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Mitchell Duran Feb 2013
Goodbye Prague, to a city I never thought I'd know.
Goodbye Prague, to a heaven that is lined with shattered beer bottles and stamped out cigarettes the junkies and the hobo's here still manage to get a  few puffs out of.
Goodbye Prague, to a hell that was once hovering with the feelings of control, manipulation, and more control, but now is twirling top speed to a land unknown.
Goodbye Prague, you seductive ***** with your cheap liquor, beer, and cigarettes, smelling of aged mahogany mixed finely with an acidic burst of fresh *****.
Goodbye Prague, I do not know when I will see you again, but I hope that I do and that I never grow so old that I forget you.
Goodbye to your abstract animals smeared black, screaming in the exploding summer sun. Goodbye to freshly cut pigs heads and cow flesh, hanging in your storefront window, tempting every passerby like the *****'s of Amsterdam.
Goodbye to every cobblestone that shines after a fresh rain or snow, slippery to the newcomer, an annoyance to the amateur, thoughtless to the old timer.
Goodbye to the potraviny's stocked with two crown marked up ***** and space vegetables shaped and colored in a one and only kind of vernacular; without you, I would have half-drunkenly stumbled home towards dreams of menial headaches and shadowy beer or perhaps to The Oak to drink alone.
I scream so long through faint puffs of carbon nicotine clouds made illuminated by the icy orange street lamps 800 years old glow!
I scream so long to late metro's and early trams!
I scream so long to the roaring rocks who reflect the faces of aging clocks!
So long to passed out bums and unforgiving metro officers. So long to dollar fifty beers and the fear of getting deported. So long with counting silver crown to make even, seeing my math prowess has lessened. So long embedded needles and bottle caps deep within the snowy cobble. So long listless wanders all their money thrown away until the month of May comes to knock on their door. So long alleyway romance 100 crown notes and old men in their rickety fishermen boats. So long sad masked faces who in their forward march sit stunned seeing fortune picks only some. So long through the grey mist stabbed with neon signs that attract the youth and the mad. So long to the feeling everything I had to say was the wrong thing. So long to feelings of foreign familiarity whose ball and chain were slowly starting to rust away. So long in song to the player's of Riegrovy hill whose voices I just couldn't stand. So long I've come to understand everyone's got a choice to live or wish they did. So long to the wide swept hills of Petrin, where angel's of lore go to rest atop dusted fresh snow, among the dotted new born vine. So long to the sound of wet metal against metal, a scream of order carried on the blue man's shoulder. So long to a city whose architecture reminds me of old men's faces and whose color reminds me of elderly women's dresses. So long to smoking in front of children without a second thought for their health. So long to racism that is wicked, but grunted genially - the executioner smiles at the accused - the gravedigger's weep for the dead - the ant makes a break for a hill not his. So long forlorn love whose only remedy for a cure is the beer sitting in front of you. So long to wondering what's going on in the world, when all I want and got is what's right in front of me.
Farewell Prague, you shadowed street walker, a cloak of stars around you, finding all that owe you  your due.
Farewell Prague, you in the morning eyes half mast, snow crunching underneath stony white.
Farewell Prague, miss-handler of crooked time pieces stating the obvious, ignoring to blame bluntly on youthful alcohol abuse.
Farewell Prague, you took me up the hill and through the woods where ravens, black as gutter ice, crackled down at me like showers of New Year's fireworks.
Farewell Prague, you gave me peace where I once thought I was unable to have.
Farewell Prague, you befriended me, then ordered me a shot that made me cough, then ordered me a beer so we could sit and truly feel what it is to sit and wallow in our time here.
Farewell Prague, you entranced me with view after view to a city to stubborn to die.
Farewell Prague, I leave you like you would leave me.
Farewell Prague, to your fat snow flakes that drop into wide eyed children mouths, tasting of iron whiskey rye, though they do not flinch at the taste.
Farewell Prague, I leave you with a hush of a whimper, bitter as the cold, and indifferent as the server's over at Cafe Lourve.
Farewell Prague, with a thousand miles of graveyards, where ghosts barely have the strength to weep.
Farewell Prague, I admit I never knew how to love until I came to visit you.
Farewell Prague, as I stare out your cracked and smoky tram windows, my thoughts not my own, shop windows and naked, screaming men, their cigarettes bouncing in between their lips like a jack of spades on smack, where at last we see that life is only a worth a **** if lived.
Farewell Prague, I see the cards there on the table and you're winking at me while I stand at the backdoor, and what's more, there's a secret you've got to give that I refuse believe.
Farewell Prague, to your open sore catastrophe of society, KFC on every block, and Starbuck's on every other, and on the other other are the lined' wino's shaking open handed and spread for a case of cardboard vino.
Farewell Prague, to the nasty smoker's in trams that just stopped caring.
Farewell Prague, to a city rhythm generated by an ignorant originality and uniqueness, where the same has no name and the the plain jabber on about their jobs in their pretty blue jeans.
Farewell Prague, because to say goodbye would mean we don't have that friendly tone.
Farewell Prague, I see to sacrifice oneself for the comfort of the elder or the opposite fills me with agitated obligation stationed in a vessel older than I've ever lived - yet I know it, for it is me.
Farewell Prague, you are a lost lullaby caught in the wind of an elastic multi-colored pin-wheel, shining riches of the rainbow into the eyes of children, who all whistle when they snore.
Farewell Prague, a button upon the Earth, like every man.
Farewell Prague, a love song sung in the depths of a damp grey hall, rivers all around, so the sounds too much to drink were outlandish in high emotion, juvenile commotion.
Farewell Prague, we were young - not caring about the future, but of course, with worry in our hearts for worry is a sign of human being human; yet, still, we asked nothing of one another and you gave and I gave and you took and I took and we walked underneath one another's blanket's until we were no longer cold and the winter showed to be just an annoying individual at the party.
Farewell Prague, to your lack of complications, making simplicities acceptable again.
Farewell Prague, to the snow that never stops falling, all while slumbering within dream until the seam is ripped so the old can die.
Farewell Prague, I've shined every marble staircase and washed every tram window; you owe me nothing because I like you.
Farewell Prague, to the long nights bleeding away at the table alone, the lady fast asleep, lit by the dim orange glow of the twisted streetlights below.
Farewell Prague, to the long nights forgetting pains of existence and accepting every solution to ward of resistance.
Farewell Prague, our long talks and hovering walks, always forcing me to balk.
Farewell Prague, at last you got the praise you have always deserved.
Farewell Prague, to hot humid nights filled with *** and butter in the summer and cold bitten cold of ***** and juice a la winter.
Farewell Prague, to bad service but good drink and food.
Farewell Prague, you curious tale the bravest man would waver to say.
Farewell Prague, to bridges galore and more dead leaves then wrinkles on my crooked face.
Farewell Prague, at night the sheen of liquor wears off only if you let it be so.
Farewell Prague, to all the those lonely mornings bent head into book on the way to work.
Farewell Prague, how long till you grow to be young again?
Farewell Prague, how long till I admit my defeat to you?
Farewell Prague, how long until I accept I'm the last fool in this world?
Goodbye Prague, the last soldier is standing, but the war is not yet won.
Goodbye Prague, to your hazy stars glimmering and shining for an indebted audience.
Goodbye Prague, the sun breaking through ink spilled colored clouds, the birds chirping, the dogs barking, and us wondering where we started.
Goodbye Prague, your churches are empty so the sins of man run rampant and at last the prayers of men go unanswered; we now abandoned to fend for ourselves.
Goodbye Prague, the puncturing purity of your ways make me giggle in delight as I listen to the cool piano man play; his eyes on the horizon shattering like toppled china.
Goodbye Prague, at last there is a time where we both get what we want.
Goodbye Prague, the verandas are chilled with the dew of winter and the snow glitters like bitter diamonds as the fool tips his hat to shy away the sunlight.
Goodbye Prague, every rain drop that fell upon me was a gift you can never take away.
Goodbye Prague, the fool adheres to agnostic rules but the cruel here see no reason to sue.
Goodbye Prague, I think therefore the dust of escape reflects the waves of the river Vlatva.
Goodbye Prague, to your lack of vowels.
Goodbye Prague, when the night wavers hear the Beherovka weep into its own glass, love leaving her forever making no note to Kissy.
Goodbye Prague, tram driver's unforgiving in their merciless need for schedule.
Goodbye Prague, the last homage to the war standing like a shining diamond neath chipped and shattered rubble.
Goodbye Prague, a listless memory mentioned only in drifting dream.
Goodbye Prague, every loving glance smelling of freshly poured beer over newly fallen snow.
Goodbye Prague, to your hardness, your beauty, and your madness.
Goodbye Prague, your days wet with rain, stricken by sunlight, reflecting white emerald into the window panes of passing trains.
Goodbye Prague, at last you got what you deserved.
Goodbye Prague, now I can weep and say I have trampled upon your cheek and slunk through your veins and trudged through your blood and skipped through your hair and saw every line - both sought after and nought - you have acquired through time.
Goodbye Prague, there is no reason to get excited, you are free.
Goodbye Prague, I see the silhouette of the trees that line your hills and I am forsaken to see the leaves turning from jovial yellow greens to disregarded and disparaged furnaces of dim fire reds and browns.
Goodbye Prague, the people within you deserved all of the credit.
Good Prague, the people outside of you deserve what ever they believe they do.
Goodbye Prague, you family to families with common sense and love rampaging through your barley stained veins.
Goodbye Prague, perhaps there is nothing under your rubble, maybe already all is lost for everyone, everywhere, but maybe, you living the simpler life, can show all that life can be so.
Goodbye Prague, you gave me letters, words, lines, commas, apostrophes, and dashes, paragraphs, pages, and eventually, a story; I leave you marked.
Goodbye Prague, an old friend whose hand I shook but knew would one day turn my back on.
Goodbye Prague, the bite of your cold generosity and your bustling love leaves man with nothing but to bike back with no chance of triumph.
Goodbye Prague, street cleaners clean up your wear and tear from the mothers and fathers that bore you, some 800 years ago; ageless, you loom longer than they would like.
Goodbye Prague, battling sleep as the ***** raps for more and more, none that the man has.
Goodbye Prague, the night is curling in as the wave crashes to the short and I am the lost sun looking for a place to rise, trying to get to the sky.
Farewell, farewell  my father,
Farewell, farewell my only joy
That none canst ever destroy,
Farewell, farewell my father.

Farewell, farewell my father,
Spread thy wings like a dove
Past effulgent yonder stars above,
Farewell, farewell my father.

Farewell, farewell my father,
Fly past cruel hands of time,
Fly unto a rose-scented clime,
Farewell, farewell my father.

Farewell, farewell my father,
Fly through the endless night,
Fly unto a realm of eternal light,
Farewell, farewell my father.

Farewell, farewell my father,
Fly unto a realm of fairest gold
Where beauty you’ll only behold,
Farewell, farewell my father

Farewell, farewell my father,
Fly unto where gentle winds blow,
Fly unto where stars eternally glow,
Farewell, farewell my father.

Farewell, farewell my father,
Fly unto lands of silvery fountains,
Lands of golden-capped mountains,
Farewell, farewell my father.

Farewell, farewell my father,
Fly unto lands of opalescent skies
That forever dost shine in paradise,
Farewell, farewell my father.

But though art thou gone my father,
Wherever I’ll wander like a river,
Thy lurve as dawn dew fresh forever,
Farewell, farewell oh my father.


**Kikodinho Edward Alexandros. Jumeirah, Dubai. 10th.11.2017
For those of ye who know little about me, I'll commence by saying: My name is Edward, and I come from the pearl of Africa, Uganda. I was born to a poor family but despite the fact we were destitute, there's a HERO who worked slave-like to paint a smile upon everyone's physiognomy...A Hero I'm proud to call, MY FATHER. We dwelt upon a small piece of land in a single room by the heart of a slum zone, and that was the place we called home. Wild was the environment and to pile on the agony, as a peculiar dark fate bore it, without my family's consent the piece of land where we dwelt was sold by some mean family members hence we had to look for a new home and the end result was, my family had to split....The two young sisters of mine went with my beloved Mom whilst I with my Dad. I stayed with Him in the far countryside for a while but as time drifted by and by, I no longer wished to put up in the countryside hence I set off to live by my own back in town. This thus completely limited me from seeing Him quite often..... The city bore all wild behaviors ye could ever imagine of under the book of life, but thank goodness I went to church....a church where serendipitously I met a British lady of God, a lady who helped me in a myriad ways I canst never explain by just mere words. At this point, I visited my father once in a blue moon, for I craved blooming to success as to surprise Him the person I'd blossomed to. By serendipity's sake, after much toiling I'd saved some money on me that could help me travel to Dubai as to seek a fortune. 'Tis at the point of departing when I visited him to say my goodbyes.... To my dismay, He was critically Ill and on asking Him why he hadn't informed me earlier, his response was that He wished not drowning me in a stream of worrying. My flight was nigh that he had to bid me adieu.....Sick as He was, He dragged out His motor cycle he hadn't rode for a while to offer me a ride.... and on asking him whether I could ride, his response was NAY but He....He was such a flint-hearted man to change his word thus through the ragged countryside he valiantly rode with his quaking hands till when we came by where I had to board a vehicle back to town. He then gave me a warm handshake and said unto me in a velvety voice..."GOODBYE SON, BE WELL" In a jiffy, the vehicle commenced moving, but through the mirror I beheld him indignantly staring at the vehicle till when i could see Him no more. That was the very last time I caught a glance at Him.....Now that I was abroad, whenever I'd call Him, he'd always tell me that He was doing quite better and recuperating. But, as a dark fate bore it, on 10th February 2017, the most heart-rending news poured into mine ear, HE HAD PASSED AWAY. Swifter than a plummeting eagle at her prey, I approached the company I'm working for seeking an emergency leave but 'twas to no avail since i couldn't cater for the air tickets fact that his Hospital bills had long drained me.
I tried as much as i could but in vain hence i couldn't burry him.

so, today is 10th again... the same day like this not so many moons ago when  he passed away, and I've decided to whisper Him this poem till we meet again. May the Lord of tender mercy judge his piteous soul with utmost kindness. Amen.

Thank ye for reading, dear friends. Take care of thy selves. God bless ye.
Vexren4000 Aug 2017
Farewell, Farewell,
My dearest,
Farewell, Farewell,
My fairweather friend,
Farewell father,
And you as well mother,
Farewell in all that you do,
For one day,
I may too,
Be the one being told to
Farewell, by some forlorn lover,
Or some forgotten friend,
Farewell, Farewell,
The firework of my life,
Farewell, Farewell,
And I hope life,
Finds you well,
Please my friend,
Fare oh so well,
Upon your daily travels.

