.

There was no light in the skylark's nest
that night—no—nor any in mine;
but now often I've thought of that foolish light
and of these irrational hearts of men
and I think that, perhaps, at last I ken
what your look meant then.



Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar
loose translation/interpretation 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 men hold 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 nowhere one leaf nor petal of rue.

I fear that March with his last arctic blast
has slain my fair rose and left her downcast,
whose piteous death does my heart such pain
that I long to plant love's root again―
so comforting her bowering leaves have been.

If the tenth line seems confusing, it helps to know that rue symbolizes pity and also has medicinal uses; thus I believe the unrequiting lover is being accused of a lack of compassion and perhaps of withholding her healing attentions. The penultimate line can be taken as a rather naughty double entendre, but I will leave that interpretation up to the reader! 'Sweet Rose of Virtue' has been described as a 'lovely, elegant poem in the amour courtois tradition' or courtly love tradition. According to Tom Scott, author of 'Dunbar: A Critical Exposition of the Poems, ' this poem is 'Dunbar's most perfect lyric, and one of the supreme lyrics in Scots and English.' William Dunbar [c.1460-1530] has been called the Poet Laureate of the court of King James IV of Scotland.



Lament for the Makaris [Makers, or Poets]
by William Dunbar
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

i who enjoyed good health and gladness
am overwhelmed now by life's terrible sickness
and enfeebled with infirmity...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

our presence here is mere vainglory;
the false world is but transitory;
the flesh is frail; the Fiend runs free...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

the state of man is changeable:
now sound, now sick, now blithe, now dull,
now manic, now devoid of glee...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

no state on earth stands here securely;
as the wild wind shakes the willow tree,
so wavers this world's vanity...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

Death leads the knights into the field
(unarmored under helm and shield)
sole Victor of each red mêlée...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

that strange, despotic Beast
tears from its mother's breast
the babe, full of benignity...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

He takes the champion of the hour,
the captain of the highest tower,
the beautiful damsel in her tower...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

He spares no lord for his elegance,
nor clerk for his intelligence;
His dreadful stroke no man can flee...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

artist, magician, scientist,
orator, debater, theologist,
must all conclude, so too, as we:
'how the fear of Death dismays me! '

in medicine the most astute
sawbones and surgeons all fall mute;
they cannot save themselves, or flee...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

i see the Makers among the unsaved;
the greatest of Poets all go to the grave;
He does not spare them their faculty...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

i have seen Him pitilessly devour
our noble Chaucer, poetry's flower,
and Lydgate and Gower (great Trinity!) ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

since He has taken my brothers all,
i know He will not let me live past the fall;
His next prey will be — poor unfortunate me! ...
how the fear of Death dismays me!

there is no remedy for Death;
we all must prepare to relinquish breath
so that after we die, we may be set free
from 'the fear of Death dismays me! '



Comin Thro the Rye
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Oh, Jenny's all wet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry;
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Should a body meet a body
Comin' through the rye,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need anybody cry?

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Should a body meet a body
Comin' through the glen,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need all the world know, then?

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.



To a Mouse
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Sleek, tiny, timorous, cowering beast,
why's such panic in your breast?
Why dash away, so quick, so rash,
in a frenzied flash
when I would be loath to pursue you
with a murderous plowstaff!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
has broken Nature's social union,
and justifies that bad opinion
which makes you startle,
when I'm your poor, earth-born companion
and fellow mortal!

I have no doubt you sometimes thieve;
What of it, friend? You too must live!
A random corn-ear in a shock's
a small behest; it-
'll give me a blessing to know such a loss;
I'll never miss it!

Your tiny house lies in a ruin,
its fragile walls wind-rent and strewn!
Now nothing's left to construct you a new one
of mosses green
since bleak December's winds, ensuing,
blow fast and keen!

You saw your fields laid bare and waste
with weary winter closing fast,
and cozy here, beneath the blast,
you thought to dwell,
till crash! the cruel iron ploughshare passed
straight through your cell!

That flimsy heap of leaves and stubble
had cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you're turned out, for all your trouble,
less house and hold,
to endure cold winter's icy dribble
and hoarfrosts cold!

But mouse-friend, you are not alone
in proving foresight may be vain:
the best-laid schemes of Mice and Men
go oft awry,
and leave us only grief and pain,
for promised joy!

Still, friend, you're blessed compared with me!
Only present dangers make you flee:
But, ouch! , behind me I can see
grim prospects drear!
While forward-looking seers, we
humans guess and fear!



To a Louse
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Hey! Where're you going, you crawling hair-fly?
Your impudence protects you, barely;
I can only say that you swagger rarely
Over gauze and lace.
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparely
In such a place.

You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by both saint and sinner,
How dare you set your feet upon her—
So fine a lady!
Go somewhere else to seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Off! around some beggar's temple shamble:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now hold you there! You're out of sight,
Below the folderols, snug and tight;
No, faith just yet! You'll not be right,
Till you've got on it:
The very topmost, towering height
Of miss's bonnet.

My word! right bold you root, contrary,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry.
Oh, for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or dread red poison;
I'd give you such a hearty dose, flea,
It'd dress your noggin!

I wouldn't be surprised to spy
You on some housewife's flannel tie:
Or maybe on some ragged boy's
Pale undervest;
But Miss's finest bonnet! Fie!
How dare you jest?

Oh Jenny, do not toss your head,
And lash your lovely braids abroad!
You hardly know what cursed speed
The creature's making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice-taking!

O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions:
What airs in dress and carriage would leave us,
And even devotion!



Auld Lang Syne
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And days for which we pine?

For times we shared, my darling,
Days passed, once yours and mine,
We'll raise a cup of kindness yet,
To those fond-remembered times!

Have you ever wondered just exactly what you're singing? 'Auld lang syne' means something like 'times gone by' or 'times long since passed' and in the context of the song means something like 'times long since passed that we shared together and now remember fondly.' In my translation, which is not word-for-word, I try to communicate what I believe Burns was trying to communicate: raising a toast to fond recollections of times shared in the past.



Banks of Doon
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Oh, banks and hills of lovely Doon,
How can you bloom so fresh and fair;
How can you chant, diminutive birds,
When I'm so weary, full of care!

You'll break my heart, small warblers,
Flittering through the flowering thorn:
Reminding me of long-lost joys,
Departed—never to return!

I've often wandered lovely Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine;
And as the lark sang of its love,
Just as fondly, I sang of mine.

Then gaily-hearted I plucked a rose,
So fragrant upon its thorny tree;
And my false lover stole my rose,
But, ah! , he left the thorn in me.

The poem 'Comin Thro the Rye' by Robert Burns may be best-known today because of Holden Caulfield's misinterpretation of it in The Catcher in the Rye. In the book, Caulfield relates his fantasy to his sister, Phoebe: he's the 'catcher in the rye, ' rescuing children from falling from a cliff. Phoebe corrects him, pointing out that poem is not about a 'catcher' in the rye, but about a girl who has met someone in the rye for a kiss (or more) , got her underclothes wet (not for the first time) , and is dragging her way back to a polite (i.e., Puritanical)  society that despises girls who are 'easy.' Robert Burns, an honest man, was exhibiting empathy for girls who were castigated for doing what all the boys and men longed to do themselves.



Comin Thro the Rye
by Robert Burns
modern English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

O, Jenny's a' weet, poor body, // Oh, Jenny's all wet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry; // Jenny's seldom dry;
She draigl't a' her petticoattie // She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin thro' the rye. // Comin' through the rye.
Comin thro the rye, poor body, // Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin thro the rye, // Comin' through the rye.
She draigl't a'her petticoatie, // She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin thro the rye! // Comin' through the rye.

Gin a body meet a body // Should a body meet a body
Comin thro the rye, // Comin' through the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body, // Should a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry? // Need anybody cry?
Comin thro the rye, poor body, // Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin thro the rye, // Comin' through the rye.
She draigl't a'her petticoatie, // She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin thro the rye! // Comin' through the rye.

Gin a body meet a body // Should a body meet a body
Comin thro the glen, // Comin' through the glen,
Gin a body kiss a body, // Should a body kiss a body,
Need the warld ken? // Need all the world know, then?
Comin thro the rye, poor body, // Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin thro the rye, // Comin' through the rye.
She draigl't a'her petticoatie, // She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin thro the rye! // Comin' through the rye.



A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns
modern English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh my luve is like a red, red rose // Oh, my love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June: // that's newly sprung in June
Oh my luve is like the melodie // and my love is like the melody
That's sweetly play'd in tune. // that's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass, // And you're so fair, my lovely lass,
So deep in luve am I; // and so deep in love am I,
And I will luve thee still, my dear, // that I will love you still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry. // till all the seas run dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, // Till all the seas run dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun; // and the rocks melt with the sun!
And I will luve thee still, my dear, // And I will love you still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run. // while the sands of life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve! // And fare you well, my only love!
And fare thee weel a while! // And fare you well, awhile!
And I will come again, my luve, // And I will come again, my love,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile! // though it were ten thousand miles!


Keywords/Tags: Scot, Scotland, Scottish poem, modern English translation, translations, Robert Burns, William Dunbar, William Soutar, Hugh MacDiarmid
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Banks o' Doon
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, banks and hills of lovely Doon,
How can you bloom so fresh and fair;
How can you chant, diminutive birds,
When I'm so weary, full of care!
You'll break my heart, small warblers,
Flittering through the flowering thorn:
Reminding me of long-lost joys,
Departed―never to return!

I've often wandered lovely Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine;
And as the lark sang of its love,
Just as fondly, I sang of mine.
Then gaily-hearted I plucked a rose,
So fragrant upon its thorny tree;
And my false lover stole my rose,
But, ah!, he left the thorn in me.

“The Banks o’ Doon” is a Scots song written by Robert Burns in 1791. It is based on the story of Margaret (Peggy) Kennedy, a girl Burns knew. Keywords/Tags: Robert Burns, song, Doon, banks, Scots, Scottish, Scotland, translation, modernization, update, interpretation, modern English



Translations of Scottish Poems

Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar [1460-1525]
loose translation/interpretation 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.



Ballad
by William Soutar
translation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

O, surely you have seen my love
Down where the waters wind:
He walks like one who fears no man
And yet his eyes are kind!

O, surely you have seen my love
At the turning of the tide:
For then he gathers in his nets
Down by the waterside!

Yes, lassie we have seen your love
At the turning of the tide:
For he was with the fisher folk
Down by the waterside.

The fisher folk worked at their trade
No far from Walnut Grove:
They gathered in their dripping nets
And found your one true love!

Keywords/Tags: William Soutar, Scottish, Scot, Scotsman, ballad, water, waterside, tide, nets, nets, fisher, fishers, fisher folk, fishermen, love, sea, ocean, lost, lost love, loss



Lament for the Makaris (“Lament for the Makers, or Poets”)
by William Dunbar (c. 1460-1530)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

i who enjoyed good health and gladness
am overwhelmed now by life’s terrible sickness
and enfeebled with infirmity;
the fear of Death dismays me!

our presence here is mere vainglory;
the false world is but transitory;
the flesh is frail; the Fiend runs free;
how the fear of Death dismays me!

the state of man is changeable:
now sound, now sick, now blithe, now dull,
now manic, now devoid of glee;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

no state on earth stands here securely;
as the wild wind waves the willow tree,
so wavers this world’s vanity;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

Death leads the knights into the field
(unarmored under helm and shield)
sole Victor of each red mêlée;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

that strange, despotic Beast
tears from its mother’s breast
the babe, full of benignity;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

He takes the champion of the hour,
the captain of the highest tower,
the beautiful damsel in full flower;
how the fear of Death dismays me!

He spares no lord for his elegance,
nor clerk for his intelligence;
His dreadful stroke no man can flee;
and the fear of Death dismays me!

artist, magician, scientist,
orator, debater, theologist,
all must conclude, so too, as we:
“the fear of Death dismays me!”

in medicine the most astute
sawbones and surgeons all fall mute;
they cannot save themselves, or flee,
and the fear of Death dismays me!

i see the Makers among the unsaved;
the greatest of Poets all go to the grave;
He does not spare them their faculty,
and the fear of Death dismays me!

i have seen Him pitilessly devour
our noble Chaucer, poetry’s flower,
and Lydgate and Gower (great Trinity!);
how the fear of Death dismays me!

since He has taken my brothers all,
i know He will not let me live past the fall;
His next victim will be —poor unfortunate me!—
and how the fear of Death dismays me!

there is no remedy for Death;
we must all prepare to relinquish breath,
so that after we die, we may no more plead:
“the fear of Death dismays me!”



To a Mouse
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Sleek, tiny, timorous, cowering beast,
why's such panic in your breast?
Why dash away, so quick, so rash,
in a frenzied flash
when I would be loath to pursue you
with a murderous plowstaff!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
has broken Nature's social union,
and justifies that bad opinion
which makes you startle,
when I'm your poor, earth-born companion
and fellow mortal!

I have no doubt you sometimes thieve;
What of it, friend? You too must live!
A random corn-ear in a shock's
a small behest; it-
'll give me a blessing to know such a loss;
I'll never miss it!

Your tiny house lies in a ruin,
its fragile walls wind-rent and strewn!
Now nothing's left to construct you a new one
of mosses green
since bleak December's winds, ensuing,
blow fast and keen!

You saw your fields laid bare and waste
with weary winter closing fast,
and cozy here, beneath the blast,
you thought to dwell,
till crash! the cruel iron ploughshare passed
straight through your cell!

That flimsy heap of leaves and stubble
had cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you're turned out, for all your trouble,
less house and hold,
to endure the winter's icy dribble
and hoarfrosts cold!

But mouse-friend, you are not alone
in proving foresight may be vain:
the best-laid schemes of Mice and Men
go oft awry,
and leave us only grief and pain,
for promised joy!

Still, friend, you're blessed compared with me!
Only present dangers make you flee:
But, ouch!, behind me I can see
grim prospects drear!
While forward-looking seers, we
humans guess and fear!



