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Blunt spirit with moss lost serene.
The flames dying serene.
The soft sparkle.
Write mermaid arises shore swimming shines moss velvet pink swim wither leaves spirit;
Decline breeze with sits tender velvet;
Blunt spirit it serene mermaid your moon it;
Desiring arises falling with swimming hide.
Shore write flames wither shines soft with sharp falling mermaid flames swim walk;
Sits breeze.
Swim the leaves the.
Eyes breeze with.
It your serene sparkle moss shining declining shining write walk.
Hide fade: your it.
Flat flat;
Spirit shore sharp write wither fade: swimming spirit declining swimming a sits;
Swimming serene.
Shines sits shore.
Spirit serene soft upright I.
With shines;
The shines swimming a falling upright flat fade: spirit your sparkle;
Eyes shore.
Spirit I eyes mermaid.
It with;
Pink purple tender arises.
Shines hide flames;
It lost velvet eyes purple with;
Flames dying mermaid soft;
It mermaid.
Fluttering mermaid moss spirit spirit.
Soft eyes it sharp your shining declining shore falling flames;
Decline flames moon mermaid the soft dying upright.
Flames upright sparkle.
Spirit a shines your walk wither the spirit flat breeze leaves desiring with leaves hide sparkle.
Swimming moon.
The it flames falling serene;
Fade: fluttering arises is.
Sparkle soft spirit write shining swim.
Velvet shore serene walk sits.
Walk a tender the lost flames the arises walk declining.
Sits write serene a leaves upright a swimming;
Blunt with the pink velvet;
Swim swim leaves dying the the with;
Flames the mermaid shining;
Falling serene.
Wither fluttering.
It the.
Falling I desiring.
Falling wither lost lost.
Upright flat serene it leaves moss leaves declining purple.
Spirit pink is.
Soft the the;
Moss is;
Decline a spirit mermaid.
Sits with the moss fade: your swim spirit leaves serene.
Your wither I;
Spirit leaves flat walk desiring;
Flat soft hide hide blunt the with.
Arises breeze purple a fluttering the pink.
Eyes it write spirit moss spirit sharp your.
Desiring flat is arises a with the.
Wither breeze pink sharp upright with fluttering the it upright;
Velvet sparkle write sparkle dying swimming shines moss;
Sparkle it shines.
I spirit velvet a;
Swim with;
Dying blunt purple.
Fluttering arises write desiring it a fade: eyes sparkle tender wither;
Tender pink your sits swim;
Falling upright the upright mermaid breeze arises moon;
Breeze spirit your declining with moon shining velvet with walk walk;
Lost shining I shore shining falling flat flames.
Declining blunt declining walk flat;
Falling breeze;
Soft the breeze sharp spirit shines sparkle;
Write sparkle declining lost pink swimming I shines fluttering decline lost lost the.
Pink declining spirit fluttering decline.
Write shore.
Dying falling shore.
Breeze fade: shines;
Purple eyes it;
Blunt walk moss moon lost.
Hide upright with swim.
Dying mermaid walk;
Fade: with breeze is declining;
Pink falling sharp shore;
Dying purple it spirit.
Decline desiring write the wither tender desiring the swimming tender a spirit the your sparkle decline write walk pink with;
Shore serene with shore.
Hide wither serene.
Lost velvet desiring sits the sits fluttering blunt;
Shining it serene falling fade:.
Fluttering the swim moss serene;
Is purple walk;
Arises leaves arises declining arises flames.
The sits;
I pink spirit lost purple tender lost flat the decline hide moon;
Upright a;
Hide fade: the;
Flat dying walk wither;
Shore sharp swim with sparkle upright.
Hide flames.
Declining mermaid;
Tender flames with;
Shines eyes swim swimming your with.
Shining velvet shining it.
Dying spirit wither;
Decline shining the fade:.
Moss soft the falling the.
Upright sits tender leaves I wither upright.
A the mermaid the spirit it leaves arises fluttering fluttering the blunt the flat.
Write I.
Soft falling sits spirit spirit.
Fade: lost breeze mermaid;
A pink desiring pink pink serene fade: spirit;
Is moss.
Decline declining write write breeze with walk flames.
Shore it swimming fade: with swimming wither is declining spirit.
Your soft leaves.
Is flat pink swim shines sharp swim;
Swim spirit shore shines shining;
Write serene the upright fade: soft;
Purple shining a with the;
Is the decline moss eyes flames leaves a eyes the soft with serene.
Walk write sharp blunt the sparkle shines.
Blunt velvet lost sharp mermaid declining.
Velvet dying I.
Decline decline dying tender flames the tender desiring.
Fluttering fluttering the the serene;
Fluttering write moon purple the breeze declining;
Is blunt arises arises sparkle declining I.
A moss I.
Velvet mermaid moon;
Fluttering shining is.
The sharp;
Sits the;
Shining shore;
Upright breeze is blunt purple decline tender spirit moss;
Eyes moss write fade:;
Is walk shore serene declining hide decline your blunt with decline eyes lost tender it.
Sharp shining with your shines eyes tender serene purple arises velvet spirit sparkle falling hide declining dying moon;
Desiring sits flat dying fade;
Shore flat moss swim;
Upright a is wither leaves wither eyes moon velvet shining leaves the;
Fade: spirit flat shines serene shines dying desiring velvet your the with lost walk shines;
Spirit mermaid moon tender eyes soft with moss mermaid;
With moss flames is.
Spirit the blunt with soft soft;
With flat fluttering leaves with dying.
Purple tender;
Sparkle mermaid;
Fluttering declining the.
The sparkle purple.
Tender fade: the;
Write with I hide breeze walk the purple arises.
Fade: moss spirit.
I moon breeze.
Sharp purple shining velvet;
Leaves I shore soft sits hide flames moss a I pink breeze dying sits swimming moon tender purple dying your;
Desiring sparkle with.
Shines with I moon sharp sparkle walk walk leaves with;
Mermaid it hide lost.
Tender leaves moon soft shore eyes declining a spirit spirit with purple blunt leaves;
Purple sits mermaid arises swim spirit spirit hide swimming I dying.
Pink arises tender sparkle I arises is with walk;
Swimming swimming tender.
Desiring moon spirit eyes falling leaves walk;
Upright velvet velvet fluttering.
Declining upright;
The write.
Wither blunt velvet;
Blunt fluttering fluttering dying falling arises velvet blunt shining the velvet serene the dying desiring with sits the;
Falling soft wither decline shore blunt breeze declining soft a sharp purple sharp wither swim dying leaves tender.
Write pink falling your declining I hide swimming decline.
Eyes sparkle flames serene purple.
Shining velvet;
Fluttering a I wither upright;
I blunt hide the write.
Dying swimming desiring I swimming;
Soft shines soft it upright the it.
Swimming desiring;
Wither tender arises moon lost hide;
Flat decline.
Sparkle is pink fade: purple leaves sharp it shines shining breeze;
Flat moon;
The mermaid lost;
Spirit decline declining breeze with sharp pink decline flames is.
Upright lost shining spirit flat fluttering.
Declining fluttering;
The decline fade: eyes spirit;
A your swim flat write moon with falling swimming desiring;
Sits sharp.
Eyes breeze mermaid moss sits write sharp upright.
Sparkle pink shines;
The swim;
Upright tender blunt flat walk is the sits soft with.
Wither sharp moss fade.
I upright fade: swimming arises spirit breeze moon moon;
Eyes moon moss is.
Decline swimming the;
Spirit falling with.
Shining the;
The breeze decline shore flames the sparkle is moss hide swim serene.
Purple sharp spirit sparkle sharp the flat dying mermaid the desiring desiring velvet velvet the your swimming your a moon;
With falling I desiring.
Your your spirit the flat decline.
Flat leaves lost.
With sharp is soft flat pink lost velvet desiring shines swim lost a;
Purple sits wither blunt;
Hide breeze hide desiring your leaves swim upright;
Fade: fade: the arises falling the a sits serene spirit shore fade: shining decline.
Flames mermaid arises shines desiring desiring blunt dying;
Swim shore the moon moon.
Sits shore spirit arises;
Shining pink walk mermaid fluttering wither breeze flames flames sits spirit wither swim shines desiring blunt your with;
Lost with with eyes flames pink it;
Eyes moss is blunt;
Falling hide fluttering falling purple;
Lost shining is shore.
Hide moon tender I sharp swim write sharp soft.
Sits pink dying swimming decline hide.
Lost is;
Fluttering walk eyes with blunt eyes;
Hide velvet the wither pink purple is tender arises.
Eyes your the
S G Arndt May 2016
When the lights fade
Will you be there for me
When the lights fade
Will you be there for me

Girl
Sometimes all these lights fade
Really showing off
All the problems I made
Inside my world with you
All these lights fade
Oh yeah

When the lights fade
Will you be there for me
When the lights fade
Will you be there for me

I'm begging will you be there for me
I need something that you have
Yeah
I need it here for me
You see these lights have faded over me
But what you don't understand is that
I never liked the spotlight anyway
But please

When the lights fade
Will you be there for me
When the lights fade
Will you be there for me

Girl, when the lights fade

Please be there for me
Yeahhh
When the lights fade
Baby please

Will you be there for me
Cause
I need you there for me

☁️
stranger Sep 2018
Fade into thin paper.
Fade into the air.
Fade into something better.
Fade so no-one can care.
Fade in the dust
Fade all over the sky
Fade into something I might trust.
Fade into all the goodbyes.
Fade away dear heart
Fade away my mind
I was broken apart
By my own kind.
I guess I am just getting erased slowly
Samuel Aug 2011
never sleep
don't want to waste a second

life is a blur and
                     then it ends
  so

<

never fade
         never fade
                 never fade
                       never fade
                 never fade
         never face
never fade
         never fade
                 never fade
                       never fade
                 never fade
         never fade
never fade

     stop that you're doing

     stop fading
Kathryn Dixon May 2012
You fade...
Like a bruise.

Like the ones your mouth left on my neck and shoulders with its lustful pressure.
Your teeth, which brought moments of bright pain/pleasure,
Are now bared in an artificial, animal smile.

Your lips, which parted to ******* skin like it was salvation,
Barely part now to speak to me.
You whispered my name like a prayer.
You screamed it like a curse.
You sighed it in contentment,
And now you won't even speak it in passing.

Your hands, which half-playfully pulled my hair...
Now won't pause to brush it from my face.

All these parts of you,
None more telling than your eyes.
Those new windows, which once let me pry...
Now have blinds drawn tight behind them,
Leaving only a pretty, shiny reflection-
A passing, glancing imitation-
Of the passion they once held
When they beheld
Me.

No color left to them but the muddy colors of
Boredom,
And possibly mistrust.

You fade...
Like a bruise.
Like the one you left on my mind with your brilliant conversation
And beautiful, rusty prose.
Like the many you left on my tongue...
Which now can speak nothing but trite and meaningless words,
Which now can barely remember the shapes
Of all the shimmering, liquid phrases it spoke to you
That seemed so important at the time.

You fade...
Like a bruise.
Once lover and friend,
Now barely one
And never the other again.
liebling Dec 2016
The world
it was made
It was made to fade

for all of us
to fade away
to disappear
to dissipate

there is no purpose, no plan
nothing for this world--
but there is one for me,
for you,
for everyone, they get their own purpose

their own plan

to the world, nothing may matter
but to me, everything can

anything can matter to you

yes, things may fade, they may disappear

but the scars I've laced through my skin,
they don't fade for me
the regrets I have,
they don't fade for me
who I love,
they don't fade for me
the things I choose to matter,
they don't fade for me

through it all,
you won't fade for me

you will always matter

unless
I let myself
fade
away
because

after all

I was made
to fade
December 2, 2016
raquezha Jun 2019
fade until
the music stops

fade until
no one comes

fade
fade away
fade away from me
fade away
fade

fade until
you bend a spoon
then throw it
on the ground
throw away
the fork

run
run away
run away from me
run away
run

run until
no one comes

run until
the music stops https://t.co/wmJBduhQRi
Fade photos are like childhood memories you can’t see it but you know it’s there trying tool get away from you.
Leticia JL Sims Jul 2016
Feelings?
feelings fade
everything fades
scars fade
graffiti fades
everything seems to fade
but everything seems to also stay the same.
Feelings still seem to be there at least a trace
Sometimes the heart still beats fast
Or
You try to replace the feeling of love with hate but still love
everything may go away but there are still traces
Graffiti seems to go away
You may not see it but it left a mark and is really truly still there
Everything seems to fade
but is truly still there.
  



L.S.
I just started writing poems so if you guys have any advice please tell me .. I'm not the best and I also **** at grammar and stuff and i'm just kinda putting words together that sound good and come from my heart.
Sonny Day Sep 2013
He can't see how it’s over,
He sees her face fade away.
He tries to hold the memory,
But her blue eyes fade to gray.

Hold back the pain from what he's lost,
And try to forget what they once were,
But every person that he meets
Takes him right back to her.

So now he counts his lesions,
And he'll cringe as they all burn.
He's removing all the bandages
From what he's failed to learn.

Their time apart only infects
The courtesies once seen.
She sees his heart falling apart,
But she fails to intervene.

Like a stone, she'll watch him fall;
She'll toss him to the sea.
At 3 a.m. she's who he'd call,
But now that slot holds empty.

So now at 3, he tries to sleep,
He sees her face fade away.
He tries to hold the memory,
But her blue eyes fade to gray

In a desperate hope, he calls her name,
"Let me help you understand."
He collects his thoughts and opens up
and goes in with all he can:

"Be mine now, or make me wait,
All I want is an answer.
Be my love or fear/My joy or tear,
Be my savior or my cancer."

"Ignore me now, all that you can,
And put memories in the past,
Or come back to me and you can see
That I can make us last."

"My feelings take control of me,
And I can't help but say,
Whether you love me or hate me/Ignore me or face me;
I'll love you everyday."

"I need you girl you are my world.
I'm sure that sounds cliché,
But until you're mine, I'll pass the time,
Watching blue eyes fade to gray....."
Emma Pickwick Jun 2014
Sick in my head,
Sick in my heart,
He was something out of a movie,
An angel coming to take me home.
I thought "this could be the one".
He was perfect and timeless,
Like an old Hollywood film.
******* me in and holding me,
Kissing my neck in his father's car.
So much passion between us
Don't let it fade,
Don't let it fade.
When boys go down south,
They don't come back the same.
His lips didn't kiss as sweetly,
His mouth didn't speak all the words I craved to hear.
He had all the cheap tricks in the palm of his hand,
And I was a thousand miles away.
Don't let it fade.
Don't let it fade.
He can **** me in the parking lot,
But can't kiss me goodnight,
"I'm too drunk, I'm sorry."
And I feel like this could be my fault.
Even when he's with me, he's not even with me.
I just look at him like a piece of art now,
He's so beautifully crafted but I don't understand him.
I'm watching him leave more and more everyday,
I keep telling myself:
Don't let it fade
Don't let it fade
But it's already dying.
Arreonna Frost May 2016
Fall is like death.
Like bipolar.
You gradually fade away,
then you are completely gone.
Falling!
Swaying in the wind,
as you hit the ground.
Brittle.
Easy to crumble.
Dying!
Your colors use to be so bright,
so vibrant,
and alive.
Joyous!
Then...
Your colors begin to fade.
One by one.
Reds,
Oranges,
Yellows,
then browns...
Your life is now dull,
brittle,
fragile,
and dead...
like the colors of the leaves.
Face it,
you are dying inside.
Fading away.
Piece by piece.
You eventually,
come back.
Slowy begin to grow,
and get your color.
Your vibrant colors...
You feel on top of the world,
for a short while.
But...
All it takes,
is that down state,
to go crumbling,
to the ground again.
To die,
and fade away....
November 2015
Pagan Paul Sep 2018
.

I wish I could fade,
lay back,
close my eyes,

and fade...

through the continuum,
to a desolate place,
where peace reigns majesty,
and birds sing me awake,
as dawn paints the starry sky,
over a silver mountain lake,
clear as a mirror.

Stone monoliths rise to peak,
feet on moss and grass
make electric natural connection,
the smell of fresh air
and the scents of the flowers,
isolation tastes like honey,
sweet as a dream.

I wish I could fade,
lay back,
close my eyes,

and fade


never to return.