©BAS
The Litebrite's now black and white
'Cos you took apart a picture that wasn't right
Pitch  burning on a shining  sheet
The only maker that you want to meet
A dying  man in a living  room
Whose shadow  paces the floor
Who'll take you out in the open  door
This is not  my  life
It's just a fond  farewell to a friend
It's not what I'm  like
It's just a fond  farewell to a friend
Who  couldn't get things  right
A fond  farewell to a friend
He said really I just want to dance
Good and evil match perfect, it's a great  romance
And I can deal with some psychic  pain
If it'll slow down my  higher  brain
Veins full of disappearing  ink
Vomiting in your  kitchen  sink
Disconnecting from the missing  link
This is not my  life
It's just a fond  farewell to a friend
It's not what I'm like
I'ts just a fond  farewell to a friend
Who  couldn't get things  right
A fond  farewell to a friend
I see you're  leaving  me
And taking up with the enemy
The cold  comfort of the in-between
A little  less than a human  being
A little  less than a happy  high
A little  less than a suicide
The only things that you really tried
This is not  my  life
It's just a fond  farewell to a friend
It's not what I'm  like
It's just a fond  farewell to a friend
Who  couldn't get things  right
A fond  farewell to a friend
This is not  my  life
It's just a fond  farewell to a **friend
Lyrics due to Elliott Smith- A Fond Farwell
I really understand this song, I've many of times tried to get things right and felt as if some sort of forces were working against me, it's as if someone has their hand directly on my head keeping me down in the muck. I hope that one day I could grow into a lotus and maybe then would the hand leave me.
Titanic-Lover Aug 2013
"Olympic,what was my sister like?
Did the people make her grand?"
"Yes,my darling,she was fine,
The finest in the land.
No one else was like her,
No one had her creed,
I knew within my very heart
The life that she could lead!
I sent my best of wishes to her
On a tenth of April day
She sailed away into the sun,
Nothing stood in her way.
Oh,Brittanic,my darling,
I wish that you did know
The spark of pride she sent in the air
Where'er she did go.
The air around her seemed electrically charged
With her undeniable glory
I watched from afar,
Knowing she'd make a front page story!
I felt pride within my soul
When people would stop to gaze
My sister was so beautiful and bound for happy days!"
"Olympic,why did my sister die?
Why couldn't I see her face?
We wait among happy people,
She's in a somber place."
"Brittanic,my dearest baby,
I cannot tell a lie
You must put up with this old girl,
And know that I shall cry.
I cannot think of my sister
Without my vision clouding with tears
I have been without her for so very long,
So many pain-filled years.
The day I heard that horrible truth
Will be etched forever in my heart.
The day I lost my beloved sister
With which I never wished to part.
When I received news of her sinking
I raced across the waves
Hoping I'd be able to say 'good-bye'
On her very last of days.
Oh,but I didn't get there quick enough!
I didn't have enough speed!
The Captain ordered me to give up hope,
An order I didn't want to heed!
I had raced across the blackened surf
Pressing to see how fast I could go,
Now the Captain ordered me to stop,
I hope you'll know the love I did know.
I wanted to go to that very spot
Where my sister's life did end,
A glorious lady with a glorious heart,
All ended by a word called 'sin'.
He hurt me with his ruthless order
Ceasing my propellers purpose-driven churn
My anger at him burned in my soul
I didn't want to obey a command
He was forcing me to learn!!
But,he forced me to learn
Forced me to turn away
Forced me to live without saying
"Farewell"
Forced me to return to work that day.

"Olympic,are you mad at yourself?
Upset you never could say goodbye?
Upset you left her all alone?
All alone to die?"

"Oh,Brittanic,why must you ask such things?!
Such things that tear my heart in two!
But,answer you,I will,my darling,
Answer you,I shall do.
I have tried so vainly to forgive myself,
Yet,half my heart is plunged in grief,
It wraps around my very core
Like a strangling ivy wreath.
No one gave me a kindly look,
A sympathetic word they did not say,
Such as "Fair Olympic,you did all you could
To save your dear sister that day."
But I tried! Don't they know?
I tried to save her as across that ocean I ran!
I would of said good-bye
If not halted by a foolish man!
Yet,I never got to say 'good-bye'
Never let her know,
Titanic! My treasured sister!
How I love you so!!"

"Olympic,I hope you know I love you,
E'en though your heart is sad,
Forgive yourself,my dear mother,
You did not commit any bad.
Titanic knows you love her,
She knows you tried with all of your might
When love drove you across dangerous waves
On that perilous night.
You mustn't keep hurting a heart
That has dealt with so much bad,
Forgive yourself,Olympic,
And then you may not feel so sad.
I'm sure she is not mad
At the efforts you did make
You avoided danger the best you could,
Though your life was still at stake.
You acted with such bravery
On a night devoid of moon
You did all you could in hopes
To get to her so soon.
I love you,old Olympic,
I'm not angered at your ways
Concern for one you did love
Has lasted for years and days.
I'm sure you were the perfect sister
As you are the wonderful mother to me
I feel so proud when I see you come in
From a long,weary week at sea.
When I am old and wizened  like you,
I'll remember the pleasures I have known
From a grand lady named Olympic
Who hid a heart so alone.
I love you,my beautiful friend
And I'll recall a story behind the tears
Of perservering adoration for one
That you won't see for the rest of your years.
And,I'm sure,Fair Olympic,
When it comes time you too shall die,
You will be reunited with your sister,
For your kindness never did falter,nor lie."

"Brittanic,my dearest one,
It is a reassuring thought,
I will be so glad to see her,
For love will perish not.
But,for now,I am nothing more than
For men to hurt and command
But I shall dream now
Of a far-off and distant land.
A land where my sister resides
Where she,perhaps,waits for me
On a big eternal expanse,
A grand,forever sea.
I am sure my time is coming up,
I am over 20 years old!
The humans will not want me much longer,
I am no longer eye-catching and bold.
Twenty years old and over is not a lot,
For me,my life did really now just begin
But the humans will not want me much longer
They will make my life end.
I am no longer the fashionable steamer
That people clamor to take
I am 50,000 tons of steel
One day that the ship-yard shall break.
That is our future,my darling,
No matter the life we had,
It has happened to a good many ship,
It is so brutal and bad.
Do not think false wishes
That I shall escape this fate.
No,my baby,I shan't,
It will be either early or late."

"Oh,Olympic! They cannot **** you!
You have such a life ahead!
How could they be so cruel
And with their blows,make you dead?"

"Brittanic,my darling daughter,
To them,we are naught more than machines
We have no life,no hopes,
They don't even think we have dreams.
I could tell you so much more,dearest,
There is so much more I can say,
But the humans want me to go somewhere,
So,I shall come back one day.
Be true,my darling,while I'm gone,
Make me proud of your ways
Strike out over life,
Rejoice in the sun's rays
I shall come back again,
Don't you doubt that twice,
I have much more to tell you
And your company is so nice!"

I watched her as she sailed away
Into the slowly setting sun
Thinking of all she had told me
And the life that she had run.
The first thing she had done in life
Were joyful sails o'er the ocean blue
Then,drafted into war she was,
And cared for the soldiers too.
I loved her so very dearly,
And dreaded when we had to part,
But thoughts of meeting once again
Gradually settled my heart.
Her Captain took her one way,
Mine took me the other,
I remembered everything I saw
So I could later tell my dear mother.
Not everything was exciting
In those future trips I took,
Months were passing,but I recalled
Everything like a reference book.
So much time was passing,
Now the time was nigh,
When I 'd wait for dear Mother to come in
From the waves she did ply.
I waited and waited that first day
Sought out on the open sea,
It would be a wonderful time
When it was just her and me.
She would tell of her trip,
I would tell of mine
How proud she was to carry the flag
Of the White Star Line.
I waited and waited to see the tugs
That would pull her back to shore,
Just her and I together,
Sharing stories once more.
She didn't come in that day,
Perhaps that she was late
Taking a little longer that
The time the humans did slate.
She didn't come in that next day either
And I started to fret!
Did she come into a different dock
Than what she'd normally get?
The next day came,and far way,
I saw quite a sight.
Something that looked like a ship,
Though didn't appear quite right.
I watched the tugs pull it closer,
Yes,'twas a ship indeed.
But,what in heavens happened
To give it this somber lead?
I could tell it was grand at one time,
Yet,that seemed so long ago,
Curiousity wracked my mind,
And I wanted to know.
This somber shell came closer,
Devoid of deck and stack,
I looked toward the starboard bow
And the name
OLYMPIC
stared
back.

I couldn't think at all that moment!
My heart welled up with pain!
Olympic! My treasured mother!
I shall never see you again!
You were right about the ship-breakers!
They ruthlessly tore you apart!
Not paying any heed to your
Loving,kindly heart!
How shall I survive,
Without your beauty and your truth?!
Those ignorant men killed you
In your 25 years of youth!
Oh,I hope they be cursed
For doing something so bad,
Now I am without you
And so terribly lonely and sad!
Olympic! Olympic!
I shall say your name over and over again,
Hoping it shall bring you back
From hard-hearted sin!
I watched as they pulled you away,
My vision has clouded with tears
Yet,I keep on watching
You endured such fears.
Melancholy feelings grip my heart
I no longer have interest in life!
I have seen the meaning full and complete
Of a word you did call 'strife'.
No more stories to be shared
On a night glowing with moon,
No longer shall I see you,
Gleaming in the sun of noon!
The men have done their worst,
I shall no longer hear your horn,
Such a proud note it had
That I've remembered since I was born!!
Olympic,Olympic,I love you,
I'm so happy you got to hear those words
I'll wait and watch and listen
As the lament is echoed by sea-birds.
Those tug boats are pulling away
Taking you to the last of your fate.
I love you so much,dearest mother,
But,the ship-breakers I hate!!
You pass so slowly before me
I gaze for the last time at your sleek steel,
So strong,once you were,
But that doesn't now seem real.
With barely a ripple the water glides
Across your red and black coat
The humans are so uncaring
Thinking you are only a boat.
Good-bye,my mother dearest,
Farewell and aurevoir too,
I hope so much you are with your sister,
In the heavenly,eternal blue.
I wish you the best of happiness
For you loved your sister so,
As soon as the ship-breakers broke your heart,
I know that's where you did go.
I am so glad I heard the stories of
The life that you did live.
I am so glad I knew the love
The heart of you could give.
I hear the echo of your voice,
The tales that you could bring
The truths of your soul,
And the love that you could sing........

"Brittanic,my darling dearest,
When I was torn into by a collision with the Hawke,
It wasn't exactly pleasant,
And I had to return to dock.
The gentle men,they repaired my ****
Made me as good as new,
Then I sailed out again
Into the ocean blue.
Then,I threw a propeller blade,
Humans called me an accident-prone sort,
But,back again I went,
To be repaired at Belfast port.
That was the last time,dear daughter,
Titanic and I would be side by side
I wished it would last longer,
Yet time did not forever bide.
People took a photo
That immortalized that day
The very last time we'd be together,
Forever together,they'd say.
I hold that glorious memory
In the chambers of my heart.
Under 'lock-and-key',
Never,ever to part.
My sister and I together
Upon the ocean's crest
Glowing in the sunlight
At our next-to-best.
Oh,that moment was so long ago
Our moment side by side.
The last time we'd be together,
Before she sadly died.
The Captain thought me foolish
To plough through icy sin,
Yet,if it meant to save my sister,
I would do it all over again......"

My mother's words echoed
As she drifted away from sight.
Now she was with the one she loved
And tried to save on a 15th of April night.
I said my last good-bye to her
When the tug boats pulled her away.
This memory emblazoned fiercly
On this unforgettable day.
I watched a little longer
Wondered if there was sadness in the sea,
The Olympic-Class was over,
Now there was only me.
My mother was a masterpiece
When she was under steam.
Like a picture-postcard,
A reigning Ocean Queen.
People once loved my mother,
They sailed on only her,
But then,there came a change,
And she became a bothersome burr.
No one sought to save her
From the scrappers filth and grime,
She was wanted no longer,
Her age and fashion,her crime.
The people remembered her little
After her scrapping day
No flowers were strewn
In her solemn way.
Did any one else say 'good-bye',
Or,was I the only one?
Bading farewell to her grandeur,
And those crimes she hadn't done.
No monuments were erected
In her grand memory.
She was the daughter of Belfast,
And her second love was me.
She filled 25 years with her riches,
And also with her pride.
Filling them with love,
The love that never lied.
I always thought my mother to be
An invincible sort.
Who had no fears,or,if she did,
She left them back at port.
Her haunting words echoed
Her fortelling of her fate:

"I am nothing more than 50,000 tons of steel
For the scrappers to break...."

She said it with a certain sadness
For that was her future path,
She didn't deny  it with falsehoods
That they would tear her heart in half.
I shudder at the thought
Of the scrappers fire and tools
Who looked at my mother so eagerly
With eyes bespeaking cruel.
The company wanted her no longer,
No matter the life she had had,

"Scrapping happens to a good many ship,"
she said,
"And it is so brutal and sad."

What had she endured
In the breakers waterless dock?
Did she think of me?
Was I her final thought?
I love you,dearest mother,
There shall never be another like you
Think of you often,I will,
Upon the bounteous blue.

I am always the daughter of Olympic,
Always shall be Brittanic,
Always shall remember the love of my mother,
And the bravery of one named Titanic.
I  will always miss my mother,
And our days together in dock,
The stories she lovingly told me,
Be also under lock.
I will probably not share my stories
With many others,true,
But if the time does arise,
Share them I shall do.

"Brittanic,what was Lady Olympic like?
Did the people make her grand?"

"Yes,dear friend,she was fine,
One of the finest in the land...."
Though I am very learned in the subjects of Olympic,Titanic and Brittanic,any one who knows the story will realize many details have been left out. The reason for this is because I made it more of a 'human-interest' poem,to show the three sisters in a different light other than engine-driven steel leviathan vessels. Placing Olympic as the mother of Brittanic makes it easier,in my opinion,to gain feelings towards the matter. Yes,Brittanic was sunk in war ages before Olympic was sold to the T.W Ward shipyard,but to mix the details around makes it more interesting. I aim this prose to  spark interest in RMS Olympic,a grand lady who is remembered little.  Put yourself in the position of Brittanic and imagine the fright at seeing the demolished and scrapped vessel as her mother. When all is said and done though,I dedicate this poem to RMS  OLYMPIC. Rest In Peace,dear lady.
Steve D'Beard Jun 2013
Farewell Govan -
bathed in a baking sun
littered with betting shops
and no win/no fee criminal lawyers
and a myriad of pubs caked in years of libation
steeped in history of industry and shipbuilding
blackened smoked walls etched with gangland symbols:
tooled-up local carnivores who ride shotgun on a BMX
swapping discrete envelopes for indiscreet wads of cash.

Farewell Govan -
you fractured my ribs once in a moment of mistaken identity
I didn't heed the advice to not walk through the park at night
I didn't hear the pitter-patter of adolescent feet
speeding my way in brand new trainers across the grass
but I did feel the clunk of something solid on my head
as the ground rushed up to meet me in a concrete embrace
and watched as 4 bags of overladen shopping spewed out
lying face up spread-eagle in Lilliput fashion
and a mobile torch-app in my face with the repeating words
“Ima tellin’ you man its naw him, its naw him”
I reassured them frantically that I was definitely not him!
as the hooded troupe picked up what was left of my shopping
and even gifted me a couple of cans of super strength lager,
a cube of dubious council estate hash
and an usher to leave immediately
(and think myself lucky).