To a Louse
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hey! Where're you going, you crawling hair-fly?
Your impudence protects you, barely;
I can only say that you swagger rarely
Over gauze and lace.
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparely
In such a place.

You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by both saint and sinner,
How dare you set your feet upon her—
So fine a lady!
Go somewhere else to seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Off! around some beggar's temple shamble:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now hold you there! You're out of sight,
Below the folderols, snug and tight;
No, faith just yet! You'll not be right,
Till you've got on it:
The very topmost, towering height
Of miss's bonnet.

My word! right bold you root, contrary,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry.
Oh, for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or dread red poison;
I'd give you such a hearty dose, flea,
It'd dress your noggin!

I wouldn't be surprised to spy
You on some housewife's flannel tie:
Or maybe on some ragged boy's
Pale undervest;
But Miss's finest bonnet! Fie!
How dare you jest?

Oh Jenny, do not toss your head,
And lash your lovely braids abroad!
You hardly know what cursed speed
The creature's making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice-taking!

O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions:
What airs in dress and carriage would leave us,
And even devotion!



A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, my love is like a red, red rose
that's newly sprung in June
and my love is like the melody
that's sweetly played in tune.

And you're so fair, my lovely lass,
and so deep in love am I,
that I will love you still, my dear,
till all the seas run dry.

Till all the seas run dry, my dear,
and the rocks melt with the sun!
And I will love you still, my dear,
while the sands of life shall run.  

And fare you well, my only love!
And fare you well, awhile!
And I will come again, my love,
though it were ten thousand miles!



Comin Thro the Rye
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, Jenny's all wet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry;
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Should a body meet a body
Comin' through the rye,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need anybody cry?

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.

Should a body meet a body
Comin' through the glen,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need all the world know, then?

Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye.
She's draggin' all her petticoats
Comin' through the rye.



Auld Lange Syne
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And days for which we pine?

For times we shared, my darling,
Days passed, once yours and mine,
We’ll raise a cup of kindness yet,
To those fond-remembered times!
B Oct 2022
The house was filled with flames
For over 20 years it was a blaze
It stood on broken pillars and burnt floorboards
Slowly different parts started charring.

It started in the basement
With cigarettes and lost hopes
A child’s potential misplaced
A parent drowning in smoke of his own creation
And the house lost a child because he escaped
We don’t know how bad his burns are
Because he doesn’t come around to tell us.

Then it jumped to the second story
The flames only lit up one of the rooms
Where 2 children lived
One who started fighting
And one who never stood a chance
The first child who stayed close to the ground to avoid the smoke
She took quick breaths to keep her lungs clean
Who followed every rule about fire
And fought the fire silently
And the second
Who tried to follow the rules
But the house deemed it was never enough
She choked but didn’t die
And the two escaped
With the first child carrying the second out
Their burns are the deepest.

And the fourth child
The youngest child
Who never stayed long
And escaped at the youngest age
And was always escaping when the smoke got to thick
When her lungs hurt from yelling and breathing in the smoke
But would come back for the 2 children
Because she left them
She left all of them
She left the house
But when she left, her burns were tended
She stayed away from the flames because she was safe
And her burns healed, but scarred
Her scars are the lightest
And she didn’t come back until it was almost burnt down
And the flames couldn't get to her anymore
And not a single burn remained in the house
Because it was torn down.

And a different family built it with better materials
And a better foundation
And the house of ash was gone

But burns will always remain
Because the adults who left pass them down
And try to light fires in new houses
But the children who left
Will never pass down burns
And eventually the flames will stop
Guess which kid I am
PLAGUES
by Shani Jonas

Plagues will die
Plagues will burn
Plagues will burn in hell
fiery, fiery hell
Down, Down, Down and Drown.
Vroom Vroom
The gas so thick
burning match stick
woomph
The body engulfed in flames
What is it?
Is it a... Cat?
There's something wrong with that.
Maybe it's a special type. I may have misspelled it.
The body burns, burns, burns, burns, burns, burns, burns
burns.

BURNS DOWN TO HELL
Bye, Bye Plague
What?!?
WHAT IS THIS?!?
Reborn? The plague reborn?
Like a phoenix, a plague reborn?
WILL IT NEVER LEAVE ME AND MY SOUL ALLLLLLOOOOOOOONNNNEEE?!?
WHY HAS IT- THE CURSED THING- RETURNED?
This is pretty bad, I only took about 4 minutes to write.
Cameron Godfrey Sep 2012
It burns when you look in my eyes,
It burns when you hold my hand.
It burns when you say my name,
But it burns even more when you don't.

It burns when you talk about her,
It burns when you say anything.
It even burns when you make me smile
But it burns even more when I cry.

It burns, it stings, it pains, it hurts
But I would burn 1,000,000 shoes walking on sunshine with you.
I got a wildcard for a writing prompt and didn't know what to write. I asked my teacher and she, knowing that I struggle with poetry that doesn't rhyme, challenged me to write one. I feel really blessed to have a teacher to push me to be a better writer.
Emma Liang Mar 2012
I bounce a volleyball as I walk to my dorm
just to hear that delightful sound, that satisfying, clean thud off the cement.

look up, see you in that grey hoodie that gives me bad dreams
and curse under my breath, eyes darting like a cornered fox,
            there is nowhere to hide.
we almost exchange eye contact, I almost taste blood in my mouth
            I hate how familiar you are.
you look down, cough;
I murmur a dusty hello-goodbye into the ground, hold my volleyball tighter
against my chest –
and hurry on, court sneakers straining on the pavement, trying too hard to forget your cracked smiles.

--

I remember how we used to pass for hours
no sound but the volleyball slapping against our forearms,
brushing off our fingertips,
echoing through that Choate gymnasium, that cold spring;

My head had barely reached the middle of the net,
but you were tall and brave and handsome, my Prince Charming, and
I was a freshman girl with her heart on her sleeve, who
hugged a warm volleyball to her heart and smiled,

thinking herself lucky.

--

Spring thawed your heart, eventually,
and you let me hold your hand;
you had long fingers, cold to the touch.
you taught me how to set, complimented my hands,
trained me to cradle the ball with my thumbs like it was made of glass,
your hands around mine.

I was braver than you were,
because everything felt fresh and exciting to me, like the
smell of crushed pine needles in the air;
you kissed me (I kissed you?) on that night
and I leaned forward, curious and eager, and wrapped my arms
around your neck.

--

The days melted into one another,
and we became
like chalk drawings blurring after rain,
like floor burns from sliding to save a falling ball –
but missing it, all the effort gone to waste;
the burns will still burn and still scar, for nothing.

May to June, June to July,
I hugged you and laughed, but my eyes
were cold; you said I love you
And I tried to say it back, but I couldn’t without
sticking a used to before the love –
            the honey words stuck in my throat.

Our kisses were routine, stale
like the crackers I left out the night before;
I tapped my foot and
tossed the volleyball quickly behind my back with nimble fingers
and counted the seconds before it was acceptable to pull back;
I had homework and volleyball practice and quizzes to study for, you know – I tried to smile but
it felt so wrong, I stopped –
you asked what was wrong, I shook my head, there are no answers for some questions.

--

It’s been four years since we’ve spoken,
shared secret moments under solemn oak trees, behind library bookshelves
that promised to keep us away from prying eyes,
smiled into each other’s lips,
blinked stories into each other’s eyes.
It’s been four years since people have teased you for not
hitting the ball when we passed – you gentleman, you –

I will not say I miss you, because I refuse to lie for your sake;
but sometimes as I set a ball perfectly to a hitter
I think of you for a split second, wonder where you are and if you remember as much
as I do, which is, honestly
not very much.

--

she writes letters to him and then burns them all, the smell of smoke fills the room.
It’s as if she is stealing the fury of the sun, which is cooling down, melting into lava at the horizon –
it will be another cold winter, there is already frost in the grass, the air smells chilly.

Dear you,

I broke up with you as nicely as I could –
there was no reason I fell out of love, the same way
there is no reason people fall in love.

you have no right ******* me out on the internet the way you did.
Every time I hit a volleyball I imagine your face on my palm, and I hit harder.
I will never forgive you for the things you wrote,
and I don’t know if I ever loved you at all,
because you are despicable.

Goodbye,
the girl of your dreams.


--

it’s the beginning of the end of July, everything is so hot.
the pavement is baking, the volleyballs are flat,
her arms feel weak and limp like overcooked noodles.

it’s hard to think straight. She can hardly remember
her own name before remembering that she has a boyfriend.
He calls, he says I love you and she tries to choke out that well-rehearsed lie –
what was it again? something like I love you too?

But it’s too hot, and she
can’t do it anymore –

she swallows hard and grips her volleyball tighter,
her hands sweating against the weathered sphere that has been through so much with her
as she prepares to say goodbye.
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Oh, my love is like a red, red rose
that's newly sprung in June
and my love is like the melody
that's sweetly played in tune.

And you're so fair, my lovely lass,
and so deep in love am I,
that I will love you still, my dear,
till all the seas run dry.

Till all the seas run dry, my dear,
and the rocks melt with the sun!
And I will love you still, my dear,
while the sands of life shall run.  

And fare you well, my only love!
And fare you well, awhile!
And I will come again, my love,
though it were ten thousand miles!

Keywords/Tags: Robert Burns, red, rose, translation, modernization, update, interpretation, modern English, melody, tune, seas, dry, rocks, melt, sun, ten thousand miles

Original Scots Dialect Poem:

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
   And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
   Though it were ten thousand mile.



Hugh MacDiarmid wrote "The Watergaw" in a Scots dialect. I have translated the poem into modern English to make it easier to read and understand. A watergaw is a fragmentary rainbow.

The Watergaw
by Hugh MacDiarmid
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

One wet forenight in the sheep-shearing season
I saw the uncanniest thing—
a watergaw with its wavering light
shining beyond the wild downpour of rain ...
and I thought of the last wild look that you gave
when you knew you were destined for the grave.

There was no light in the skylark's nest
that night—no—nor any in mine;
but now often I've thought of that foolish light
and of these more foolish hearts of men ...
and I think that maybe at last I ken
what your look meant then.

Keywords/Tags: Scotland, Scot, Scottish, Scots dialect, night, nightfall, rain, grave, death, death of a friend, light, lights, watergaw, heart, heartache, broken heart, heart song
Meena Menon Sep 2021
Flicker Shimmer Glow

The brightest star can shine even with thick black velvet draped over it.  
Quartz, lime and salt crystals formed a glass ball.
The dark womb held me, warm and soft.  
My mom called my cries when I was born the most sorrowful sound she had ever heard.  
She said she’d never heard a baby make a sound like that.    
I’d open my eyes in low light until the world’s light healed rather than hurt.  
The summer before eighth grade, July 1992,
I watched a shooting star burn by at 100,000 miles per hour as I stood on the balcony  
while my family celebrated my birthday inside.  
It made it into the earth’s atmosphere
but it didn’t look like it was coming down;
I know it didn’t hit the ground but it burned something in the time it was here.  
The glass ball of my life cracked inside.  
Light reflected off the salt crystal cracks.  
I saw the beauty of the light within.  
Nacre from my shell kept those cracks from getting worse,
a wild pearl as defense mechanism.  
In 2001, I quit my job after they melted and poured tar all over my life.  
All summer literature class bathtubs filled with rose hip oil cleaned the tar.  
That fall logic and epistemology classes spewed black ink all over my philosophy
written over ten years then.  
Tar turned to asphalt when I met someone from my old job for a drink in November
and it paved a road for my life that went to the hospital I was in that December
where it sealed the roof on my life
when I was almost murdered there
and in February after meeting her for another drink.  
They lit a fire at the top of the glacier and pushed the burning pile of black coal off the edge,
burnt red, looking like flames falling into the valley.  
While that blazed the side of the cliff something lit an incandescent light.  
The electricity from the metal lightbulb ***** went through wires and heated the filament between until it glowed.  
I began putting more work into emotional balance from things I learned at AA meetings.  
In Spring 2003, the damage that the doctors at the hospital in 2001 had done
made it harder for light to reflect from the cracks in the glass ball.
I’d been eating healthy and trying to get regular exercises since 1994
but in Spring 2003 I began swimming for an hour every morning .  
The water washed the pollution from the burning coals off
And then I escaped in July.  
I moved to London to study English Language and Linguistics.  
I would’ve studied English Language and Literature.  
I did well until Spring 2004 when I thought I was being stalked.  
I thought I was manic.  
I thought I was being stalked.  
I went home and didn’t go back for my exams after spring holiday.  
Because I felt traumatized and couldn’t write poetry anymore,
I used black ink to write my notes for my book on trauma and the Russian Revolution.
I started teaching myself German.  
I stayed healthy.  
In 2005, my parents went to visit my mom’s family in Malaysia for two weeks.
I thought I was being stalked.  
I knew I wasn’t manic.  
I thought I was being stalked.  
I told my parents when they came home.  
They thought I was manic.  
I showed them the shoe prints in the snow of different sizes from the woods to the windows.  
They thought I was manic.  
I was outside of my comfort zone.  
I moved to California. I found light.  
I made light,
the light reflected off the salt crystals I used to heal the violence inflicted on me from then on.  
The light turned the traffic lights to not just green from red
but amber and blue.  
The light turned the car signals left and right.  
The light reflected off of salt crystals, light emitting diodes,
electrical energy turned directly to light,
electroluminescence.  
The electrical currents flowed through,
illuminating.  
Alone in the world, I moved to California in July 2005
but in August  I called the person I escaped in 2003,
the sulfur and nitrogen that I hated.  
He didn’t think I was manic but I never said anything.
I never told him why I asked him to move out to California.  
When his coal seemed like only pollution,
I asked him to leave.  
He threatened me.  
I called the authorities.  
They left me there.
He laughed.  
Then the violence came.  
****:  stabbed and punched, my ****** bruised, purple and swollen.  
The light barely reflected from the glass ball wIth cracks through all the acid rain, smoke and haze.
It would take me half an hour to get my body to do what my mind told it to after.  
My dad told me my mom had her cancer removed.
The next day, the coal said if I wanted him to leave he’d leave.  
I booked his ticket.
I drove him to the airport.  
Black clouds gushed the night before for the first time in months,
the sky clear after the rain.  
He was gone and I was free,
melted glass, heated up and poured—
looked like fire,
looked like the Snow Moon in February
with Mercury in the morning sky.  
I worked through ****.  
I worked to overcome trauma.  
Electricity between touch and love caused acid rain, smoke, haze, and mercury
to light the discharge lamps, streetlights and parking lot lights.
Then I changed the direction of the light waves.  
Like lead glass breaks up the light,
lead from the coal, cleaned and replaced by potassium,
glass cut clearly, refracting the light,
electrolytes,
electrical signals lit through my body,
thick black velvet drapes gone.  





