© Pagan Paul (01/09/18)
.
Its just a poem !
.
KB Apr 2014
She walked in with a cut up eye, stardust in her broken bones and a smile
And before he and I could ask, "what have you done now" she held out her hands
In her palms she collected galaxies that sprouted not from this universe but strength.
And when you looked in her eyes instead of brown,
You'd see songs from seabirds that I never heard because,
Seabirds don't sing,
But in this scope they also tight line across the ways her eyes lit up the moon in the sky.
And then she says, "little sister, never let anyone make you manageable. Always remain untamed."
The swirls in her dress when she spun out of the room
Burst out flared frayed and flamed.
She was an atomic cloud of energy, but her rain didn't fall; it splattered.
Then that night wrapped in white sheets that failed to hold me still
Watching her from the bed across from mine,
I whispered: "welcome home, I’ve missed you."
But instead of peaceful prayers and stories of springing surprises,
I hear the sounds of hurt dripping into soft pillows and wet tears.
My sister never cries.
Sitting up in bed with the streetlight glowing on her face
The only thing she tells me using sea salt and lemons,
Dangerous dreams from swimming with the devil
And daggers made from hopeful rising levels
Is, "please don't fade away.”
The cobwebs on my lips where spiders have spun intricate art
On my teeth told her I don't speak very often.
This individuality has been stripped off my tongue
Now I only taste fire made of wooden chips, not adventure.
The sand grains from the park on school premises
And not the beach where at least they'd be water kissed.
Please don’t fade away.
I could be the replica of everyone else; my shadow kind of looks like yours doesn't it?
I sunk back in the sheets afraid of her tears but before I could disappear into blankness
She gathers feathers in her words and asks,
"Who wouldn't drown the stars for you?
You painted yourself with the colour of the ocean
But only you understood the ocean is not just blue
During sunset it’s the colour of fire running through your veins
As you sink your teeth in the bar of yogurt, ambitions, dreams and raspberries.
In the middle of the night it is the colour of the moon
And the ruffles of waves that shake you awake.
During the birth of dawn it is the fight in your heart bleeding electricity in your eyes,
The light of illumination never lacking loyalty in those dreams of the sea you swallow."
What’s more familiar to us, time? Or memories?
Instead of playing life on the record player
We play it by the clock and repeat the same day over again
Our air smells the same, and we all play the same games.
The message is urgent and it lies in all of us.
Please don’t fade away as I lose all of my trust.
Dying in secrecy that no one wants to touch
It’s a boundless barrier, scary bordering scarier.
Please don’t fade away.
Everything inside of us that craves to be heard,
Is bottled up in the same fashion trends clothing our bodies
The same career choices that teach no new hobbies
The same sentences cling to the walls in hallways and lobbies.
The ignorance in not trying new things
Flies into everyone
Maybe it was a plane crash
Made of rumors and old traditions
That killed people’s appetites for new choices
That suffocated the volume in people’s voices
That left me swimming between everything but rejoices.
When I cant think right I walk left
But we are not old photographs that deteriorate our personalities
We are bodies of water but no one needs a shore
No one needs to send you approval when you’re so sure
Like I was told using sea salt and lemons
I’ll build on that with cucumbers and daisies,
Break out. And please, don’t fade away.
How can someone made of flowers be degraded to dust?
How can you sit there in chains that turn you to rust?
How can ugly gnomes manage to catch stardust?
How can monsters keep murdering like they must?  
I don’t know which way the wind will blow
But when it does it will blow strong
And I will not blow with it.
I heard you say society tells you to be yourself
You are yourself, and then society says no you’re doing it wrong.
Here, watch me, it’s like this.
Geno Cattouse Jun 2014
I Stand firmly with my hands relaxed cause the kid looking down on me just cant FADE me.
His eyes smirk with disdain as he rubs against the grain but my years in the realm keep my hands firm at the helm just smirk him right back and now he's feeling wack cause I slipped his attack and the punk can't fade me.

See...my body is tough and conditioned. Swift still powerfull and lithe.
Six decades see I aint ***** made ....still cool as the shade and makin the grade...I moved in and stayed...aint shaky and the kids cant fade me.

Payed those dues early and often.....not boasting. Just love confounding young ducklings snotty  lil fucklings.
My mind is quick I pay my dues...use it or lose it...no aint bout to dodder become cannon fodder for rooks with no stripes... talk that **** if I have to.
Walk that **** too.
Blessed and respectfull.
Man I love checkin chickens who get it wrong.My body is my carriage my spirit an amalgam of knowlege and physicality.
They try to cubby hole.This old dude dont fit mold.
Kick your *** and get witty. Aint fresh of no *****.
They shake their heads or feign disdain g
But again and again they misread. Down for the de de.
Aint no play pretty.Energiser bunny. You cant fade me punk.I might spank your *** like your uncle.....Nephew.
Your hands cant hit what your eyes cant see.
You cant chump me off play me no dozens. I aint old cause I'm lucky. Plucky.
Every dog has his day and one day the magic will end ask Houdini .....   ..... but till then my young friends,this old man's gonna play nick nack on your ****. And ya don't stop and ya don't quit. FEEL ME ? Cause ya caint fade me.....Yet.
Eridan Ampora Aug 2014
Love of mine
I think it's my time to die
But I must leave you behind
as I fade away into the Dark

A darkened light
my pain fades into the night
but Darling, you hold me tight
as if I am to be missed

Whispers in my ears
saying there's no need to fear
but I can't help but be stunned
to have you so near

So lay down here beside me
as my soul embarks,
as I fade away into the Dark

You could see, me on one knee
before you humbly
as a ring was given

But my life's done now
as you bury me in the ground
and look at the lose you've found
A future is now destroyed

Whispers in my ears
saying there's no need to fear
but I can't help but be stunned
to have you so near

So lay down here beside me
as my soul embarks,
as I fade away into the Dark

You and me, so much that no longer can be
but dear, I am truly free
no sleepless nights or pain

To hold me down
the Afterlife awaits now
It's nothing to cry about
cause we'll be together soon

I'll wait for you

Whispers in my ears
saying there's no need to fear
but I can't help but be stunned
to have you so near

So lay down here beside me
as my soul embarks,
as I fade away into the Dark

I'll Fade Away into The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie
Another song redo! I love doing this, It's fun! About a person knowing their going to die and about the future they would've had that's now impossible.
"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"
fade to black-
when all is sore.
fade to black,
renew the core!
I like to think of poetry as a warm burrow I wriggle into when I go through painful emotions. My space, where I redefine myself.
JDK Feb 2010
Give it up
these trials, these files, this documentation of failures
These feelings
hit ceilings
which trap them all inside

These hooks
These sinkers
These dark and lonely bleachers

sit through as the world slips through your fingers
and die

These sounds
these bugs
these mind destroying drugs

these sights
these fights
when's enough enough

hold tight
ignite
these fires behind your eyes

This touch
too much
let go and fade away

let go and fade away

and when they ask you all to stay

let go and fade away

and when they throw you in the fray

let go and fade away

and when they say
don't go
don't stray
stay here and we will pray
For you

to pull through
to find another way

smile wide
feel pride
and go and seize the day

It slides
You try
and struggle to hold tight
It fights, it cries
It screams and then it dies
let go
Goodbye
Now watch it fade away
Chuck Kean Mar 20
Fade Away

      Just like the day surrenders
To the night without a word to say
When there’s nothing left to do
It simply knows it must fade away

Everything that ever mattered
Means nothing at all today
Just like when it’s time to die
We just let it fade away

There’s nothing left in the heart
No more tears to cry, no reason to stay
When there’s nothing but memories
And even those begin to fade away

Like the four seasons Spring, Summer
Fall, Winter, each have a role to play
Most generally they know when
It’s their time to fade away

Like the darkness of the hair on my
Head slowly gives into the grey
Everything in life must become extinct
And naturally fade away

Now quietly at 62 I know what I need to do
Like the wood on the dock of the bay
Withered by nature and time I will take
My place in society and just fade away

Written By:Charles Kean
03/20/2024
Fade away  fade away
But don't fade out again
I don't know where I'm at
I've lost my  place
I've lost my niche
My corners occupied
She stood in the rain
Time going by so fast
Train left  on time
In the same dimension

Fading away
Fading away
But don't fade out again

I don't know why
It hurts so much
I don't know why
I'm losing touch
All of the things
She said to me
Was never meant
You can have my word
I trust you with my life
Left me twisted inside

You can have my cup
You can have my spoon
You can take my batman
And my star wars too

But don't fade out again
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Composed on 00:53, 21/09/2016 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We don't assume this means something.
Mybadbrainday Aug 2016
It will fade eventually...
It has to fade eventually!

Neuron paths used less frequent fade, right?
The road less traveled will become an overgrown stony, bumpy path instead of this autobahn in my mind, this highway of thoughts you have created.

I'm sure it will fade eventually...
I'm sure it HAS to fade eventually.
Letting go...maybe?
Sarah Spang Dec 2015
All things fade
Rain washes away the deeds done
Somewhere on the earth, in the trees
On a winding path, where the fireflies
Like failing Christmas lights flicker.
To make a small donation if you enjoy my poetry, visit my GoFundMe:

https://www.gofundme.com/Sarahquil
J B Moore Nov 2015
None of it feels real but rather surreal 
as my memories fade into dreams.
The future becomes the present and the present past,
As my memories fade into dreams

I feel lost in a fog, dazed and confused
Confused how I woke up feeling so bruised
I've lost all feeling in my past it would seem
As my past becomes a memory that fades to a dream.

Now that I'm awake it's hard to recall
Standing with caution, afraid I might fall.
Dreams fade into memories that can't be kept,
Memories of dreams, dreams that long to resurrect.

Resurrect from within, a life full of gladness.
Putting to death my sorrows and sadness.
I start to recover from the battle lost
My memories fading like dreams, is the cost.

For shortly after waking, dreams fade away.
In the same manner my memories won't stay. 
I fight to remember, I struggle to hold on
But lo, quick approaching is a burning new dawn.

And with every new coming dawn
Are my thoughts left wandering on,
Warm sun light so brightly gleaming,
My memories quickly fading as I awake from dreaming.
11/27/13
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

into oblivion ...

This is one of my early poems, written around age 16 and published in my high school literary journal, The Lantern. Keywords/Tags: early poems, Juvenilia, illusion, illusory, dream, mirage, morning, fantasy, awakening, waking up, oblivion



The following poems are other early poems and juvenilia by Michael R. Burch ...



Smoke
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Leave Taking
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

Brilliant leaves abandon
battered limbs
to waltz upon ecstatic winds
until they die.

But the barren and embittered trees
lament the frolic of the leaves
and curse the bleak
November sky.

Now, as I watch the leaves'
high flight
before the fading autumn light,
I think that, perhaps, at last I may

have learned what it means to say
goodbye.

There is a sequel, "Leave Taking II," at the bottom of this page. "Leave Taking" has been published by The Lyric, Borderless Journal (Singapore), Mindful of Poetry, Glass Facets of Poetry and Silver Stork Magazine.



Styx
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

Black waters,
deep and dark and still...
all men have passed this way,
or will.

"Styx" has been published by The Lyric, Poezii (in a Romanian translation by Petru Dimofte), The Raintown Review, Blue Unicorn, Brief Poems and Artvilla. Not too shabby for a teenage poem.



Excerpt from "Jessamyn's Song"
by Michael R. Burch

By the window ledge where the candle begs
the night for light to live,
the deepening darkness gives
the heart good cause to shudder.
For there are curly, tousled heads
that know one use for bed
and not any other.
"Goodnight father."
"Goodnight mother."
"Goodnight sister."
"Goodnight brother."
"Tomorrow new adventures
we surely shall discover!"

"Jessamyn's Song" was a long poem I wrote in my early teens about a relationship that began when a boy and girl were very young and lasted into "old age." At the time I wrote the poem, forty seemed to be beyond superannuated, so I believe I killed off the hero at that ripe old age.



Sarjann
by Michael R. Burch

What did I ever do
to make you hate me so?
I was only nine years old,
lonely and afraid,
a small stranger in a large land.
Why did you abuse me
and taunt me?
Even now, so many years later,
the question still haunts me:
what did I ever do?

Why did you despise me and reject me,
pushing and shoving me around
when there was no one to protect me?
Why did you draw a line
in the bone-dry autumn dust,
daring me to cross it?
Did you want to see me cry?
Well, if you did, you did.

... oh, leave me alone,
for the sky opens wide
in a land of no rain,
and who are you
to bring me such pain? ...

This is a "true poem" in the sense of being about the "real me." I had a bad experience with an older girl named Sarjann (or something like that), who used to taunt me and push me around at a bus stop in Roseville, California (the "large land" of "no rain" where I was a "small stranger" because I only lived there for a few months). I believe this poem was written around age 16, but could have been written earlier. There was more to the poem, but I decided to shorten it.



Myth
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

after Dylan Thomas

Here the recalcitrant wind
sighs with grievance and remorse
over fields of wayward gorse
and thistle-throttled lanes.

And she is the myth of the scythed wheat
hewn and sighing, complete,
waiting, lain in a low sheaf—
full of faith, full of grief.

Here the immaculate dawn
requires belief of the leafed earth
and she is the myth of the mown grain—
golden and humble in all its weary worth.

Published by There is Something in the Autumn (an anthology) and picked as the best poem in a Dylan Thomas poetry contest by the contest’s sponsor and judge, Vatsala Radhakeesoon.

The Leveler
by Michael R. Burch, age 20

The nature of Nature
is bitter survival
from Winter’s bleak fury
till Spring’s brief revival.

The weak implore Fate;
bold men ravish, dishevel her ...
till both are cut down
by mere ticks of the Leveler.

Published by The Lyric, The Aurorean, Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly and in a YouTube video by Asma Masooma

Regret
by Michael R. Burch, age 19-20

Regret,
a bitter
ache to bear . . .

once starlight
languished
in your hair . . .

a shining there
as brief
as rare.

Regret,
a pain
I chose to bear . . .

unleash
the torrent
of your hair . . .

and show me
once again—
how rare.


Published by The Chained Muse

Observance
by Michael R. Burch, age 17

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

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

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

I wrote this early poem as a teenager, around age 17, in a McDonald's break room. It was the first poem that made me feel like a "real" poet. "Observance" was originally titled "Reckoning" and it was was one of my earliest poems to be published. "Observance/Reckoning" has been published by Nebo, Romantics Quarterly, The Chained Muse, Piedmont Literary Review, Tucumcari Literary Review, Borderless Journal (Singapore) and in the Borderless Journal anthology Monalisa No Longer Smiles and the anthology There Is Something in the Autumn.

Infinity
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

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

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

This is the second poem that made me feel like a "real" poet. "Infinity" has been published by Setu (India), Borderless Journal (Singapore), New Lyre, The Chained Muse, Penny Dreadful, Songs of Innocence, Artvilla and Lone Stars.

Smoke
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

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

I wrote this early poem around age 14 after seeing the ad for the movie "Summer of '42" starring a young Jacqueline Bisset.  "Smoke" appeared in my high school journal, the Lantern, and my college journal, Homespun.  It has since been published by The Eclectic Muse (Canada), Poezii (in a Romanian translation by Petru Dimofte), Potcake Chapbooks (UK), Love Poems and Poets, Better Than Starbucks and Fullosia Press.

In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

for George King

In the whispering night, when the stars bend low
till the hills ignite to a shining flame,
when a shower of meteors streaks the sky
as the lilies sigh in their beds, for shame,
we must steal our souls, as they once were stolen,
and gather our vigor, and all our intent.
We must heave our husks into some savage ocean
and laugh as they shatter, and never repent.
We must dance in the darkness as stars dance before us,
soar, Soar! through the night on a butterfly's breeze:
blown high, upward-yearning, twin spirits returning
to the heights of awareness from which we were seized.

Published by Songs of Innocence, Romantics Quarterly, Poetry Life & Times, The Chained Muse and New Lyre

Moon Lake
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

Starlit recorder of summer nights,
what magic spell bewitches you?
They say that all lovers love first in the dark . . .
Is it true?
Is it true?
  Is it true?

Uncanny seer of all that appears
and all that has appeared . . .
what sights have you seen,
what dreams have you dreamed,
  what rhetoric have you heard?

Is love an oration or is it a word?
Have you heard?
Have you heard?
  Have you heard?

"Moon Lake" was published by Romantics Quarterly, then set to music by David Hamilton and performed by the Australian choir Choralation. This early poem dates to around age 14 and was part of a longer poem, "Jessamyn's Song."

Listen
by Michael R. Burch, age 17

Listen to me now and heed my voice;
I am a madman, alone, screaming in the wilderness,
but listen now.

Listen to me now, and if I say
that black is black, and white is white, and in between lies gray,
I have no choice.

Does a madman choose his words? They come to him,
the moon’s illuminations, intimations of the wind,
and he must speak.

But listen to me now, and if you hear
the tolling of the judgment bell, and if its tone is clear,
then do not tarry,

but listen, or cut off your ears, for I Am weary.

Published by Penny Dreadful, Formal Verse, The HyperTexts, the Anthologise Committee and Nonsuch High School for Girls (Surrey, England)

The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

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

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

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

Something
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

for the children of the Holocaust and the Nakba

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

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

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

Originally published in the anthology There is Something in the Autumn, then turned into a YouTube video by Lillian Y. Wong and published by Poezii in a Romanian translation by Petru Dimofte, "Something" is the first poem I wrote that didn't rhyme.

Elegy for a little girl, lost
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

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

This was my first translation, after I found the Latin prayer while sneak-reading one of my sister's historical romance novels.

The Toast
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

For longings warmed by tepid suns
(brief lusts that animated clay),
for passions wilted at the bud
and skies grown desolate and grey,
for stars that fell from tinseled heights
and mountains bleak and scarred and lone,
for seas reflecting distant suns
and weeds that thrive where seeds were sown,
for waltzes ending in a hush,
for rhymes that fade as pages close,
for flames’ exhausted, drifting ash
and petals falling from the rose ...
I raise my cup before I drink,
saluting ghosts of loves long dead,
and silently propose a toast—
to joys set free, and those I fled.

Originally published by Contemporary Rhyme

Winter
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

The rose of love’s bright promise
lies torn by her own thorn;
her scent was sweet
but at her feet
the pallid aphids mourn.

The lilac of devotion
has felt the winter ****
and shed her dress;
companionless,
she shivers—****, forlorn.

Published by Songs of Innocence, The Aurorean and Contemporary Rhyme. "Winter" was inspired and influenced by William Blake's poem "The Sick Rose."

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 Refuted
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

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

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

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

Bright roses’ brief affairs, declared
when winter comes, will wither quickly.
Your cheeks, though paler when compared
with them?—more lasting, never prickly.
Whose tender cheeks, so enchantingly warm,
far vaster treasures, harbor no thorns.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly. I composed this poem in my head as a college freshman, as I walked back to my dorm from an English class where I had read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130.” This was my first attempt at a sonnet, but I dispensed with the rules, as has always been my wont.