Farewell Govan -
you got me blazing on cheap beer at the local pub
which had recreated a holiday beach scene
with a hand-written sign that read: Better than Ibiza!
awash with carefree children
and pit-bull terriers wearing bespoke Barbour dog jackets
and brand spanking new Adidas white trainers
purchased from Tam out of a nondescript blue plastic bag
who always passes the day's pleasantries
while topping up his pension
chatting with auld Billy who was in the war (don’t you know)
via the Merchant Navy
and the version of how he was gunner on an oil boat in Vietnam
via the umpteenth pint that afternoon.

Farewell Govan -
your late night shadows harbour an underlying tension
masked with comic humour only if you can understand the lingo
words that are distasteful anywhere else are in fact a term of endearment here
I shall miss the odious vernacular and doth my cap to your spirit
the Salt of the Earth and the Lifeblood of the Community
with at least 40% proof liquids mixed with Irn Bru
purchased at the 24/7 corner store along with a can of processed peas;
one of your five a day.

Farewell Govan -
I go to the sunny side of the Clyde
where it rains just as much
but you don’t get mugged for carrying an umbrella
or asked for the time from a watch-wearing tattooed sailor
and joy-of-joys there will be actual fruit & veg shops
where I don’t have to explain what fresh coriander is
and what you use it for, other than on a pizza;
I was offered dried bottled parsley instead.

Farewell Govan.
Govan - shipbuilding heartland of Glasgow, a hard-man reputation but if you look under the surface you find good people with stories to share
JK Cabresos Mar 2017
Farewell to the woman
I still love,
we’re perfect
until we’re not.

Farewell to the woman
who held my heart,
we’re meant to be together
only to be apart.

Farewell to the woman
I built the future with,
just to wake up one day
to be a part of once past.

Farewell to the woman
I still love,
our different priorities
left only an illusion of us.

Farewell to the woman,
my best friend,
our eyes met
only to be strangers again.

Farewell to the woman
of my memorable years,
our sweetest smiles
suddenly turned into tears.

Farewell to the woman
I still love,
we’re forever
until we’re not.
Farewell to the bushy clump close to the river
And the flags where the butter-bump hides in forever;
Farewell to the weedy nook, hemmed in by waters;
Farewell to the miller’s brook and his three bonny daughters;
Farewell to them all while in prison I lie—
In the prison a thrall sees naught but the sky.

Shut out are the green fields and birds in the bushes;
In the prison yard nothing builds, blackbirds or thrushes.
Farewell to the old mill and dash of waters,
To the miller and, dearer still, to his three bonny daughters.

In the nook, the larger burdock grows near the green willow;
In the flood, round the moor-**** dashes under the billow;
To the old mill farewell, to the lock, pens, and waters,
To the miller himsel’, and his three bonny daughters.
Umi Jul 2018
Farewell, to my voice wich vanished beneath the echo of those mountains, disappearing in the far distant, out of reach
The summer sun burns through my skin, lightens up this cold heart of mine for the first ime in a very long time, but even this won't last,
Yet I have no reason to be sad, this agony is bittersweet you see,
Constant change around me, without me changing one bit, it is as if I have become stuck in some kind of loop, unable to ever advance,
What does the future hold for one who has given in to this madness?
Farewell, to all the flowers which were blooming majestically this summer, now withering over to the merciless, drought like heat,
The greensleeves of nature are to already become colourful,
Farewell to all the warmth you have given me before you slipped away into the sea of time, moving on without thinking twice,
When the lullaby of a vampire is sung it'll be time to shut my eyes,
Because then I can be sure that I don't want tomorrow to come,
Farewell to the times we were friends conveying about silly things,
Now everyone can rejoice, once my voice is gone,
Farewell, left behind, I can no longer even cry

~Umi
Lea Loveit Jan 2013
Verse 1
Goodbye is too strong
but i was a bit wrong
of the idea of us
and my fear of lust
too imaginative they say
kept thinking 'someday'

Chorus
Farewell for now
sir take a bow
you hurt so well
and it felt like hell
i won't for get you
as my love remains true
but i must stop trying
and end my crying
no this isn't a lie
so farewell and goodbye

Verse 2
I must move on
to someone who loves upon
me
someone you didn't see
who loved you
but as times goes on
the sky remains blue

Chorus
Farewell for now
sir take a bow
you hurt so well
and it felt like hell
i won't for get you
as my love remains true
but i must stop trying
and end my crying
no this isn't a lie
so farewell and goodbye

Bridge
you never noticed
before i leave i'll give you one last kiss
why did i hold on to nothing?

Chorus*
Farewell for now
sir take a bow
you hurt so well
and it felt like hell
i won't for get you
as my love remains true
but i must stop trying
and end my crying
no this isn't a lie
so farewell and goodbye
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.
In empty airports, farewell to thee.
Farewell the clouds awaiting forever,
As a blushing skyline is wasted, on
Concrete cracked with dreams of poets.

On empty parchments, farewell to thee
Farewell the quills dipped in open wounds,
As hopeful mornings are wasted, on
Neck-scarves scarred with cigarette stubs.

From empty mansions, farewell to thee
Farewell the bricks of sweat crusted crumbs,
As the shining glasses are wasted, on
Men blinded with acid burns.

But,

From bursting heartbeats, welcome to thee,
Welcome the branches of the jasmine's smile,
As the three paragraphs above will be wasted, on
Love smiling at the cusp of dusk.
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Zen Death Haiku & Related Translations of Oriental Poems

In what may be called "Zen death haiku" and other forms of jisei (death poems), life on earth is often compared to dew, to a wind-blown petal, to a tree shedding its leaves, to an empty shell, to melting snow or ice, etc.

Brittle cicada shell,
little did I know
that you were my life!
—Shuho (?-1767), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Our world of dew
is a world of dew indeed;
and yet, and yet ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Both victor and vanquished
are but dewdrops
in which lightning bolts illuminate the void.
—Ôuchi Yoshitaka (1507-1551), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like dew glistening
on a lotus leaf,
so too I soon must vanish.
—Shinsui (1720-1769), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Let this body
be dew
in a field of wildflowers.
—Tembo (1740-1823), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My aging body:
a drop of dew
bulging at the leaf-cliff.
—Kiba (-1868), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a lotus leaf’s evaporating dew,
I vanish.
—Senryu (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

This world?
Moonlit dew
flicked from a crane's bill.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen (1200-1253) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Seventy-one?
How long
can a dewdrop last?
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dewdrops beading grass-blades
die before dawn;
may an untimely wind not hasten their departure!
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dewdrops beading blades of grass
have so little time to shine before dawn;
let the autumn wind not rush too quickly through the field!
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outside my window the plums, blossoming,
within their curled buds, contain the spring;
the moon is reflected in the cup-like whorls
of the lovely flowers I gather and twirl.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since time dawned
only the dead have experienced peace;
life is snow burning in the sun.
—Nandai (1786-1817), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Like blocks in the icehouse,
unlikely to last
the year out...
—Sentoku (1661-1726), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bury me beneath a wine barrel
in a bibber’s cellar:
with a little luck the keg will leak.
—Moriya Senan (?-1838), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Having been summoned,
I say farewell
to my house beneath the moon.
—Takuchi (1767-1846), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Learn to accept the inevitable:
the fall willow
knows when to abandon its leaves.
—Tanehiko (1782-1842), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

All evening the softest sound―
the cadence of the white camellia petals
falling
―Ranko Takakuwa (1726-1798), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
the sound of petals
drifting down softly together ...
―Miura Chora (1729-1780), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White plum blossoms―
though the hour grows late,
a glimpse of dawn
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The poem above is believed to be Buson's jisei (death poem) and he is said to have died before dawn.

Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a second interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

In the deepening night
I saw by the light
of the white plum blossoms
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a third interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

Returning
as it came,
this naked worm.
—Shidoken (?-1765), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

There is no death, as there is no life.
Are not the skies cloudless
And the rivers clear?
—Taiheiki Toshimoto (-1332), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

All five aspects of my fleeting human form
And the four elements of existence add up to nothing:
I bare my neck to the unsheathed sword
And its blow is but a breath of wind ...
—Suketomo (1290-1332), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Had I not known I was already dead
I might have mourned
my own passing.
—Ota Dokan (1432-1486), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

I wish only to die
swiftly, with my eyes
fixed on Mount Fuji.
—Rangai (1770-1845), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A strident cricket
accompanies me
through autumn mountains.
—Shiko (1788-1845), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The cherry orchard’s owner
becomes compost
for his trees.
—Utsu (1813-1863), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn ends,
the frogs find their place
in the earth.
—Shogetsu (1829-1899), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The night is clear;
the moon shines quietly;
the wind strums the trees like lyres...
but when I’m gone, who the hell will hear?
Farewell!
—Higan Choro aka Zoso Royo (1194-1277), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I entered the world empty-handed
and now leave it barefoot.
My coming & going?
Two uncomplicated events
that became entangled.
—Kozan Ichikyo (1283-1360), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Brittle autumn leaves
crumble to dust
in the freezing wind.
—Takao (?-1660), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This frigid season
nothing but the shadow
of my corpse survives.
—Tadatomo (1624-1676), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My life was mere lunacy
until
the moon shone tonight.
Tokugen (1558-1647), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

“Isn’t it time,”
the young bride asks,
“to light the lantern?”
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

With the departing year
I have hidden my graying hair
from my parents.
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish to die
under the spring cherry blossoms
and April’s full moon.
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Once again
the melon-cool moon
rises above the rice fields.
—Tanko (1665-1735), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

At long last I depart:
above me are rainless skies and a pristine moon
as pure as my heart.
—Senseki (1712-1742), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Cuckoo, lift
me up
to where clouds drift...
Uko (1686-1743), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sixty-six,
setting sail through tranquil waters,
a breeze-blown lotus.
Usei (1698-1764), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Is it me the raven screeches for
from the spirit world
this frigid morning?
—Shukabo (1717-1775), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

To prepare for my voyage beyond,
let me don
a gown of flowers.
—Setsudo (1715-1776), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

From depths
unfathomably cold:
the oceans roar!
—Kasenjo (d. 1776), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Today Mount Hiei’s sky
with a quick change of clouds
also removes its robes.
Shogo (1731-1798), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I cup curious ears
among the hydrangeas
hoping to hear the spring cuckoo.
—Senchojo (?-1802), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Life,
is it not like
a charcoal sketch, an obscure shadow?
—Toyokuni (?-1825), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter winds...
but later, river willow,
remember to open your buds!
—Senryu (1717-1790), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A fall willow tree:
unlikely to be missed
as much as the cherry blossoms.
—Senryu II (?-1818), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My path
to Paradise
is bright with flowers.
—Sokin (?-1818), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A willow branch
unable to reach the water
at the bottom of the vase.
—Shigenobu (?-1832), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A night storm sighs:
"The fate of the flower is to fall" ...
rebuking all who hesitate
―Yukio Mishima, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch; this is said to have been his death poem before committing ritual suicide.

But one poet, at least, cast doubt on the death poem enterprise:

Death poems?
****** delusions―
Death is death!
―Toko, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Other haiku translations …



Masaoka Shiki

The night flies!
My life,
how much more of it remains?
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The autumn wind eludes me;
for me there are no gods,
no Buddhas
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After killing a spider,
how lonely I felt
in the frigid night.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Such a small child
banished to become a priest:
frigid Siberia!
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I'm trying to sleep!
Please swat the flies
lightly
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A summer river:
disdaining the bridge,
my horse gallops through water.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After the fireworks,
the spectators departed:
how vast and dark the sky!
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I got drunk
then wept in my sleep
dreaming of wild cherry blossoms.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We cannot see the moon
and yet the waves still rise
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The first morning of autumn:
the mirror I investigate
reflects my father’s face
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I thought I felt a dewdrop
plop
on me as I lay in bed!
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As thunder recedes
a lone tree stands illuminated in sunlight:
applauded by cicadas
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Yosa Buson

On the temple’s great bronze gong
a butterfly
snoozes.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hard to describe:
this light sensation of being pinched
by a butterfly!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Not to worry spiders,
I clean house ... sparingly.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Among the fallen leaves,
an elderly frog.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In an ancient well
fish leap for mosquitoes,
a dark sound.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Flowers with thorns
remind me of my hometown ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Reaching the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Picking autumn plums
my wrinkled hands
once again grow fragrant
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A silk robe, casually discarded,
exudes fragrance
into the darkening evening
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whose delicate clothes
still decorate the clothesline?
Late autumn wind.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An evening breeze:
water lapping the heron’s legs.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

gills puffing,
a hooked fish:
the patient
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The stirred morning air
ruffles the hair
of a caterpillar.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Intruder!
This white plum tree
was once outside our fence!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tender grass
forgetful of its roots
the willow
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I believe the poem above can be taken as commentary on ungrateful children. It reminds me of Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays."―MRB

Since I'm left here alone,
I'll make friends with the moon.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The hood-wearer
in his self-created darkness
misses the harvest moon
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White blossoms of the pear tree―
a young woman reading his moonlit letter
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pear tree flowers whitely:
a young woman reading his letter
by moonlight
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

On adjacent branches
the plum tree blossoms
bloom petal by petal―love!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A misty spring moon ...
I entice a woman
to pay our respects
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Courtesans
purchasing kimonos:
plum trees blossoming
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring sea
rocks all day long:
rising and falling, ebbing and flowing ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the whale
  dives
its tail gets taller!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While tilling the field
the motionless cloud
vanished.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Even lonelier than last year:
this autumn evening.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My thoughts return to my Mother and Father:
late autumn
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Late autumn:
my thoughts return to my Mother and Father
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This roaring winter wind:
the cataract grates on its rocks.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While snow lingers
in creases and recesses:
flowers of the plum
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Plowing,
not a single bird sings
in the mountain's shadow
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the lingering heat
of an abandoned cowbarn
only the sound of the mosquitoes is dark.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The red plum's fallen petals
seem to ignite horse dung.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dawn!
The brilliant sun illuminates
sardine heads.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned willow shines
between bright rains
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dew-damp grass:
the setting sun’s tears
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The dew-damp grass
weeps silently
in the setting sun
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Our life here on earth:
to what shall we compare it?
Perhaps to a rowboat
departing at daybreak,
leaving no trace of us in its wake?
—Takaha Shugyo or Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



Matsuo Basho

The legs of the cranes
have been shortened
by the summer rains.
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A bee emerging
from deep within the peony’s hairy recesses
flies off heavily, sated
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A crow has settled
on a naked branch―
autumn nightfall
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
autumn twilight
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
phantom autumn
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A raven settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A crow roosts
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightmare
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: There has been a debate about the meaning of aki-no kure, which may mean one of the following: autumn evening, autumn dusk, the end of autumn. Or it seems possible that Basho may have intentionally invoked the ideas of both the end of an autumn day and the end of the season as well. In my translations I have tried to create an image of solitary crow clinging to a branch that seems like a harbinger of approaching winter and death. In the first translation I went with the least light possible: autumn twilight. In the second translation, I attempted something more ghostly. Phrases I considered include: spectral autumn, skeletal autumn, autumnal skeleton, phantom autumn, autumn nocturne, autumn nightfall, autumn nightmare, dismal autumn. In the third and fourth translations I focused on the color of the bird and its resemblance to night falling. While literalists will no doubt object, my goal is to create an image and a feeling that convey in English what I take Basho to have been trying to convey in Japanese. Readers will have to decide whether they prefer my translations to the many others that exist, but mine are trying to convey the eeriness of the scene in English.