Lava

I think that someone wrote into some palm leaf a manuscript, a gift, a contract.  
After my parents wedding, while they were still in India,
they found out that my dad’s father and my mom’s grandfather worked for kings administering temples and collecting money for their king from the farmers that worked the rice paddies each king owned.  They both left their homes before they left for college.  
My dad, a son of a brahmin’s son,
grew up in his grandmother’s house.  
His mother was not a Brahmin.  
My mother grew up in Malaysia where she saw the children from the rubber plantation
when she walked to school.  
She doesn’t say what caste she is.  
He went to his father’s house, then college.  
He worked, then went to England, then Canada.  
She went to India then Canada.  
They moved to the United States around Christmas 1978
with my brother while she was pregnant with me.  
My father signed a contract with my mother.  
My parents took ashes and formed rock,
the residue left in brass pots in India,
the rocks, so hot, they turned back to lava miles away before turning back to ash again,
then back to rock,
the lava from a super volcano,
the ash purple and red.  


















Circles on a Moss Covered Volcano

The eruption beatifies the magma.  
It becomes obsidian,
only breaks with a fracture,
smooth circles where it breaks.  

My mom was born on the grass
on a lawn
in a moss covered canyon at the top of a volcanic island.  
My grandfather lived in Malaysia before the Japanese occupied.  
When the volcano erupted,
the lava dried at the ocean into black sand.  
The British allied with the Communist Party of Malaysia—
after they organized.  
After the Americans defeated the Japanese at Pearl Harbor,
the British took over Malaysia again.  
They kept different groups apart claiming they were helping them.  
The black sand had smooth pebbles and sharp rocks.  
Ethnic Malay farmers lived in Kampongs, villages.  
Indians lived on plantations.  
The Chinese lived in towns and urban areas.  
Ethnic Malays wanted independence.
In 1946, after strikes, demonstrations, and boycotts
the British agreed to work with them.  
The predominantly Chinese Communist Party of Malaysia went underground,
guerrilla warfare against the British,
claiming their fight was for independence.  
For the British, that emergency required vast powers
of arrest, detention without trial and deportation to defeat terrorism.  
The Emergency became less unpopular as the terrorism became worse.  
The British were the iron that brought oxygen through my mom’s body.  
She loved riding on her father’s motorcycle with him
by the plantations,
through the Kampongs
and to the city, half an hour away.  
The British left Malaysia independent in 1957
with Malaysian nationalists holding most state and federal government offices.  
As the black sand stretches towards the ocean,
it becomes big stones of dried lava, flat and smooth.  

My mom thought her father and her uncle were subservient to the British.  
She thought all things, all people were equal.  
When her father died when she was 16, 1965,
they moved to India,
my mother,
a foreigner in India, though she’s Indian.  
She loved rock and roll and mini skirts
and didn’t speak the local language.  
On the dried black lava,
it can be hard to know the molten lava flickers underneath there.  
Before the Korean War,
though Britain and the United States wanted
an aggressive resolution
condemning North Korea,
they were happy
that India supported a draft resolution
condemning North Korea
for breach of the peace.  
During the Korean War,
India, supported by Third World and other Commonwealth nations,
opposed United States’ proposals.
They were able to change the U.S. resolution
to include the proposals they wanted
and helped end the war.  
China wanted the respect of Third World nations
and saw the United States as imperialist.  
China thought India was a threat to the Third World
by taking aid from the United States and the Soviets.  
Pakistan could help with that and a seat at the United Nations.  
China wanted Taiwan’s seat at the UN.
My mother went to live with her uncle,
a communist negotiator for a corporation,
in India.  
A poet,
he threw parties and invited other artists, musicians and writers.  
I have the same brown hyperpigmentation at my joints that he had.  
During the day, only the steam from the hot lava can be seen.  
In 1965, Pakistani forces went into Jammu and Kashmir with China’s support.  
China threatened India after India sent its troops in.  
Then they threatened again before sending their troops to the Indian border.  
The United States stopped aid to Pakistan and India.
Pakistan agreed to the UN ceasefire agreement.  
Pakistan helped China get a seat at the UN
and tried to keep the west from escalating in Vietnam.  
The smoldering sound of the lava sizzles underneath the dried lava.  
When West Pakistan refused to allow East Pakistan independence,
violence between Bengalis and Biharis developed into upheaval.  
Bengalis moved to India
and India went into East Pakistan.  
Pakistan surrendered in December 1971.  
East Pakistan became independent Bangladesh

The warm light of the melted lava radiates underneath but burns.  
In 1974, India tested the Smiling Buddha,
a nuclear bomb.  
After Indira Gandhi’s conviction for election fraud in 1973,
Marxist Professor Narayan called for total revolution
and students protested all over India.  
With food shortages, inflation and regional disputes
like Sikh separatists training in Pakistan for an independent Punjab,
peasants and laborers joined the protests.  
Railway strikes stopped the economy.  
In 1975, Indira Gandhi, the Iron Lady,
declared an Emergency,
imprisoning political opponents, restricting freedoms and restricting the press,
claiming threats to national security
because the war with Pakistan had just ended.  
The federal government took over Kerala’s communist dominated government and others.  

My mom could’ve been a dandelion, but she’s more like thistle.  
She has the center that dries and flutters in the wind,
beautiful and silky,
spiny and prickly,
but still fluffy, downy,
A daisy.
They say thistle saved Scotland from the Norse.  
Magma from the volcano explodes
and the streams of magma fly into the air.  
In the late 60s,
the civil rights movement rose
against the state in Northern Ireland
for depriving Catholics
of influence and opportunity.
The Northern Irish police,
Protestant and unionist, anti-catholic,
responded violently to the protests and it got worse.  
In 1969, the British placed Arthur Young,
who had worked at the Federation of Malaya
at the time of their Emergency
at the head of the British military in Northern Ireland.
The British military took control over the police,
a counter insurgency rather than a police force,
crowd control, house searches, interrogation, and street patrols,
use of force against suspects and uncooperative citizens.  
Political crimes were tolerated by Protestants but not Catholics.  
The lava burns the rock off the edge of the volcano.  

On January 30, 1972, ****** Sunday,  
British Army policing killed 13 unarmed protesters
fighting for their rights over their neighborhood,
protesting the internment of suspected nationalists.
That led to protests across Ireland.  
When banana leaves are warmed,
oil from the banana leaves flavors the food.  
My dad flew from Canada to India in February 1972.  
On February 4, my dad met my mom.  
On February 11, 1972,
my dad married my mom.  
They went to Canada,
a quartz singing bowl and a wooden mallet wrapped in suede.  
The rock goes down with the lava, breaking through the rocks as it goes down.  
In March 1972, the British government took over
because they considered the Royal Ulster Police and the Ulster Special Constabulary
to be causing most of the violence.  
The lava blocks and reroutes streams,
melts snow and ice,
flooding.  
Days later, there’s still smoke, red.  
My mom could wear the clothes she liked
without being judged
with my dad in Canada.  
She didn’t like asking my dad for money.
My dad, the copper helping my mother use that iron,
wanted her to go to college and finish her bachelors degree.
She got a job.  
In 1976, the police took over again in Northern Ireland
but they were a paramilitary force—
armored SUVs, bullet proof jackets, combat ready
with the largest computerized surveillance system in the UK,
high powered weapons,
trained in counter insurgency.  
Many people were murdered by the police
and few were held accountable.  
Most of the murdered people were not involved in violence or crime.  
People were arrested under special emergency powers
for interrogation and intelligence gathering.  
People tried were tried in non-jury courts.  
My mom learned Malayalam in India
but didn’t speak well until living with my dad.  
She also learned to cook after getting married.  
Her mother sent her recipes; my dad cooked for her—
turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne and green chiles.  
Having lived in different countries,
my mom’s food was exposed to many cultures,
Chinese and French.
Ground rock, minerals and glass
covered the ground
from the ash plume.  
She liked working.  

A volcano erupted for 192 years,
an ice age,
disordered ices, deformed under pressure
and ordered ice crystals, brittle in the ice core records.  
My mother liked working.  
Though Khomeini was in exile by the 1970s in Iran,
more people, working and poor,
turned to him and the ****-i-Ulama for help.
My mom didn’t want kids though my dad did.
She agreed and in 1978 my brother was born.
Iran modernized but agriculture and industry changed so quickly.  
In January 1978, students protested—
censorship, surveillance, harassment, illegal detention and torture.  
Young people and the unemployed joined.  
My parents moved to the United States in December 1978.  
The regime used a lot of violence against the protesters,
and in September 1978 declared martial law in Iran.  
Troops were shooting demonstrators.
In January 1979, the Shah and his family fled.  
On February 11, 1979, my parents’ anniversary,
the Iranian army declared neutrality.  
I was born in July 1979.
The chromium in emeralds and rubies colors them.
My brother was born in May and I was born in July.

Obsidian—
iron, copper and chromium—
isn’t a gas
but it isn’t a crystal;
it’s between the two,
the ordered crystal and the disordered gas.  
They made swords out of obsidian.  





Warm Light Shatters

The eruption beatifies the magma.  
It becomes obsidian,
only breaks with a fracture,
smooth circles where it breaks.  

My dad was born on a large flat rock on the edge of the top
of a hill,
Molasses, sweet and dark, the potent flavor dominates,
His father, the son of a Brahmin,
His mother from a lower caste.
His father’s family wouldn’t touch him,
He grew up in his mother’s mother’s house on a farm.  
I have the same brown hyperpigmentation spot on my right hand that he has.

In 1901, D’Arcy bought a 60 year concession for oil exploration In Iran.
The Iranian government extended it for another 32 years in 1933.
At that time oil was Iran’s “main source of income.”
In 1917’s Balfour Declaration, the British government proclaimed that they favored a national home for the Jews in Palestine and their “best endeavors to facilitate the achievement” of that.

The British police were in charge of policing in the mandate of Palestine.  A lot of the policemen they hired were people who had served in the British army before, during the Irish War for Independence.  
The army tried to stop how violent the police were, police used torture and brutality, some that had been used during the Irish War for Independence, like having prisoners tied to armored cars and locomotives and razing the homes of people in prison or people they thought were related to people thought to be rebels.
The police hired Arab police and Jewish police for lower level policing,
Making local people part of the management.
“Let Arab police beat up Arabs and Jewish police beat up Jews.”

The lava blocks and reroutes streams, melts snow and ice, flooding.
In 1922, there were 83,000 Jews, 71,000 Christians, and 589,000 Muslims.
The League If Nations endorsed the British Mandate.
During an emergency, in the 1930s, British regulations allowed collective punishment, punishing villages for incidents.
Local officers in riots often deserted and also shared intelligence with their own people.
The police often stole, destroyed property, tortured and killed people.  
Arab revolts sapped the police power over Palestinians by 1939.

My father’s mother was from a matrilineal family.
My dad remembers tall men lining up on pay day to respectfully wait for her, 5 feet tall.  
She married again after her husband died.
A manager from a tile factory,
He spoke English so he supervised finances and correspondence.
My dad, a sunflower, loved her: she scared all the workers but exuded warmth to the people she loved.

Obsidian shields people from negative energy.
David Cargill founded the Burmah Oil Co. in 1886.
If there were problems with oil exploration in Burma and Indian government licenses, Persian oil would protect the company.  
In July 1906, many European oil companies, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and others, allied to protect against the American oil company, Standard Oil.
D’Arcy needed money because “Persian oil took three times as long to come on stream as anticipated.”
Burmah Oil Co. began the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. as a subsidiary.
Ninety-seven percent of British Petroleum was owned by Burmah Oil Co.
By 1914, the British government owned 51% of the Anglo-Persian Oil Co.  
Anglo-Persian acquired independence from Burmah Oil and Royal Dutch Shell with two million pounds from the British government.

The lava burns the rock off the edge of the volcano.
In 1942, after the Japanese took Burma,
the British destroyed their refineries before leaving.
The United Nations had to find other sources of oil.
In 1943, Japan built the Burma-Thailand Railroad with forced labor from the Malay peninsula who were mostly from the rubber plantations.

The rock goes down with the lava, breaking through the rocks as it goes down.
In 1945. Japan destroyed their refineries before leaving Burma.
Cargill, Watson and Whigham were on the Burmah Oil Co. Board and then the Anglo Iranian Oil Co. Board.  

In 1936 Palestine, boycotts, work stoppages, and violence against British police officials and soldiers compelled the government to appoint an investigatory commission.  
Leaders of Egypt, Trans Jordan, Syria and Iraq helped end the work stoppages.
The British government had the Peel Commission read letters, memoranda, and petitions and speak with British officials, Jews and Arabs.  
The Commission didn’t believe that Arabs and Jews could live together in a single Jewish state.
Because of administrative and financial difficulties the Colonial Secretary stated that to split Palestine into Arab and Jewish states was impracticable.  
The Commission recommended transitioning 250,000 Arabs and 1500 Jews with British control over their oil pipeline, their naval base and Jerusalem.  
The League of Nations approved.
“It will not remove the grievance nor prevent the recurrence,” Lord Peel stated after.
The Arab uprising was much more militant after Peel.  Thousands of Arabs were wounded, ten thousand were detained.  
In Sykes-Picot and the Husain McMahon agreements, the British promised the Arabs an independent state but they did not keep that promise.  
Representatives from the Arab states rejected the Peel recommendations.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution181 partitioned Palestine into Arab and Jewish states with an international regime for the city of Jerusalem backed by the United States and the Soviet Union.  