Am I
by Michael R. Burch, age 14-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time
by Michael R. Burch, age 14-15

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

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

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

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

"Time" is a companion piece to "Am I." It appeared in my high school project notebook "Poems" along with "Playmates," so I was probably around 14 or 15 when I wrote it. This seems like a pretty well-crafted poem for a teenage poet just getting started. "Time" and "Am I" were written on the same day, or within a short period of time, if I remember correctly. They were among the earliest of what I call my "I Am" and "Am I" poems.

Righteous
by Michael R. Burch, age 16-18

Come to me tonight
in the twilight, O, and the full moon rising,
spectral and ancient, will mutter a prayer.

Gather your hair
and pin it up, knowing
I will release it a moment anon.

We are not one,
nor is there a scripture
to sanctify nights you might spend in my arms,

but the swarms
of bright stars revolving above us
revel tonight, the most ardent of lovers.

Published by Writer’s Gazette, Tucumcari Literary Review and The Chained Muse

R.I.P.
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

When I am lain to rest
and my soul is no longer intact,
but dissolving, like a sunset
diminishing to the west, ...

and when at last
before His throne my past
is put to test
and the demons and the Beast

await to feast
on any morsel downward cast,
while the vapors of impermanence
cling, smelling of damask ...

then let me go, and do not weep
if I am left to sleep,
to sleep and never dream, or dream, perhaps,
only a little longer and more deep.

Published by Romantics Quarterly and The Chained Muse. This is an early poem from my “Romantic Period” that was written in my late teens.

Have I been too long at the fair?
by Michael R. Burch, age 15

Have I been too long at the fair?
The summer has faded,
the leaves have turned brown,
the Ferris wheel teeters,
not up, yet not down...
Have I been too long at the fair?

This is one of my earliest poems, written around age 15.

Bound,
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

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

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

Published as “Why Did I Go?” in the Lantern in 1976. I have made slight changes here and there, but the poem is essentially the same as what I wrote around age 14.

Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch, age 11-13

If God
is good
half the Bible
is libel.

I read the Bible from cover to cover at age eleven, ten chapters per day, at the suggestion of my devout Christian parents. I wrote this poem to express my conclusion about the bizarre behavior of the biblical god Yahweh/Jehovah . This was my first poem, as far as I can remember, although I considered it more of an observation at the time.

Davenport Tomorrow
by Michael R. Burch, age 17

Davenport tomorrow ...
all the trees stand stark-naked in the sun.

Now it is always summer
and the bees buzz in cesspools,
adapted to a new life.

There are no flowers,
but the weeds, being hardier,
have survived.

The small town has become
a city of millions;
there is no longer a sea,
only a huge sewer,
but the children don't mind.

They still study
rocks and stars,
but biology is a forgotten science ...
after all, what is life?

Davenport tomorrow ...
all the children murmur through vein-streaked gills
whispered wonders of long-ago.

Published by Borderless Journal

Earthbound
by Michael R. Burch, age 20

Tashunka Witko, better known as Crazy Horse, had a vision of a red-tailed hawk at Sylvan Lake, South Dakota. In his vision he saw himself riding a spirit horse, flying through a storm, as the hawk flew above him, shrieking. When he awoke, a red-tailed hawk was perched near his horse.

Earthbound,
and yet I now fly
through these clouds that are aimlessly drifting ...
so high
that no sound
echoing by
below where the mountains are lifting
the sky
can be heard.

Like a bird,
but not meek,
like a hawk from a distance regarding its prey,
I will shriek,
not a word,
but a screech,
and my terrible clamor will turn them to clay—
the sheep,
the earthbound.

Published by Boston Poetry Magazine, Native American Indian Pride and Native American Poems, Prayers and Stories

Huntress
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

after Baudelaire

Lynx-eyed, cat-like and cruel, you creep
across a crevice dropping deep
into a dark and doomed domain.
Your claws are sheathed. You smile, insane.
Rain falls upon your path, and pain
pours down. Your paws are pierced. You pause
and heed the oft-lamented laws
which bid you not begin again
till night returns. You wail like wind,
the sighing of a soul for sin,
and give up hunting for a heart.
Till sunset falls again, depart,
though hate and hunger urge you—On!
Heed, hearts, your hope—the break of dawn.

Published by The HyperTexts and Sonnetto Poesia (Canada)

Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch, age 14-43

“Burn Ovid”—Austin Clarke

Sunday School,
Faith Free Will Baptist, 1973:
I sat imagining watery folds
of pale silk encircling her waist.
Explicit *** was the day’s “hot” topic
(how breathlessly I imagined hers)
as she taught us the perils of lust
fraught with inhibition.

I found her unaccountably beautiful,
rolling implausible nouns off the edge of her tongue:
adultery, fornication, *******, ******.
Acts made suddenly plausible by the faint blush
of her unrouged cheeks,
by her pale lips
accented only by a slight quiver,
a trepidation.

What did those lustrous folds foretell
of our uncommon desire?
Why did she cross and uncross her legs
lovely and long in their taupe sheaths?
Why did her ******* rise pointedly,
as if indicating a direction?

“Come unto me,
     (unto me),”
          together, we sang,

cheek to breast,
     lips on lips,
          devout, afire,

my hands
     up her skirt,
          her pants at her knees:

all night long,
     all night long,
           in the heavenly choir.

“*** 101” and “Burn, Ovid” were written about my experiences during ninth grade at Faith Christian Academy, circa age 14-15 in 1972-1973. However, these poems were not completed until 2001 and are in a more mature voice and style than most of my other early poems.

*** 101
by Michael R. Burch, age 14-43

That day the late spring heat
steamed through the windows of a Crayola-yellow schoolbus
crawling its way up the backwards slopes
of Nowheresville, North Carolina ...

Where we sat exhausted
from the day’s skulldrudgery
and the unexpected waves of muggy,
summer-like humidity ...

Giggly first graders sat two abreast
behind senior high students
sprouting their first sparse beards,
their implausible bosoms, their stranger affections ...

The most unlikely coupling—

Lambert, 18, the only college prospect
on the varsity basketball team,
the proverbial talldarkhandsome
swashbuckling cocksman, grinning ...

Beside him, Wanda, 13,
bespectacled, in her primproper attire
and pigtails, staring up at him,
fawneyed, disbelieving ...

And as the bus filled with the improbable musk of her,
as she twitched impaled on his finger
like a dead frog jarred to life by electrodes,
I knew ...

that love is a forlorn enterprise,
that I would never understand it.

“*** 101” and “Burn, Ovid” were written about my experiences during ninth grade at Faith Christian Academy, circa age 14-15 in 1972-1973. However, these poems were not completed until 2001 and are in a more mature voice and style than most of my other early poems.

Because You Came to Me
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

for Beth

Because you came to me with sweet compassion
and kissed my furrowed brow and smoothed my hair,
I do not love you after any fashion,
but wildly, in despair.

Because you came to me in my black torment
and kissed me fiercely, blazing like the sun
upon parched desert dunes, till in dawn’s foment
they melt ... I am undone.

Because I am undone, you have remade me
as suns bring life, as brilliant rains endow
the earth below with leaves, where you now shade me
and bower me, somehow.

I wrote the first version of this poem around age 18, then revised it 30 years later and dedicated the new version to my wife Beth.

Ambition
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

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

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

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

An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

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

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

into oblivion...

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

Describing You
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

How can I describe you?

The fragrance of morning rain
mingled with dew
reminds me of you;

the warmth of sunlight
stealing through a windowpane
brings you back to me again.

This is an early poem of mine, written around age 16.

Analogy
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

Our embrace is like a forest
lying blanketed in snow;
you, the lily, are enchanted
by each shiver trembling through;
I, the snowfall, cling in earnest
as I press so close to you.
You dream that you now are sheltered;
I dream that I may break through.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 18 or 19.

Of You
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

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

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

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

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

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

49th Street Serenade
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having Touched You
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

What I have lost
is not less
than what I have gained.

And for each moment passed
like the sun to the west,
another remained

suspended in memory
like a flower
in crystal

so that eternity
is but an hour
and fall

is no longer a season
but a state
of mind.

I have no reason
to wait;
the wind

does not pause
for remembrance
or regret

because
there is only fate and chance.
And so then, forget . . .

Forget that we were very happy
for a day.
That day was my lifetime.

Before that day I was empty
and the sky was grey.
You were the sunshine,

the sunshine that gave me life.
I took root
and I grew.

Now the touch of death is like a terrible knife,
and yet I can bear it,
having touched you.

Odd, the things that inspire us! I wrote this poem after watching The Boy in the Bubble: a made-for-TV movie, circa 1976, starring John Travolta. So I would have been around 18 at the time.

Hymn to Apollo
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

something of sunshine attracted my i
as it lazed on the afternoon sky,
golden, splashed on the easel of god;
what, i thought,
could this airy stuff be,
to, phantomlike, flit
through tall trees
on fall days, such as these?

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

till all the bright light
retired,
expired.

This poem appeared in my high school literary journal, the Lantern.

as Time walked by
by michael r. burch, age 16

yesterday i dreamed of us again,
when
the air, like honey,
trickled through cushioning grasses,
softly flowing, pouring itself upon the masses
of dreaming flowers...
and the hours
were tentative, coy and shy
while the sky
swirled all its colors together,
giving pleasure to the appreciative eye
as Time walked by.

then your smile
could fill the darkest night
with brilliant light
or thrill the dullest day
with ecstasy
so long as Time led leisurely our way;
as It did,
It did.

but soon the summer hid
her sunny smile...
the honeyed breaths of wind
became cold,
biting to the bone
as Time sped on,
fled from us
to be gone
forevermore.

this morning i awakened to the thought
that you were near
with honey hair and happy smile
lying sweetly by my side,
but then i remembered—you were gone,
that you toppled long ago
like an orchid felled by snow
as the thing called "us" sank slowly down to die
and Time roared by.

This poem appeared in my high school journal and was probably written around age 16.

Playmates
by Michael R. Burch, age 13-14

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

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

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

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

Then we never thought about the next day,
for tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things didn't last.

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

This is, I believe, my second "real" poem. I believe I was around 13 or 14 when I wrote it.

hey pete
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

for Pete Rose

hey pete,
it's baseball season
and the sun ascends the sky,
encouraging a schoolboy's dreams
of winter whizzing by;
go out, go out and catch it,
put it in a jar,
set it on a shelf
and then you'll be a Superstar.

Floating
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

Memories flood the sand's unfolding scroll;
they pour in with the long, cursive tides of night.

Memories of revenant blue eyes and wild lips
moist and frantic against my own.

Memories of ghostly white limbs...
of soft sighs
heard once again in the surf's strangled moans.

We meet in the scarred, fissured caves of old dreams,
green waves of algae billowing about you,
becoming your hair.

Suspended there,
where pale sunset discolors the sea,
I see all that you are
and all that you have become to me.

Your love is a sea,
and I am its trawler—
harbored in dreams,
I ride out night's storms.

Unanchored, I drift through the hours before morning,
dreaming the solace of your warm *******,
pondering your riddles, savoring the feel
of the explosions of your hot, saline breath.

And I rise sometimes
from the tropical darkness
to gaze once again out over the sea...
You watch in the moonlight
that brushes the water;

bright waves throw back your reflection at me.

Mare Clausum
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

These are the narrows of my soul—
dark waters pierced by eerie, haunting screams.
And these uncharted islands bleakly home
wild nightmares and deep, strange, forbidding dreams.

Please don't think to find pearls' pale, unearthly glow
within its shoals, nor corals in its reefs.
For, though you seek to salvage Love, I know
that vessel lists, and night brings no relief.

Pause here, and look, and know that all is lost;
then turn, and go; let salt consume, and rust.
This sea is not for sailors, but the ******
who lingered long past morning, till they learned

why it is named:
Mare Clausum.

Mare Clausum is Latin for "Closed Sea." I believe this poem was written around age 19.

Nevermore!
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

their skeletal love—impossibility!

Published by Romantics Quarterly and Penny Dreadful

Shock
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

It was early in the morning of the forming of my soul,
in the dawning of desire, with passion at first bloom,
with lightning splitting heaven to thunder's blasting roll
and a sense of welling fire and, perhaps, impending doom—
that I cried out through the tumult of the raging storm on high
for shelter from the chaos of the restless, driving rain...
and the voice I heard replying from a rift of bleeding sky
was mine, I'm sure, and, furthermore, was certainly insane.

The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

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

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

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

In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

for George King

In the whispering night, when the stars bend low
till the hills ignite to a shining flame,
when a shower of meteors streaks the sky
while the lilies sigh in their beds, for shame,
we must steal our souls, as they once were stolen,
and gather our vigor, and all our intent.
We must heave our bodies to some famished ocean
and laugh as they shatter, and never repent.
We must dance in the darkness as stars dance before us,
soar, Soar! through the night on a butterfly's breeze...
blown high, upward-yearning, twin spirits returning
to the heights of awareness from which we were seized.

alien
by michael r. burch, age 19

there are mornings in england
when, riddled with light,
the Blueberries gleam at us—
plump, sweet and fragrant.

but i am so small ...
what do i know
of the ways of the Daffodils?
“beware of the Nettles!”

we go laughing and singing,
but somehow, i, ...
i know i am lost. i do not belong
to this Earth or its Songs.

and yet i am singing ...
the sun—so mild;
my cheeks are like roses;
my skin—so fair.

i spent a long time there
before i realized: They have no faces,
no bodies, no voices.
i was always alone.

and yet i keep singing:
the words will come
if only i hear.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 19, then revised it nearly a half-century later. One of my earliest memories is picking blueberries amid the brambles surrounding the tiny English hamlet, Mattersey, where I and my mother lived with her parents while my American father was stationed in Thule, Greenland, where dependents were not allowed. Was that because of the weather or the nukes? In any case, England is free of dangerous animals, but one must be wary of the copious thorns and nettles.

Be that Rock
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

for my grandfather George Edwin Hurt Sr.

When I was a child
    I never considered man’s impermanence,
for you were a mountain of adamant stone:
    a man steadfast, immense,
and your words rang.

And when you were gone,
    I still heard your voice, which never betrayed,
"Be strong and of a good courage,
    neither be afraid ..."
as the angels sang.

And, O!, I believed
    for your words were my truth, and I tried to be brave
though the years slipped away
    with so little to save
of that talk.

Now I'm a man—
    a man ... and yet Grandpa ... I'm still the same child
who sat at your feet
    and learned as you smiled.
Be that rock.

I don't remember when I wrote this poem, but I will guess around age 18 in 1976. The verse quoted is from an old, well-worn King James Bible my grandfather gave me after his only visit to the United States, as he prepared to return to England with my grandmother. I was around eight at the time and didn't know if I would ever see my grandparents again, so I was heartbroken – destitute, really.

Desdemona
by Michael R. Burch, age 22

Though you possessed the moon and stars,
you are bound to fate and wed to chance.
Your lips deny they crave a kiss;
your feet deny they ache to dance.
Your heart imagines wild romance.

Though you cupped fire in your hands
and molded incandescent forms,
you are barren now, and—spent of flame—
the ashes that remain are borne
toward the sun upon a storm.

You, who demanded more, have less,
your heart within its cells of sighs
held fast by chains of misery,
confined till death for peddling lies—
imprisonment your sense denies.

You, who collected hearts like leaves
and pressed each once within your book,
forgot. None—winsome, bright or rare—
not one was worth a second look.
My heart, as others, you forsook.

But I, though I loved you from afar
through silent dawns, and gathered rue
from gardens where your footsteps left
cold paths among the asters, knew—
each moonless night the nettles grew

and strangled hope, where love dies too.

Published by Penny Dreadful, Carnelian, Romantics Quarterly, Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Life & Times

Gone
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

Tonight, it is dark
and the stars do not shine.

A man who is gone
was a good friend of mine.

We were friends.

And the sky was the strangest shade of orange on gold
when I awoke to find him gone ...

This is one of my very earliest poems, one that was lost when I destroyed all the poems I had written in a fit of frustration and despair. The opening lines and "the strangest shade of orange on gold" are all of the original poem that I have been able to remember. I believe I wrote the original poem around age 14.

Ince St. Child
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

When she was a child
  in a dark forest of fear,
    imagination cast its strange light
      into secret places,
      scattering traces
    of illumination so bright,
  years later, they might suddenly reappear,
their light undefiled.

When she was young,
  the shafted light of her dreams
    shone on her uplifted face
      as she prayed;
      though she strayed
    into a night fallen like mildewed lace
  shrouding the forest of screams,
her faith led her home.

Now she is old
  and the light that was flame
    is a slow-dying ember . . .
      What she felt then
      she would explain;
    she would if she could only remember
  that forest of shame,
faith beaten like gold.

Published by Piedmont Literary Review, Songs of Innocence, Romantics Quarterly and Poetry Life & Times.

This is an unusual poem that I wrote in my late teens, and it took me some time to figure out who the elderly woman was. She was a victim of childhood ******, hence the title I eventually chose.

The Beautiful People
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

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

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

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

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

Burn
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

for Trump

Sunbathe,
ozone baby,
till your parched skin cracks
in the white-hot flash
of radiation.

Incantation
from your pale parched lips
shall not avail;
you made this hell.
Now burn.

This was one of my early poems, written around age 19. I dedicated the poem to Trump after he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change accords.

as Time walked by
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

yesterday i dreamed of u(s) again,
when
the air, like honey,
trickled through cushioning grasses,
softly flowing, pouring itself upon the masses
of dreaming flowers . . .

then the sly impish Hours
were tentative, coy and shy
while the sky
swirled all its colors together,
giving pleasure to the appreciative eye
as Time walked by.

sunbright, ur smile
could fill the darkest night
with brilliant light
or thrill the dullest day
with ecstasy
so long as Time did not impede our way;
until It did,
as It did.

for soon the summer hid
her sunny smile . . .
the honeyed breaths of wind
became cold,
biting to the bone
as Time sped on,
fled from u(s)
to be gone
Forevermore.

this morning i awakened to the thought
that u were near
with honey hair and happy smile
lying sweetly by my side,
but then i remembered—u were gone,
that u’d been toppled long ago
like an orchid felled by snow
as the bloom called “us” sank slowly down to die
and Time roared by.