Winter solitude:
a world awash in white,
the sound of the wind
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of its autumn migration
my spirit drifts
over wilted fields ...
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of this autumn migration
in dreams I drift
over flowerless fields ...
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: While literalists will no doubt object to "flowerless" in the translation above ― along with other word choices in my other translations ― this is my preferred version. I think Basho's meaning still comes through. But "wilted" is probably closer to what he meant. If only we could consult him, to ask whether he preferred strictly literal prose translations of his poems, or more poetic interpretations! My guess is that most poets would prefer for their poems to remain poetry in the second language. In my opinion the differences are minor and astute readers will grok both Basho's meaning and his emotion.

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post,
the house is silent.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket,
how he goes on about his life!
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Like a glorious shrine―
on these green, budding leaves,
the sun’s intense radiance.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Kobayashi Issa

Right at my feet!
When did you arrive here,
snail?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I toss in my sleep,
so watch out,
cricket!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In a better world
I'd leave you my rice bowl,
little fly!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All's well with the world:
another fly's sharing our rice!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cries of the wild geese―
spreading rumors about me?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wake up, old tomcat,
then with elaborate yawns and stretchings
prepare to pursue love
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An enormous frog!
We stare at each other,
both petrified.
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Skinny frog,
hang on ...
Issa to the rescue!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While a cicada
sings softly
a single leaf falls ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The cry of a pheasant,
as if it just noticed
the mountain.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I stumble home at dusk,
heavy with her eggs
a spider blocks me.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All the while I'm praying to Buddha
I'm continually killing mosquitoes.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This windy nest?
Open your hungry mouth in vain,
Issa, orphaned sparrow!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The ghostly cow comes
mooing mooing mooing
out of the morning mist
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

If anyone comes, child,
don't open the gate
or the melons will flee!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It's not at all anxious to bloom,
the plum tree at my gate.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Our world of dew
is a world of dew indeed;
and yet, and yet ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Full moon―
my ramshackle hut
is an open book.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, brilliant moon
can it be true
that even you
must rush off, late
for some date?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, brilliant moon
can it be true that even you
must rush off, tardy?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The snow melts
and the village is flooded with children!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Don't weep, we are all insects!
Lovers, even the stars themselves,
must eventually part.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In our world
we walk suspended over hell
admiring flowers.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Standing beneath cherry blossoms
who can be strangers?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Petals I amass
with such tenderness
***** me to the quick.
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Standing unsteadily,
I am the scarecrow’s
skinny surrogate
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn wind ...
She always wanted to pluck
the reddest roses
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Issa wrote the haiku above after the death of his daughter Sato with the note: “Sato, girl, 35th day, at the grave.”



Other Poets

A pity to pluck,
A pity to pass ...
Ah, violet!
―Naojo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


Silence:
a single chestnut leaf
sinks through clear water ...
―Shohaku, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch




Today, catching sight of the mallards
crying over Lake Iware:
Must I too vanish into the clouds?
—Prince Otsu (663-686), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  

This world—
to what may we compare it?
To autumn fields
lying darkening at dusk
illuminated by lightning flashes.
—Minamoto no Shitago (911-983), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

This world—to what may we liken it?
To autumn fields lit dimly at dusk,
illuminated by lightning flashes.
—Minamoto no Shitago (911-983), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a half-exposed rotten log
my life, which never flowered,
ends barren.
—Minamoto Yorimasa (1104-1180), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Overtaken by darkness,
I will lodge under a tree’s branches;
cherry blossoms will cushion me tonight.
—Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Overtaken by darkness,
I will lodge under a cherry tree’s branches;
flowers alone will bower me tonight.
—Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Let me die in spring
beneath the cherry blossoms
while the moon is full.
—Saigyo (1118-1190), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

 
Both victor and vanquished
are but dewdrops
in which lightning bolts illuminate the void.
—Ôuchi Yoshitaka (1507-1551), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Even a life of long prosperity is like a single cup of sake;
my life of forty-nine years flashed by like a dream.
Nor do I know what life is, nor death.
All the years combined were but a fleeting dream.
Now I step beyond both Heaven and Hell
To stand alone in the moonlit dawn,
Free from the mists of attachment.
—Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

My life appeared like dew
and disappears like dew.
All Naniwa was a series of dreams.
—Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Felt deeply in my heart:
How beautiful the snow,
Clouds gathering in the west.
—Issho (-1668), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Brittle cicada shell,
little did I know
that you were my life!
—Shoshun (-1672), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch 

Inhale, exhale.
Forward, reverse.
Live, die.
Let arrows fly, meet midway and sever the void in aimless flight:
Thus I return to the Source.
—Gesshu Soko (-1696), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem)by Michael R. Burch

My body?
Pointless
as the tree’s last persimmon.
—Seisa (-1722), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Farewell! I pass
away as all things do:
dew drying on grass.
—Banzan (-1730), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
A tempestuous sea ...
Flung from the deck —
this block of ice.
—Choha (-1740), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Empty cicada shell:
we return as we came,
naked.
—Fukaku (-1753), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Since I was born,
I must die,
and so …
—Kisei (1688-1764), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Let us arise and go,
following the path of the clear dew.
—Fojo (-1764), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Depths of the cold,
unfathomable ocean’s roar.
—Kasenjo (-1776), loose translation/interpretation of her jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch 

Things never stand still,
not even for a second:
consider the trees’ colors.
—Seiju (-1776), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
—Yosa Buson (-1783), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter winds!
But later, river willow,
reopen your buds ...
—Senryu (-1790), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Who cares
where aimless clouds are drifting?
—Bufu (-1792), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch 

What does it matter how long I live,
when a tortoise lives many times as long?
—Issa (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a lotus leaf’s evaporating dew,
I vanish.
—Senryu (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Man’s end:
this mound of albescent bones,
this brief flowering sure to fade ...
—Hamei (-1837), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
When I kick the bucket,
bury me beneath a tavern’s cellar wine barrel;
with a little luck the cask will leak.
—Moriya Sen’an (-1838), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  

Frost on a balmy day:
all I leave is the water
that washed my brush.
—Tanaka Shutei (1810-1858, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Though moss may overgrow
my useless corpse,
the seeds of patriotism shall never decay.
—Nomura Boto (1806-1867), loose translation/interpretation of her jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

My aging body:
a drop of dew
bulging at the leaf-cliff.
—Kiba (-1868), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Forbearing the night
with its growing brilliance:
the summer moon.
—Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Blow if you must,
autumn wind,
but the flowers have already faded.
—Gansan (-1895), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Time to go ...
They say this journey is a long trek:
this final change of robes.
—Roshu (-1899), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
The moon departs;
frost paralyzes the morning glories.
— Kato (-1908), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Stumble,
tumble,
fall,
slide down the slippery snow *****.
— Getsurei (-1919), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  



Original Haiku

Celebrate the New Year?
The cat is not impressed,
the dogs shiver.
―Michael R. Burch



As the monks sip their morning tea,
chrysanthemums quietly blossom.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The fragrance of plum blossoms
on a foggy path:
the sun rising.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkens ...
yet still faintly white
the wild duck protests.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pear tree blossoms
whitened by moonlight:
a young woman reading a letter.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outlined in the moonlight ...
who is that standing
among the pear trees?
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your coolness:
the sound of the bell
departing the bell.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the moon flies west
the flowers' shadows
creep eastward.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By such pale moonlight
even the wisteria's fragrance
seems distant.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaves
like crows’ shadows
flirt with a lonely moon.
Kaga no Chiyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let me die
covered with flowers
and never again wake to this earthly dream!
—Ochi Etsujin, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To reveal how your heart flowers,
sway like the summer grove.
—Tagami Kikusha-Ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the thicket's shade
a solitary woman sings the rice-planting song.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unaware of these degenerate times,
cherry blossoms abound!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These silent summer nights
even the stars
seem to whisper.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The enormous firefly
weaves its way, this way and that,
as it passes by.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Composed like the Thinker, he sits
contemplating the mountains:
the sagacious frog!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A fallen blossom
returning to its bough?
No, a butterfly!
Arakida Moritake, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminated by the harvest moon
smoke is caught creeping
across the water ...
Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fanning its tail flamboyantly
with every excuse of a breeze,
the peacock!
Masaoki Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Waves row through the mists
of the endless sea.
Masaoki Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I hurl a firefly into the darkness
and sense the enormity of night.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As girls gather rice sprouts
reflections of the rain ripple
on the backs of their hats.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Zen, death, Japan, Japanese, translation, life, aging, time, pain, sorrow, lament, mrbhaiku
Lucille-Ovette Nov 2018
This is my farewell to the self-destructive, overly emotional, sad little girl I have become and my invitation to the person who I truly wish to be.
This is my farewell to my father who tried to mold and shape me to fit in his mold.
To the father who told me I wasn't good enough.
To the father who broke me and made me feel like nothing.
This is my farewell to all the bad thoughts I've had.
Farewell to the wounds and scars on my body that will fade leaving little trace that they were there.
Farewell to the nights spent crying instead of sleeping.
Farewell to not being able to look in the mirror without crying.
Farewell to not being able to accept myself for who I am.
Farewell to this unhealthy body I inhabit.

Even as I say farewell to my past and who I am while inviting the person who I wish to be; I will still remember who I was and everything that's happened. It's my story.  how I ended up where I am now and a big part of my life. In the end, I will survive the impulse to forbid happiness.
Jim Sep 2019
Farewell, farewell my darling boy
Farewell as you take your depart
I'll look for you where the sun meets the sky
And I'll keep you close to my heart.

Farewell, farewell my darling son
Farewell I bid to you
As you follow the wind to some distant shore
In your soul I will help you see it through.

Each day, each day I dream the same dream
The words of a wise old man
He says the willow she weeps through winter and fall
Come spring time she proudly stands

Don't steal the heat from the fire
Don't steal the meaning from the words
Don't take the darkness from a shadow, my dear
And don't forget the wisdom you have learned

Farewell, farewell to the open fields
Farewell to the dew on the vine
My destiny's a-waitin', she's somewhere at sea
Please Neptune would you send me some sign
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Matsuo Basho Translations



My Personal Favorites

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Come, investigate loneliness!
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay,
contemptuous of frost
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill,
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild geese:
my mysterious companions!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The first chill rain:
poor monkey, you too could use
a woven cape of straw
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish I could wash
this perishing earth
in its shimmering dew
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Dabbed with morning dew
and splashed with mud,
the melon looks wonderfully cool.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Butterflies

The butterfly
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Ballet in the air! ―
two butterflies, twice white,
meet, mate, unite.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A spring wind
stirs willow leaves
as a butterfly hovers unsteadily.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aki o hete / cho mo nameru ya / kiku no tsuyu

Come, butterfly,
it's late
and we've a long way to go!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Famous Frog Poem

An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond sleeps...
untroubled by sound or movement...until...
suddenly a frog leaps!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Explosion!
The frog returns
to its lily pad.
—Michael R. Burch original haiku



Basho's Heron

Lightning
shatters the darkness—
the night heron's shriek
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Lightning―
the night heron's shriek
severs the darkness
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A flash of lightning―
the night heron's shriek
splits the void
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Flowers

Let us arrange
these lovely flowers in the bowl
since there's no rice
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a heavy fragrance
snowflakes settle:
lilies on rocks
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

High-altitude rose petals
falling
falling
falling:
the melody of a waterfall.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Revered figure!
I bow low
to the rabbit-eared Iris.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Cold white azalea—
a lone nun
in her thatched straw hut.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Glimpsed on this high mountain trail,
delighting my heart—
wild violets
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Disdaining grass,
the firefly nibbles nettles—
this is who I am.
—Takarai Kikaku translation by Michael R. Burch

A simple man,
content to breakfast with the morning glories—
this is who I am.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
This is Basho's response to the Takarai Kikaku haiku above
asagao ni / ware wa meshi kû / otoko kana

Ah me,
I waste my meager breakfast
morning glory gazing!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories blossom,
reinforcing the old fence gate.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The morning glories, alas,
also turned out
not to embrace me
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories bloom,
mending chinks
in the old fence
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories,
however poorly painted,
still engage us
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
asagao wa / heta no kaku sae / aware nari

I too
have been accused
of morning glory gazing...
—original haiku by by Michael R. Burch

Curious flower,
watching us approach:
meet Death, our famished donkey.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Poems about Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter

Spring has come:
the nameless hill
lies shrouded in mist
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring!
A nameless hill
stands shrouded in mist.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The legs of the cranes
have been shortened
by the summer rains.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

These brown summer grasses?
The only remains
of "invincible" warriors...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An empty road
lonelier than abandonment:
this autumn evening
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn darkness
descends
on this road I travel alone
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Taming the rage
of an unrelenting sun—
autumn breeze.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

The sun sets,
relentlessly red,
yet autumn's in the wind.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

As autumn draws near,
so too our hearts
in this small tea room.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aki chikaki / kokoro no yoru ya / yo jo han

Late autumn:
my neighbor,
how does he continue?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter in the air:
my neighbor,
how does he fare?
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter solitude:
a world awash in white,
the sound of the wind
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The year's first day...
thoughts come, and with them, loneliness;
dusk approaches.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Temple Poems

Graven images of long-departed gods,
dry spiritless leaves:
companions of the temple porch
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The temple bells grow silent
but the blossoms provide their incense―
A perfect evening!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a glorious shrine—
on these green, budding leaves,
the sun's intense radiance.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara toto / aoba wakaba no / hi no hikar



Basho's Birds

A raven settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow has settled
on a naked branch—
autumn nightfall
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
autumn twilight
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
phantom autumn
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow roosts
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightmare
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: There has been a debate about the meaning of aki-no kure, which may mean one of the following: autumn evening, autumn dusk, the end of autumn. Or it seems possible that Basho may have intentionally invoked the ideas of both the end of an autumn day and the end of the season as well. In my translations I have tried to create an image of solitary crow clinging to a branch that seems like a harbinger of approaching winter and death. In the first translation I went with the least light possible: autumn twilight. In the second translation, I attempted something more ghostly. Phrases I considered include: spectral autumn, skeletal autumn, autumnal skeleton, phantom autumn, autumn nocturne, autumn nightfall, autumn nightmare, dismal autumn. In the third and fourth translations I focused on the color of the bird and its resemblance to night falling. While literalists will no doubt object, my goal is to create an image and a feeling that convey in English what I take Basho to have been trying to convey in Japanese. Readers will have to decide whether they prefer my translations to the many others that exist, but mine are trying to convey the eeriness of the scene in English.