The Israeli Yishuv had strong military and intelligence organization —-  
the British recognized that their interest was with the Arabs and abstained from the vote.  
In 1948, Israel declared the establishment of its state.  
Ground rock, minerals, and gas covered the ground from the ash plume.
The Palestinian police force was disbanded and the British gave officers the option of serving in Malaya.

Though Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy supported snd tried to get Israel to offer the Arabs concessions, it wasn’t a major priority and didn’t always approve of Israel’s plans.
Arabs that had supported the British to end Turkish rule stopped supporting the West.  
Many Palestinians joined left wing groups and violent third world movements.  
Seventy-eight percent of the territory of former Palestine was under Israel’s control.  

My dad left for college in 1957 and lived in an apartment above the United States Information services office.
Because he graduated at the top of his class, he was given a job with the public works department of the government on the electricity board.  
“Once in, you’ll never leave.”
When he wanted a job where he could do real work, his father was upset.
He broke the chains with bells for vespers.
He got a job in Calcutta at Kusum Products and left the government, though it was prestigious to work there.
In the chemical engineering division, one of the projects he worked on was to design a *** distillery, bells controlled by hammers, hammers controlled by a keyboard.
His boss worked in the United Kingdom for. 20 years before the company he worked at, part of Power Gas Corporation, asked him to open a branch in Calcutta.
He opened the branch and convinced an Industrialist to open a company doing the same work with him.  The branch he opened closed after that.  
My dad applied for labor certification to work abroad and was selected.  
His boss wrote a reference letter for my him to the company he left in the UK.  My dad sent it telling the company when he was leaving for the UK.  
The day he left for London, he got the letter they sent in the mail telling him to take the train to Sheffield the next day and someone from the firm would meet him at the station.  
His dad didn’t know he left, he didn’t tell him.
He broke the chains with chimes for schisms.


Anglo-Persian Oil became Anglo-Iranian Oil in 1935.
The British government used oil and Anglo-Persian oil to fight communism, have a stronger relationship with the United States and make the United Kingdom more powerful.  
The National Secularists, the Tudeh, and the Communists wanted to nationalize Iran’s oil and mobilized the Iranian people.
The British feared nationalization in Iran would incite political parties like the Secular Nationalists all over the world.  
In 1947, the Iranian government passed the Single Article Law that “[increased] investment In welfare benefits, health, housing, education, and implementation of Iranianization through substitution of foreigners” at Anglo-Iranian Oil Co.
“Anglo-Iranian Oil Company made more profit in 1950 than it paid to the Iranian government in royalties over the previous half century.”
The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company tried to negotiate a new concession and claimed they’d hire more Iranian people into jobs held by British and people from other nationalities at the company.
Their hospitals had segregated wards.  
On May 1, 1951, the Iranian government passed a bill that nationalized Anglo- Iranian Oil Co.’s holdings.  
During the day, only the steam from the hot lava can be seen.
In August 1953, the Iranian people elected Mossadegh from the Secular Nationalist Party as prime minister.
The British government with the CIA overthrew Mossadegh using the Iranian military after inducing protests and violent demonstrations.  
Anglo-Iranian Oil changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954.
Iranians believe that America destroyed Iran’s “last chance for democracy” and blamed America for Iran’s autocracy, its human rights abuses, and secret police.

The smoldering sound of the lava sizzles underneath the dried lava.  
In 1946, Executive Yuan wanted control over 4 groups of Islands in the South China Sea to have a stronger presence there:  the Paracels, the Spratlys, Macclesfield Bank, and the Pratas.
The French forces in the South China Sea would have been stronger than the Chinese Navy then.
French Naval forces were in the Gulf of Tonkin, U.S. forces were in the Taiwan Strait, the British were in Hong Kong, and the Portuguese were in Macao.
In the 1950s, British snd U.S. oil companies thought there might be oil in the Spratlys.  
By 1957, French presence in the South China Sea was hardly there.  

When the volcano erupted, the lava dried at the ocean into black sand.
By 1954, the Tudeh Party’s communist movement and  intelligence organization had been destroyed.  
Because of the Shah and his government’s westernization policies and disrespectful treatment of the Ulama, Iranians began identifying with the Ulama and Khomeini rather than their government.  
Those people joined with secular movements to overthrow the Shah.  

In 1966, Ne Win seized power from U Nu in Burma.
“Soldiers ruled Burma as soldiers.”
Ne Win thought that western political
Institutions “encouraged divisions.”
Minority groups found foreign support for their separatist goals.
The Karens and the Mons supported U Nu in Bangkok.  


Rare copper, a heavy metal, no alloys,
a rock in groundwater,
conducts electricity and heat.
In 1965, my Dad’s cousin met him at Heathrow, gave him a coat and £10 and brought him to a bed and breakfast across from Charing Cross Station where he’d get the train to Sheffield the next morning.
He took the train and someone met him at the train station.  
At the interview they asked him to design a grandry girder, the main weight bearing steel girder as a test.
Iron in the inner and outer core of the earth,
He’d designed many of those.  
He was hired and lived at the YMCA for 2 1/2 years.  
He took his mother’s family name, Menon, instead of his father’s, Varma.
In 1967, he left for Canada and interviewed at Bechtel before getting hired at Seagrams.  
Iron enables blood to carry oxygen.
His boss recommended him for Dale Carnegie’s leadership training classes and my dad joined the National Instrument Society and became President.
He designed a still In Jamaica,
Ordered all the parts, nuts and bolts,
Had all the parts shipped to Jamaica and made sure they got there.
His boss supervised the construction, installation and commission in Jamaica.
Quartz, heat and fade resistant, though he was an engineer and did the work of an engineer, my dad only had the title, technician so my dad’s boss thought he wasn’t getting paid enough but couldn’t get his boss to offer more than an extra $100/week or the title of engineer; he told my dad he thought he should leave.
In 1969, he got a job at Celanese, which made rayon.
He quit Celanese to work at McGill University and they allowed him to take classes to earn his MBA while working.  

The United States and Israel’s alliance was strong by 1967.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 at the end of the Third Arab Israeli War didn’t mention the Palestinians but mentioned the refugee problem.
After 1967, the Palestinians weren’t often mentioned and when mentioned only as terrorists.  
Palestinians’ faith in the “American sponsored peace process” diminished, they felt the world community ignored and neglected them also.
Groups like MAN that stopped expecting anything from Arab regimes began hijacking airplanes.
By 1972, the Palestine Liberation Organization had enough international support to get by the United States’ veto in the United Nations Security Council and Arab League recognition as representative of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinians knew the United States stated its support, as the British had, but they weren’t able to accomplish anything.  
The force Israel exerted in Johnson’s United States policy delivered no equilibrium for the Palestinians.  

In 1969, all political parties submitted to the BSPP, Burma Socialist Programme Party.
Ne Win nationalized banks and oil and deprived minorities of opportunities.
Ne Win became U Nu Win, civilian leader of Burma in 1972 and stopped the active role that U Nu defined for Burma internationally
He put military people in power even when they didn’t have experience which triggered “maldistribution of goods and chronic shortages.”  
Resources were located in areas where separatist minorities had control.

The British presence in the South China Sea ended in 1968.  
The United States left Vietnam in 1974 and China went into the Western Paracels.
The U.S. didn’t intervene and Vietnam took the Spratlys.
China wanted to claim the continental shelf In the central part of the South China Sea and needed the Spratlys.
The United States mostly disregarded the Ulama In Iran and bewildered the Iranian people by not supporting their revolution.

Obsidian—
iron, copper and chromium—
isn’t a gas
but it isn’t a crystal;
it’s between the two,
the ordered crystal and the disordered gas.  
They made swords out of obsidian.


Edelweiss

I laid out in my backyard in my bikini.  
I love the feeling of my body in the sun.  
I’d be dark from the end of spring until winter.
The snow froze my bare feet through winter ,
my skin pale.
American towns in 1984,
Free, below glaciers the sunlight melted the snow,
a sea of green and the edelweiss on the edge of the  limestone,
frosted but still strong.    
When the spring warmed the grass,
the grass warmed my feet. 
The whole field looked cold and white from the glacier but in the meadow,
the bright yellow centers of those flowers float free in the center of the white petals.
The bright yellow center of those edelweiss scared the people my parents ran to America from India to get away from.  
On a sidewalk in Queens, New York in 1991, the men stared and yelled comments at me in short shorts and a fitted top in the summer.  
I grabbed my dad’s arm.

























The Bread and Coconut Butter of Aparigraha

Twelve year old flowerhead,
Marigold, yarrow and nettle,
I’d be all emotion
If not for all my work
From the time I was a teenager.
I got depressed a lot.
I related to people I read about
In my weather balloon,
Grasping, ignorant, and desperate,
But couldn’t relate to other twelve year olds.
After school I read Dali’s autobiography,
Young ****** Autosodomized by Her Own Chastity.
Fresh, green nettle with fresh and dried yarrow for purity.
Dead souls enticed to the altar by orange marigolds,
passion and creativity,
Coax sleep and rouse dreams.
Satellites measure indirectly with wave lengths of light.
My weather balloon measures the lower and middle levels of the atmosphere directly,
Fifty thousand feet high,
Metal rod thermometer,
Slide humidity sensor,
Canister for air pressure.

I enjoy rye bread and cold coconut butter in my weather balloon,
But I want Dali, and all the artists and writers.
Rye grows at high altitudes
But papyrus grows in soil and shallow water,
Strips of papyrus pith shucked from their stems.
When an anchor’s weighed, a ship sails,
But when grounded we sail.
Marigolds, yarrow and nettle,
Flowerhead,
I use the marigold for sleep,
The yarrow for endurance and intensity,
toiling for love and truth,
And the nettle for healing.
Strong rye bread needs equally strong flavors.
By the beginning of high school,
I read a lot of Beat literature
And found Buddhism.
I loved what I read
But I didn’t like some things.
I liked attachment.  
I got to the ground.
Mushrooms grow in dry soil.
Attachment to beauty is Buddha activity.
Not being attached to things I don’t find beautiful is Buddha activity.  
I fried mushrooms in a single layer in oil, fleshy.
I roasted mushrooms at high temperatures in the oven, crisp.
I simmered mushrooms in stock with kombu.
Rye bread with cold coconut butter and cremini mushrooms,
raw, soft and firm.  
Life continues, life changes,
Attachments, losses, mourning and suffering,
But change lures growth.
I find stream beds and wet soil.
I lay the strips of papyrus next to each other.
I cross papyrus strips over the first,
Then wet the crossed papyrus strips,
Press and cement them into a sheet.
I hammer it and dry it in the sun,
With no thought of achievement or self,
Flowerhead,
Hands filled with my past,
Head filled with the future,
Dali, artists poets,
Wishes and desires aligned with nature,
Abundance,
Cocoa, caraway, and molasses.

If I ever really like someone,
I’ll be wearing the dress he chooses,
Fresh green nettle and yarrow, the seeds take two years to grow strong,
Lasting love.
Marigolds steer dead souls from the altar to the afterlife,
Antiseptic, healing wounds,
Soothing sore throats and headaches.
Imperturbable, stable flowerhead,
I empty my mind.
When desires are aligned with nature, desire flows.
Papyrus makes paper and cloth.
Papyrus makes sails.
Charcoal from the ash of pulverized papyrus heals wounds.
Without attachment to the fruit of action
There is continuation of life,
Rye bread and melted coconut butter,
The coconut tree in the coconut butter,
The seed comes from the ground out of nothing,
Naturalness.
It has form.
As the seed grows the seed expresses the tree,
The seed expresses the coconut,
The seed expresses the coconut butter.
Rye bread, large open hollows, chambers,
Immersed in melted coconut butter,
Desire for expansion and creation,
No grasping, not desperate.
When the mind is compassion, the mind is boundless.
Every moment,
only that,
Every moment,
a scythe to the papyrus in the stream bed of the past.  

































Sound on Powdery Blue

Potter’s clay, nymph, plum unplumbed, 1993.
Dahlia, ice, powder, musk and rose,
my source of life emerged in darkness, blackness.
Seashell fragments in the sand,
The glass ball of my life cracked inside,
Light reflected off the salt crystal cracks,
Nacre kept those cracks from getting worse.
Young ****** Autosodomized By Her Own Chastity,
Nymph, I didn’t want to give my body,
Torn, *****, ballgown,
To people who wouldn’t understand me,
Piquant.

Outside on the salt flats,
Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, pleasure and fertility and
Asexual Artemis, goddess of animals, and the hunt,
Mistress of nymphs,
Punish with ruthless savagery.

In my bedroom, blue caribou moss covered rocks, pine, and yew trees,
The heartwood writhes as hurricane gales, twisters and whirlwinds
Contort their bark,
Roots strong in the soil.
Orris root dried in the sun, bulbs like wood.
Dahlia runs to baritone soundbath radio waves.
Light has frequencies,
Violet between blue and invisible ultraviolet,
Flame, slate and flint.
Every night is cold.

Torii gates, pain secured as sacred.
An assignation, frost hardy dahlia and a plangent resonant echo.
High frequency sound waves convert to electrical signals,
Breathe from someone I want,
Silt.
Beam, radiate, ensorcel.
I break the bark,
Sap flows and dries,
Resin seals over the tear.
I distill pine,
Resin and oil for turpentine, a solvent.
Quiver, bemired,
I lead sound into my darkness,
Orris butter resin, sweet and warm,
Hot jam drops on snow drops,
Orange ash on smoke,
Balm on lava,
The problem with cotton candy.