This poem was written around age 16 and appeared in my high school journal the Lantern in 1976.

Dust (I)
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

God, keep them safe until
I join them, as I will.

God, guard their tender dust
until I meet them, as I must.

This is one of my earliest poems, written circa 1972 at age 14, around the same time as “Jessamyn’s Song” but probably a bit earlier. “Dust” was at one time the closing stanza of “All My Children.”

Dust (II)
by Michael R. Burch, age 15

We are dust
and to dust we must
return ...
but why, then,
life’s pointless sojourn?

I’m not sure when I wrote my second “Dust” poem but I will keep the poems together due to the shared title and theme.

Dust (III)
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

Flame within flame,
  we burned and burned relentlessly
    till there was nothing left to be consumed.
    Only ash remained, the smoke plumed
  like a spirit leaving its corpse, and we
were left with only a name
ever common between us.
  We had thought to love “eternally,”
    but the wick sputtered, the candle swooned,
    the flame subsided, the smoke ballooned,
  and our communal thought was: flee, flee, flee
the choking dust.

This is one of my early poems in the “Dust” series, but unfortunately I have no recollection of writing it, nor any notes about its composition. I will guess that I wrote this one in my late teens.

Love Unfolded Like a Flower
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

Love unfolded
like a flower;
Pale petals pinked and blushed to see the sky.
I came to know you
and to trust you
in moments lost to springtime slipping by.

Then love burst outward,
leaping skyward,
and untamed blossoms danced against the wind.
All I wanted
was to hold you;
though passion tempted once, we never sinned.

Now love's gay petals
fade and wither,
and winter beckons, whispering a lie.
We were friends,
but friendships end . . .
yes, friendships end and even roses die.

This is a love poem I wrote in my late teens for a girl I had a serious crush on. The poem was originally titled "Christy."

Unfoldings
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

for Vicki

Time unfolds ...
Your lips were roses.
... petals open, shyly clustering ...
I had dreams
of other seasons.
... ten thousand colors quiver, blossoming.

Night and day ...
Dreams burned within me.
... flowers part themselves, and then they close ...
You were lovely;
I was lonely.
... a ****** yields herself, but no one knows.

Now time goes on ...
I have not seen you.
... within ringed whorls, secrets are exchanged ...
A fire rages;
no one sees it.
... a blossom spreads its flutes to catch the rain.

Seasons flow ...
A dream is dying.
... within parched clusters, life is taking form ...
You were honest;
I was angry.
... petals fling themselves before the storm.

Time is slowing ...
I am older.
... blossoms wither, closing one last time ...
I'd love to see you
and to touch you.
... a flower crumbles, crinkling, worn and dry.

Time contracts ...
I cannot touch you.
... a solitary flower cries for warmth ...
Life goes on as
dreams lose meaning.
... the seeds are scattered, lost within a storm.

I wrote this poem for a college girlfriend, circa age 18-19.

Each Color a Scar
by Michael R. Burch, age 21

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

She did not speak,
but her intention
was clear,

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

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

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

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

The Tender Weight of Her Sighs
by Michael R. Burch, age 21

The tender weight of her sighs
lies heavily upon my heart;
apart from her, full of doubt,
without her presence to revolve around,
found wanting direction or course,
cursed with the thought of her grief,
believing true love is a myth,
with hope as elusive as tears,
hers and mine, unable to lie,
I sigh ...

I believe “The Tender Weight of Her Sighs” and “Each Color a Scar” are companion poems, probably written around the same time at age 21. This poem has an unusual rhyme scheme, with the last word of each line rhyming with the first word of the next line. The final line is a “closing couplet” in which both words rhyme with the last word of the preceding line. I believe I invented the ***** form, which I will dub the “End-First Curtal Sonnet.”

Impotent
by Michael R. Burch, age 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cameo
by Michael R. Burch, age 21

Breathe upon me the breath of life;
gaze upon me with sardonyx eyes.
Here, where times flies
in the absence of light,
all ecstasies are intimations of night.

Hold me tonight in the spell I have cast;
promise what cannot be given.
Show me the stairway to heaven.
Jacob's-ladder grows all around us;
Jacob's ladder was fashioned of onyx.

So breathe upon me the breath of life;
gaze upon me with sardonic eyes . . .
and, if in the morning I am not wise,
at least then I’ll know if this dream we call life
was worth the surmise.

My notes say that I copied and filed this poem in 1979, around age 21. Since I don’t have an earlier recollection of this poem, I will stick with that date. This one does feel a bit more mature than some of my teenage poems, so the date seems about right.

The Last Enchantment
by Michael R. Burch, age 20

Oh, Lancelot, my truest friend,
how time has thinned your ragged mane
and pinched your features; still you seem
though, much, much changed—somehow unchanged.

Your sword hand is, as ever, ready,
although the time for swords has passed.
Your eyes are fierce, and yet so steady
meeting mine ... you must not ask.

The time is not, nor ever shall be,
for Merlyn’s words were only words;
and now his last enchantment wanes,
and we must put aside our swords ...

Originally published by Trinacria

Lay Down Your Arms
by Michael R. Burch, age 21

Lay down your arms; come, sleep in the sand.
The battle is over and night is at hand.
Our voyage has ended; there's nowhere to go ...
the earth is a cinder still faintly aglow.

Lay down your pamphlets; let's bicker no more.
Instead, let us sleep here on this ravaged shore.
The sea is still boiling; the air is wan, thin ...
Lay down your pamphlets; now no one will “win.”

Lay down your hymnals; abandon all song.
If God was to save us, He waited too long.
A new world emerges, but this world is through . . .
so lay down your hymnals, or write something new.

I wrote “Lay Down Your Arms” around age 21 and it became my first published poem, possibly. Can an acceptance be a rejection? I never received a copy of the first journal that accepted one of my poems, The Romantist, so I don’t know if my first “published poem” was actually published! In any case, poems that I wrote from (circa) ages 11 to 16 were eventually published, so I now consider those my “earliest” publications.

/Y/

This is a poem about a discussion between a young poet and an older poet – the very poetic Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I wrote this poem as a teenager under the spell of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which for me is also a compelling poem. In the poem he is the upper-case Poet and I am the lower-case poet.

Poet to poet
by Michael R. Burch, age 17

I have a dream
...pebbles in a sparkling sand...
of wondrous things.

I see children
...variations of the same man...
playing together.

Black and yellow, red and white,
... stone and flesh, a host of colors...
together at last.

I see a time
...each small child another's cousin...
when freedom shall ring.

I hear a song
...sweeter than the sea sings...
of many voices.

I hear a jubilation
... respect and love are the gifts we must bring...
shaking the land.

I have a message,
...sea shells echo, the melody rings...
the message of God.

I have a dream
...all pebbles are merely smooth fragments of stone...
of many things.

I live in hope
...all children are merely small fragments of One...
that this dream shall come true.

I have a dream!
... but when you're gone, won't the dream have to end?...
Oh, no, not as long as you dream my dream too!

Here, hold out your hand, let's make it come true.
... i can feel it begin...
Lovers and dreamers are poets too.
...poets are lovers and dreamers too...

Published by Borderless Journal (Singapore) and Love Poems and Poets

Fairest Diana
by Michael R. Burch, age 22

Fairest Diana, princess of dreams,
born to be loved and yet distant and lone,
why did you linger—so solemn, so lovely—
an orchid ablaze in a crevice of stone?

Was not your heart meant for tenderest passions?
Surely your lips—for wild kisses, not vows!
Why then did you languish, though lustrous, becoming
a pearl of enchantment cast before sows?

Fairest Diana, fragile as lilac,
as willful as rainfall, as true as the rose;
how did a stanza of silver-bright verse
come to be bound in a book of dull prose?

Published by Tucumcari Literary Journal and Night Roses

I believe this poem was written in the late 1970s or very early 1980s, around the time it became apparent that the lovely Diana Spencer was going to marry into the British royal family.

Flight
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

Eagle, raven, blackbird, crow . . .
What you are I do not know.
Where you go I do not care.
I’m unconcerned whose meal you bear.
But as you mount the sun-splashed sky,
I only wish that I could fly.
I only wish that I could fly.

Robin, hawk or whippoorwill . . .
Should men care if you hunger still?
I do not wish to see your home.
I do not wonder where you roam.
But as you scale the sky's bright stairs,
I only wish that I were there.
I only wish that I were there.

Sparrow, lark or chickadee . . .
Your markings I disdain to see.
Where you fly concerns me not.
I scarcely give your flight a thought.
But as you wheel and arc and dive,
I, too, would feel so much alive.
I, too, would feel so much alive.

This poem was influenced by William Cullen Bryant’s “To a Waterfowl.”

Flying
by Michael R. Burch, age 16-17

i shall rise
and try the ****** wings of thought
ten thousand times
before i fly ...

and then i'll sleep
and waste ten thousand nights
before i dream;
but when at last ...

i soar the distant heights of undreamt skies
where never hawks nor eagles dared to go,
as i laugh among the meteors flashing by
somewhere beyond the bluest earth-bound seas ...

if i'm not told
i’m just a man,
then i shall know
just what I AM.

This is a poem written around age 16-17. According to my notes I may have revised the poem later, around 1978, but if so the changes were minor and the poem remains very close to the original.

Sanctuary at Dawn
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

I have walked these thirteen miles
just to stand outside your door.
The rain has dogged my footsteps
for thirteen miles, for thirty years,
through the monsoon seasons ...
and now my tears
have all been washed away.

Through thirteen miles of rain I slogged,
I stumbled and I climbed
rainslickened slopes
that led me home
to the hope that I might find
a life I lived before.

The door is wet; my cheeks are wet,
but not with rain or tears ...
as I knock I sweat
and the raining seems
the rhythm of the years.

Now you stand outlined in the doorway
—a man as large as I left—
and with bated breath
I take a step
into the accusing light.

Your eyes are grayer
than I remembered;
your hair is grayer, too.
As the red rust runs
down the dripping drains,
our voices exclaim—

"My father!"
"My son!"

“Sanctuary at Dawn” appeared in my poetry contest manuscript, so it was written either in high school or during my first two years of college: 1976 is an educated guess. In my teens, thirty was a generic age for adulthood.

Shadows
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

Alone again as evening falls,
I join gaunt shadows and we crawl
up and down my room's dark walls.

Up and down and up and down,
against starlight—strange, mirthless clowns—
we merge, emerge, submerge . . . then drown.

We drown in shadows starker still,
shadows of the somber hills,
shadows of sad selves we spill,

tumbling, to the ground below.
There, caked in grimy, clinging snow,
we flutter feebly, moaning low

for days dreamed once an age ago
when we weren't shadows, but were men . . .
when we were men, or almost so.

Published by Homespun and Mind in Motion

This poem was written either in high school or my first two years of college because it appeared in the 1979-1980 issue of my college literary journal, Homespun.

Sappho’s Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

for Jeremy

Hushed yet melodic, the hills and the valleys
sleep unaware of the nightingale's call
as the pale calla lilies lie
listening,
glistening ...
this is their night, the first night of fall.

Son, tonight, a woman awaits you;
she is more vibrant, more lovely than spring.
She'll meet you in moonlight,
soft and warm,
all alone ...
then you'll know why the nightingale sings.

Just yesterday the stars were afire;
then how desire flashed through my veins!
But now I am older;
night has come,
I’m alone ...
for you I will sing as the nightingale sings.

The calla lily symbolizes beauty, purity, innocence, faithfulness and true devotion. According to Greek mythology, when the Milky Way was formed by the goddess Hera’s breast milk, the drops that fell to earth became calla lilies.  After my son Jeremy was born, I dedicated this poem to him.

Tell me what i am
by michael r. burch, age 15

Tell me what i am,
for i have often wondered why i live.
Do u know?—
please tell me so;
drive away this darkness from within.

For my heart is black with sin
and i have often wondered why i am.
And my thoughts are lacking light
though i have often sought what was right.

Now it is night;
please drive away the darkness from without,
for i doubt that i will see
the coming of the day
without ur help.

This is one of my early “I am/am I” poems. It was published in my high school journal, the Lantern. I believe I wrote the original version around age 15 or 16.

Say You Love Me
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

Joy and anguish surge within my soul;
contesting there, they cannot be controlled;
now grinding yearnings grip me like a vise.
Stars are burning;
it's almost morning.

Dreams of dreams of dreams that I have dreamed
dance before me, forming formless scenes;
and now, at last, the feeling grows
as stars, declining,
bow to morning.

And you are music in my undreamt dreams,
rising from some far-off lyric spring;
oh, somewhere in the night I hear you sing.
Stars on fire
form a choir.

Now dawn's fierce brightness burns within your eyes;
you laugh at me as dancing starlets die.
You touch me so and still I don't know why . . .
But say you love me.
Say you love me.

This poem is dated 1983 in my notes, but it could have been written earlier and revised then. This one feels earlier to me, so I will guess it was written around age 18 during my late Romantic period. The original poem did not have “forming formless scenes” or “undreamt dreams.” I chose those revisions, not to be confusing, but in an attempt to capture the moment when, awakening from dreams, we briefly inhabit both worlds simultaneously. I came up with “starlets” because, as the sun eclipses ethereal starlight in our eyes, the reality of a lover in bed eclipses all vague, ethereal fantasies of dream lovers.

Stewark Island (Ambiguity)
by Michael R. Burch, age 17-18

“Take your child, your only child, whom you love...”

Seas are like tears—
they are never far away.
I have fled them now these eighteen years,
but I am nearer them today
than I ever have been.

Oh, I never could bear
the warm, salty water
or the cool comfort here
in the shade of an altar
sweeter than sin ...

Sweeter than sin,
yet cleansing, like love;
still its feel to doomed skin
either too little or too much
of whatever it is.

Seas and tears
are like life—
ridiculous,
ambiguous.

“Sea Dreams” is one of my longer and more ambitious early poems, along with the full version of “Jessamyn’s Song.” To the best of my recollection, I wrote “Sea Dreams” around age 18 in high school my senior year, then worked on in college. It appeared in my poetry contest notebook and thus was substantially complete by 1978.

Sea Dreams
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

I.
In timeless days
I've crossed the waves
of seaways seldom seen ...

By the last low light of evening
the breakers that careen
then dive back to the deep
have rocked my ship to sleep,
and so I've known the peace
of a soul at last at ease
there where Time's waters run
in concert with the sun.

With restless waves
I've watched the days’
slow movements, as they hum
their antediluvian songs.

Sometimes I've sung along,
my voice as soft and low
as the sea's, while evening slowed
to waver at the dim
mysterious moonlit rim
of dreams no man has known.

In thoughtless flight,
I've scaled the heights
and soared a scudding breeze
over endless arcing seas
of waves ten miles high.

I've sheared the sable skies
on wings as soft as sighs
and stormed the sun-pricked pitch
of sunset’s scarlet-stitched,
ebullient dark demise.

I've climbed the sun-cleft clouds
ten thousand leagues or more
above the windswept shores
of seas no vessel’s sailed
— great seas as grand as hell's,
shores littered with the shells
of men's "immortal" souls —
and I've warred with dark sea-holes
whose open mouths implored
their depths to be explored.

And I've grown and grown and grown
till I thought myself the king
of every silver thing . . .

But sometimes late at night
when the sorrowing wavelets sing
sad songs of other times,
I’ll taste the windborne rime
of a well-remembered day
on the whipping ocean spray,
then I’ll bow my head to pray . . .

II.
It's been a long, hard day;
sometimes I think I work too hard.
Tonight I'd like to take a walk
down by the sea —
down by those salty waves
brined with the scent of Infinity,
down by that rocky shore,
down by those cliffs I’d so often climb
when the wind was **** with a taste of lime
and every dream was a sailor's dream.

Then small waves broke light,
all frothy and white,
over the reefs in the ramblings of night,
and the pounding sea
—a mariner’s dream—
was bound to stir a boy's delight
to such a pitch
that he couldn't desist,
but was bound to splash through the surf in the light
of ten thousand stars, all shining so bright!

Christ, those nights were fine,
like a well-aged wine,
yet more scalding than fire
with the marrow’s desire.

Then desire was a fire
burning wildly within my bones,
fiercer by far than the frantic foam . . .
and every wish was a moan.
Oh, for those days to come again!
Oh, for a sea and sailing men!
Oh, for a little time!

It's almost nine
and I must be back home by ten,
and then . . . what then?
I have less than an hour to stroll this beach,
less than an hour old dreams to reach . . .
And then, what then?

Tonight I'd like to play old games—
games that I used to play
with the somber, sinking waves.
When their wraithlike fists would reach for me,
I'd dance between them gleefully,
mocking their witless craze
—their eager, unchecked craze—
to batter me to death
with spray as light as breath.

Oh, tonight I'd like to sing old songs—
songs of the haunting moon
drawing the tides away,
songs of those sultry days
when the sun beat down
till it cracked the ground
and the sea gulls screamed
in their agony
to touch the cooling clouds.
The distant cooling clouds.

Then the sun shone bright
with a different light
over different lands,
and I was always a pirate in flight.

Oh, tonight I'd like to dream old dreams,
if only for a while,
and walk perhaps a mile
along this windswept shore,
a mile, perhaps, or more,
remembering those days,
safe in the soothing spray
of the thousand sparkling streams
that rush into this sea.
I like to slumber in the caves
of a sailor's dark sea-dreams . . .
oh yes, I'd love to dream,
to dream
   and dream
    and dream.