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post,
the house is silent.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Swallow flitting in the dusk,
please spare my small friends
buzzing among the flowers!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch




Basho's Insects

A bee emerging
from deep within the peony's hairy recesses
flies off heavily, sated
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket,
how he goes on about his life!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cicada's cry
contains no hint
of how soon it must die.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing in the cicada's cry
hints that it knows
how soon it must die.
—Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cicada's cry
contains no hint
of how soon it must die.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch




Basho's Moon and Stars

Pausing between clouds
the moon rests
in the eyes of its beholders
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon: glorious its illumination!
Therefore, we give thanks.
Dark clouds cast their shadows on our necks.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The surging sea crests around Sado...
and above her?
An ocean of stars.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara umi ya / Sado ni yokotau / Ama-no-gawa



Basho's Companions

Fire levitating ashes:
my companion's shadow
animates the wall...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Among the graffiti
one illuminated name:
Yours.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Scrawny tomcat!
Are you starving for fish and mice
or pining away for love?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's End of Life and Death Poems

Nothing happened!
Yesterday simply vanished
like the blowfish soup.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara nantomo na ya / kino wa sugite / fukuto-jiru

Fever-felled mid-path
my dreams resurrect, to trek
into a hollow land
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of its autumn migration
my spirit drifts
over wilted fields...
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of this autumn migration
in dreams I drift
over flowerless fields...
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: While literalists will no doubt object to "flowerless" in the translation above ― along with other word choices in my other translations ― this is my preferred version. I think Basho's meaning still comes through. But "wilted" is probably closer to what he meant. If only we could consult him, to ask whether he preferred strictly literal prose translations of his poems, or more poetic interpretations! My guess is that most poets would prefer for their poems to remain poetry in the second language. In my opinion the differences are minor and astute readers will grok both Basho's meaning and his emotion.

Too ill to travel,
now only my autumn dreams
survey these withering fields
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch


New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

OTHER POETS

Observe:
see how the wild violets bloom
within the forbidden fences!
—Shida Yaba (1663-1740), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When no wind at all
ruffles the Kiri tree
leaves fall of their own free will.
—Nozawa Boncho (1640-1714), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Keywords/Tags: Basho, haiku, translation, Japan, Japanese, Oriental, Orient Occident, nature, season, seasons, waka, tanka, life and death, compassion, empathy, mrbhaiku, mrbbasho
Ahmad Cox Aug 2012
Farewell fear
Farewell pain
Hello peace
Hello calm
Goodbye past
Hello tomorrow
Hello hope
Say farewell
To sadness
Say hello to grace
Farewell my old friend
I used to know you
But I have changed
I have moved on
To someone new
A new me
Farewell
Red or Dark eyes? 
Vampire, is it time to say goodbye
He stopped kissing her
Her heart broken, with love. 
 
Gold or pale leaves?
Vampire, where is their destiny?
He turned off the light
and left them with darkness
and she escaped from
twin towers last night.
 
Are they **** or ethology creatures?
Vampire, who could interpret the sound of his voice?
Early last summer, they met at a mask party.
 
Vampire found his true love after a Brahms themed concert, 
Vampire never intended to make a crime.
Vampire didn’t know what he had until he lost it.

The dusk arises to heal his wounds,
with the blood of another.
Vampire, opened his eyes, light came through heaven
Thank you for the fragile and painful love that you give. Muttered the vampire under his breath.

Vampire, took her to all the places that she never knew.
 
Farewell,Vampire
He came and she found what she wanted

Will she remember that she was there in his debt?
those days were a little bit daunting the days she’d rather forget...
 
Farewell, Vampire
He changed her life for the better 
And now he knows it’s better to be brave than be scared
Farewell,Vampire,
to a little painful but fragile love.

Farewell, Vampire
He knew he had no choice.
But will he ever have one?
By: Angel.XJ
Revised 14/08/2019
Ady Feb 2014
Farewell to the pollen in the flowers;
for a taste of honey
by the price of stinging wonders.
Farewell to all the starry feys;
for a lack of colors
by our obscure sorrows.
Farewell to crimson sunsents;
for the cracks of dawn
by the longing of a yawn.
Farewell to my lover's arms;
for the desecretion of our Time
by the ignorance of mine.
And, as a final note of departure-
farewell doubtful companion;
by scars of winters past
for bliss of evenings in summer times.
Robert Guerrero Feb 2016
To loved ones young and old
To friends and family
We say farewell
In our own unique way
I'll tell you later
There's no doubt we'll meet again
In a life promised to us in books
Or maybe its just reassure you
You'll see me happier from afar
You say goodbye
You're never to sure
If you'll meet again
Probably getting it in
Because you had the chance
We say farewell
When all we want to do is say hello
A text a call even a poem
Hoping that you're reading
Not to sure
Because you're afraid to ask
Well guess what I'm not
I couldn't care less
We had our chance
Now emotions sit collecting dust
Waiting for another chance
To be offered off at auction
We say farewell
In petty fights
Over lame *******
That could have been prevented
We get ****** and storm off
Say ******* and have a nice life
Not knowing that tomorrow
The other could die
We say farewell
In so many ways
Well I said all my goodbyes
I got tired of telling you later
Because later apparently meant
Three years from now
When the lights in your heart turned back on
But its over
My life is no longer your concern
Never was from the start
But by all means
Continue lurking in the background
Keep posted on what's to come
We say farewell
But I have one more thing
To send you off with...
Tryst Apr 2015
Bedeck the band and play a merry tune
The debutante desires her maiden dance
A farewell serenade beneath the moon

She's drifting like a Sunday afternoon
Each lazy sway a restful rhythmic trance
Bedeck the band and play a merry tune

Encircling suitors pack around and soon
She gleans the grating of each nervous glance:
"A farewell serenade beneath the moon?"

She casts them all aside her heart immune
To each until one voice, one piercing lance:
"Bedeck the band and play a merry tune!"

She falters and her bold facade is hewn
And nodding shyly greets his cold advance:
"A farewell serenade beneath the moon!"

Embracing him her heart begins to swoon
A maiden sunken at her first romance;
Bedeck the band and play a merry tune
A farewell serenade beneath the moon
In memory of RMS Titanic, which sank April 15th 1912.

See also my sonnet of 2014: http://hellopoetry.com/poem/694219/the-ice-maiden/

"Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame." (Lawrence Beesley, Survivor, RMS Titanic, 1912).
AapkiHamesha Oct 2012
Farewell, my stranger
I say hello again, everyday
In my thoughts
In my dreams
In my smile

Farewell, my lover
I ignore your danger, everyday
With your presence
Without your presence
With your evil

Farewell, my punisher
Obedience in my eyes, everyday
My shut eyes
My chapped lips
My torn dress

Farewell, my killer
Death in my heart, everyday
My frowns
My tears
My sobs

Hello, new Stranger
My love is yours, everyday
My heart
My joy
My life.
Jason Schnepper Jan 2015
I held you ever so close
Farewell my Angel
Take this rose fly free
what is broken inside
let its delicacy be part of me
That held you ever so close
Farewell my Angel
Take my tears fly free
what is broken inside
let its drops of tenderness be a part of me
That held you ever so close
Farewell my Angel
take my love fly free
what is broken inside
Let it live and this that's left is just not me
Farewell my Angel
Love, thou are absolute sole lord
Of life and death. To prove the word,
We’ll now appeal to none of all
Those thy old soldiers, great and tall,
Ripe men of martyrdom, that could reach down
With strong arms their triumphant crown;
Such as could with ***** breath
Speak loud into the face of death
Their great Lord’s glorious name; to none
Of those whose spacious bosoms spread a throne
For love at large to fill; spare blood and sweat,
And see him take a private seat,
Making his mansion in the mild
And milky soul of a soft child.

    Scarce has she learn’d to lisp the name
Of martyr, yet she thinks it shame
Life should so long play with that breath
Which spent can buy so brave a death.
She never undertook to know
What death with love should have to do;
Nor has she e’er yet understood
Why to show love she should shed blood;
Yet though she cannot tell you why,
She can love, and she can die.

    Scarce has she blood enough to make
A guilty sword blush for her sake;
Yet has she’a heart dares hope to prove
How much less strong is death than love.

    Be love but there, let poor six years
Be pos’d with the maturest fears
Man trembles at, you straight shall find
Love knows no nonage, nor the mind.
’Tis love, not years or limbs that can
Make the martyr, or the man.

    Love touch’d her heart, and lo it beats
High, and burns with such brave heats,
Such thirsts to die, as dares drink up
A thousand cold deaths in one cup.
Good reason, for she breathes all fire;
Her weak breast heaves with strong desire
Of what she may with fruitless wishes
Seek for amongst her mother’s kisses.

    Since ’tis not to be had at home,
She’ll travel to a martyrdom.
No home for hers confesses she
But where she may a martyr be.

    She’ll to the Moors, and trade with them
For this unvalued diadem.
She’ll offer them her dearest breath,
With Christ’s name in ‘t, in change for death.
She’ll bargain with them, and will give
Them God; teach them how to live
In him; or, if they this deny,
For him she’ll teach them how to die.
So shall she leave amongst them sown
Her Lord’s blood, or at least her own.

    Farewell then, all the world, adieu!
Teresa is no more for you.
Farewell, all pleasures, sports, and joys,
(Never till now esteemed toys)
Farewell, whatever dear may be,
Mother’s arms or father’s knee,
Farewell house and farewell home,
She’s for the Moors, and martyrdom!

    Sweet, not so fast! lo, thy fair spouse,
Whom thou seek’st with so swift vows,
Calls thee back, and bids thee come
T’ embrace a milder martyrdom.

    Blest powers forbid thy tender life
Should bleed upon a barbarous knife;
Or some base hand have power to rase
Thy breast’s chaste cabinet, and uncase
A soul kept there so sweet; oh no,
Wise Heav’n will never have it so;
Thou art Love’s victim, and must die
A death more mystical and high;
Into Love’s arms thou shalt let fall
A still-surviving funeral.
He is the dart must make the death
Whose stroke shall taste thy hallow’d breath;
A dart thrice dipp’d in that rich flame
Which writes thy spouse’s radiant name
Upon the roof of heav’n, where aye
It shines, and with a sovereign ray
Beats bright upon the burning faces
Of souls, which in that name’s sweet graces
Find everlasting smiles. So rare,
So spiritual, pure, and fair
Must be th’ immortal instrument
Upon whose choice point shall be sent
A life so lov’d; and that there be
Fit executioners for thee,
The fair’st and first-born sons of fire,
Blest Seraphim, shall leave their quire
And turn Love’s soldiers, upon thee
To exercise their archery.

    Oh, how oft shalt thou complain
Of a sweet and subtle pain,
Of intolerable joys,
Of a death in which who dies
Loves his death, and dies again,
And would forever so be slain,
And lives and dies, and knows not why
To live, but that he thus may never leave to die.

    How kindly will thy gentle heart
Kiss the sweetly-killing dart!
And close in his embraces keep
Those delicious wounds, that weep
Balsam to heal themselves with. Thus
When these thy deaths, so numerous,
Shall all at last die into one,
And melt thy soul’s sweet mansion
Like a soft lump of incense, hasted
By too hot a fire, and wasted
Into perfuming clouds, so fast
Shalt thou exhale to Heav’n at last
In a resolving sigh; and then,
O what? Ask not the tongues of men;
Angels cannot tell; suffice,
Thyself shall feel thine own full joys
And hold them fast forever. There
So soon as thou shalt first appear,
The moon of maiden stars, thy white
Mistress, attended by such bright
Souls as thy shining self, shall come
And in her first ranks make thee room;
Where ‘mongst her snowy family
Immortal welcomes wait for thee.

    O what delight, when reveal’d Life shall stand
And teach thy lips heav’n with his hand,
On which thou now mayst to thy wishes
Heap up thy consecrated kisses.
What joys shall seize thy soul when she,
Bending her blessed eyes on thee,
(Those second smiles of heav’n) shall dart
Her mild rays through thy melting heart!

    Angels, thy old friends, there shall greet thee,
Glad at their own home now to meet thee.

    All thy good works which went before
And waited for thee, at the door,
Shall own thee there, and all in one
Weave a constellation
Of crowns, with which the King, thy spouse,
Shall build up thy triumphant brows.

    All thy old woes shall now smile on thee,
And thy pains sit bright upon thee;
All thy sorrows here shall shine,
All thy suff’rings be divine;
Tears shall take comfort and turn gems,
And wrongs repent to diadems.
Ev’n thy deaths shall live, and new
Dress the soul that erst they slew;
Thy wounds shall blush to such bright scars
As keep account of the Lamb’s wars.

    Those rare works where thou shalt leave writ
Love’s noble history, with wit
Taught thee by none but him, while here
They feed our souls, shall clothe thine there.
Each heav’nly word by whose hid flame
Our hard hearts shall strike fire, the same
Shall flourish on thy brows, and be
Both fire to us and flame to thee,
Whose light shall live bright in thy face
By glory, in our hearts by grace.

    Thou shalt look round about and see
Thousands of crown’d souls throng to be
Themselves thy crown; sons of thy vows,
The ******-births with which thy sovereign spouse
Made fruitful thy fair soul, go now
And with them all about thee, bow
To him. “Put on,” he’ll say, “put on,
My rosy love, that thy rich zone
Sparkling with the sacred flames
Of thousand souls whose happy names
Heav’n keeps upon thy score. Thy bright
Life brought them first to kiss the light
That kindled them to stars.” And so
Thou with the Lamb, thy Lord, shalt go,
And wheresoe’er he sets his white
Steps, walk with him those ways of light
Which who in death would live to see
Must learn in life to die like thee.
A Conversation Poem, April, 1798

No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge!
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently.
O’er its soft bed of verdure. All is still.
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
‘Most musical, most melancholy’ bird!
A melancholy bird? Oh! idle thought!
In Nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch! filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain.
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet who hath been building up the rhyme
When he had better far have stretched his limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell,
By sun or moon-light, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Should share in Nature’s immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself
Be loved like Nature! But ’twill not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O’er Philomela’s pity-pleading strains.

My Friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt
A different lore: we may not thus profane
Nature’s sweet voices, always full of  love
And joyance! ’Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds and hurries, and precipitates
With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music!
                         And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
Which the great lord inhabits not; and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many nightingales; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,
They answer and provoke each other’s song,
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug,
And one low piping sound more sweet than all
Stirring the air with such a harmony,
That should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes,
Whose dewy leaflets are but half-disclosed,
You may perchance behold them on the twigs,
Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade
Lights up her love-torch.
                                       A most gentle Maid,
Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
(Even like a Lady vowed and dedicate
To something more than Nature in the grove)
Glides through the pathways; she knows all their notes,
That gentle Maid! and oft, a moment’s space,
What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence; till the moon
Emerging, a hath awakened earth and sky
With one sensation, and those wakeful birds
Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
As if some sudden gale had swept at once
A hundred airy harps! And she hath watched
Many a nightingale perch giddily
On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song
Like tipsy Joy that reels with tossing head.