Electrical signals give off radiation or light waves,
The narrow frequency range where
The crest of a radio wave and the crest of a light wave overlap,
Infrared.
Glaciers flow, sunlight melts the upper layers of the snow when strong,
A wet snow avalanche,
A torrent, healing.
Brown sugar and whiskey,
Undulant, lavender.
Pine pitch, crystalline, sticky, rich and golden,
And dried pine rosin polishes glass smooth
Like the smell of powdery orris after years.
Softness, flush, worthy/not worthy,
Rich rays thunder,
Intensify my pulse,
Frenzied red,
Violet between blue and invisible ultraviolet.
Babylon—flutter, glow.
Unquenchable cathartic orris.  

















Pink Graphite

Camellias, winter shrubs,
Their shallow roots grow beneath the spongy caribou moss,
Robins egg blue.
After writing a play with my gifted students program in 1991,
I stopped spending all my free time writing short stories,
But the caribou moss was still soft.

In the cold Arctic of that town,
The evergreen protected the camellias from the afternoon sun and storms.
They branded hardy camellias with a brass molded embossing iron;
I had paper and graphite for my pencils.

After my ninth grade honors English teacher asked us to write poems in 1994,
It began raining.
We lived on an overhang.
A vertical rise to the top of the rock.
The rainstorm caused a metamorphic change in the snowpack,
A wet snow avalanche drifted slowly down the moss covered rock,
The snow already destabilized by exposure to the sunlight.

The avalanche formed lakes,
rock basins washed away with rainwater and melted snow,
Streams dammed by the rocks.  
My pencils washed away in the avalanche,
My clothes heavy and cold.
I wove one side of each warp fiber through the eye of the needle and one side through each slot,
Salves, ointments, serums and tinctures.
I was mining for graphite.
They were mining me,
The only winch, the sound through the water.

A steep staircase to the red Torii gates,
I broke the chains with bells for vespers
And chimes for schisms,
And wove the weft across at right angles to the warp.  

On a rocky ledge at the end of winter,
The pink moon, bitters and body butter,
They tried to get  me to want absinthe,
Wormwood for bitterness and regret.
Heat and pressure formed carbon for flakes of graphite.
Heat and pressure,
I made bitters,
Brandy, grapefruit, chocolate, mandarin rind, tamarind and sugar.
I grounded my feet in the pink moss,
paper dried in one hand,
and graphite for my pencils in the other.  



































Flakes

I don’t let people that put me down be part of my life.  
Gardens and trees,
My shadow sunk in the grass in my yard
As I ate bread, turmeric and lemon.
Carbon crystallizes into graphite flakes.
I write to see well,
Graphite on paper.  
A shadow on rock tiles with a shield, a diamond and a bell
Had me ***** to humiliate me.
Though I don’t let people that put me down near me,
A lot of people putting me down seemed like they were following me,
A platform to jump from
While she had her temple.  

There was a pink door to the platform.
I ate bread with caramelized crusts and
Drank turmeric lemonade
Before I opened that door,
Jumped and
Descended into blankets and feathers.
I found matches and rosin
For turpentine to clean,
Dried plums and licorice.  

In the temple,
In diamonds, leather, wool and silk,
She had her shield and bells,
Drugs and technology,
Thermovision 210 and Minox,
And an offering box where people believed
That if their coins went in
Their wishes would come true.

Hollyhock and smudging charcoal for work,  
Belled,
I ground grain in the mill for the bread I baked for breakfast.
The bells are now communal bells
With a watchtower and a prison,
Her shield, a blowtorch and flux,
Her ex rays, my makeshift records
Because Stalin didn’t like people dancing,
He liked them divebombing.
Impurities in the carbon prevent diamonds from forming,
Measured,
The most hard, the most expensive,
But graphite’s soft delocalized electrons move.  






































OCEAN BED

The loneliness of going to sleep by myself.  
I want a bed that’s high off the ground,
a mattress, an ocean.
I want a crush and that  person in my bed.  
Only that,
a crush in my bed,
an ocean in my bed.  
Just love.  
But I sleep with my thumbs sealed.  
I sleep with my hands, palms up.  
I sleep with my hands at my heart.  
They sear my compassion with their noise.  
They hold their iron over their fire and try to carve their noise into my love,
scored by the violence of voices, dark and lurid,  
but not burned.  
I want a man in my bed.  
When I wake up in an earthquake
I want to be held through the aftershocks.  
I like men,
the waves come in and go out
but the ocean was part of my every day.  
I don’t mind being fetishized in the ocean.  
I ran by the ocean every morning.  
I surfed in the ocean.  
I should’ve gone into the ocean that afternoon at Trestles,
holding my water jugs, kneeling at the edge.  














Morning

I want to fall asleep in the warm arms of a fireman.  
I want to wake up to the smell of coffee in my kitchen.  

Morning—the molten lava in the outer core of the earth embeds the iron from the inner core into the earth’s magnetic field.  
The magnetic field flips.  
The sun, so strong, where it gets through the trees it burns everything but the pine.  
The winds change direction.  
Storms cast lightening and rain.  
Iron conducts solar flares and the heavy wind.  
In that pine forest, I shudder every time I see a speck of light for fear of neon and fluorescents.  The eucalyptus cleanses congestion.  
And Kerouac’s stream ululates, crystal bowl sound baths.  
I follow the sound to the water.  
The stream ends at a bluff with a thin rocky beach below.  
The green water turns black not far from the shore.  
Before diving into the ocean, I eat globe mallow from the trees, stems and leaves, the viscous flesh, red, soft and nutty.  
I distill the pine from one of the tree’s bark and smudge the charcoal over my skin.  

Death, the palo santo’s lit, cleansing negative energy.  
It’s been so long since I’ve smelled a man, woodsmoke, citrus and tobacco.  
Jasmine, plum, lime and tuberose oil on the base of my neck comforts.  
Parabolic chambers heal, sound waves through water travel four times faster.  
The sound of the open sea recalibrates.  
I dissolve into the midnight blue of the ocean.  

I want to fall asleep in the warm arms of a fireman.  
I want to wake up to the smell of coffee in my kitchen.  
I want hot water with coconut oil when I get up.  
We’d lay out on the lawn, surrounded by high trees that block the wind.  
Embers flying through the air won’t land in my yard, on my grass, or near my trees.  





Blue Paper

Haze scatters blue light on a planet.  
Frought women, livid, made into peonies by Aphrodites that caught their men flirting and blamed the women, flushed red.
and blamed the women, flushed red.
Frought women, livid, chrysanthemums, dimmed until the end of the season, exchanged and retained like property.  
Blue women enter along the sides of her red Torii gates, belayed, branded and belled, a plangent sound.  
By candles, colored lights and dried flowers she’s sitting inside on a concrete floor, punctures and ruin burnished with paper, making burnt lime from lime mortar.  
Glass ***** on the ceiling, she moves the beads of a Palestinian glass bead bracelet she holds in her hands.  
She bends light to make shadows against  thin wooden slats curbed along the wall, and straight across the ceiling.
A metier, she makes tinctures, juniper berries and cotton *****.
Loamy soil in the center of the room,
A hawthorn tree stands alone,
A gateway for fairies.
large stones at the base protecting,
It’s branches a barrier.  
It’s leaves and shoots make bread and cheese.
It’s berries, red skin and yellow flesh, make jam.
Green bamboo stakes for the peonies when they whither from the weight of their petals.
And lime in the soil.  
She adds wood chips to the burnt lime in the kiln,
Unrolled paper, spools, and wire hanging.
Wood prayer beads connect her to the earth,
The tassels on the end of the beads connect her to spirit, to higher truth.
Minerals, marine mud and warm basins of seawater on a flower covered desk.  
She adds slaked lime to the burnt lime and wood chips.  
The lime converts to paper,
Trauma victims speak,
Light through butterfly wings.  
She’s plumeria with curved petals, thick, holding water
This is what I have written of my book.  I’ll be changing where the poems with the historical research go.  There are four more of those and nine of the other poems.
Valeria Ariza Nov 2016
The world falls quiet,
And so do you.

My ears are ringing
Heart swelling
Mi Amor,

The silence burns.

I submerge my mind in liquid courage
and slur my silly confessions,
Puking emotions all over your unread text messages.

Ruby shame becomes me
Whispering evil things to me
Convincing me that I am a burden.

That I am the one that's crazy here.
Crazy in love.
Crazy to admit it.
I am the one that’s crazy here.

You were the one that begged for me to love you.
So why do I have to ask for you to tell me that you love me?
How am I supposed to believe your I love you’s?
Am I so insecure, paranoid?

Is it just me?
Am I crazy?

Crimson waves fuel my heart that whisper Jehime in the silent crackle of the fire that blazes through the night in between my rib cage.

Can you feel that,
Corazón? Do you hear that Mi Amor?
Or am I crazy?

My ears are ringing
My doubts are shouting
as it sears it's emptiness into my soul,

The silence burns.

Pero mi Amor Porque?
Quando yo te di todo mi corazón, porque me haces esto?
Why?
God, why don’t you love me?

It is your silence when I ask you these questions,
Your silence when I bleed Te Amo,
that burns, burns, burns.
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
To a Louse
by Robert Burns
translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hey! Where're you going, you crawling hair-fly?
Your impudence protects you, barely;
I can only say that you swagger rarely
Over gauze and lace.
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparely
In such a place.

You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by both saint and sinner,
How dare you set your feet upon her—
So fine a lady!
Go somewhere else to seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Off! around some beggar's temple shamble:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now hold you there! You're out of sight,
Below the folderols, snug and tight;
No, faith just yet! You'll not be right,
Till you've got on it:
The very topmost, towering height
Of miss's bonnet.

My word! right bold you root, contrary,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry.
Oh, for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or dread red poison;
I'd give you such a hearty dose, flea,
It'd dress your noggin!

I wouldn't be surprised to spy
You on some housewife's flannel tie:
Or maybe on some ragged boy's
Pale undervest;
But Miss's finest bonnet! Fie!
How dare you jest?

Oh Jenny, do not toss your head,
And lash your lovely braids abroad!
You hardly know what cursed speed
The creature's making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice-taking!

O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions:
What airs in dress and carriage would leave us,
And even devotion!

One Sunday while sitting behind a young lady in church, Robert Burns noticed a louse roaming through the bows and ribbons of her bonnet. The poem "To a Louse" resulted from his observations. The poor woman had no idea that she would be the subject of one of Burns' best poems about how we see ourselves, compared to how other people see us at our worst moments. Keywords/Tags: Robert Burns, louse, church, bonnet, lace, Scotland, Scots, dialect, translation
FIRST DAY

1.
Who wanted me
to go to Chicago
on January 6th?
I did!

The night before,
20 below zero
Fahrenheit
with the wind chill;
as the blizzard of 99
lay in mountains
of blackening snow.

I packed two coats,
two suits,
three sweaters,
multiple sets of long johns
and heavy white socks
for a two-day stay.

I left from Newark.
**** the denseness,
it confounds!

The 2nd City to whom?
2nd ain’t bad.
It’s pretty good.
If you consider
Peking and Prague,
Tokyo and Togo,
Manchester and Moscow,
Port Au Prince and Paris,
Athens and Amsterdam,
Buenos Aries and Johannesburg;
that’s pretty good.

What’s going on here today?
It’s friggin frozen.
To the bone!

But Chi Town is still cool.
Buddy Guy’s is open.
Bartenders mixing drinks,
cabbies jamming on their breaks,
honey dew waitresses serving sugar,
buildings swerving,
fire tongued preachers are preaching
and the farmers are measuring the moon.

The lake,
unlike Ontario
is in the midst of freezing.
Bones of ice
threaten to gel
into a solid mass
over the expanse
of the Michigan Lake.
If this keeps up,
you can walk
clear to Toronto
on a silver carpet.

Along the shore
the ice is permanent.
It’s the first big frost
of winter
after a long
Indian Summer.

Thank God
I caught a cab.
Outside I hear
The Hawk
nippin hard.
It’ll get your ear,
finger or toe.
Bite you on the nose too
if you ain’t careful.

Thank God,
I’m not walking
the Wabash tonight;
but if you do cover up,
wear layers.

Chicago,
could this be
Sandburg’s City?

I’m overwhelmed
and this is my tenth time here.

It’s almost better,
sometimes it is better,
a lot of times it is better
and denser then New York.

Ask any Bull’s fan.
I’m a Knickerbocker.
Yes Nueva York,
a city that has placed last
in the standings
for many years.
Except the last two.
Yanks are # 1!

But Chicago
is a dynasty,
as big as
Sammy Sosa’s heart,
rich and wide
as Michael Jordan’s grin.

Middle of a country,
center of a continent,
smack dab in the mean
of a hemisphere,
vortex to a world,
Chicago!

Kansas City,
Nashville,
St. Louis,
Detroit,
Cleveland,
Pittsburgh,
Denver,
New Orleans,
Dallas,
Cairo,
Singapore,
Auckland,
Baghdad,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.



2.
Cities,
A collection of vanities?
Engineered complex utilitarianism?
The need for community a social necessity?
Ego one with the mass?
Civilization’s latest *******?
Chicago is more then that.

Jefferson’s yeoman farmer
is long gone
but this capitol
of the Great Plains
is still democratic.

The citizen’s of this city
would vote daily,
if they could.

Chicago,
Sandburg’s Chicago,
Could it be?

The namesake river
segments the city,
canals of commerce,
all perpendicular,
is rife throughout,
still guiding barges
to the Mississippi
and St. Laurence.

Now also
tourist attractions
for a cafe society.

Chicago is really jazzy,
swanky clubs,
big steaks,
juices and drinks.

You get the best
coffee from Seattle
and the finest teas
from China.

Great restaurants
serve liquid jazz
al la carte.

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they serve is Jazz
Rock me steady
Keep the beat
Keep it flowin
Feel the heat!

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they is, is Jazz
Fast cars will take ya
To the show
Round bout midnight
Where’d the time go?