“Sea Dreams” is one of my longer and more ambitious early poems, along with the full version of “Jessamyn’s Song.” For years I thought I had written “Sea Dreams” around age 19 or 20. But then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend about the poem in my freshman dorm, so the poem must have been started by age 18 or earlier. Dating my early poems has been a bit tricky, because I keep having little flashbacks that help me date them more accurately, but often I can only say, “I know this poem was written by about such-and-such a date, because ...”

*

“Son” is a companion poem to “Sea Dreams” that was written around the same time and discussed in the same freshman dorm conversation. Ron, the other student, asked me how on earth I came up with a poem about being a father who abandoned his son to live on an island! I think the meter is pretty good for the age at which it was written.

Son
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

An island is bathed in blues and greens
as a weary sun settles to rest,
and the memories singing
through the back of my mind
lull me to sleep as the tide flows in.

Here where the hours pass almost unnoticed,
my heart and my home will be till I die,
but where you are is where my thoughts go
when the tide is high.

[etc., see handwritten version, the father laments abandoning his son]

So there where the skylarks sing to the sun
as the rain sprinkles lightly around,
understand if you can
the mind of a man
whose conscience unconsciously drowned.

Thoughts of the Everglades in Ontario
by Michael R. Burch, age 20

We burned wildfire of September in a distant grass,
watching the many variations of light devour the blades.

All night long I tended the smoldering campfire
remembering those sweat-drenched nights we spent in the ’glades
listening as gators sang love songs to one another,
curious serenades,
their huge tails lashing the shallow swampland water.

That night, camped out distantly beyond the closest farm,
I did not hold you, as I so often have, to keep you warm,
but rather to feel the restless movements of our unborn daughter.

Now she’s three and the Everglades are in her eyes—
dark and swampy, all muddled green and gray,
and they seem to knowingly say,
“It’s time to be on our way.”

I wrote this poem as a college sophomore, age 20, in 1978.

When last my love left me
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

The sun was a smoldering ember
when last my love left me;
the sunset cast curious shadows
over green arcs of the sea;
she spoke sad words, departing,
and teardrops drenched the trees.

This poem was published by my college literary journal, Homespun, issue 1976-1977. I believe I wrote the original version in 1974, around age 16.

War
by Michael R. Burch, age 17

lysander lies in lauded greece
and sleeps and dreams, a stone for a pillow,
unseeing as sunset devours limp willows,
but War glares on.

and joab's sightless gaze is turned
beyond the jordan's ravaged shore;
his war-ax lies to be hurled no more,
but War hacks on.

and roland sleeps in poppied fields
with flowers flowing at his feet;
their fragrance lulls his soul to sleep,
but War raves on.

and patton sighs an unheard sigh
for sorties past and those to come;
he does not heed the battle drum,
but War rolls on.

for now new heroes grab up guns
and rush to fight their fathers' wars,
as warriors' children must, of course,
while War laughs on.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem around age 17. I was never fully happy with the poem, although I liked some of the lines and revised it 46 years later, on 4-27-2021.

Stryx: An Astronomer’s Report
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

Yesterday
(or was is an eon ago?)
a sun spit out its last remnants of light
over a planet long barren of life,
and died.

It was not a solitary occasion,
by any stretch of the imagination,
this decoronation
of a planet conceived out of desolation.

For her to die as she was born
—amidst the glory of galactic upheaval—
is not strange,
but fitting.

Fitting in that,
shorn of all her preposterous spawn
that had littered her surface like horrendous hair,
she died her death bare
and alone.

Once she was home to all living,
but she died home to the dead
who bereaved her of life.

Unfit for life she died that night
as her seas shone fatal, dark and blue.

Unfit for life she met her end
as mountains fell and lava spewed.

Unfit she died, agleam with death
whose radiance she wore.

Unfit she died as raging waves
obliterated every shore.

Unfit! Unfit! Unfit! Unfit!
Contaminated with the rays
that smoldered in her radiant swamps
and seared her lifeless bays.

Unfit! Unfit! Unfit! Unfit!
a ****** world no more,
but a planet ***** and left to face
her death as she was born—
alone, so all alone.

Yesterday,
a planet green and lovely was no more.

Yesterday,
the whitecaps crashed against her shores
and then they were no more.

Yesterday,
a soft green light
no longer brushed the moon's dark heights . . .

There was no moon,
there was no earth;
there were only the ******* she had given birth
watching from their next ***** world.

I wrote this poem around age 18 and it was published in the 1976-1977 issue of my college literary journal, Homespun.

With my daughter, by a waterfall
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You didn't have time
by Michael R. Burch, age 17

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

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

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

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

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

So little time
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

There is so little time left to summer,
to run through the fields or to swim in the ponds . . .
to be young.
There is so little time left till autumn shall come.
There is so little time left for me to be free . . .
so little time, just so, so little time.

If I were handsome and brawny and brave,
a love I would make and the time I would save.
If I were happy — not hamstrung, but free —
surely there would be one for me . . .
Perhaps there'd be one.

There is so little left of the sunshine
although there’s much left of the rain . . .
there is so little left in my life not of strife and of pain.

I seem to remember writing this poem around age 14, in 1972. It was published in my high school journal, the Lantern, in 1976. The inversion in L8 makes me think this was a very early poem. That’s something I weaned myself of pretty quickly. Also, I was extremely depressed from age 14 to 15 because my family moved twice and I had trouble making friends because I was so shy and introverted.



Premonition
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

Now the evening has come to a close and the party is over ...
we stand in the doorway and watch as they go—
each stranger, each acquaintance, each casual lover.

They walk to their cars and they laugh as they go,
though we know their forced laughter’s the wine ...
then they pause at the road where the dark asphalt flows
endlessly on toward Zion ...

and they kiss one another as though they were friends,
and they promise to meet again “soon” ...
but the rivers of Jordan roll on without end,
and the mockingbird calls to the moon ...

and the katydids climb up the cropped hanging vines,
and the crickets chirp on out of tune ...
and their shadows, defined by the cryptic starlight,
seem spirits torn loose from their tombs.

And we know their brief lives are just eddies in time,
that their hearts are unreadable runes
to be wiped clean, like slate, by the dark hand of Fate
when their corpses lie ravaged and ruined ...

You take my clenched fist and you give it a kiss
as though it were something you loved,
and the tears fill your eyes, brimming with the soft light
of the stars winking sagely above ...

Then you whisper, "It's time that we went back inside;
if you'd like, we can sit and just talk for a while."
And the hope in your eyes burns too deep, so I lie
and I say, "Yes, I would," to your small, troubled smile.

I vividly remember writing this poem after an office party the year I co-oped with AT&T (at that time the largest company in the world, with a lot of office parties). This was after my sophomore year in college, making me around 19 years old. The poem is “true” except that I was not the host because the party was at the house of one of the managers. Nor was I dating anyone seriously at the time. I was still in “pool shark” mode, playing money games all night and into the wee hours of the morning.

Reflections on the Loss of Vision
by Michael R. Burch, age 20

The sparrow that cries from the shelter of an ancient oak tree and the squirrels
that dash in delight through the treetops as the first snow glistens and swirls,
remind me so much of my childhood and how the world seemed to me then,
    that it seems if I tried
    and just closed my eyes,
I could once again be nine or ten.

The rabbits that hide in the bushes where the snowflakes collect as they fall,
hunch there, I know, in the fast-piling snow, yet now I can't see them at all.
For time slowly weakened my vision; while the patterns seem almost as clear,
    some things that I saw
    when I was a boy,
are lost to me now in my “advancing” years.

The chipmunk who seeks out his burrow and the geese now preparing to leave
are there as they were, and yet they are not; and if it seems childish to grieve,
still, who would condemn a blind man for bemoaning the vision he lost?
    Well, in a small way,
    through the passage of days,
I have learned some of his loss.

As a keen-eyed young lad I endeavored to see things most adults could not—
the camouflaged nests of the hoot owls, the woodpecker’s favorite haunts.
But now I no longer can find them, nor understand how I once could,
    and it seems such a waste
    of those far-sighted days,
to end up near blind in this wood.

Every Man Has a Dream
by Michael R. Burch, age 24

lines composed at Elliston Square

Every man has a dream that he cannot quite touch ...
a dream of contentment, of soft, starlit rain,
of a breeze in the evening that, rising again,
reminds him of something that cannot have been,
and he calls this dream love.

And each man has a dream that he fears to let live,
for he knows: to succumb is to throw away all.
So he curses, denies it and locks it within
the cells of his heart and he calls it a sin,
this madness, this love.

But each man in his living falls prey to his dreams,
and he struggles, but so he ensures that he falls,
and he finds in the end that he cannot deny
the joy that he feels or the tears that he cries
in the darkness of night for this light he calls love.

Canticle: an Aubade
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

Misty morning sunlight hails the dawning of new day;
dreams drift into drowsiness before they fade away.
Dew drops on the green grass echo splendors of the sun;
the silence lauds a songstress and the skillful song she's sung.
Among the weeping willows the mist clings to the leaves;
and, laughing in the early light among the lemon trees,

there goes a brace of bees!

Dancing in the depthless blue like small, bright bits of steel,
the butterflies flock to the west and wander through dawn's fields.
Above the thoughtless traffic of the world wending their way,
a flock of mallard geese in v's dash onward as they race.
And dozing in the daylight lies a new-born collie pup,
drinking in bright sunlight through small eyes still tightly shut.
And high above the meadows, blazing through the warming air,
a shaft of brilliant sunshine has started something there . . .

it looks like summer.

I distinctly remember writing this poem in Ms. Davenport’s class at Maplewood High School. I had read a canticle somewhere, liked the name and concept, and decided I needed to write one myself. I believe this was in 1974 at age 16, but I could be off by a year. This is another early poem that makes me think I had a good natural ear for meter and rhyme. It’s not a great poem, but the music seems pretty good for a beginner.

Childhood's End
by Michael R. Burch, age 22

How well I remember
those fiery Septembers:
dry leaves, dying embers of summers aflame,
lay trampled before me
and fluttered, imploring
the bright, dancing rain to descend once again.

Now often I’ve thought on
the meaning of autumn,
how the rainbows’ enchantments defeated dark clouds
while robins repeated
ancient songs sagely heeded
so wisely when winters before they’d flown south ...

And still, in remembrance,
I’ve conjured a semblance
of childhood and how the world seemed to me then;
but early this morning,
when, rising and yawning,
I found a gray hair ... it was all beyond my ken.

I believe I wrote this poem in my early twenties, probably around 1980. This is another early poem with an usual form.

Red Dawn
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

The sun, like a spotlight,
is spinning round the trees
a web of light.

And with her amber radiance
she is
driving off the night.

Oh, how like a fire
she is
burning off the black.

And in her flaming wake
she has left a track
of puffy smoke.

I believe this is one of my very earliest poems, written around age 14, due to the fact that the original poem had three somewhat archaic apostrophes: ’round, ’way and ’luminance. I weaned myself of such things pretty quickly. According to my notes, I revised the poem in 1975. It was published in my high school journal, the Lantern, the following year.

These Hallowed Halls
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

I.

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

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

II.

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

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

III.

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

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

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

IV.

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

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

V.

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

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

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

VI.

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

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

VII.

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

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

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

VIII.

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

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

IX.

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

X.

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

XI.

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

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

I wrote this poem in my freshman dorm at age 18.

Pilgrim Mountain
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

I have come to Pilgrim Mountain
to eat icicles and to bathe in the snow.
Do not ask me why I have done this,
for I do not know . . .
but I had a vision of the end of time
and I feared for my soul.

On Pilgrim Mountain the rivers shriek
as they rush toward the valleys, and the rocks
creak and groan in their misery,
for they comprehend they’re prey to
night and day,
and ten thousand other fallacies.

Sunlight shatters the stone,
but midnight mends it again
with darkness and a cooling flow.
This is no place for men,
and I know this, but I know
that that which has been must somehow be again.

Now here on Pilgrim Mountain
I shall gouge my eyes with stone
and tear out all my hair,
and though I die alone,
I shall not care . . .

for the night will still roll on
above my weary bones
and these sun-split, shattered stones
of late become their home
here, on Pilgrim Mountain.

I believe this poem was originally written around 1974 at age 16 or thereabouts. According to my notes, it was modified in 1978, then again in 1983. However, the poem remains very close to the original. I seem to remember writing this poem in Mr. Purcell’s history trailer.

there is peace where i am going...
by Michael R. Burch, age 15

there is peace where i am going,
for i hasten to a land
that has never known the motion
of one windborne grain of sand;
that has never felt a tidal wave
nor seen a thunderstorm;
a land whose endless seasons
in their sameness are one.

there i will lay my burdens down
and feel their weight no more,
and sleep beneath the unstirred sands
of a soundless ocean's shore,
where Time lies motionless in pools
of lost experience
and those who sleep, sleep unaware
of the future, past and present

(and where Love itself lies dormant,
unmoved by a silver crescent) .

and when i lie asleep there,
with Death's footprints at my feet,
not a thing shall touch me,
save bland sand, lain like a sheet
to wrap me for my rest there
and to bind me, lest i dream,
mere clay again,
of strange domains
where cruel birth drew such harrowing screams.

yes, there is peace where i am going,
for i am bound to be
safe here, within the dull embrace
of this dim, unchanging sea...
before too long; i sense it now,
and wait, expectantly,
to feel the listless touch
of Immortality.

This is one of my early poems, written around age 15 after watching a documentary about Woodstock.

absinthe sea
by michael r. burch, circa age 18-19

i hold in my hand a goblet of absinthe

the bitter green liqueur
reflects the dying sunset over the sea

and the darkling liquid froths
up over the rim of my cup
to splash into the free,
churning waters of the sea

i do not drink

i do not drink the liqueur,
for I sail on an absinthe sea
that stretches out unendingly
into the gathering night

its waters are no less green
and no less bitter,
nor does the sun strike them with a kinder light

they both harbor night,
and neither shall shelter me

neither shall shelter me
from the anger of the wind
or the cruelty of the sun

for I sail in the goblet of some Great God
who gazes out over a greater sea,
and when my life is done,
perhaps it will be because
He lifted His goblet and sipped my sea.

I seem to remember writing this poem in college just because I liked the sound of the word “absinthe.” I had no idea, really, what it was or what it looked or tasted like, beyond something I had read in passing somewhere.

Ode to the Sun
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

Day is done . . .
on, swift sun.
Follow still your silent course.
Follow your unyielding course.
On, swift sun.

Leave no trace of where you've been;
give no hint of what you've seen.
But, ever as you onward flee,
touch me, O sun,
touch me.

Now day is done . . .
on, swift sun.
Go touch my love about her face
and warm her now for my embrace;
for though she sleeps so far away,
where she is not, I shall not stay.
Go tell her now I, too, shall come.
Go on, swift sun,
go on.

Published by Tucumcari Literary Review

I seem to remember writing this poem toward the end of my senior year in high school, around age 18.

It's Halloween!
by Michael R. Burch, age 20

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

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

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

it's Halloween!

I believe I wrote this poem around age 20.

Laughter from Another Room
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

Laughter from another room
mocks the anguish that I feel;
as I sit alone and brood,
only you and I are real.

Only you and I are real.
Only you and I exist.
Only burns that blister heal.
Only dreams denied persist.

Only dreams denied persist.
Only hope that lingers dies.
Only love that lessens lives.
Only lovers ever cry.

Only lovers ever cry.
Only sinners ever pray.
Only saints are crucified.
The crucified are always saints.

The crucified are always saints.
The maddest men control the world.
The dumb man knows what he would say;
the poet never finds the words.

The poet never finds the words.
The minstrel never hits the notes.
The minister would love to curse.
The warrior longs to spare his foe.

The warrior longs to spare his foe.
The scholar never learns the truth.
The actors never see the show.
The hangman longs to feel the noose.

The hangman longs to feel the noose.
The artist longs to feel the flame.
The proudest men are not aloof;
the guiltiest are not to blame.

The guiltiest are not to blame.
The merriest are prone to brood.
If we go outside, it rains.
If we stay inside, it floods.

If we stay inside, it floods.
If we dare to love, we fear.
Blind men never see the sun;
other men observe through tears.

Other men observe through tears
the passage of these days of doom;
now I listen and I hear
laughter from another room.

Laughter from another room
mocks the anguish that I feel.
As I sit alone and brood,
only you and I are real.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem as a college freshman or sophomore, around age 18 or 19. It remains largely the same as the original poem.

The Insurrection of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch, age 22

She was my Shilo, my Gethsemane;
she nestled my head to her immaculate breast
as she breathed into my insensate lips
the soft benedictions of her ecstatic sighs . . .

But those veiled allegations of her disconsolate tears!

Years I abided the agile assaults of her flesh . . .
She loved me the most when I was most sorely pressed;
she undressed with delight for her ministrations
when all I needed was a moment’s rest . . .

She anointed my lips with strange dews at her perilous breast;
the insurrection of sighs left me fallen, distressed, at her elegant heel.
I felt the hard iron, the cold steel, in her words and I knew:
the terrible arrow showed through my conscripted flesh.

The sun in retreat left her Victor, then all was Night.
Late ap-peals of surrender went sinking and dying—unheard.

According to my notes, I wrote this poem at age 22 in 1980, must have forgotten about it, then revised it on January 31, 1999. But I wasn’t happy with the first stanza and revised the poem again on September 22, 2023, a mere 43 years after I wrote the original version! The "ap-peals" wordplay was a 2023 revision. The only "ap" I had in high school was Pong.

Sea Dreams
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

I.
In timeless days
I've crossed the waves
of seaways seldom seen.
By the last low light of evening
the breakers that careen
then dive back to the deep
have rocked my ship to sleep,
and so I've known the peace
of a soul at last at ease
there where Time's waters run
in concert with the sun.