Farewell! O Warbler! till tomorrow eve,
And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.That strain again!
Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his ear,
His little hand, the small forefinger up,
And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
To make him Nature’s play-mate. He knows well
The evening-star; and once, when he awoke
In most distressful mood (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant’s dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard-plot,
And he beheld the moon, and, hushed at once,
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes, that swam with undropped tears,
Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well!
It is a father’s tale: But if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate joy. Once more, farewell,
Sweet Nightingale! once more, my friends! farewell.
Cheyenne Baker Dec 2015
When we live together, all will be swell,
but we don’t have much time ‘til you want kids so
We’ll live together, at least ‘til farewell.

You’ll do the dishes ‘cause I hate the smell,
I’ll do the bills ‘cause you hate math so
when we live together, all will be swell.

You’ll come with me for that ultrasound gel
But I’d want to abort this alien so
We’ll live together, at least ‘till farewell.

Donate to Goodwill so we needn’t resell,
We both love creatures - we’ll donate to them so
When we live together, all will be swell.

I’ll **** that child before it can excel
but it’s been your dream to have children so
We’ll live together, at least ‘til farewell.

We’ll end up a story for me to retell
“Once, I was in love but it didn’t work” so
When we live together, all will be swell.
We’ll live together, at least ‘til farewell.
Tommy Johnson Dec 2013
You can hear the voices of our peers being silenced, ignored, shunned and distorted.
Staggering out of their bedroom doorways to the street corner to score a dime bag.
Bright, insightful millennials freezing in search of warmth from something to believe in that will encourage them to look forward to see another day.
Where our economy has made financial prudence clear when talking about education, yet price tags of university tuition's skyrocket.
The refused, the ones with hope but no money or scholarships; tread the streets with the echoes of electro house pulsing in their skulls.
Those who strip themselves down and shred their own morals to scraps just to find themselves and to see their own limitations.
Searching for answers to the unknown, to ascertain what they are, who they are and why.
Timid in high school, pushed along with nothing and no one to put their creative vigor into.
The squeakiest wheels that were never even considered to be given a good greasing.
Faculties giving them lethargic hellos on the first day of school, bestowing celebrated goodbyes to them on graduation day, diplomas in hand.
Now are the ones slumped over in a lackadaisical position contemplating how they can afford an education.
They work eight to ten at seven twenty five an hour Monday to Friday; and weekends staying in as not to blow their earnings.
Those who commute to university and balance a job with it, I applaud you.
The bewilderment of adulthood, the overabundance of pressure and responsibility.
Awakened from nightmares of lost opportunities, missed trains and lost contacts.
To step out of bed and splash water onto a severely distressed face and staring into a mirror with a despairing look.
Then hoping a bus to Garfield to bring back weight for all the embryonic smokers not yet at the point of make or break, just save up enough to pave my own way.
Gazing at the town on a roof top, chugging down the tenth…no…twelfth beer of the night wondering how this all happened.
Wild sensations of kissing an attractive stranger, the rush of touching on things never felt, tasting pleasures only the lucky have known.
The passionate, yet dissolute yearning for that ever eluding ******* adrenaline. Pounding, Pounding, Pounding until the culmination of energy has come.
Flip sided to those dizzying, tear jerking thoughts of suicide, annihilation of ones being, the contradictions of their faith in themselves and the people around them.
Unexplainable waves of anxiety crashing onto the shore of a diminutive island of optimism
Striving to look past the panic, the gloominess and fury that may or may not be present. But to remain composed and press forward to what awaits them.
Coffee keeps them going. Cup after cup, late night cramming every bit they can; into their caffeine driven psyches until the indisputable crash and failure.
Packs and packs of menthol cigarettes to calm their rattling nerves but at the same time killing them slowly. Their lives will seem shorter than the time it took to finish one bogey when death is near.
Marijuana induced ventures to run down burger shacks, laughing hysterical in the car ride, eyes heavy with a most ridiculous elastic grin extending from ear to ear. While inside millions of thoughts and realizations of consciously simple speculations and troubles become clear and unproblematic. So the joy is mirrored outside in.
LSD trips in Petruska dancing and singing in the rain! Making music, making love; playing pretend and creating art. Becoming a family while kicking back under the warmth of an illuminated tree on a cool fall night.
MDMA streaming through the body, everything is as it should be
Beautiful, lovely to touch, wondrous to stroke, marvelous to move.
To contact and connect, converse and converge with the dwelling desire to share what you feel with everyone for it would be selfish and unpleasant to keep it in.
Mushrooms oh the emotional overflow I need not say more but ****.
Then there are over the counter candies, Oxycontin, ******, Adderall and Xanax, painkillers and antidepressants. Ups, downs, side ways and backwards.
Selling addiction and dependency legally to kids. Making heroine, ******* and speed easily obtainable to them. Changing the names and giving out prescriptions so the parents can feel like they're actually helping their children but are subconsciously making it easier on themselves because they cannot handle the way their offsprings actually are. Some parents a feel it is the only way, I wish it wasn't so. Becoming zombies, mindless addicts before they even start to mature into puberty. I've seen it, firsthand front row.
Oh, the monotonous, mundane rituals and agendas of our lives. School, work, sleep eat, the sluggish schedules and repetitions of yesterday's conversations and redundancy of itineraries we had plotted months prior.
Same people, the constant faces of boredom that groan in apathy and hold the fear of complacency.
We talk about how hum drum out lives have become and what we could to put some color in our world but don’t.
We speak of how unfair the system is but ultimately confuse ourselves and everyone else due to lack or organization and dedication so nothing is changed.
We speak of breath taking women we want to share ****** fantasies with but can’t even muster enough courage to send a trivial friend request.
Texting away for hours trying to court those who now occupy our minds and possess our hearts hoping they may allow us to acquire their attention and affection. Calling them only to receive futile dial tones and know we are being evaded.
Weeping on and on for seemingly endless time frames of a dilapidated relationship that was so strained that a miniscule breeze could cause it to collapse but still clinging to every memory as if they were vital hieroglyphics depicting your very essence.
Brilliant theories blurted out in a drunken stupor.
Ingenious hypothesis shrouded in marijuana smoked out room.
Remembrance of friends long gone.
The marines, the navy.
The casualties of drug addiction.
The conquerors or their afflictions.
The scholars.
The insane locked away on the flight deck never to be seen again.
Teenage mothers unsure of themselves, abandoned by their families for they believe that they brought fictional shame upon the family’s name. The fate of the child is unclear but the mother’s everlasting love shines through any obscurities in its way.
Dear mother of the new born winter’s moon may the aura of life protect you and your baby.
The father gone without a trace.
He will never know his daughter.
And it will haunt him forever.
Parents bringing up their kids with values and morals, The Holy Bible, mantras and meditation, the Holy Quran, The Bhagavad Gita, and Upanishads. Islamic anecdotes and Jewish parables.
The names all different
The message the same
The stories unlike
Goals equivalent
Faith
Kabala, Scientology and Wicca
Amish and Mormons
All separate paths that intertwine and runoff each other then pool into the plateau of eternal life.
But do we have faith in our country, our government?
They do not have faith in us. Cameras on every street corner, FBI agents stalking social media, recordings of our personal lives and police brutality. 4th amendment where have you gone?
We say farewell to Oresko the last veteran of the last great war. And revisit the Arab spring, Al-Assad’s soldiers opening fire on innocent protesters, one hundred fifteen thousand lay dead. Bin laden dead, Hussein hanged, Gaddafi receiving every ounce of his comeuppance. War, terrorism, the fear of being attacked or is it an excuse to secure our nation's investments across the sea? Throwing trillions of dollars to keep the ****** machine cranking away, taxes, pensions, credit scores, insurance and annuities all cogs in the convoluted contraptions plight.
My dear friend contemplates this every night laying in bed, fetal position; the anxiety if having to be a part of this.
Falling apart on the inside but on the outside, an Adonis, *******, Casanova wanna be. Who worshiped the almighty dollar, gripping it so tightly until it made change, drank until he had his fill falling face first into the snow. The guy who lead on legions of clueless girls wearing their hearts on their sleeves not knowing he had a girlfriend the entire time. Arranging secret meetings in hidden gardens, streaking into the early morning. Driving to Ewing in his yellow Mustang to woo a sado masochistic girl. The chains and whips do nothing to him he is already numbed by the thrill. Then he comes home, lays in bed until one, with no job and having people pay for his meals.
He knows what he does and who he is wrong. He recites and regurgitates excuses endlessly. He cries because he knows he is weak, he knows he must fix himself. I sit on the edge of myself with my fingers crossed hoping maybe, maybe he will set himself straight.
My chum who can talk his way out of any confrontation and into a woman’s *******. Multitudes of amorous affairs in backrooms, backseats, front rows of movies theaters. Selfish, boastful and ignorant, yet woman fling themselves at him like catapulted boulders over a medieval battle field just to say hello. These girls blind to see what going on, for their eyes were taken by low self esteem. A need to be accepted, to feel wanted even only for fifteen minutes. Poor self image, daddy issues, anorexic razor blade slicing sirens screaming on about counted calories and social status. Their uncontrollable mental breakdowns and emotional collapse. Their uncles who ***** them, their parents who split up and confusing their definition of love and loyalty for the rest of their lives. Broken homes, domestic abuse and raised voices, sending jolts of fright into the young girl’s fragile minds. I send my sorrows to you ladies, to see such beautiful creatures suffer then be used and thrown away with the ****** that was just ****** deep into their *****.
Then I see women and men of marvelous stature, romantic in the streets holding everyone and everything in high regards. Finding beauty in anything and anyone. Enjoying every second as if the rapture was over head eating exotic foods from unheard of countries and cultures. Bouncing to the sound of whimsical , reverb ricochets and sense stimulating music. Huffing inspiration to create something out of thin air. Dancing to retired jazz and swing albums as if no time had past since their conception. Wearing bold colors and patterns, thrifty leather shoes or suede.
Dawning pre-owned blazers because why spend hundreds of dollars on new clothes just to look good but feel uncomfortable with a hole in your pocket. Dressing up but dressing down, so class yet urban I love it, chinos, pea coats and flannels so simple but chic.
At night they go to underground dens, sweaty bodies, loud music and freedom. Expressive manifestations glowing fueled with MDMA and other substances to further their enjoyment of the dark glorious occasion. Kandi kids sporting colorful bracelets, not watches for time is of no concern to them, they have all eternity they know that.
Going to book stores, coffee shops just to have some peace of mind and a moment of silence to themselves so that can weave the tapestry of imaginative innovation. Writing their own versions of the same story, endless doors of perception, reading news papers and taking it with a grain of salt. Watching the news on TV with a hand full of salt. Searching for the real story so they can know if the world they all live in is actually safe.
She who made her own way breaking hearts, rolling blunts and making deals. The flower child of the modern age, left the rainy days in search of radiant sunshine, idealistic. Reality was subjective, purple dyed hair, multicolored sweater with sandals on her feet. A ten inch bowl with bud from California packed in tightly. Coming from Dumont to Bergenfeild then on to Philly to Mount Vernon. Off to Astoria and the Heights. Now to Sweden laying in the grassy plains below the mountains. Good for you my friend whom I have loved, may fortunes of unsullied joy come to you and all you meet.
Since you’ve left I have encountered drunken burly firemen just trying to have a good time. Pounding down Pabst Blue Ribbon as if it were water; as if it were good tasting beer. But heroes none the less.
EMT's, young eighteen years old high school graduates, saving lives reviving people who are a mere inch close to death.
Sport stars getting scholarships thanks to their superior skills and strength.
Striking beauty school students who are into making the people of this world a little bit more beautiful on the outside.
All these people, successful, doing things. Departing to their desired destinations. I see inside them, they carry baggage, loneliness and insecurities. I can feel their guilt slowing them down. All have their loads but it’s the way they carry them that shows who they really are. And to me their all gems.
Not far in Paterson I watch the junkies limping across busy winding street, perusing a severely needed fix. “Diesel!” they shout beneath flickering streetlights, asking for spare change and if bold enough a ride to some shady sketchy place. I give them a dollar and politely decline. They’ll die without it. Vomiting up bile and blood, twitches and shivers are all you feel when it’s not in you. They cannot stop, they need help. Why not help them instead of “assisting” those who are homosexual? Cleansing so they can be granted entry to the kingdom of God. Looking down on people who have found love and understanding and a deep attraction to others who just so happen to share alike genitals.
Narrow minded uproars about the spread of AIDS, nonsense! The puritanical onslaught of those who want nothing more than the rest of us, love. "Gay", "****", "******", "queer", how about "kind", "funny", "genuine human being"? The right to be married and divorced should be an option for everyone to enjoy. The strains and hardships of matrimony are yours if you want them. If you don’t agree don’t hate or harm just allow them to be peacefully. Same goes for anything for that matter, Jehovah's going door to door, Mormons from Burbank. New ideas are never a bad thing, they’re not a waste of time. On average you have about eighty years to mull over your options.
Some people don’t live long enough to do so, cancer is rampant, blood diseases, ****** diseases, natural disasters coming right out of left field and blindsiding the innocent bystanders of both hemispheres. Some go through life handicapped, autism is apparent these days. Schizophrenia, Asperburgers, ADD and ADHD. Some lose their golden memories of their many valuable years walking down Alzheimer's Lane, not being able to remember whatever transpired only a few moments ago but revisiting gold nuggets from from fifty-some-odd years ago with ease. Some go through life delusional or bipolar. Some can't even sleep at night but they still carry on. And if assistance is needed it is our job as a race to help our brothers and sisters, no one deserves to be excluded from the gala of life. Or be denied by society and pumped with brightly colored pills from doctors promising a cure but prescribing a crutch.
Finding solace in sincerity.
The serendipity of it all hasn’t been uncovered and that keeps me going.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world above, below and across. Unhindered without ill will without enmity.” Oh Buddha the truth as it ever was.
Who is he who keeps these thoughts from the conscious minds of the population?
Who is it that distracts us from the humbling beauty and overwhelming devastation of this place of existence we’re in?
It’s they who do under the table parlor trick behind our backs.
Those who broadcast mind numbing so called reality TV shows without an underlying value or meaning.
Those who produce music, proclaiming extravagance to be the end all be all gluttonous goal we all should aim to achieve.
And those who turn noble causes into money making scams and defile pure ideas.
And of course those who give false promises of easily obtained  bright futures, those who don’t care, those who steal, ****, curse, bad mouth and lie. But still manage to get elected into positions that more or less decide out fates. Monsters, demons, banshees howling inconsequential worries and leaving us deaf to hear the real issues.
The
Kelly Selvester Apr 2010
Vale Decem,
Honore res quara,
Emerio,
Alter altera,
Vale Decem,
Emerio,
Alter....
Alteri...te....
Vale Decem,
Vale Stragem,
Valde Temptua,
De glorio....
Vale Decem,
Vale Decet,
Honora res quara,
Alter cerna...
...Armis,
Grata tunc, usquera, emani,
Vale....(x12)


The translation from Latin....