Flows into the Mississippi,
the mother of America’s rivers,
an empires aorta.

Great Lakes wonder of water.
Niagara Falls
still her heart gushes forth.

Buffalo connected to this holy heart.
Finger Lakes and Adirondacks
are part of this watershed,
all the way down to the
Delaware and Chesapeake.

Sandburg’s Chicago?
Oh my my,
the wonder of him.
Who captured the imagination
of the wonders of rivers.

Down stream other holy cities
from the Mississippi delta
all mapped by him.

Its mouth our Dixie Trumpet
guarded by righteous Cajun brethren.

Midwest?
Midwest from where?
It’s north of Caracas and Los Angeles,
east of Fairbanks,
west of Dublin
and south of not much.

Him,
who spoke of honest men
and loving women.
Working men and mothers
bearing citizens to build a nation.
The New World’s
precocious adolescent
caught in a stream
of endless and exciting change,
much pain and sacrifice,
dedication and loss,
pride and tribulations.

From him we know
all the people’s faces.
All their stories are told.
Never defeating the
idea of Chicago.

Sandburg had the courage to say
what was in the heart of the people, who:

Defeated the Indians,
Mapped the terrain,
Aided slavers,
Fought a terrible civil war,
Hoisted the barges,
Grew the food,
Whacked the wheat,
Sang the songs,
Fought many wars of conquest,
Cleared the land,
Erected the bridges,
Trapped the game,
Netted the fish,
Mined the coal,
Forged the steel,
Laid the tracks,
Fired the tenders,
Cut the stone,
Mixed the mortar,
Plumbed the line,
And laid the bricks
Of this nation of cities!

Pardon the Marlboro Man shtick.
It’s a poor expostulation of
crass commercial symbolism.

Like I said, I’m a
Devil Fan from Jersey
and Madison Avenue
has done its work on me.

It’s a strange alchemy
that changes
a proud Nation of Blackhawks
into a merchandising bonanza
of hometown hockey shirts,
making the native seem alien,
and the interloper at home chillin out,
warming his feet atop a block of ice,
guzzling Old Style
with clicker in hand.

Give him his beer
and other diversions.
If he bowls with his buddy’s
on Tuesday night
I hope he bowls
a perfect game.

He’s earned it.
He works hard.
Hard work and faith
built this city.

And it’s not just the faith
that fills the cities
thousand churches,
temples and
mosques on the Sabbath.

3.
There is faith in everything in Chicago!

An alcoholic broker named Bill
lives the Twelve Steps
to banish fear and loathing
for one more day.
Bill believes in sobriety.

A tug captain named Moe
waits for the spring thaw
so he can get the barges up to Duluth.
Moe believes in the seasons.

A farmer named Tom
hopes he has reaped the last
of many bitter harvests.
Tom believes in a new start.

A homeless man named Earl
wills himself a cot and a hot
at the local shelter.
Earl believes in deliverance.

A Pullman porter
named George
works overtime
to get his first born
through medical school.
George believes in opportunity.

A folk singer named Woody
sings about his
countrymen inheritance
and implores them to take it.
Woody believes in people.

A Wobbly named Joe
organizes fellow steelworkers
to fight for a workers paradise
here on earth.
Joe believes in ideals.

A bookkeeper named Edith
is certain she’ll see the Cubs
win the World Series
in her lifetime.
Edith believes in miracles.

An electrician named ****
saves money
to bring his family over from Gdansk.
**** believes in America.

A banker named Leah
knows Ditka will return
and lead the Bears
to another Super Bowl.
Leah believes in nostalgia.

A cantor named Samuel
prays for another 20 years
so he can properly train
his Temple’s replacement.

Samuel believes in tradition.
A high school girl named Sally
refuses to get an abortion.
She knows she carries
something special within her.
Sally believes in life.

A city worker named Mazie
ceaselessly prays
for her incarcerated son
doing 10 years at Cook.
Mazie believes in redemption.

A jazzer named Bix
helps to invent a new art form
out of the mist.
Bix believes in creativity.

An architect named Frank
restores the Rookery.
Frank believes in space.

A soldier named Ike
fights wars for democracy.
Ike believes in peace.

A Rabbi named Jesse
sermonizes on Moses.
Jesse believes in liberation.

Somewhere in Chicago
a kid still believes in Shoeless Joe.
The kid believes in
the integrity of the game.

An Imam named Louis
is busy building a nation
within a nation.
Louis believes in
self-determination.

A teacher named Heidi
gives all she has to her students.
She has great expectations for them all.
Heidi believes in the future.

4.
Does Chicago have a future?

This city,
full of cowboys
and wildcatters
is predicated
on a future!

Bang, bang
Shoot em up
Stake the claim
It’s your terrain
Drill the hole
Strike it rich
Top it off
You’re the boss
Take a chance
Watch it wane
Try again
Heavenly gains

Chicago
city of futures
is a Holy Mecca
to all day traders.

Their skin is gray,
hair disheveled,
loud ties and
funny coats,
thumb through
slips of paper
held by nail
chewed hands.
Selling promises
with no derivative value
for out of the money calls
and in the money puts.
Strike is not a labor action
in this city of unionists,
but a speculators mark,
a capitalist wish,
a hedgers bet,
a public debt
and a farmers
fair return.

Indexes for everything.
Quantitative models
that could burst a kazoo.

You know the measure
of everything in Chicago.
But is it truly objective?
Have mathematics banished
subjective intentions,
routing it in fair practice
of market efficiencies,
a kind of scientific absolution?

I heard that there
is a dispute brewing
over the amount of snowfall
that fell on the 1st.

The mayor’s office,
using the official city ruler
measured 22”
of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service
says it cannot detect more
then 17” of snow.

The mayor thinks
he’ll catch less heat
for the trains that don’t run
the buses that don’t arrive
and the schools that stand empty
with the addition of 5”.

The analysts say
it’s all about capturing liquidity.

Liquidity,
can you place a great lake
into an eyedropper?

Its 20 below
and all liquid things
are solid masses
or a gooey viscosity at best.

Water is frozen everywhere.
But Chi town is still liquid,
flowing faster
then the digital blips
flashing on the walls
of the CBOT.

Dreams
are never frozen in Chicago.
The exchanges trade
without missing a beat.

Trading wet dreams,
the crystallized vapor
of an IPO
pledging a billion points
of Internet access
or raiding the public treasuries
of a central bank’s
huge stores of gold
with currency swaps.

Using the tools
of butterfly spreads
and candlesticks
to achieve the goal.

Short the Russell
or buy the Dow,
go long the
CAC and DAX.
Are you trading in euro’s?
You better be
or soon will.
I know
you’re Chicago,
you’ll trade anything.
WEBS,
Spiders,
and Leaps
are traded here,
along with sweet crude,
North Sea Brent,
plywood and T-Bill futures;
and most importantly
the commodities,
the loam
that formed this city
of broad shoulders.

What about our wheat?
Still whacking and
breadbasket to the world.

Oil,
an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

Porkbellies,
not just hogwash
on the Wabash,
but bacon, eggs
and flapjacks
are on the menu
of every diner in Jersey
as the “All American.”

Cotton,
our contribution
to the Golden Triangle,
once the global currency
used to enrich a
gentlemen class
of cultured
southern slavers,
now Tommy Hilfiger’s
preferred fabric.

I think he sends it
to Bangkok where
child slaves
spin it into
gold lame'.

Sorghum,
I think its hardy.

Soybeans,
the new age substitute
for hamburger
goes great with tofu lasagna.

Corn,
ADM creates ethanol,
they want us to drive cleaner cars.

Cattle,
once driven into this city’s
bloodhouses for slaughter,
now ground into
a billion Big Macs
every year.

When does a seed
become a commodity?
When does a commodity
become a future?
When does a future expire?

You can find the answers
to these questions in Chicago
and find a fortune in a hole in the floor.

Look down into the pits.
Hear the screams of anguish
and profitable delights.

Frenzied men
swarming like a mass
of epileptic ants
atop the worlds largest sugar cube
auger the worlds free markets.

The scene is
more chaotic then
100 Haymarket Square Riots
multiplied by 100
1968 Democratic Conventions.

Amidst inverted anthills,
they scurry forth and to
in distinguished
black and red coats.

Fighting each other
as counterparties
to a life and death transaction.

This is an efficient market
that crosses the globe.

Oil from the Sultan of Brunei,
Yen from the land of Hitachi,
Long Bonds from the Fed,
nickel from Quebec,
platinum and palladium
from Siberia,
FTSE’s from London
and crewel cane from Havana
circle these pits.

Tijuana,
Shanghai
and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in Chicago.

Chicago,
this hog butcher to the world,
specializes in packaging and distribution.

Men in blood soaked smocks,
still count the heads
entering the gates of the city.

Their handiwork
is sent out on barges
and rail lines as frozen packages
of futures
waiting for delivery
to an anonymous counterparty
half a world away.

This nation’s hub
has grown into the
premier purveyor
to the world;
along all the rivers,
highways,
railways
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

5.
Sandburg’s Chicago,
is a city of the world’s people.

Many striver rows compose
its many neighborhoods.

Nordic stoicism,
Eastern European orthodoxy
and Afro-American
calypso vibrations
are three of many cords
strumming the strings
of Chicago.

Sandburg’s Chicago,
if you wrote forever
you would only scratch its surface.

People wait for trains
to enter the city from O’Hare.
Frozen tears
lock their eyes
onto distant skyscrapers,
solid chunks
of snot blocks their nose
and green icicles of slime
crust mustaches.
They fight to breathe.

Sandburg’s Chicago
is The Land of Lincoln,
Savior of the Union,
protector of the Republic.
Sent armies
of sons and daughters,
barges, boxcars,
gunboats, foodstuffs,
cannon and shot
to raze the south
and stamp out succession.

Old Abe’s biography
are still unknown volumes to me.
I must see and read the great words.
You can never learn enough;
but I’ve been to Washington
and seen the man’s memorial.
The Free World’s 8th wonder,
guarded by General Grant,
who still keeps an eye on Richmond
and a hand on his sword.

Through this American winter
Abe ponders.
The vista he surveys is dire and tragic.

Our sitting President
impeached
for lying about a *******.

Party partisans
in the senate are sworn and seated.
Our Chief Justice,
adorned with golden bars
will adjudicate the proceedings.
It is the perfect counterpoint
to an ageless Abe thinking
with malice toward none
and charity towards all,
will heal the wounds
of the nation.

Abe our granite angel,
Chicago goes on,
The Union is strong!


SECOND DAY

1.
Out my window
the sun has risen.

According to
the local forecast
its minus 9
going up to
6 today.

The lake,
a golden pillow of clouds
is frozen in time.

I marvel
at the ancients ones
resourcefulness
and how
they mastered
these extreme elements.

Past, present and future
has no meaning
in the Citadel
of the Prairie today.

I set my watch
to Central Standard Time.

Stepping into
the hotel lobby
the concierge
with oil smooth hair,
perfect tie
and English lilt
impeccably asks,
“Do you know where you are going Sir?
Can I give you a map?”

He hands me one of Chicago.
I see he recently had his nails done.
He paints a green line
along Whacker Drive and says,
“turn on Jackson, LaSalle, Wabash or Madison
and you’ll get to where you want to go.”
A walk of 14 or 15 blocks from Streeterville-
(I start at The Chicago White House.
They call it that because Hillary Rodham
stays here when she’s in town.
Its’ also alleged that Stedman
eats his breakfast here
but Opra
has never been seen
on the premises.
I wonder how I gained entry
into this place of elite’s?)
-down into the center of The Loop.

Stepping out of the hotel,
The Doorman
sporting the epaulets of a colonel
on his corporate winter coat
and furry Cossack hat
swaddling his round black face
accosts me.

The skin of his face
is flaking from
the subzero windburn.

He asks me
with a gapped toothy grin,
“Can I get you a cab?”
“No I think I’ll walk,” I answer.
“Good woolen hat,
thick gloves you should be alright.”
He winks and lets me pass.

I step outside.
The Windy City
flings stabbing cold spears
flying on wings of 30-mph gusts.
My outside hardens.
I can feel the freeze
deepen
into my internalness.
I can’t be sure
but inside
my heart still feels warm.
For how long
I cannot say.

I commence
my walk
among the spires
of this great city,
the vertical leaps
that anchor the great lake,
holding its place
against the historic
frigid assault.

The buildings’ sway,
modulating to the blows
of natures wicked blasts.

It’s a hard imposition
on a city and its people.

The gloves,
skullcap,
long underwear,
sweater,
jacket
and overcoat
not enough
to keep the cold
from penetrating
the person.

Like discerning
the layers of this city,
even many layers,
still not enough
to understand
the depth of meaning
of the heart
of this heartland city.

Sandburg knew the city well.
Set amidst groves of suburbs
that extend outward in every direction.
Concentric circles
surround the city.
After the burbs come farms,
Great Plains, and mountains.
Appalachians and Rockies
are but mere molehills
in the city’s back yard.
It’s terra firma
stops only at the sea.
Pt. Barrow to the Horn,
many capes extended.

On the periphery
its appendages,
its extremities,
its outward extremes.
All connected by the idea,
blown by the incessant wind
of this great nation.
The Windy City’s message
is sent to the world’s four corners.
It is a message of power.
English the worlds
common language
is spoken here,
along with Ebonics,
Espanol,
Mandarin,
Czech,
Russian,
Korean,
Arabic,
Hindi­,
German,
French,
electronics,
steel,
cars,
cartoons,
rap,
sports­,
movies,
capital,
wheat
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

2.
Sandburg
spoke all the dialects.

He heard them all,
he understood
with great precision
to the finest tolerances
of a lathe workers micrometer.

Sandburg understood
what it meant to laugh
and be happy.

He understood
the working mans day,
the learned treatises
of university chairs,
the endless tomes
of the city’s
great libraries,
the lost languages
of the ancient ones,
the secret codes
of abstract art,
the impact of architecture,
the street dialects and idioms
of everymans expression of life.