With restless waves
I've watched the days'
slow movements, as they hum
their antediluvian songs.
Sometimes I've sung along,
my voice as soft and low
as the sea's, while evening slowed
to waver at the dim
mysterious moonlit rim
of dreams no man has known.

In thoughtless flight,
I've scaled the heights
and soared a scudding breeze
over endless arcing seas
of waves ten miles high.
I've sheared the sable skies
on wings as soft as sighs
and stormed the sun-pricked pitch
of sunset's scarlet-stitched,
ebullient dark demise.

I've climbed the sun-cleft clouds
ten thousand leagues or more
above the windswept shores
of seas no man has sailed
— great seas as grand as hell's,
shores littered with the shells
of men's "immortal" souls —
and I've warred with dark sea-holes
whose open mouths implored
their depths to be explored.

And I've grown and grown and grown
till I thought myself the king
of every silver thing...

But sometimes late at night
when the sorrowing wavelets sing
sad songs of other times,
I taste the windborne rime
of a well-remembered day
on the whipping ocean spray,
and I bow my head to pray...

II.
It's been a long, hard day;
sometimes I think I work too hard.
Tonight I'd like to take a walk
down by the sea —
down by those salty waves
brined with the scent of Infinity,
down by that rocky shore,
down by those cliffs that I used to climb
when the wind was **** with a taste of lime
and every dream was a sailor's dream.

Then small waves broke light,
all frothy and white,
over the reefs in the ramblings of night,
and the pounding sea
—a mariner's dream—
was bound to stir a boy's delight
to such a pitch
that he couldn't desist,
but was bound to splash through the surf in the light
of ten thousand stars, all shining so bright.

Christ, those nights were fine,
like a well-aged wine,
yet more scalding than fire
with the marrow's desire.

Then desire was a fire
burning wildly within my bones,
fiercer by far than the frantic foam...
and every wish was a moan.
Oh, for those days to come again!
Oh, for a sea and sailing men!
Oh, for a little time!

It's almost nine
and I must be back home by ten,
and then... what then?
I have less than an hour to stroll this beach,
less than an hour old dreams to reach...
And then, what then?

Tonight I'd like to play old games—
games that I used to play
with the somber, sinking waves.
When their wraithlike fists would reach for me,
I'd dance between them gleefully,
mocking their witless craze
—their eager, unchecked craze—
to batter me to death
with spray as light as breath.

Oh, tonight I'd like to sing old songs—
songs of the haunting moon
drawing the tides away,
songs of those sultry days
when the sun beat down
till it cracked the ground
and the sea gulls screamed
in their agony
to touch the cooling clouds.
The distant cooling clouds.

Then the sun shone bright
with a different light
over different lands,
and I was always a pirate in flight.

Oh, tonight I'd like to dream old dreams,
if only for a while,
and walk perhaps a mile
along this windswept shore,
a mile, perhaps, or more,
remembering those days,
safe in the soothing spray
of the thousand sparkling streams
that rush into this sea.
I like to slumber in the caves
of a sailor's dark sea-dreams...
oh yes, I'd love to dream,
to dream
and dream
and dream.

As the Flame Flowers
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

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

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

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

Ashes
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

A fire is dying;
ashes remain . . .
ashes and anguish,
ashes and pain.

A fire is fading
though once it burned bright . . .
ashes once embers
are ashes tonight.

A midnight shade of blue
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

You thought you saw a shadow moving somewhere in the night—
a lost and lonely stranger searching for a little light—
so you told me to approach him, ask him if he'd like a room . . .
how sweet of you to think of someone wandering in the gloom,
but he was only
                             a midnight shade of blue.

I thought I saw an answer shining somewhere in the night—
a spark of truth irradiating wisdom sweet and bright—
but when I sought to seize it, to bring it home to you . . .
it fluttered through my fingers like a wispy curlicue,
for it was only
                         a midnight shade of blue.

We thought that we had found true love together in the night—
a love as fine and elegant as wine by candlelight—
but when we woke this morning, we knew it wasn't true . . .
the "love" we'd shared was less than love; I guess we owe it to
emotion,
                and a midnight shade of blue.

I seem to remember writing this one during my early songwriting phase. That would be around 1974, give or take. While I don’t claim it’s a great poem, I think I did show a pretty good touch with meter in my youth.

Gentry
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

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

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

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

This poem was published in my college literary journal, Homespun, and was probably written around age 18 in high school.

Beckoning
by Michael R. Burch, age 17-18

Yesterday
the wind whispered my name
while the blazing locks
of her rampant mane
lay heavy on mine.

And yesterday
I saw the way
the wind caressed tall pines
in forests laced by glinting streams
and thick with tangled vines.

And though she reached
for me in her sleep,
the touch I felt was Time's.

I wrote this poem around age 17 or 18.

Damp Days
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

These are damp days,
and the earth is slick and vile
with the smell of month-old mud.

And yet it seldom rains;
a never-ending drizzle
drenches spring's bright buds
till they droop as though in death.

Now Time
drags out His endless hours
as though to bore to tears
His fretting, edgy servants
through the sheer length of His days
and slow passage of His years.

Damp days are His domain.

Irritation
grinds the ravaged nerves
and grips tight the gorging brain
which fills itself, through sense,
with vast morasses of clumped clay
while the temples throb in pain
at the thought of more damp days.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem sometime between 1974 and 1976, then revised it around 1978.

Easter, in Jerusalem
by Michael R. Burch, age 15-16

The streets are hushed from fervent song,
for strange lights fill the sky tonight.
A slow mist creeps
up and down the streets
and a star has vanished that once burned bright.
Oh Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
who tends your flocks tonight?
"Feed my sheep,"
"Feed my sheep,"
a Shepherd calls
through the markets and the cattle stalls,
but a fiery sentinel has passed from sight.

Golgotha shudders uneasily,
then wearily settles to sleep again,
and I wonder how they dream
who beat him till he screamed,
"Father, forgive them!"
Ah Nazareth, Nazareth,
now sunken deep into dark sleep,
do you heed His plea
as demons flee,
"Feed my sheep,"
"Feed my sheep . . ."

The temple trembles violently,
a veil lies ripped in two,
and a good man lies
on a mountainside
whose heart was shattered too.
Galilee, oh Galilee,
do your waters pulse and froth?
"Feed my sheep,"
"Feed my sheep,"
the waters creep
to form a starlit cross.

According to my notes, I wrote this poem around age 15-16.

An Obscenity Trial
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

The defendant was a poet held in many iron restraints
against whom several critics cited numerous complaints.
They accused him of trying to reach the "common crowd,"
and they said his poems incited recitals far too loud.

The prosecutor alleged himself most artful (and best-dressed);
it seems he’d never lost a case, nor really once been pressed.
He was known far and wide for intensely hating clarity;
twelve dilettantes at once declared the defendant another fatality.

The judge was an intellectual well-known for his great mind,
though not for being merciful, honest, sane or kind.
Clerics loved the "Hanging Judge" and the critics were his kin.
Bystanders said, "They'll crucify him!" The public was not let in.

The prosecutor began his case by spitting in the poet's face,
knowing the trial would be a farce.
"It is obscene," he screamed, "to expose the naked heart!"
The recorder (bewildered Society), well aware of his notoriety,
greeted this statement with applause.

"This man is no poet. Just look—his Hallmark shows it.
Why, see, he utilizes rhyme, symmetry and grammar! He speaks without a stammer!
His sense of rhythm is too fine!
He does not use recondite words or conjure ancient Latin verbs.
This man is an impostor!
I ask that his sentence be . . . the almost perceptible indignity
of removal from the Post-Modernistic roster!"

The jury left, in tears of joy, literally sequestered.

The defendant sighed in mild despair, "Might I not answer to my peers?"
But how His Honor giggled then,
seeing no poets were let in.

Later, the clashing symbols of their pronouncements drove him mad
and he admitted both rhyme and reason were bad.

Published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea and Poetry Life & Times

El Dorado
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, it's a fine town, a very fine town
for those who can leave when they tire
of chasing after rainbows and dreams
and living on nothing but fire.

But for those of us who cling to our dreams
and cannot let them go,
like the sad-eyed ladies who wander the streets
and the junkies high on snow,
the dream has become a reality
—the reality of hope
that grew too strong
not to linger on—
and so this is our home.

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

This is an early poem of mine. I believe I wrote the first version during my “Romantic phase” around age 16 or perhaps a bit later. It was definitely written in my teens because it appears in a poetry contest folder that I put together and submitted during my sophomore year in college.

Blue Cowboy
by Michael R. Burch, age 15-16

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

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

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

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

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

I believe I wrote “Blue Cowboy” during my songwriting phase, around age 15-16.

Cowpoke
by Michael R. Burch, age 15-16

Sleep, old man ...
your day has long since passed.
The endless plains,
cool midnight rains
and changeless ragged cows
alone remain
of what once was.

You cannot know
just how the Change
will **** the windswept plains
that you so loved ...
and so sleep now,
O yes, sleep now ...
before you see just how
the Change will come.

Sleep, old man ...
your dreams are not our dreams.
The Rio Grande,
stark silver sand
and every obscure brand
of steed and cow
are sure to pass away
as you do now.

I believe this poem was written around the same time as “Blue Cowboy,” perhaps on the same day. That was probably around age 15-16.

Dance With Me
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

Dance with me
to the fiddles’ plaintive harmonies.
Enchantingly,
each highstrung string,
each yearning key,
each a thread within the threnody,
bids us, "Waltz!"
then sets us free
to wander, dancing aimlessly.

Let us kiss
beneath the stars
as we slowly meet ...
we'll part
laughing gaily as we go
to measure love’s arpeggios.

Yes, dance with me,
enticingly;
press your lips to mine,
then flee.

The night is young,
the stars are wild;
embrace me now,
my sweet, beguiled,
and dance with me.

The curtains are drawn,
the stage is set
—patterned all in grey and jet—
where couples in like darkness met
—careless airy silhouettes—
to try love's timeless pirouettes.

They, too, spun across the lawn
to die in shadowy dark verdant.

But dance with me.

Sweet Merrilee,
don't cry, I see
the ironies of all the years
within the moonlight on your tears,
and every ****** has her fears ...

So laugh with me
unheedingly;
love's gaiety is not for those
who fail to heed the music's flow,
but it is ours.

Now fade away
like summer rain,
then pirouette ...
the dance of stars
that waltz among night's meteors
must be the dance we dance tonight.

Then come again—
like a sultry wind.

Your slender body as you sway
belies the ripeness of your age,
for a woman's body burns tonight
beneath your gown of ****** white—
a woman's ******* now rise and fall
in answer to an ancient call,
and a woman's hips—soft, yet full—
now gently at your garments pull.

So dance with me,
sweet Merrilee ...
the music bids us,
"Waltz!"

Don't flee;
let us kiss
beneath the stars.
Love's passing pains will leave no scars
as we whirl beneath false moons
and heed the fiddle’s plaintive tunes ...

Oh, Merrilee,
the curtains are drawn,
the stage is set,
we, too, are stars beyond night's depths.
So dance with me.

I distinctly remember writing this poem my freshman year in college, circa 1976-1977, after meeting George King, who taught the creative writing classes. I would have been 18-19 when I started the poem, but it didn’t always cooperate and I seem to remember working on it the following year as well.

Dance With Me (II)
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

While the music plays
remembrance strays
toward a grander time . . .

Let's dance.

Shadows rising, mute and grey,
obscure those fervent yesterdays
of youth and gay romance,
but time is slipping by, and now
those days just don't seem real, somehow . . .

Why don't we dance?

This music is a memory,
for it's of another time . . .
a slower, stranger time.

We danced—remember how we danced?—
uncaring, merry, wild and free.
Remember how you danced with me?

Cheek to cheek and breast to breast,
your ******* hard against my chest,
we danced
and danced
  and danced.

We cannot dance that way again,
for the years have borne away the flame
and left us only ashes,
but think of all those dances,

and dance with me.

I believe I wrote this poem around the same time as the original “Dance With Me,” this time from the perspective of the lovers many years later. So this poem would have been written sometime between 1976 and 1977, around age 18-19.

Impressions of Darkness in the Aspects of Light
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

The afternoon hours pass slowly,
moment blending into golden moment as Time flows tranquilly by,
and only the deepening shadows portend the Evening’s coming,
for within their mystic twilight she sleeps, a Goddess immune to light.

Meanwhile the dreaming maidens—half dark as the Darkness itself—
bask in the amber radiance, oblivious to all save Time,
for they sense the fragrance of dying flowers ...

Fascinating aromas of poppy and hemp once cured by the Sun arise with the Wind,
caressing the senses while numbing the spirit,
inducing vague dreams and a willingness to sleep ... perhaps forevermore.

For cruel Death awaits her hour and the lilies surely shall die.

All the while Death’s dread Sister lurks in the shadows murmuring songs of a ghostly Moon haunting purple skies.

Listen! I can hear the refrain far-off on the naked wind—
rising, then falling, strengthening, then dying...
calling me “home” once again.

And even now Darkness stalks earth’s unsuspecting flocks with feline nonchalance,
as the willows bow and their limbs scrape the earth seemingly in regret.

And even now the skylark’s luting song harbors an elusive melancholy...

And even now the spiraling hawk pauses momentarily to cast a sorrowful eye earthward,
then rises slowly, as if unwilling to dare the utmost heights...

And even now the Moon-drawn sea pauses from its rocking to lift a wave or two toward the engorging Darkness,
imploring, despairing, an innocent child in the hands of a savage Master.

“Oh Lord!” the anguished waves cry out, in the agony of despair,
“Give us a little time ... a little time!”
But their cries die out deep into the descending Nothingness.

Who knows that it lurks there, now, but the sorrowing sea and I?

Who else reckons the assuredness of its arrival or the insincerity of its departure?

Not the flashy cardinal—he cares not but to fly.

Never the solemn-eyed hoot owl, for he loves the Nighttime better than the day.

Only, perhaps, the dying sun understands the arcane reasons
for the coming on of Night and the changing of the seasons.

For at her back she must always hear the chariots of Night drawing closer and closer,
the hooves of coal-black stallions shattering the serenity of the heavens,
creating the fiery sparks we call stars.

But I am not alone in my unceasing vigil: the sun and the sea, my constant companions, console me, as does the enigmatic nightingale.

And they shall comfort me tonight when the curtains of the Night are drawn and clouds obscure the stars.

Together we shall count the hours until Dawn’s deliverance, when she comes to free us, bearing God’s bright banner, enlisting the glowering mountains and angry heavens.

A pledge for ignorance

In these changing times,
when truth and conjecture
are no longer distinguished
by the common man,
who accepts all things
as part of some ultimate plan,
believing, perhaps rightly so,
that any gods existing now
shall soon be overthrown,
I have closed my eyes and seen
the dissolution of my beliefs.

Once I thought myself secure
belonging to a race of logic and science,
infallible, perhaps capable
of conquering the universe . . .
but as I have seen the plight
of my people growing worse and worse,
today I attempt not to think at all,
nor do I scale the heights that I once did;
having experienced one harrowing fall,
I will not risk another
even to save a brother.

For thought is like the flight of birds
that rise to heights unknown to men,
till, grazing the orbits of fiery stars,
they fall to earth, their feathers singed.
So I will not venture those starry paths
by moons unseen and planets ringed,
but I will live my life below,
secure in blissful ignorance,
never approaching thought'****** aglow . . .
and though I may be wrong in this,
what I have not seen, I have not missed.

I Am Lonely
by Michael R. Burch, age 15-16

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

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

remains myself?

This poem appeared in my high school journal the Lantern, so it was written no later than 1976. But I believe it was written around age 15-16.

I held a heart in my outstretched hand
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

I held a heart in my outstretched hand;
it was ****** and red and raw.
I ripped it and tore it;
I gnashed it and gnawed it;
I gored it with fingers like claws,
but it never missed a beat
of the heartfelt song it sang.

There my bruised heart wept in my open palm
and the gore dripped down my wrist;
I reviled it,
defiled it;
I gave it a twist
and wrung it dry of blood;
still it beat with a hearty thud,
and its movement was warm with love.

But I flung it into the ditch and walked
angrily, cruelly away . . .
There it lay in the dust
with a ****** crust
caking the crimson stain
that my claw-like fingers had made,
and its flesh was grey with death.

Oh, I cannot say why,
but I turned and I cried,
and I lifted it once again,
holding it to my cheek,
where it began to beat,
but to a tiny, tragic measure
devoid of trust or pleasure.

Then it kissed my fingers and sighed,
begging forgiveness even as it died.

Now that was many years ago,
and I am wiser, for I know
that a heart can last out any pain,
but cannot bear to be alone.

And my lifeless heart is wiser too,
having seen the way a careless man
can take his being into his hands
and crush it into a worthless ooze.

Gainsboro(ugh)
by Michael R. Burch, age 15

Times forgotten, times reviled
were all you gave a child, beguiled,
besides one ghostly memory
to haunt him down Life’s winding wild.
And though his character was formed
somewhere within your lightless shade,
not a fragment of the man
that he became today remains
anywhere within the gloom
cast by your dark insidious trees ...
for fleeting dreams and memories
are only dreams and memories.

Remembrance
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

That eerie night I met you, the moon bathed all the land
in strange, enchanting patterns which stirred in my chilled mind
forgotten dreams of fiery youth and hopes of things to come
that I had seen destroyed or lost to cold, uncaring Time.

The goblet of wine I held gleamed with a wildly-flickering light
and the pool of fragrant liquid seemed a shade too close to blood;
there, in its mirror-like surface, I saw you passing by,
and suddenly, shockingly, I felt the pang of Love . . .