Farewell Ten,
Because of your honour,
It's well deserved,
This other one,
Farewell Ten,
It's well deserved,
This other one,
This other one of you,
Farewell Ten,
Farewell Carnage,
Intense trials,
Concerning pride,
Farewell Ten,
In a very proper way,
Because of your honour,
The next seperation....
....Is by force of arms,
Flow out all the way with joy,
Farewell (x12)
this is a song from doctor who, copyright of the BBC and Murray Gold
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
iou
iou
by michael r. burch

i might have said it
but i didn’t

u might have noticed
but u wouldn’t

we might have been us
but we couldn’t

u might respond
but probably shouldn’t

Keywords/Tags: iou, chit, debenture, bill, debt, relationship, lovers, impasse, silence, golden, I, owe, you, borrower, lender, Polonius, collectible, mrbiou



Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Love of my life,
light of my morning―
arise, brightly dawning,
for you are my sun.

Give me of heaven
both manna and leaven―
desirous Presence,
Passionate One.



Talent
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

I liked the first passage
of her poem―where it led

(though not nearly enough
to retract what I said.)
Now the book propped up here
flutters, scarcely half read.
It will keep.
Before sleep,
let me read yours instead.

There's something like love
in the rhythms of night
―in the throb of streets
where the late workers drone,
in the sounds that attend
each day’s sad, squalid end―
that reminds us: till death
we are never alone.

So we write from the hearts
that will fail us anon,
words in red
truly bled
though they cannot reveal
whence they came,
who they're for.
And the tap at the door
goes unanswered. We write,
for there is nothing more
than a verse,
than a song,
than this chant of the blessed:
"If these words
be my sins,
let me die unconfessed!
Unconfessed, unrepentant;
I rescind all my vows!"
Write till sleep:
it’s the leap
only Talent allows.



Burn
by Michael R. Burch

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.



Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch

“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.

This poem is set at Faith Christian Academy, which I attended for a year during the ninth grade. Another poem, "*** 101," was also written about my experiences at FCA that year.



*** 101
by Michael R. Burch

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.



Styx
by Michael R. Burch

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

I wrote the poem above as a teenager in high school. The lines started out as part of a longer poem, but I thought these were the two best lines and decided to let them stand alone on the principle that "discretion is the better part of valor."



Medusa
by Michael R. Burch

Friends, beware
of her iniquitous hair:
long, ravenblack & melancholy.

Many suitors drowned there:
lost, unaware
of the length & extent of their folly.

Originally published by Grand Little Things



At Cædmon’s Grave
by Michael R. Burch

“Cædmon’s Hymn,” composed at the Monastery of Whitby (a North Yorkshire fishing village), is one of the oldest known poems written in the English language, dating back to around 680 A.D. According to legend, Cædmon, an illiterate Anglo-Saxon cowherd, received the gift of poetic composition from an angel; he subsequently founded a school of Christian poets. Unfortunately, only nine lines of Cædmon’s verse survive, in the writings of the Venerable Bede. Whitby, tiny as it is, reappears later in the history of English literature, having been visited, in diametric contrast, by Lewis Carroll and Bram Stoker’s ghoulish yet evocative Dracula.

At the monastery of Whitby,
on a day when the sun sank through the sea,
and the gulls shrieked wildly, jubilant, free,

while the wind and time blew all around,
I paced those dusk-enamored grounds
and thought I heard the steps resound

of Carroll, Stoker and of Bede
who walked there, too, their spirits freed
—perhaps by God, perhaps by need—

to write, and with each line, remember
the glorious light of Cædmon’s ember,
scorched tongues of flame words still engender.

Here, as darkness falls, at last we meet.
I lay this pale garland of words at his feet.

Originally published by The Lyric



Cædmon's Hymn (circa 658-680 AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Humbly now we honour heaven-kingdom's Guardian,
the Measurer's might and his mind-plans,
the goals of the Glory-Father. First he, the Everlasting Lord,
established earth's fearful foundations.
Then he, the First Scop, hoisted heaven as a roof
for the sons of men: Holy Creator,
mankind's great Maker! Then he, the Ever-Living Lord,
afterwards made men middle-earth: Master Almighty!



Cædmon’s Face
by Michael R. Burch

At the monastery of Whitby,
on a day when the sun sank through the sea,
and the gulls shrieked wildly, jubilant, free,

while the wind and Time blew all around,
I paced that dusk-enamored ground
and thought I heard the steps resound

of Carroll, Stoker and good Bede
who walked here too, their spirits freed
—perhaps by God, perhaps by need—

to write, and with each line, remember
the glorious light of Cædmon’s ember:
scorched tongues of flame words still engender.



He wrote here in an English tongue,
a language so unlike our own,
unlike—as father unto son.

But when at last a child is grown.
his heritage is made well-known:
his father’s face becomes his own.



He wrote here of the Middle-Earth,
the Maker’s might, man’s lowly birth,
of every thing that God gave worth

suspended under heaven’s roof.
He forged with simple words His truth
and nine lines left remain the proof:

his face was Poetry’s, from youth.



Song from Ælla: Under the Willow Tree, or, Minstrel's Song
by Thomas Chatterton, age 17 or younger
modernization/translation by Michael R. Burch

O! sing unto my roundelay,
O! drop the briny tear with me,
Dance no more at holy-day,
Like a running river be:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Black his crown as the winter night,
White his skin as the summer snow,
Red his face as the morning light,
Cold he lies in the grave below:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Sweet his tongue as the throstle's note,
Quick in dance as thought can be,
Deft his tabor, cudgel stout;
O! he lies by the willow tree!
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Hark! the raven ***** his wing
In the briar'd dell below;
Hark! the death-owl loudly sings
To the nightmares, as they go:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.

See! the white moon shines on high;
Whiter is my true love's shroud:
Whiter than the morning sky,
Whiter than the evening cloud:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Here upon my true love's grave
Shall the barren flowers be laid;
Not one holy saint to save
All the coolness of a maid:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

With my hands I'll frame the briars
Round his holy corpse to grow:
Elf and fairy, light your fires,
Here my body, stilled, shall go:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow tree.

Come, with acorn-cup and thorn,
Drain my heart’s red blood away;
Life and all its good I scorn,
Dance by night, or feast by day:
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.

Water witches, crowned with plaits,
Bear me to your lethal tide.
I die; I come; my true love waits.
Thus the damsel spoke, and died.

The song above is, in my opinion, competitive with Shakespeare's songs in his plays, and may be the best of Thomas Chatterton's so-called "Rowley" poems. The fact that Chatterton wrote it in his teens is astounding.



An Excelente Balade of Charitie (“An Excellent Ballad of Charity”)
by Thomas Chatterton, age 17
modernization/translation by Michael R. Burch

As wroten bie the goode Prieste
Thomas Rowley 1464

In Virgynë the swelt'ring sun grew keen,
Then hot upon the meadows cast his ray;
The apple ruddied from its pallid green
And the fat pear did extend its leafy spray;
The pied goldfinches sang the livelong day;
'Twas now the pride, the manhood of the year,
And the ground was mantled in fine green cashmere.

The sun was gleaming in the bright mid-day,
Dead-still the air, and likewise the heavens blue,
When from the sea arose, in drear array,
A heap of clouds of sullen sable hue,
Which full and fast unto the woodlands drew,
Hiding at once the sun's fair festive face,
As the black tempest swelled and gathered up apace.

Beneath a holly tree, by a pathway's side,
Which did unto Saint Godwin's convent lead,
A hapless pilgrim moaning did abide.
Poor in his sight, ungentle in his ****,
Long brimful of the miseries of need,
Where from the hailstones could the beggar fly?
He had no shelter there, nor any convent nigh.

Look in his gloomy face; his sprite there scan;
How woebegone, how withered, dried-up, dead!
Haste to thy parsonage, accursèd man!
Haste to thy crypt, thy only restful bed.
Cold, as the clay which will grow on thy head,
Is Charity and Love among high elves;
Knights and Barons live for pleasure and themselves.

The gathered storm is ripe; the huge drops fall;
The sunburnt meadows smoke and drink the rain;
The coming aghastness makes the cattle pale;
And the full flocks are driving o'er the plain;
Dashed from the clouds, the waters float again;
The heavens gape; the yellow lightning flies;
And the hot fiery steam in the wide flamepot dies.

Hark! now the thunder's rattling, clamoring sound
Heaves slowly on, and then enswollen clangs,
Shakes the high spire, and lost, dispended, drown'd,
Still on the coward ear of terror hangs;
The winds are up; the lofty elm-tree swings;
Again the lightning―then the thunder pours,
And the full clouds are burst at once in stormy showers.

Spurring his palfrey o'er the watery plain,
The Abbot of Saint Godwin's convent came;
His chapournette was drenchèd with the rain,
And his pinched girdle met with enormous shame;
He cursing backwards gave his hymns the same;
The storm increasing, and he drew aside
With the poor alms-craver, near the holly tree to bide.

His cape was all of Lincoln-cloth so fine,
With a gold button fasten'd near his chin;
His ermine robe was edged with golden twine,
And his high-heeled shoes a Baron's might have been;
Full well it proved he considered cost no sin;
The trammels of the palfrey pleased his sight
For the horse-milliner loved rosy ribbons bright.

"An alms, Sir Priest!" the drooping pilgrim said,
"Oh, let me wait within your convent door,
Till the sun shineth high above our head,
And the loud tempest of the air is o'er;
Helpless and old am I, alas!, and poor;
No house, no friend, no money in my purse;
All that I call my own is this―my silver cross.

"Varlet," replied the Abbott, "cease your din;
This is no season alms and prayers to give;
My porter never lets a beggar in;
None touch my ring who in dishonor live."
And now the sun with the blackened clouds did strive,
And shed upon the ground his glaring ray;
The Abbot spurred his steed, and swiftly rode away.

Once more the sky grew black; the thunder rolled;
Fast running o'er the plain a priest was seen;
Not full of pride, not buttoned up in gold;
His cape and jape were gray, and also clean;
A Limitour he was, his order serene;
And from the pathway side he turned to see
Where the poor almer lay beneath the holly tree.

"An alms, Sir Priest!" the drooping pilgrim said,
"For sweet Saint Mary and your order's sake."
The Limitour then loosen'd his purse's thread,
And from it did a groat of silver take;
The needy pilgrim did for happiness shake.
"Here, take this silver, it may ease thy care;
"We are God's stewards all, naught of our own we bear."

"But ah! unhappy pilgrim, learn of me,
Scarce any give a rentroll to their Lord.
Here, take my cloak, as thou are bare, I see;
'Tis thine; the Saints will give me my reward."
He left the pilgrim, went his way abroad.
****** and happy Saints, in glory showered,
Let the mighty bend, or the good man be empowered!

TRANSLATOR'S NOTES: It is possible that some words used by Chatterton were his own coinages; some of them apparently cannot be found in medieval literature. In a few places I have used similar-sounding words that seem to not overly disturb the meaning of the poem. ― Michael R. Burch



***** Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life’s a pickle, dilly.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you’ll not act illy.
Isn’t it silly, ***** Nilly?



Are You the Thief
by Michael R. Burch

When I touch you now,
O sweet lover,
full of fire,
melting like ice
in my embrace,

when I part the delicate white lace,
baring pale flesh,
and your face
is so close
that I breathe your breath
and your hair surrounds me like a wreath...

tell me now,
O sweet, sweet lover,
in good faith:
are you the thief
who has stolen my heart?

Originally published as “Baring Pale Flesh” by Poetic License/Monumental Moments



Children
by Michael R. Burch

There was a moment
suspended in time like a swelling drop of dew about to fall,
impendent, pregnant with possibility ...

when we might have made ...
anything,
anything we dreamed,
almost anything at all,
coalescing dreams into reality.

Oh, the love we might have fashioned
out of a fine mist and the nightly sparkle of the cosmos
and the rhythms of evening!

But we were young,
and what might have been is now a dark abyss of loss
and what is left is not worth saving.

But, oh, you were lovely,
child of the wild moonlight, attendant tides and doting stars,
and for a day,

what little we partook
of all that lay before us seemed so much,
and passion but a force
with which to play.



Davenport Tomorrow
by Michael R. Burch

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.



Dawn
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth, Laura, and all good mothers

Bring your peculiar strength
to the strange nightmarish fray:
wrap up your cherished ones
in the golden light of day.

Amen

Originally published by The Lyric



Twice
by Michael R. Burch

Now twice she has left me
and twice I have listened
and taken her back, remembering days

when love lay upon us
and sparkled and glistened
with the brightness of dew through a gathering haze.

But twice she has left me
to start my life over,
and twice I have gathered up embers, to learn:

rekindle a fire
from ash, soot and cinder
and softly it sputters, refusing to burn.

Originally published by The Lyric



Pale Though Her Eyes
by Michael R. Burch

Pale though her eyes,
her lips are scarlet
from drinking of blood,
this child, this harlot

born of the night
and her heart, of darkness,
evil incarnate
to dance so reckless,

dreaming of blood,
her fangs―white―baring,
revealing her lust,
and her eyes, pale, staring ...



Vampires
by Michael R. Burch

Vampires are such fragile creatures;
we dread the dark, but the light destroys them ...
sunlight, or a stake, or a cross―such common things.
Still, late at night, when the bat-like vampire sings,
we shrink from his voice.

Centuries have taught us:
in shadows danger lurks for those who stray,
and there the vampire bares his yellow fangs
and feels the ancient soul-tormenting pangs.
He has no choice.

We are his prey, plump and fragrant,
and if we pray to avoid him, the more he prays to find us ...
prays to some despotic hooded God
whose benediction is the humid blood
he lusts to taste.

Published by Monumental Moments (Eye Scry Publications), Weirdbook, Gothic Fairy, Dracula and His Kin, NawaZone and Raiders’ Digest



The Vampire's Spa Day Dream
by Michael R. Burch

O, to swim in vats of blood!
I wish I could, I wish I could!
O, 'twould be
so heavenly
to swim in lovely vats of blood!

This poem was inspired by a Josh Parkinson depiction of Elizabeth Bathory up to her nostrils in the blood of her victims, with their skulls floating in the background.



For All That I Remembered
by Michael R. Burch

For all that I remembered, I forgot
her name, her face, the reason that we loved ...
and yet I hold her close within my thought.
I feel the burnished weight of auburn hair
that fell across her face, the apricot
clean scent of her shampoo, the way she glowed
so palely in the moonlight, angel-wan.

The memory of her gathers like a flood
and bears me to that night, that only night,
when she and I were one, and if I could ...
I'd reach to her this time and, smiling, brush
the hair out of her eyes, and hold intact
each feature, each impression. Love is such
a threadbare sort of magic, it is gone
before we recognize it. I would crush
my lips to hers to hold their memory,
if not more tightly, less elusively.

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Ode to the Sun
by Michael R. Burch

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 The Tucumcari Literary Review. I believe I wrote this poem toward the end of my senior year in high school, around age 18, during my early Romantic Period. Keywords/Tags: Ode, Romantic, Love, Lover, Sun, Time, Night, Sleep, Dreams, mrbiou



To the boy Elis
by Georg Trakl
translation by Michael R. Burch

Elis, when the blackbird cries from the black forest,
it announces your downfall.
Your lips sip the rock-spring's blue coolness.

Your brow sweats blood
recalling ancient myths
and dark interpretations of birds' flight.

Yet you enter the night with soft footfalls;
the ripe purple grapes hang suspended
as you wave your arms more beautifully in the blueness.