All fighting for life,
trying to build a life,
a new life
in this modern world.

Walking across
the Michigan Avenue Bridge
I see the Wrigley Building
is neatly carved,
catty cornered on the plaza.

I wonder if Old Man Wrigley
watched his barges
loaded with spearmint
and double-mint
move out onto the lake
from one of those Gothic windows
perched high above the street.

Would he open a window
and shout to the men below
to quit slaking and work harder
or would he
between the snapping sound
he made with his mouth
full of his chewing gum
offer them tickets
to a ballgame at Wrigley Field
that afternoon?

Would the men below
be able to understand
the man communing
from such a great height?

I listen to a man
and woman conversing.
They are one step behind me
as we meander along Wacker Drive.

"You are in Chicago now.”
The man states with profundity.
“If I let you go
you will soon find your level
in this city.
Do you know what I mean?”

No I don’t.
I think to myself.
What level are you I wonder?
Are you perched atop
the transmission spire
of the Hancock Tower?

I wouldn’t think so
or your ears would melt
from the windburn.

I’m thinking.
Is she a kept woman?
She is majestically clothed
in fur hat and coat.
In animal pelts
not trapped like her,
but slaughtered
from farms
I’m sure.

What level
is he speaking of?

Many levels
are evident in this city;
many layers of cobbled stone,
Pennsylvania iron,
Hoosier Granite
and vertical drops.

I wonder
if I detect
condensation
in his voice?

What is
his intention?
Is it a warning
of a broken affair?
A pending pink slip?
Advise to an addict
refusing to adhere
to a recovery regimen?

What is his level anyway?
Is he so high and mighty,
Higher and mightier
then this great city
which we are all a part of,
which we all helped to build,
which we all need
in order to keep this nation
the thriving democratic
empire it is?

This seditious talk!

3.
The Loop’s El
still courses through
the main thoroughfares of the city.

People are transported
above the din of the street,
looking down
on the common pedestrians
like me.

Super CEO’s
populating the upper floors
of Romanesque,
Greek Revivalist,
New Bauhaus,
Art Deco
and Post Nouveau
Neo-Modern
Avant-Garde towers
are too far up
to see me
shivering on the street.

The cars, busses,
trains and trucks
are all covered
with the film
of rock salt.

Salt covers
my bootless feet
and smudges
my cloths as well.

The salt,
the primal element
of the earth
covers everything
in Chicago.

It is the true level
of this city.

The layer
beneath
all layers,
on which
everything
rests,
is built,
grows,
thrives
then dies.
To be
returned again
to the lower
layers
where it can
take root
again
and grow
out onto
the great plains.

Splashing
the nation,
anointing
its people
with its
blessing.

A blessing,
Chicago?

All rivers
come here.

All things
found its way here
through the canals
and back bays
of the world’s
greatest lakes.

All roads,
rails and
air routes
begin and
end here.

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow
got a *** rap.
It did not start the fire,
we did.

We lit the torch
that flamed
the city to cinders.
From a pile of ash
Chicago rose again.

Forever Chicago!
Forever the lamp
that burns bright
on a Great Lake’s
western shore!

Chicago
the beacon
sends the
message to the world
with its windy blasts,
on chugging barges,
clapping trains,
flying tandems,
T1 circuits
and roaring jets.

Sandburg knew
a Chicago
I will never know.

He knew
the rhythm of life
the people walked to.
The tools they used,
the dreams they dreamed
the songs they sang,
the things they built,
the things they loved,
the pains that hurt,
the motives that grew,
the actions that destroyed
the prayers they prayed,
the food they ate
their moments of death.

Sandburg knew
the layers of the city
to the depths
and windy heights
I cannot fathom.

The Blues
came to this city,
on the wing
of a chirping bird,
on the taps
of a rickety train,
on the blast
of an angry sax
rushing on the wind,
on the Westend blitz
of Pop's brash coronet,
on the tink of
a twinkling piano
on a paddle-wheel boat
and on the strings
of a lonely man’s guitar.

Walk into the clubs,
tenements,
row houses,
speakeasies
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
Mississippi,
Boogie Woogie
from Appalachia,
Texas Blues
from some Lone Star,
Big Band Blues
from Kansas City,
Blues from
Beal Street,
Jelly Roll’s Blues
from the Latin Quarter.

Hell even Chicago
got its own brand
of Blues.

Its all here.
It ended up here
and was sent away
on the winds of westerly blows
to the ear of an eager world
on strong jet streams
of simple melodies
and hard truths.

A broad
shouldered woman,
a single mother stands
on the street
with three crying babes.
Their cloths
are covered
in salt.
She pleads
for a break,
praying
for a new start.
Poor and
under-clothed
against the torrent
of frigid weather
she begs for help.
Her blond hair
and ****** features
suggests her
Scandinavian heritage.
I wonder if
she is related to Sandburg
as I walk past
her on the street.
Her feet
are bleeding
through her
canvass sneakers.
Her babes mouths
are zipped shut
with frozen drivel
and mucous.

The Blues live
on in Chicago.

The Blues
will forever live in her.
As I turn the corner
to walk the Miracle Mile
I see her engulfed
in a funnel cloud of salt,
snow and bits
of white paper,
swirling around her
and her children
in an angry
unforgiving
maelstrom.

The family
begins to
dissolve
like a snail
sprinkled with salt;
and a mother
and her children
just disappear
into the pavement
at the corner
of Dearborn,
in Chicago.

Music:

Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago


jbm
Chicago
1/7/99
Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
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Composed on 00:53, 21/09/2016 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We don't assume this means something.
Veronika Nov 2014
Goodnight, the fire burns brightly
Goodnight, you kiss my forehead lightly
Almost paternally now
- We were lovers

Goodnight, clinging to the sheets by your side
Goodnight, heartache in this house tonight
Someday we will forget
- We were lovers

This distance will turn my blood cold
A grave look on a pale face of youth
If I could shrink the ocean to be close
Would you save me anymore
Love became an ugly truth

Goodnight, the fire burns brightly
Goodnight, I held on to the moment tightly
Almost in retrospect
- We were lovers
laura Sep 2015
i’m happier now
but some nights are harder

at the last party
we all took a shot
we danced and had fun
but as i felt the tequila burn my throat
i wished i could always feel my pain
like this
because i’d rather it burn
than rip me to shreds
because i’d rather it burn
than tear me apart

and if you think tequila burns you should try living in the dark
if you think tequila burns you should try wanting someone

if you think
tequila burns
you should think
of the last time someone held you

if you think tequila burns
try thinking of every beautiful moment you’ve ever had
relive it in your head
go through the motions
and go take another shot
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
To a Mouse
by Robert Burns
translation/modernization/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sleek, tiny, timorous, cowering beast,
Why’s such panic in your breast?
Why dash away, so quick, so rash,
In a frenzied flash
When I would be loath to run after you
With a murderous plowstaff!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
And justifies that bad opinion
Which makes you startle,
When I’m your poor, earth-bound companion
And fellow mortal!

I have no doubt you sometimes thieve;
What of it, friend? You too must live!
A random corn-ear in a shock's
A small behest; it-
‘ll give me a blessing to know such a loss;
I’ll never miss it!

Your tiny house lies in a ruin,
Its fragile walls wind-rent and strewn!
Now nothing’s left to construct you a new one
Of mosses green
Since bleak December’s winds, ensuing,
Blow fast and keen!

You saw your fields laid bare and waste
With weary winter closing fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! The cruel iron ploughshare passed
Straight through your cell!

That flimsy heap of leaves and stubble
Had cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you’re turned out, for all your trouble,
Less house and hold,
To endure the winter’s icy dribble
And hoarfrosts cold!

But mouse-friend, you are not alone
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes of Mice and Men
Go oft awry,
And leave us only grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still, friend, you’re blessed compared with me!
Only present dangers make you flee:
But, ouch!, behind me I can see
Grim prospects drear!
While forward-looking seers, we
Humans guess and fear!

Published by the English department of St. John’s College High School. Excerpted in an essay by Galkina Karolina, Institute of Humanities, Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, Ukraine, and published on the university’s website. Keywords/Tags: Robert Burns, mouse, translation, modernization, update, interpretation, schemes, mice, men, agley, awry, nature, field, plow, den, home, modern English



Hugh MacDiarmid wrote "The Watergaw" in a Scots dialect. I have translated the poem into modern English to make it easier to read and understand. A watergaw is a fragmentary rainbow.

The Watergaw
by Hugh MacDiarmid
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

One wet forenight in the sheep-shearing season
I saw the uncanniest thing—
a watergaw with its wavering light
shining beyond the wild downpour of rain ...
and I thought of the last wild look that you gave
when you knew you were destined for the grave.

There was no light in the skylark's nest
that night—no—nor any in mine;
but now often I've thought of that foolish light
and of these more foolish hearts of men ...
and I think that maybe at last I ken
what your look meant then.

Keywords/Tags: Scotland, Scot, Scottish, Scots dialect, night, nightfall, rain, grave, death, death of a friend, light, lights, watergaw, heart, heartache, broken heart, heart song
Peach Sep 2014
Their lips and memories soaking in *****
And dead intimacy that they try to revive.
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.

He drinks to flood his sober blues.
She peers into her cup and takes the dive.
Their lips and memories soaking in *****

Bodies twist together, as they confuse
Passion with a polluted *** drive.
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.

Loneliness tagged on their souls like tattoos,
But in a whiskey glass true love cannot thrive.
Their lips and memories soaking in *****.

He counts the number of girls he screws.
She kisses in order to feel alive.
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.

No concern for dignity that they are eager to lose,
Artless *** as a means to survive.
Their lips and memories soaking in *****,
Alcohol burns the throat, but numbs a heart’s bruise.
Megan Jun 2014
Have fun with me
And love me
Roll around with me
But don’t hurt me
My heart burns again
You said I wouldn’t hurt again


Adore me
And don’t ignore me
Be a kid with me
But don’t hurt me
My heart burns again
You said I wouldn’t hurt again


Burn me
And let me yearn again
For a heart that knows me
But don’t hurt me
My heart burns again
You said I wouldn’t hurt again


Care for me
And if you don’t truly care for me
Let go of me
But don’t hurt me
My heart burns again
You said I wouldn’t hurt again


Leave me
And when you leave me
You **** apart of me
*You knew you would hurt me
My heart burns again
I don’t want to hurt again
Martin Rasmussen Mar 2010
It burns when I ***
I guess you wanted to give me something
to remember you by.

It burns when I ***.
I've only ever been with you
so thanks for the gift
what you left before you left.

While I'm ******* shards of glass
I wonder who you got it from
you cheating *****!
http://lauyy.blogspot.com/
authentic Dec 2015
If you are not recovering you are dying
A phrase I have taken to heart
Tattooed on every bone of this skeleton inside of me
Despite its harshness, it's beyond true
If you are not recovering you are dying
Naturally, it didn’t offend me until I learned it was supposed to
I often sit and think of you for hours on hours
Wasting my time, as most people do on thinking of those they love who do not love them in return
It is the bittersweet past time of humans
Coffee shops are stained with more than coffee stains
I wonder how many chairs I've sat in that held someone else broken off of the ground
I wonder how many salt water lakes I have walked over when approaching the barista
My coffee burns my tongue
But no other feeling lingers worse on my mouth than the feeling of your lips
I have taken understanding that love does not mind giving scars
Remorse was never it's best attribute to conscience
We must know that in the midst of something wonderful chaos is making blueprints
Planning attack like a predator that has not eaten for days due to the winter
Nutrients to keep it alive have been hiding in trees and under snow
It is the middle of December and I ache for nothing more than your warmth
No amount of coats and sweaters can comfort me like your arms
Wrapped around me like a Christmas present
My coffee burns my tongue
But the flame of his words pressed against my skin
I do not love you anymore
Does not amount to the physical distress my body undergoes
My coffee burns my tongue
And I have not eaten because I am too full of a love
How strange it is to feel so empty but so unable to consume
Like a vase with no flowers
I am waiting for something beautiful to offer me meaning
And though waiting is not deemed to be the worst
The hands of my clock are leaving bruises on my wrist
My coffee burns my tongue
But in a few hours, it will heal
And I will taste cold coffee as the heater in my car warms my hands
If you are not recovering, you are dying
And at this point, I fear I will not see tomorrow
The dew on my window will not meet the ashes from my cigarette
Tomorrow I will not make it out of bed
Tomorrow I will not go downstairs and make coffee
It will not burn me
Cause I fear I will already have burned out
Ariel Taverner Apr 2014
I love you

The abstract idea of paradise
But
In reality
Far from it actually
Love is an excruciatingly painful  resemblance of something people call pure and unrefined happiness
Love stings
Love burns
Love tears you apart
Love cuts
Its a painful thing
That
In all our sanity
Always strive for
But when you love someone and they love you back
Sting turns into stung
Burn turns into burns
Tears turn into seams
Cuts turn into scars
And with all of this you and the person can sit together and compare your
Stings
Burns
Seams
And scars
And tell our stories and reveal
IT
ALL
but knowing that he or she will take all those
Scars
And seams
And stings
And burns
And turn them into precious beautiful memories that make all that excruciating pain worth it
And I am beyond blessed to have shown my
Seams
Stings
Burns
And scars
To my dear one
To my orange princess
For my dear one
David Ehrgott Nov 2014
Look at the Canyon
Wonder how it got it's start

Grandioso Splendor
It is Deepness
and spread far apart

From just a trickle
off the ice that was so cold
it burnt the earth apart

Make a libretto like Mozart
or just laugh a lot

Ignorance spreads
like a wild fire
Others create art

Pretend you're my friend
but in the end I can see
Through your finely disguised plot

She came to me a kitten so cold
I had to hold
and warm her heart

Her beauty that of skin deep
as it turned out
she really didn't have a heart at all

Nothing there but
deceit, vengeance, & cruelty
Everything beneath
the acts of humanity

An Icy stare
so cold
It burns a hole right through your soul

A man-hating *****
kills and robs millionaires
Trains middle school kids
all the hatred that they deserve

Because of what her father did
She can't let go
And all the men she loves
Pay for all her sorrow

An Icy stare
So cold
It burns a hole right through your soul

I tread muddy waters now
watch now
hear what I know

Imperialist or Socialist
appointed - no choice
That is what we get

Supposedly a free place
Isn't a free place
even when we pretend

Cops **** are children monthly
and the army does the same
and we just watch the t.v.
we haven't any brain

to stop and change
the wrongness
that's been going so insane

take a look old faithful
we can time you
and we know when you blow your steam
with every time in wonder
of it's gleam

Well look who started Lucy
beating five old kiddie brains
and lookit charlie water bomb
We look up to them

We love the way they look
in technicolor
or so were we trained

Burn it down
burn their world
someone has to make a change

I turn the mirror on your faces
say "look at what you have done"
You cry "No Fair. we can't look.
Don't make us, please"

What comes around still goes around
Miss Meunter are you done?