You wore a long white gown and when the moonlight caught your hair
you seemed a slender taper lit by a silver flame;
and . .. though we had never met before . . .
. . . somehow . . . I knew your name . . .

I sought to speak, but I could not,
for the demon wine had numbed my tongue . . .
Oh, I turned to follow you through the door,
looking about, but you were gone . . .

"Remembrance" was written in my late teens, circa 1977-1978, and appears in my 1978 poetry contest folder.

Morning
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

I remember playing in the mud
Septembers long ago
when you and I were young
with dreams of things to come
and hopes for feet of snow.

And at eight years old the days were long
—long enough to last—
and when it snowed
the smiles would show
behind each pane of glass.

At ten years old, the fights were few,
the future—far away,
and when the snow showed on the streets
there was always time to play . . .
almost always time to play.

And when you smiled your eyes were green,
but when you cried they seemed ice blue;
do you remember how we cried
as little boys will do—
trying hard not to, because we wanted to be "cool"?

At twelve years old, the world was warm
and hate had never crossed our minds,
and in twelve short years we had not learned
to hear the fearsome breath of Time
behind.

So, while the others all looked back,
you and I would look ahead.
It's such a shame that the world turned out
to be what everyone said
it would.

And junior high was like a dream—
the girls were mesmerized by you,
sighing, smiling bright and sweet,
as we passed them on the street
on our way to school.

And we did well; we never tried
to make straight "A's,"
but always did.
And just for kicks, when we saw cops,
we ran away and hid.

We seldom quarreled, never fought,
for in our way,
we loved each other;
and had the choice been ours to make,
you would have been my elder brother.

But as it was, it always is—
one's life is lost
before it's lived.
And when our mothers called our names,
we ran away and hid.

At fifteen we were back-court stars,
freshman starters on the team;
and every time we drove and scored
the cheerleaders would scream
our names.

You played tennis; I played golf;
you debated; I ran track;
and whenever grades came out,
you and I would lead the pack.
I guess that we just had the knack.

Whatever happened to us, Jack?

All My Children
by Michael R. Burch, age 14-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is May now, gentle May,
and the sun shines pleasantly
upon this backyard garden,
on the graves of all my children . . .

God, keep them safe until
I join them, as I will.
God, guard their tender dust
until I meet them, as I must.

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

This is one of my earliest poems, written around 1973 circa age 15, about the same time as “Jessamyn’s Song” although I think this one is a bit older, based on its language and style.

Parting
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

I was his friend, and he was mine; I knew him just a while.
We laughed and talked and sang a song; he went on with a smile.
He roams this land in search of life, intent on being “free.”
I stay at home and write my poems and work on my degree.
I hope to be a writer soon, and dream of wild acclaim.
He doesn't know what he will do; he only knows he loves the wind and rain.

I didn't say goodbye to him; I know he'll understand.
I'll never write a word to him; I don't know that I can.
I knew he couldn't stay, and so . . . I didn't even ask.
We both knew that he had to go; I tried to ease his task.
We both know life's a winding road with potholes every mile,
and if we hit a detour, well, it only brings vague sadness to our smiles.

One day he's bound to stop somewhere; perhaps he'll take a wife,
but for now he has to travel on to seek a more “natural” life.
He knows such a life's elusive, but still he has to try,
just as I must write my poems although none please my eye.
For poetry, like life itself, is something most men rue;
still, we meet disappointments with a smile, and smile until the time that they are through.

He left me as I left a friend so many years ago;
I promised I would call him, but I never did; you know,
it's not that I didn't love him; it's just that gone is gone.
It makes no sense to prolong the end; you cannot stop the sun.
And I hope to find a lover soon, and I hope she'll love me too;
but perhaps I'll find disappointment; I know that it’s a rare girl who is true.

I've been to many foreign lands, but now my feet are fast,
still, I hope to travel once again when my college days are past.
Our paths are very different, but we both do what we can,
and though we don't know what it means, we try to "act like men."
We were friends, and nothing more; what more is there to be?
We were friends for just a while . . . he went on to be free.

Oh, say that you are mine
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

Your lips are sweeter than apricot brandy;
your breath invites with a pleasant warmth;
you sweep through the darkest corridors of my soul—
a waltzing maiden born of a dream;
you brush the frailest fibre of my hopes
and I sink to my knees—
a quivering beggar.

Your eyes are bluer than aquamarine
set ablaze by the sun;
your lips as inviting as cool streams
to a wanderer of desert lands;
I sleep in your hand,
safe in the warmth of your tender palm,
lost in the fragrance of your soft skin.

We make love as deep as purple pine forests,
your laughter richer and sweeter than honey
poured in a pitcher of peaches and cream,
your malice more elusive than the memory of a dream,
your cheeks tenderer than eiderdown
and cooler than snow-fed streams;
you touch my lips with the lightest of kisses
and my soul sings.

Liar
by Michael R. Burch, age 16

Chiller than a winter day,
quieter than the murmur of the sea in her dreams,
eyes softer than the diaphanous spray
of mist-shrouded streams,
you fill my dying thoughts.

In moments drugged with sleep
I have heard your earnest voice
leaving me no choice
save heed your hushed demands
and meet you in the sands
of an ageless arctic world.

There I kiss your lifeless lips
as we quiver in the shoals
of a sea that, endless, rolls
to meet the shattered shore.
Wild waves weep, "Nevermore,"
as you bend to stroke my hair.

That land is harsh and drear,
and that sea is bleak and wild;
only your lips are mild
as you kiss my weary eyes,
whispering lovely lies
of what awaits us there

in a land so stark and bare,
beyond all hope . . . and care.

This is one of my early poems, written as a high school sophomore or junior.

SEQUELS

Leave Taking
by Michael R. Burch, age 14

Brilliant leaves abandon
battered limbs
to waltz upon ecstatic winds
until they die.

But the barren and embittered trees
lament the frolic of the leaves
and curse the bleak
November sky.

Now, as I watch the leaves'
high flight
before the fading autumn light,
I think that, perhaps, at last I may

have learned what it means to say
goodbye.

This early poem dates to around age 14 and was part of a longer poem, "Jessamyn's Song."

Leave Taking (II)
by Michael R. Burch

Although the earth renews itself, and spring
is lovelier for all the rot of fall,
I think of yellow leaves that cling and hang
by fingertips to life, let go . . . and all
men see is one bright instance of departure,
the flame that, at least height, warms nothing. I,

have never liked to think the ants that march here
will deem them useless, grimly tramping by,
and so I gather leaves’ dry hopeless brilliance,
to feel their prickly edges, like my own,
to understand their incurled worn resilience—
youth’s tenderness long, callously, outgrown.

I even feel the pleasure of their sting,
the stab of life. I do not think —at all—
to be renewed, as earth is every spring.
I do not hope words cluster where they fall.
I only hope one leaf, wild-spiraling,
illuminates the void, till glad hearts sing.

It's not that every leaf must finally fall ...
it's just that we can never catch them all.

Originally published by Silver Stork

Moon Lake
by Michael R. Burch, age 18

Starlit recorder of summer nights,
what magic spell bewitches you?
They say that all lovers love first in the dark . . .
Is it true?
Is it true?
  Is it true?

Uncanny seer of all that appears
and all that has appeared . . .
what sights have you seen,
what dreams have you dreamed,
  what rhetoric have you heard?

Is love an oration or is it a word?
Have you heard?
Have you heard?
  Have you heard?

Tomb Lake
by Michael R. Burch, age 18-19

Go down to the valley
where mockingbirds cry,
  alone, ever lonely . . .
   yes, go down to die.
And dream in your dying
you never shall wake.
  Go down to the valley;
   go down to Tomb Lake.
Tomb Lake is a cauldron
of souls such as yours —
  mad souls without meaning,
   frail souls without force.
Tomb Lake is a graveyard
reserved for the dead.
  They lie in her shallows
   and sleep in her bed.

Playmates
by Michael R. Burch, age 13-14

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

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

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

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

Then we never thought about the next day,
for tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things didn't last.

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

This is, I believe, my second "real" poem. I believe I was around 13 or 14 when I wrote it.

Playthings
by Michael R. Burch, age 19

a sequel to “Playmates”

There was a time, as though a long-forgotten dream remembered,
when you and I were playmates and the days were long;
then we were pirates stealing plaits of daisies
from trembling maidens fearing men so strong . . .

Our world was like an unplucked Rose unfolding,
and you and I were busy, then, as bees;
the nectar that we drank, it made us giddy;
each petal within reach seemed ours to seize . . .

But you were more the doer, I the dreamer,
so I wrote poems and dreamed a noble cause;
while you were linking logs, I met old Merlin
and took a dizzy ride to faery Oz . . .

But then you put aside all “silly” playthings;
with sunburned hands you built, from bricks and stone,
tall buildings, then a life, and then you married.
Now my fantasies, again, are all my own.

This is a companion poem to “Playmates,” the second poem I remember writing, around age 13 or 14. However, I believe “Playthings” was written several years later, in my late teens, around 1977. According to my notes, I revised the poem in 1991, then again in 2020.

Keywords/Tags: Early, Juvenalia, Young, Youth, Teen, Child, Childhood, Boy, Boyhood, Romantic

Bookmarks/Tags: early, early poems, juvenilia, child, childhood, boy, boyhood, teen, teenager, young adult



These are poems I wrote later in life.

This is a poem I wrote after reading W. S. Merwin’s translations of Pablo Neruda’s love sonnets.

First and Last
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth, after Pablo Neruda

You are the last arcane rose
of my aching,
my longing,
or the first yellowed leaves—
vagrant spirals of gold
forming huddled bright sheaves;
you are passion forsaking
dark skies, as though sunsets no winds might enclose.
And still in my arms
you are gentle and fragrant—
demesne of my vigor,
spent rigor,
lost power,
fallen musculature of youth,
leaves clinging and hanging,
nameless joys of my youth to this last lingering hour.

Published by Tucumcari Literary Review and Poetry Life & Times



Thirty
by Michael R. Burch

Thirty crept upon me slowly
with feline caution and a slowly-twitching tail;
patiently she waited for the winds to shift;
now, claws unsheathed, she lies seething to assail
her helpless prey.



To Know You as Mary
by Michael R. Burch

To know you as Mary,
when you spoke her name
and her world was never the same ...
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom.

O, then I would laugh
and be glad that I came,
never minding the chill, the disconsolate rain ...
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom.

I might not think this earth
the sharp focus of pain
if I heard you exclaim—
beside the still tomb
where the spring roses bloom

my most unexpected, unwarranted name!
But you never spoke. Explain?



Transplant
by Michael R. Burch

You float, unearthly angel, clad in flesh
as strange to us who briefly knew your flame
as laughter to disease. And yet you laugh.
Behind your smile, the sun forfeits its claim
to earth, and floats forever now the same―
light captured at its moment of least height.

You laugh here always, welcoming the night,
and, just a photograph, still you can claim
bright rapture: like an angel, not of flesh―
but something more, made less. Your humanness
this moment of release becomes a name
and something else―a radiance, a strange
brief presence near our hearts. How can we stand
and chain you here to this nocturnal land
of burgeoning gray shadows? Fly, begone.
I give you back your soul, forfeit all claim
to radiance, and welcome grief’s dark night
that crushes all the laughter from us. Light
in someone Else’s hand, and sing at ease
some song of brightsome mirth through dawn-lit trees
to welcome morning’s sun. O daughter! these
are eyes too weak for laughter; for love’s sight,
I welcome darkness, overcome with light.



Poems for Akhmatova
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

4
You outshine everything, even the sun
at its zenith. The stars are yours!
If only I could sweep like the wind
through some unbarred door,
gratefully, to where you are ...

to hesitantly stammer, suddenly shy,
lowering my eyes before you, my lovely mistress,
petulant, chastened, overcome by tears,
as a child sobs to receive forgiveness ...



He Lived: Excerpts from “Gilgamesh”
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I.
He who visited hell, his country’s foundation,
Was well-versed in mysteries’ unseemly dark places.
He deeply explored many underworld realms
Where he learned of the Deluge and why Death erases.

II.
He built the great ramparts of Uruk-the-Sheepfold
And of holy Eanna. Then weary, alone,
He recorded his thoughts in frail scratchings called “words”:
But words made immortal, once chiseled in stone.

III.
These walls he erected are ever-enduring:
Vast walls where the widows of dead warriors weep.
Stand by them. O, feel their immovable presence!
For no other walls are as strong as this keep’s.

IV.
Come, climb Uruk’s tower on a starless night—
Ascend its steep stairway to escape modern error.
Cross its ancient threshold. You are close to Ishtar,
The Goddess of Ecstasy and of Terror!

V.
Find the cedar box with its hinges of bronze;
Lift the lid of its secrets; remove its dark slate;
Read of the travails of our friend Gilgamesh—
Of his descent into hell and man’s terrible fate!

VI.
Surpassing all kings, heroic in stature,
Wild bull of the mountains, the Goddess his dam
—Bedding no other man; he was her sole rapture—
Who else can claim fame, as he thundered, “I am!”



Enkidu Enters the House of Dust
an original poem by Michael R. Burch

I entered the house of dust and grief.
Where the pale dead weep there is no relief,
for there night descends like a final leaf
to shiver forever, unstirred.

There is no hope left when the tree’s stripped bare,
for the leaf lies forever dormant there
and each man cloaks himself in strange darkness, where
all company’s unheard.

No light’s ever pierced that oppressive night
so men close their eyes on their neighbors’ plight
or stare into darkness, lacking sight ...
each a crippled, blind bat-bird.

Were these not once eagles, gallant men?
Who sits here—pale, wretched and cowering—then?
O, surely they shall, they must rise again,
gaining new wings? “Absurd!

For this is the House of Dust and Grief
where men made of clay, eat clay. Relief
to them’s to become a mere windless leaf,
lying forever unstirred.”

“Anu and Enlil, hear my plea!
Ereshkigal, they all must go free!
Beletseri, dread scribe of this Hell, hear me!”
But all my shrill cries, obscured

by vast eons of dust, at last fell mute
as I took my place in the ash and soot.



Reclamation
an original poem by Michael R. Burch

after Robert Graves, with a nod to Mary Shelley

I have come to the dark side of things
where the bat sings
its evasive radar
and Want is a crooked forefinger
attached to a gelatinous wing.

I have grown animate here, a stitched corpse
hooked to electrodes.
And night
moves upon me—progenitor of life
with its foul breath.

Blind eyes have their second sight
and still are deceived. Now my nature
is softly to moan
as Desire carries me
swooningly across her threshold.

Stone
is less infinite than her crone’s
gargantuan hooked nose, her driveling lips.
I eye her ecstatically—her dowager figure,
and there is something about her that my words transfigure

to a consuming emptiness.
We are at peace
with each other; this is our venture—
swaying, the strings tautening, as tightropes
tauten, as love tightens, constricts

to the first note.
Lyre of our hearts’ pits,
orchestration of nothing, adits
of emptiness! We have come to the last of our hopes,
sweet as congealed blood sweetens for flies.

Need is reborn; love dies.



Everlasting
by Michael R. Burch

Where the wind goes
when the storm dies,
there my spirit lives
though I close my eyes.

Do not weep for me;
I am never far.
Whisper my name
to the last star ...

then let me sleep,
think of me no more.

Still ...

By denying death
its terminal sting,
in my words I remain
everlasting.