A thornbush crackles;
where now are your moonlike eyes?
How long, oh Elis, have you been dead?

A monk dips waxed fingers
into your body's hyacinth;
Our silence is a black abyss

from which sometimes a docile animal emerges
slowly lowering its heavy lids.
A black dew drips from your temples:

the lost gold of vanished stars.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: I believe that in the second stanza the blood on Elis's forehead may be a reference to the apprehensive ****** sweat of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. If my interpretation is correct, Elis hears the blackbird's cries, anticipates the danger represented by a harbinger of death, but elects to continue rather than turn back. From what I have been able to gather, the color blue had a special significance for Georg Trakl: it symbolized longing and perhaps a longing for death. The colors blue, purple and black may represent a progression toward death in the poem.



Resemblance
by Michael R. Burch

Take this geode with its rough exterior—
crude-skinned, brilliant-hearted ...

a diode of amethyst—wild, electric;
its sequined cavity—parted, revealing.

Find in its fire all brittle passion,
each jagged shard relentlessly aching.

Each spire inward—a fission startled;
in its shattered entrails—fractured light,

the heart ice breaking.

Originally published by Poet Lore as “Geode”



Geode
by Michael R. Burch

Love—less than eternal, not quite true—
is still the best emotion man can muster.
Through folds of peeling rind—rough, scarred, crude-skinned—
she shines, all limpid brightness, coolly pale.

Crude-skinned though she may seem, still, brilliant-hearted,
in her uneven fissures, glistening, glows
that pale rose: like a flame, yet strangely brittle;
dew-lustrous pearl streaks gaping mossback shell.

And yet, despite the raggedness of her luster,
as she hints and shimmers, touching those who see,
she is not without her uses or her meanings;
in all her avid gleamings, Love bestows

the rare spark of her beauty to her bearer,
till nothing flung to earth seems half so fair.



What Goes Around, Comes
by Michael R. Burch

This is a poem about loss
so why do you toss your dark hair—
unaccountably glowing?
How can you be sure of my heart
when it’s beyond my own knowing?
Or is it love’s pheromones you trust,
my eyes magnetized by your bust
and the mysterious alchemies of lust?
Now I am truly lost!



PLATO TRANSLATIONS

These epitaphs and other epigrams have been ascribed to Plato...

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
But go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

We left the thunderous Aegean
to sleep peacefully here on the plains of Ecbatan.
Farewell, renowned Eretria, our homeland!
Farewell, Athens, Euboea's neighbor!
Farewell, dear Sea!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

We who navigated the Aegean's thunderous storm-surge
now sleep peacefully here on the mid-plains of Ecbatan:
Farewell, renowned Eretria, our homeland!
Farewell, Athens, nigh to Euboea!
Farewell, dear Sea!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

This poet was pleasing to foreigners
and even more delightful to his countrymen:
Pindar, beloved of the melodious Muses.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Some say the Muses are nine.
Foolish critics, count again!
Sappho of ****** makes ten.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Even as you once shone, the Star of Morning, above our heads,
even so you now shine, the Star of Evening, among the dead.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Why do you gaze up at the stars?
Oh, my Star, that I were Heaven,
to gaze at you with many eyes!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Every heart sings an incomplete song,
until another heart sings along.
Those who would love long to join in the chorus.
At a lover's touch, everyone becomes a poet.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

NOTE: I take this Plato epigram to be an epithalamium, with the two voices joining in a complete song being the bride and groom, and the rest of the chorus being the remainder of the wedding ceremony.

The Apple
ascribed to Plato
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Here's an apple; if you're able to love me,
catch it and chuck me your cherry in exchange.
But if you hesitate, as I hope you won't,
take the apple, examine it carefully,
and consider how briefly its beauty will last.



Bubble
by Michael R. Burch

...…..….........Love
..…......fragile elusive
.......if held ... too closely
....cannot............withstand
..the inter..................ruption
of its............................…bright
..unmalleable.............­tension
....and breaks disintegrates
..…...at the............touch of
....…....an undiscerning
.....................hand.



Breakings
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Break Time
by Michael R. Burch

for those who lost loved ones on 9-11

Intrude upon my grief; sit; take a spot
of milk to cloud the blackness that you feel;
add artificial sweeteners to conceal
the bitter aftertaste of loss. You’ll heal
if I do not. The coffee’s hot. You speak:
of bundt cakes, polls, the price of eggs. You glance
twice at your watch, cough, look at me askance.
The TV drones oeuvres of high romance
in syncopated lip-synch. Should I feel
the underbelly of Love’s warm Ideal,
its fuzzy-wuzzy tummy, and not reel
toward some dark conclusion? Disappear
to pale, dissolving atoms. Were you here?
I brush you off: like saccharine, like a tear.



Dream House
by Michael R. Burch

I have come to the house of my fondest dreams,
but the shutters are boarded; the front door is locked;
the mail box leans over; and where we once walked,
the path is grown over with crabgrass and clover.

I kick the trash can; it screams, topples over.
The yard, weeded over, blooms white fluff, and green.
The elm we once swung from leans over the stream.
In the twilight I cling with both hands to the swing.

Inside, perhaps, I hear the telephone ring
or watch once again as the bleary-eyed mover
takes down your picture. Dejected, I hover,
asking over and over, “Why didn’t you love her?”



“Was gesagt werden muss” (“What must be said”)
by Günter Grass
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Why have I remained silent, so long,
failing to mention something openly practiced
in war games which now threaten to leave us
merely meaningless footnotes?

Someone’s alleged “right” to strike first
might annihilate a beleaguered nation
whose people march to a martinet’s tune,
compelled to pageants of orchestrated obedience.
Why? Merely because of the suspicion
that a bomb might be built by Iranians.

But why do I hesitate, forbidding myself
to name that other nation, where, for years
―shrouded in secrecy―
a formidable nuclear capability has existed
beyond all control, simply because
no inspections were ever allowed?

The universal concealment of this fact
abetted by my own incriminating silence
now feels like a heavy, enforced lie,
an oppressive inhibition, a vice,
a strong constraint, which, if dismissed,
immediately incurs the verdict “anti-Semitism.”

But now my own country,
guilty of its unprecedented crimes
which continually demand remembrance,
once again seeking financial gain
(although with glib lips we call it “reparations”)
has delivered yet another submarine to Israel―
this one designed to deliver annihilating warheads
capable of exterminating all life
where the existence of even a single nuclear weapon remains unproven,
but where suspicion now serves as a substitute for evidence.
So now I will say what must be said.

Why did I remain silent so long?
Because I thought my origins,
tarred by an ineradicable stain,
forbade me to declare the truth to Israel,
a country to which I am and will always remain attached.

Why is it only now that I say,
in my advancing age,
and with my last drop of ink
on the final page
that Israel’s nuclear weapons endanger
an already fragile world peace?

Because tomorrow might be too late,
and so the truth must be heard today.
And because we Germans,
already burdened with many weighty crimes,
could become enablers of yet another,
one easily foreseen,
and thus no excuse could ever erase our complicity.

Furthermore, I’ve broken my silence
because I’m sick of the West’s hypocrisy
and because I hope many others too
will free themselves from the shackles of silence,
and speak out to renounce violence
by insisting on permanent supervision
of Israel’s atomic power and Iran’s
by an international agency
accepted by both governments.

Only thus can we find the path to peace
for Israelis and Palestinians and everyone else
living in a region currently consumed by madness
―and ultimately, for ourselves.

Published in Süddeutschen Zeitung (April 4, 2012). Günter Wilhelm Grass (1927-) is a German-Kashubian novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is widely regarded as Germany's most famous living writer. Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), a key text in European magic realism. The Tin Drum was adapted into a film that won both the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Swedish Academy, upon awarding Grass the Nobel Prize in Literature, noted him as a writer "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history."



Starting from Scratch with Ol’ Scratch
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Love, with a small, fatalistic sigh
went to the ovens. Please don’t bother to cry.
You could have saved her, but you were all *******
complaining about the Jews to Reichmeister Grupp.

Scratch that. You were born after World War II.
You had something more important to do:
while the children of the Nakba were perishing in Gaza
with the complicity of your government, you had a noble cause (a
religious tract against homosexual marriage
and various things gods and evangelists disparage.)

Jesus will grok you? Ah, yes, I’m quite sure
that your intentions were good and ineluctably pure.
After all, what the hell does he care about Palestinians?
Certainly, Christians were right about serfs, slaves and Indians.
Scratch that. You’re one of the Devil’s minions.



Love Unfolded Like a Flower
by Michael R. Burch

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.



Orpheus
by Michael R. Burch

for and after William Blake

I.
Many a sun
and many a moon
I walked the earth
and whistled a tune.

I did not whistle
as I worked:
the whistle was my work.
I shirked

nothing I saw
and made a rhyme
to children at play
and hard time.

II.
Among the prisoners
I saw
the leaden manacles
of Law,

the heavy ball and chain,
the quirt.
And yet I whistled
at my work.

III.
Among the children’s
daisy faces
and in the women’s
frowsy laces,

I saw redemption,
and I smiled.
Satanic millers,
unbeguiled,

were swayed by neither girl,
nor child,
nor any God of Love.
Yet mild

I whistled at my work,
and Song
broke out,
ere long.



The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

I never meant to love you
when I held you in my arms
promising you sagely
wise, noncommittal charms.

And I never meant to need you
when I touched your tender lips
with kisses that intrigued my own—
such kisses I had never known,
nor a heartbeat in my fingertips!



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

O little yellow flower
like a star ...
how beautiful,
how wonderful
we are!



Published as the collection "IOU"
Nikunj Dec 2012
out from school we came to jmc,
to become what our parents wanted us to be.
with NC we enjoyed harrapan and vedic civilization,
Ashima mam taught us Transition ( paleo to noelithic).
writing 10 sides answer seemed IMPOSSIBLE,
15/25 only left us numb.
coming for hindi at 8:30 was really irritating,
mam's msg of cancelling the class was even m
ore *******.
Tues and wed 8:30 were scolding days,
since frustated JS splited her anger on us.( though i like her lot)
om sai ram and gandhi was KN's department,
though antique, she was another inspiration.
enjoyed Montage for the first time,
Chronicle was the accomplishment for the lifetime.
first year ended so rapidly,
90%ees were satisfied with 60s.
then we met the iron lady of our department (chaddha mam)
she asked questions after every second point.
RS Sharma got replaced by sultans of delhi and Satish Chandra,
every notebook had words like sufi, bhakti and Iqta.
transition frm feudalism to capitalism muddled our heads,
Dobb and Sweezy never left us till the end.( remember jha's ******* :P)
enjoyed boston tea party and civil war in States,
though never understood out of khiljis and tuglaqs- who is great?
****** taught us stress, depression and suicide,
we almost got killed by Bronte's Wuthering Heights!
Orcha trip was another milestone,
Khajurao sculptures turned all of us on :P
pool party with "tinku jiya" was superfun,
each one of us made good connections.
Second year also got over and we entered in our own little world- T9.
everything was new to us,
future tension always bothered us!
Journey to China and Japan with Chakko was great,
though we never grew intellectually and understood decline of Shogunate.
Gazala mam introduced us to napoleon and bismarc,
became our friend. guide and mentor.
Chadda mam took us to royal court of mughals and rajputs,
but Iqta and jagir still confuses us!
Sleeping time came with menon's class,
18th cent and 1857 always bored us. (though i admit she is a great scholar)
we stopped studying and started enjoying life to the fullest,
since history taught us no matter what Peasant is the one who will be suppressed!
Montage 2012 rocked,
DJ Aqeel's ferrari left us in shock!
Postponing and preponing the classes was 3rd year's trait,
petty fights over it were always great.
Since first year we all wanted this day to come,
to wear saree and have FUN.
BUT....
the Farewell day has passed :(
From now onwards... NO cancelling or preponing classes, no prof to scold us, no NSS hours to complete, no deadlines of tuts, no canteen's samosas and macroni, no diwali mela, no Montage and Chronicle, no Ashok bhaiya, no ******* and commenting and last but not the least NO HISTORY HONS 3rd YEARS (2009-2012)
No one realised how these beautiful 3 years passed away.our eyes are wet but heart is content.
just wanted to tell everyone that i will miss you all. though i may have not interacted much with everyone, but I wish you all the very best for your future...

So superseniors,
leave all grudges behind and enjoy the last week of your college life at JMC to the fullest
Mary Stanworth May 2012
I know I have to say goodbye
I know that you went
Because you needed to go
But I don’t want to say farewell forever
Caus I’m not ready

If I say goodbye who do I go to
Where do I go to when I need you.
You always knew just what to do
I don’t want to say farewell forever
Caus I’m not ready

When I say goodbye will you leave
And will you return in my time of need
To set me on the straight and narrow
I don’t want to say farewell forever
Caus I’m not ready

I know I have to say goodbye
My heart breaks to know its time
I know we still have that connection
Me in this world you in yours
I don’t want to say farewell forever
Deep breathe….i’m nearly ready.
Farewell dreamscape,
full of mystery,
full of history,
full of life.

Farewell dreamscape,
land of love,
shining suns,
brilliant moons.

Farewell dreamscape,
my one true home,
now my mind roams,
into the unknown.

Farewell dreamscape,
my one escape,
I know I can't take,
you with me.

I fear I can't,
take you with me.
Copyright Barry Pietrantonio
Brody Blue Jun 2018
Must we go on believing
That the best is yet to come
When we both know for certain
All there ever was is done?
Because whatever we were meant to be
We never had a prayer;
You weren’t where you said you’d be
And I was never there.

I don’t mean to let you have it
Like I did back when in Rome
But the line goes slack for no one
And a soft tongue breaks the bone
But as for holding onto fullness,
As for reaching for my hand
All attempts are vain and useless;
I am never where I am.

So leave your burdens where they lie
With the words you’ve memorized
We said when we knew we’d fly,
And we’d never die,
And it was meant to be,
But it was fantasy;
And it was destiny
That won the duel

My beautiful little fool.
Farewell my love, farewell to you;
My beautiful little fool.

In spite of all that you’ve been taught
By the bull that you were bought,
And everything you think you thought:
You are what you are naught;
And all the days to come,
And all of your wisdom,
Will not save you from
Your heart’s rule

My beautiful little fool.
Farewell my love, farewell to you;
My beautiful little fool.
A song about the skull beneath the skin
Snehith Kumbla May 2016
left with
deceit,
kisses,
longings,
experience

I man,
animal,
crude
of
flesh,

easily
offended,
aghast,
burnt,
bent

at such
teasing,
*******,
frothing,
fluff,

nothing
gave in,
but
frozen
surrender,

as she
floated
through rings,
juggled orbits,
trajectories,

full to
the brim
now,
stagnant,
unwavering,

a silence
acrid,
algae,
repulsion,
alarm

how
geographically
one can be
aloof, as in
heart

oh, of such
mysteries
are men,
women
shaped

so
farewell,
my habit
leads me
by hand,

yes,
farewell,
how splendid
to blow
this apart,

oh,
farewell,
and thank
you for
thine sweet
heart,

but farewell,
it was a
beautiful time

how water
ebbs, cuts
at the banks..

— The End —