A trickle off the ice
so cold it burns a hole
on planet earth

The waters now so low
they flow then dry up
like the old

An icy stare
can cause a glare
that burns a hole
because it is so cold
  
so cold
Alyssa Underwood May 2018
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For it's rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"

~~~

for more on this:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

~~~
Go ahead
hold me a little longer
than usual.
You say to me,
without using any
words at all,
"it should have been me,
its still me."
Like i don't already see
those sky blue eyes
every time i close my own.
Because we're still holding
on to god knows what.
Because it is you
and it will always be you.
st64 Apr 2014
The poverty of yesterday was less squalid than the poverty we purchase with our industry today.
Fortunes were smaller then as well.
(The Elderly Lady)




After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.


After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…

With every good-bye you learn.





{…}



As I think of the many myths, there is one that is very harmful, and that is the myth of countries. I mean, why should I think of myself as being an Argentine, and not a Chilean, and not an Uruguayan.
I don't know really.
All of those myths that we impose on ourselves — and they make for hatred, for war, for enmity — are very harmful.
Well, I suppose in the long run, governments and countries will die out and we'll be just, well, cosmopolitans.*    --J. L. Borges
Jorge Luis Borges (24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986) was an Argentine writer who is considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century.
Most famous in the English speaking world for his short stories and fictive essays, Borges was also a poet, critic, translator and man of letters.



Words by Jorge Luis Borges

1.
"All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art." ----- J.L. Borges


2.
"Doubt is one of the names of intelligence."


3.
"May Heaven exist, even if my place is Hell.
Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated,
but let there be one instant, one creature,
wherein thy enormous Library may find its justification."

4.
"Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.
(Statement to the Argentine Society of Letters, c.1946)

5.
I would define the baroque as that style that deliberately exhausts (or tries to exhaust) its own possibilities, and that borders on self-caricature.
The baroque is the final stage in all art, when art flaunts and squanders its resources.
(A Universal History of Iniquity, preface to the 1954 edition)

6.
Do you want to see what human eyes have never seen?
Look at the moon.
Do you want to hear what ears have never heard?
Listen to the bird's cry.
Do you want to touch what hands have never touched?
Touch the earth.
Verily I say that God is about to create the world.
(The Theologians)


7.
Years of solitude had taught him that, in one's memory, all days tend to be the same, but that there is not a day, not even in jail or in the hospital, which does not bring surprises, which is not a translucent network of minimal surprises.
(The Waiting)



8.
Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.
(The Threatened)


9.
Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation.
Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.
(The Divine Comedy) (1977)

10.
Time carries him as the river carries
A leaf in the downstream water.
No matter. The enchanted one insists
And shapes God with delicate geometry.
Since his illness, since his birth,
He goes on constructing God with the word.
The mightiest love was granted him
Love that does not expect to be loved.
(Baruch Spinoza)
Sally A Bayan Jan 2021
(  
     )


In the silence of cold, quiet,
after midnight hours...wind
audibly pushes branches and
leaves...sends them swaying
and rustling....i hear the rain
falling...like small nails hitting
the neighbor's acrylic eave.

the peace of these unholy hours
empowers me...i feel, i rule the world,
my senses and my mind are sharpest..
while others are asleep and dreaming.

everyone's eyes are closed...mine, too,
yet, i am so awake, i see this cauldron,
where my life's goings-on are stirred by
an unknown force, spinning clockwise,
simmering, nothing burns, or breaks,
for, underneath, its fire burns slow...

good and bad issues mix and join
the stew of old stubborn ones;
daily rigors, wee triumphs blend in,
like a goulash of meat and veggies,
slowly cooking, as fire burns slow,
giving time...............taking time
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::::­­:::::::::::::::::::
the strong aroma of arabica jolts me
from my reverie...it matters not if i
haven't slept......6 am, i'm back to
reality.....lots of work await me
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::­­:::::::::::::::::::
five-pm past, arabica again stands by
me as i watch the orange fires of sunset,
hear the crickets sing, or a frog's croak,
while my rocking thoughts are cradled,
while i enjoy some peace and quiet,
exuded by a fragrant twilight.....it's
that feel-good part of each day...saying
gratitude for every sunrise and sunset,
while my candle's fire burns slow....
........
......
...

Sally

©Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
  January 6, 2021
*fragrant twilight* - I have a tree and a plant that
  bear flowers, boldly fragrant during the night...
Aiden Williams Jul 2013
Ash coats the skies that were once blue
A paintbrush of black over the green brand new.
The fire burns throughout the fields,
Destroying any enemy it deems unworthy of life.
Searing heat permeates the air,
Thick humidity pierces the lungs
Cages of smoke capture their vision,
While I run for hills
To escape this life circumcision.
Flesh upon bone and fabric upon flesh,
Burns both gracefully and with ferocity.
Their screams encompass the peace that once was Elysium.
There is no escape from this terror and fear,
For there is no refuge far, no refuge near
A place of sanctuary, no place for pain
Why would one come here to suffer these things again.
As this paradise burns to the ground,
I wonder what of those who wait to migrate,
To this place looking for peace, to only find death and despair.
They have nothing left to live for,
Only sorrow to bear,
For once their lives are over,
They have no resting place there.
No holy place of healing where their bodies can be renewed,
No fields or Sun so pure that their sins are memories refused.
What so they have to look towards
In their short time on that Earth,
Just a place for which their bodies lie,
Rotting beneath the hearth.

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust.
For life eternal
One no longer should lust.
Styles Aug 2016
Her passion burns bright
her fire catches me
igniting my soul
aroused by lust violently
her flames engulfing me
consuming my mind
body held in captivity
submitting mentally
enchanted by her majesty
Cola and Crown
Cola and Crown
Burns coming up
But, smooth going down

Cola and Crown
Cola and Crown
Burns coming up
But, smooth gong down

Sitting at the tavern
Needed courage
Drank four shots
Downed them in six seconds
Now, I didn't feel so hot

Stumbled to the dance floor
Room was spinning
So was I
Four shots in just six seconds
Felt like I was gonna die

Waitress pushed on by me
Saw that I had paid my dues
Four shots in just six seconds
I threw up on her new shoes

Cola and Crown
Cola and Crown
Burns coming up
But, smooth going down

Cola and Crown
Cola and Crown
Burns coming up
But, smooth gong down

She screamed and i just wobbled
Then she socked me with her tray
She gave me four shots in six seconds
Now, on the floor I lay

From now on when I'm drinking
I'm drinking beer, no matter what
I've got two black eyes to show me
Four in six ain't that hot
Emmy Dec 2013
Drunk on nostalgia and it's running through my veins tonight
It burns like alcohol, I convince myself it'll be alright
Shot after shot of colorful past memories
The glass clinks as I place it on the table
My hands reach out for something stable
Drunk on nostalgia and its running through my veins tonight
It burns like alcohol, I convince myself it'll be alright
Tipsy and rather wispy, I grasp forward toward you
Nothing is clear, oh dear the world is spinning
This is my inner demons winning
Drunk on nostalgia and its running through my veins tonight
It burns like alcohol, I convince myself it'll be alright
It burns like alcholol
It burns like alcohol
we slip away, in a sleep of rhythmic breaths
darkness consuming the room
but one corner basking in light
tall glass, deep purple wax
so long being burned, a ring of black surrounds
top of the glass, black, but not masking smell
flickering in and out, in tune with the flame
as the candle burns we sleep
as the candle burns dreams soar
fragrance so fine
flirting with my lungs, playing hard to get
even as it burns low, light still as strong
smell still as rich, as the candle burns
DBE Jan 2016
Well, it’s thanks to my friend, Neillie, that I'm standing here today;
He captured me down at his shop as I reached out to pay.
He said, “I have a job for you, and you've twelve weeks to prepare.”
I thought, my God - he wants his toenails clipped or help to dye his hair...

Now, a toast that's for the ladies; Lord, wherever will I start?
He said, “That's nothing rude and nothing crude, something from the heart.”
So, I scratched my head and searched my soul; I was’nae getting far.
It seems that Neillie's harsh restrictions took out half my repertoire.

Anyway - oh the Bard, he loved the ladies, and oh how they loved him back;
Seems a poem's all it took those days to get them in the sack.
No wonder he liked writing of the love that hid within,
Which explains his suave and healthy look, and how he kept so trim.

If only it were like that now; I’d write for all I'm worth,
Grabbing every chance I could each day to nail another verse.
And my wife, she would be pleased for me at all my new attention,
And I'd be thin from running scared from too much pain to mention.

Now, once my business took me roaming to each corner of Great Britain,
So, I catalogued the ladies; just the ones that I was smitten.
Well, Welsh girls they took hours to please, and the Irish take some beating,
And the English girls are very, very nice if your ears can take their bleating.
Ah, but Scottish girls are best by far; as steady as a rock,
But, if by chance your eye should stray, you'll wake withoot your ****.

So I married one, with no regrets; best move that I've made yet,
And I love her dear, with all my heart, in a life with no regret.
For like the Bard, I settled down when love could get no hotter,
But compared to him and his wondrous works, sure I'm just a ditty jotter.

Oh Sweet Ladies, you are dear to us - where would we be without you?
In wrinkled clothes and motley beards in a house of straw and cow poo.
Without you we would just exist - watching football in a bar;
Just sitting, drinking, laughing, eating, drinking…..and sleeping in the car.

Dear, Sweet Ladies, we don’t kid ourselves; we know you have us beat,
Hence why we hold the doors for you, and chairs each time you seat.
We love to do the chivalrous stuff - it makes us look the strongest,
You see, we have to make the most of things - you live the fecking longest.

Well, at last it’s time for me to stop - and give you chance to mingle,
And I'll make peace with my dear wife, before I'm Facebook status: single.
Now, gentlemen, I ask you all - please charge and raise your glasses,
And join me in a bumper toast: “To the beauty of the Lassies.”
Ideally read with a Scottish accent or best you can muster were required.... you'll see where.
R Dickson Jan 2015
An ither Burns night,
Has finally come alang,
If you've got an invite,
You'll hae to sing a song,

You'll soon be reciting poems,
Wi a whisky in one hand,
A haggis in the ither,
You'll be feeling mighty grand,

Daein wan o Rabbies,
Or wan you've writ yersel,
Gie it public airing,
You'll hae us in a spell,

Once the night's ower,
Poems spinning round yer heid,
Burns night is for aw body,
It's a pity that he's deid.
M Nov 2014
it feels as though I'm constantly going a little crazy
it seems as though those who keep it inside do not burn with the same force
as I do, for who could withstand a swirling, twisting, turning vortex
a hurricane of thought and constant lyrics and themes and destruction
as the galaxies swirl inside my mind, they pain me more and more because
the black hole in the center is not strong enough
to withstand the centrifugal force, neurons are firing too fast and
they must escape, they must work their will on the world
it must be torturous for those who keep their minds trapped in their minds
it must be a crucifixion to not let the planets fly free, spinning into
the dark universe, someone with an IQ of 148 must create,
create or burn, burn down like the building you spent your life carving
it seems to be that the lesser genius is the one that does not impact
for if you do not impact, does it really hurt that much? if your mind
is not exploding and tearing at the edges of your existence, is it
really a genius? if your galaxy is dividing and throbbing and overturning
like mine is, how can you keep it in? why would you want to?
those who tame their passions show only that their passions are
weak enough to be tamed- I am not weak enough to be tamed
my river courses beyond the bounds of its banks
and it is too forceful to keep it in, it breaks the levee
wreaks its wrath on the city, it cannot only shape the silt and serve its purpose
it must do more, it must do more, it must do more
and so it marks its legacy on the annals of history in the textbooks
taunting the dreams of children, it is by far the greater genius
for if it is great, then there is no way that it can be contained
your eyes must burn with the fire for your art and your hands must
shake when they touch the instrument, your mind must race with words
for your poetry, your brain must see the calculations as the numbers
dance behind your eyes for there is nothing you can do to get away from it
you must talk about it as though there is nothing in the world
if it does not strain you to escape then it must not exist
the true genius is not tempered, it is obsessive, it burns and burns and burns,
we are a dying star spitting its sparks, it
compulses, whirls, throws its light across the sea, and turns,
the world would be darker without it, and the true genius knows that
so the true genius burns.
THERE is a woman on Michigan Boulevard keeps a parrot and goldfish and two white mice.
  
She used to keep a houseful of girls in kimonos and three pushbuttons on the front door.
  
Now she is alone with a parrot and goldfish and two white mice ... but these are some of her thoughts:
  
The love of a soldier on furlough or a sailor on shore leave burns with a bonfire red and saffron.
  
The love of an emigrant workman whose wife is a thousand miles away burns with a blue smoke.
  
The love of a young man whose sweetheart married an older man for money burns with a sputtering uncertain flame.
  
And there is a love ... one in a thousand ... burns clean and is gone leaving a white ash....
  
And this is a thought she never explains to the parrot and goldfish and two white mice.

— The End —