She bathes in silver
~~~~ afloat ~~~~
on her reflections
—Michael R. Burch

I liked the line “She bathes in silver” but didn’t have anything to follow it up with, so I eventually opted for a short haiku-like poem, which I rather fancy now.



“Whoso List to Hunt” is a famous early English sonnet written by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) in the mid-16th century.

Whoever Longs to Hunt
by Sir Thomas Wyatt
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Whoever longs to hunt, I know the deer;
but as for me, alas!, I may no more.
This vain pursuit has left me so bone-sore
I'm one of those who falters, at the rear.
Yet friend, how can I draw my anguished mind
away from the doe?
                               Thus, as she flees before
me, fainting I follow.
                                I must leave off, therefore,
since in a net I seek to hold the wind.

Whoever seeks her out,
                                     I relieve of any doubt,
that he, like me, must spend his time in vain.
For graven with diamonds, set in letters plain,
these words appear, her fair neck ringed about:
Touch me not, for Caesar's I am,
And wild to hold, though I seem tame.



This is my modern English translation of a French poem by Voltaire, one of my all-time favorite writers. The poem is followed by two translations of epigrams by Voltaire.

Les Vous et Les Tu (“You, then and now”)
by Voltaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Phyllis, whatever became of those days
We spent riding in your carriage,
Lacking both lackeys and trappings,
Accompanied only by your graceful charms
And content with a humble supper
Which you (of course) transformed into ambrosia ...
Days when you abandoned yourself in your folly
To the happily deceived lover
Who so earnestly pledged you his life?

Heaven had bequeathed you, then,
In lieu of prestige and riches,
The enchanting enticements of youth:
A tender heart, an adventurous mind,
An alabaster breast and exquisite eyes.
Well, with so many luring allurements,
Ah! what girl would have not been mischievous?
And so you were, graceful creature.
And thus (and may Love forgive me!)
You know I desired you all the more.

Ah, Madame! How your life,
So filled with honors today,
Differs from those lost enchantments!
This hulking guardian with the powdered hair
Who lies incessantly at your door,
Phyllis, is the very avatar of Time:
See how he dismisses the escorts
Of tender Love and Laughter;
Those orphans no longer dare show their faces
Beneath your magnificent paneled ceilings.
Alas! in happier days I saw them
Enter your home through a glassless window
To frolic in your hovel.

No, Madame, all these carpets
Spun at the Savonnerie
And so elegantly loomed by the Persians;
And all your golden jewelry;
And all this expensive porcelain
Germain engraved with his divine hand;
And all these cabinets in which Martin
Surpassed the art of China;
And all your white vases,
Such fragile Japanese wonders!;
And the twin chandeliers of diamonds
Dangling from your ears;
And your costly chokers and necklaces;
And all this spellbinding pomp;
Are not worth a single kiss
You blessed me with when you were young.



These are my modern English translations of two epigrams by Voltaire.

Once fanaticism has gangrened brains
the incurable malady invariably remains.
—Voltaire, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love is a canvas created by nature
and completed by imagination.
—Voltaire, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: Voltaire, France, French, English translation, you, Phyllis, youth, young, crush, love, lost love, kiss, time



Reason Without Rhyme
by Michael R. Burch

I used to be averse
to free verse,
but now I admit
that YOUR rhyming is WORSE!

But alas, in the end,
it’s all the same:
all verse is unpaid
and a crying shame.



Sun Poem
by Michael R. Burch

I have suffused myself in poetry
as a lizard basks, soaking up sun,
scales nakedly glinting; its glorious light
he understands—when it comes, it comes.

A flood of light leaches down to his bones,
his feral eye blinks—bold, curious, bright.

Now night and soon winter lie brooding, damp, chilling;
here shadows foretell the great darkness ahead.
Yet he stretches in rapture, his hot blood thrilling,
simple yet fierce on his hard stone bed,

his tongue flicking rhythms,
the sun—throbbing, spilling.



Cameo
by Michael R. Burch

Breathe upon me the breath of life;
gaze upon me with sardonyx eyes.
Here, where times flies
in the absence of light,
all ecstasies are intimations of night.

Hold me tonight in the spell I have cast;
promise what cannot be given.
Show me the stairway to heaven.
Jacob's-ladder grows all around us;
Jacob's ladder was fashioned of onyx.

So breathe upon me the breath of life;
gaze upon me with sardonic eyes . . .
and, if in the morning I am not wise,
at least then I’ll know if this dream we call life
was worth the surmise.



The Drawer of Mermaids
by Michael R. Burch

This poem is dedicated to Alina Karimova, who was born with severely deformed legs and five fingers missing. Alina loves to draw mermaids and believes her fingers will eventually grow out.

Although I am only four years old,
they say that I have an old soul.
I must have been born long, long ago,
here, where the eerie mountains glow
at night, in the Urals.

A madman named Geiger has cursed these slopes;
now, shut in at night, the emphatic ticking
fills us with dread.
(Still, my momma hopes
that I will soon walk with my new legs.)

It’s not so much legs as the fingers I miss,
drawing the mermaids under the ledges.
(Observing, Papa will kiss me
in all his distracted joy;
but why does he cry?)

And there is a boy
who whispers my name.
Then I am not lame;
for I leap, and I follow.
(G’amma brings a wiseman who says

our infirmities are ours, not God’s,
that someday a beautiful Child
will return from the stars,
and then my new fingers will grow
if only I trust Him; and so

I am preparing to meet Him, to go,
should He care to receive me.)



splintering
by michael r. burch

we have grown too far apart,
each heart
long numbed by time and pain.

we have grown too far apart;
the DARK
now calls us. why refrain?

we have grown too far apart;
what spark
could ignite our lives again

or persuade us to remain?



After the Poetry Recital
by Michael R. Burch

Later there’ll be talk of saving whales
over racks of lamb and flambéed snails.



H.B.
for Hermann Broch
by Hannah Arendt
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Survival.
But how does one live without the dead?
Where is the sound of their lost company?
Where now, their companionable embraces?
We wish they were still with us.
We are left with the cry that ripped them from us.
Left with the veil that shrouds their empty gazes.
What avails? That we commit ourselves to them,
and through this commitment, learn to survive.



I Love the Earth
by Hannah Arendt
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the earth
like a trip
to a foreign land
and not otherwise.
Even so life spins me
on its loom softly
into never-before-seen patterns.
Until suddenly
like the last farewells of a new journey,
the great silence breaks the frame.



Abdul Ghani Khan – aka Ghani Baba – was an Pakistani poet, philosopher, engineer, sculptor, painter, writer and politician who wrote in Pashto.

Excerpts from “Zama Mahal” (“My Palace”)
by Ghani Baba
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I fashioned a palace from the river’s white sands,
as the world, in great amazement, watched on in disbelief ...
My palace was carpeted with rose petals.
Its walls were made of melodies, sung by Rabab.
It was lit by a fair crescent, coupled with the divine couplets of Venus.
It was strung with the dewdrops of a necklace I entwined.
Eyes, inebriated by the stars, twinkled ever so brightly!



The Chalice
by Ghani Baba
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A note of drunkenness floats on the dusk;
Come, drown your sorrows in the chalice!
What does it matter if you’re a yogi or an emir?
Here there’s no difference between master and slave.
Death’s hand, the Black Hunter’s, is weighing the blow;
Laugh! Laugh now, before laughter is ensnared.



Entreaty
by Ghani Baba
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I do not need your polished lips,
Nor your hair in loops like a serpent’s coils,
Nor your nape as graceful as a swan’s,
Nor your narcissistic eyes drunk on your own beauty,
Nor your teeth perfect as pearls,
Nor your cheeks ruddy as ripe pomegranates,
Nor your voice mellifluous as a viola’s,
Nor your figure elegant as a poplar, ...
But show me this and only this, my love:
I seek a heart stained red, like a poppy flower.
Pearls by millions I would gladly forfeit
For one tear born of heartfelt love and grief.

(Written at age 15, in July 1929, on the ship Neldera)



To God
by Ghani Baba
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

i don’t say You don’t exist, i say You do,
yet Your universe seems to lack an owner!



Look Up
by Ghani Baba
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To understand the magnificence of the Universe,
look up.



The Brain and the Heart
by Ghani Baba
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The brain and the heart? Two powerful independent kings governing one country.



Someone please tell me:
How does one fall in love?
—Ghani Baba, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Last night the mountain peak
Spoke softly to the evening star.
—Ghani Baba, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Paradise lay beneath my mother’s feet.
—Ghani Baba, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wherever our mothers walk, beneath their feet lies Paradise.
—Ghani Baba, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



The King of Beasts in the Museum of the Extinct
by Michael R. Burch

The king of beasts, my child,
was terrible, and wild.

His roaring shook the earth
till the feeble cursed his birth.

And all things feared his might:
even rhinos fled, in fright.

Now here these bones attest
to what the brute did best

and the pain he caused his prey
when he hunted in his day.

For he slew them just for sport
till his own pride was cut short

with a mushrooming cloud and wild thunder;
Exhibit "B" will reveal his blunder.



The Lingering and the Unconsoled Heart
by Michael R. Burch

There is a silence—
the last unspoken moment
before death,

when the moon,
cratered and broken,
is all madness and light,

when the breath comes low and complaining,
and the heart is a ruin
of emptiness and night.

There is a grief—
the grief of a lover's embrace
while faith still shimmers in a mother’s tears ...

There is no emptier time, nor place,
while the faint glimmer of life is ours
that the lingering and the unconsoled heart fears

beyond this: seeing its own stricken face
in eyes that drift toward some incomprehensible place.



I’m afraid Donald Justice was a bit over-optimistic in his poem “Men at Forty” …

Men at Sixty
by Michael R. Burch

after Donald Justice's "Men at Forty"

Learn to gently close
doors to rooms
you can never re-enter.

Rest against the stair rail
as the solid steps
buck and buckle like ships’ decks.

Rediscover in mirrors
your father’s face
once warm with the mystery of lather,
now electrically plucked.



That country ***** bewitches your heart?
Hell, her most beguiling art’s
hiking her dress
to ****** you with her ankles' nakedness!
Sappho, fragment 57, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: mermaid, mermaids, child, children, childhood, Urals, Ural Mountains, soul, soulmate, radiation
st64 Nov 2013
a dragonfly settles slow on languid-fingertips..
can they smell my heart melting?
there’s a super-cracking inside this geyser
soon to crack some more


1.
I hold a tree inside my palm
you can’t actually tell where its roots really grow
veins don’t fade easily.. just the eye won’t see it

blackest bull-dogue waits behind the silverfish-caravan
who the heck knows why it waits in saliva’d-chains
but it lurks there, in silent-rancour

one eye flicks inwards and gets inverted
licks at all the flies inside
there’s a buzzing to be *felt
 from miles away

touch-tone insignia keeps calling and calling
screaming off its ugly provided-head
demanding eye-scales which cannot fall

black-stockinged nuns profess utter-diligence to duty
hide their want within the deep-wells of darker-veils
while rosaries are fever-fingered with reverence

keep swinging that twig under my scissored-wishes
you may just miss once
and catch my whirring 'copter-feet


2.
man, if you jump high enough and not fade.. away
you may never have to feel that wicked-thud of landing
one click onto the nebulae and you’re truly home

at the young boy’s feet, they lie
a host of little beings.. not breathing
that jokers cannot understand

as sang in epic-tunes of yore
better to burn out than rust
stay forever young..


reach out with seeker-arms in pin-striped shirt
yes, push mercy down upon its sweet-cheek
and sense the reek of discontent in neat patterns.. waiting to fall
no use looking at poverty crying for a way out as blood runs down its head
tell yourself it’s only paint.. meant for a well-researched lesson on another day



pick up your chair, poet.. and ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnn!!
while feathers fall onto the heads of sinners who sack the fading light


and mind you don’t trip on your way out
your head
..




aches





S T – 4 nov 13
never quit.
Stefan Smith Jan 2015
When these
memories
fade away,
So shall i
fade with
them.
our memories are all i have left, and i can't lose them.
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Composed on 01:33, 27/02/2017 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We still don't assume this means something.
Kasandra Curtis Sep 2012
Would that I could craft beautiful Shakespearean sonnets,
Brilliant ballads professing my love,
You must know I would write of you endlessly,
Until every word of praise I know
Was placed beside your name on the page.
You do oh so much for me,
I wake every morning
To your loving embrace
You grace me with more kisses
Than any one woman deserves.
Know that, while my words may leave me,
My talents fade, and my fingers fail to strike the right keys,
My love for you will never leave,
Never fade,
Our love will never fail.
Even after our bodies fall
Decay,
And crumble into earth
My love for you will not fade.
Until the earth is consumed
In the brutal inferno of the sun.
I shall love you,
Even when this universe is dark and dying
After every star has burned out,
And light itself no longer exists,
As wandering blackholes consume all matter,
As this universe dies a bleak black death
My love for you will not fade.
tread Mar 2013
I saw 3 stars floating
in the window over Greenland.
The clouds below in the night
sky represented the snow blind
vision of this half-country,
half-forgotten-continent.
My stomach ached, felt like gas.
I wondered if the flight attendants
were robbing a nap
in the foreground of
our lives.
written on March 20th, 2013 over southern Greenland.
Halo Nov 2017
The things you'll think will always stay
Will always seem to fade away.
Whether you're like Joyce and you talk to the lights,
Or you're like Mike,
Dustin,
and Lucas,
and you just have to fight.
You can't avoid the guaranteed,
you can not make miracles.
The spirits and creatures are against you,
And you'll just make yourselves criminals.

My friend is to move away,
It is a miserable day.
She's going to disappear like Will,
Leaving me here to stay.

I've just gotta remember
Be brave like Nancy,
Ask for help like Will,
Use my mind like Eleven,
and just CHILL.
The things you think will always stay
Will always seem to fade away.

Fade Away
As you can tell,  I LOVE Stranger Things!!!
<3
I'll miss you Smithse!!!!!!
Blissful Nobody Oct 2017
Consistently inconsistent,
Sometimes still and at times turbulent.
In ruins, is this cosmic connection,
All this drama- a mere fiction.
All that is, is and is my making,
A higher truth , I thought I was seeking.

An epiphany, and I transcended,
Into a realization, that it ended.
Long-long ago, its time eclipsed,
Dreaming away, real time, I’d missed.

Like the highs and lows of an ocean,
You’ve always been, an unrest emotion.
Determined, is the way to be,
This Drama - no-more, can I see.

Through the tyranny of my mind,
I have been trying to escape,blind.
I see you now, for what you’ve been,
An absent figure - washed clean .

So fade away, my love,
Fade away, into an abyss.
Fragments that are left of you,
Take them all , old and new.
RAJ NANDY Jul 2017
THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD IN VERSE
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950's only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the entire poem and don't hesitate to know many interesting facts - which I also did not know! I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                 THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                        THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                             BY RAJ NANDY

           A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the 'persistent of vision'.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera; forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of
the Film Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights atarted to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from
New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost
365 days of the year!
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labour.

                        THE RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the areas abundant red-berried shrubs also known as
California Holly.
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see !
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’, and has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon, and an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dream.
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotised
by lure of the big screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honouring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture production.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the Critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film got released in
1938 on the big screen!
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and
John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’,
‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  the Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s

BACKGROU­ND:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Eisenhower
succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

DEMAND FOR NEW THEMES DURING THE 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
She provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob.
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang,
      Let's rock,.................... (Lyrics of the song.)

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

BOX OFFICE HITS YEAR-WISE FROM 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Deaths During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY WITH FEW TITBITS :
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have travelled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the  American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple,
who became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature
film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to
Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like 'Rebecca', ‘Notorious’, ‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Oscar as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
the 20th Century Fox Studio.
To award critically acclaimed films and television shows, by awarding a
Scroll initially.
Later a Golden Globe was made on a pedestal, with a film strip around it.
In 1955 the Cecil B. De Mille Award was created, with De Mille as its first
recipient.

THE GRAMMY AWARD:
In 1959 The National Academy of Recording and Sciences sponsored the
First Grammy Award for music recorded during 1958.
When Frank Sinatra won for his album cover ‘Only The Lonely’, but he
did not sing.
Among the 28 other categories there was Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
for his musical Dance Band Performance.
There was Kingston Trio’s song ‘Tom Dooly’, and the ‘Chipmunk Song’,
which brings back nostalgic memories of my school days!

CONCLUDING HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH STUDIOS OF THE 1950s

Challenge Faced by the Movie Industry:
Now the challenge before the Movie Industry was how to adjust to the
rapidly changing conditions created by the growing TV Industry.
Resulting in loss of revenue, with viewers getting addicted to
their Domestic TV screen most conveniently!

The late 1950s saw two studios REPUBLIC and the RKO go out of business!
REPUBLIC from 1935- ‘59 based in Los Angeles, developed the careers of
John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and specializing in the Westerns.
RKO was one of the Big Five Studios of Hollywood along with Paramount,
MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers in those days.

RKO Studio which begun with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the ‘30s,
included actress Katherine Hepburn who holds the record for four Oscars
even to this day;
And later had Robert Mitchum and Carry Grant under an agreement.
But in 1948, RKO Studio came under the control Howard Hughes the
temperamental Industrialist.
Soon the scandal drive and litigation prone RKO Studio closed, while
other Big Four Studios had managed to remain afloat!


PARAMOUNT STUDIO:
Paramount Studio split into two separate companies in 1950.
Its Theatre chain later merged with ABC Radio & Television Network;
And they created an independent Production/Distribution Network.
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had been Paramount’s two biggest stars.
Followed by actors like Alan Ladd, William Holden, Jerry Lewis, Dean
Martin, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour.
They also had the producer/director Cecil B. De Mille producing high-
grossing Epics like ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Also the movie maker Hal Wallis, who discovered Burt Lancaster and
Elvis Presley - two great talents!

20th CENTURY FOX:
Cinema Scope became FOX’s most successful technological innovation
with its hit film ‘The Robe’. (1953)
Its Darryl Zanuck had observed during the early ‘50s, that audience  
were more interested in escapist entertainments mainly.
So he turned to FOX to musicals, comedies, and adventure stories.
Biggest stars of FOX were Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward; also
stars like Victor Mature, Anne Baxter, and Richard Wind Mark.
Not forgetting Marilyn Monroe in her Cinema Scope Box Office hit
movie - ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, which was also shown on
prime time TV, as a romantic comedy film of 1953.

WARREN BROTHERS:
During 1950 the studio was mainly a family managed company with
three brothers Harry, Albert, and Jack Warren.
To meet the challenges of that period, Warren Bros. released most of
its actors like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Oliver de Havilland, -
Along with few others from their long-term contractual commitments;
Retaining only Errol Flynn, and Ronald Regan who went on to become
the future President.
Like 20th Century Fox, Warren Bros switched to musicals, comedies,
and adventure movies, with Doris Day as its biggest musical star.
The studio also entered into short term agreements with Gary Copper,
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Random Scott.
Warren Bros also became the first major studio to invest in 3-D
production of films, scoring a big hit with its 3-D  suspense thriller
‘House of Wax’ in 1953.

MINOR STUDIOS were mainly three, - United Artists, Columbia, and
The Universal.
They did not own any theatre chain, and specialized in low-budgeted
‘B’ Movies those days.
Now to cut a long story short it must be said, that Hollywood finally
did participate in the evolution of Television industry, which led to
their integration eventually.
Though strategies involving hardware development and ownership of
broadcast outlets remained unsuccessful unfortunately.
However, Hollywood did succeed through program supply like prime-
time series, and made-for-TV films for the growing TV market making
things more colorful!
Thus it could be said that the TV industry provided the film industry
with new opportunities,  laying the groundwork for its diversification
and concentration;
That characterized the entertainment industry during the latter half  
of our previous century.
I must now confess that I have not visited the movie theatre over the last
two decades!
I watch movies on my big screen TV and my Computer screen these days.
Old classical movies are all available on ‘You Tube’ for me, and I can watch
them any time whenever I am free!
Thanks for reading patiently, - Raj Nandy.
**ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI

— The End —