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Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!

###

Sappho, fragment 156
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.

###

Sappho, fragment 47
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks.

###

Sappho, fragment 50
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros, the limb-shatterer,
rattles me,
an irresistible
constrictor.

###

Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.

###

Sappho, fragment 31
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... at the sight of you,
words fail me...

###

Sappho, fragment 24
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... don't you remember, in days bygone...
how we, too, did such things, being young?

###

Sappho, fragment 118
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sing, my sacred tortoiseshell lyre;
come, let my words
accompany your voice.

###

Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.

###

Sappho, fragment 90
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Mother, how can I weave,
so overwhelmed by love?

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Someone, somewhere
will remember us,
I swear!

###

Sappho, unnumbered fragment
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What cannot be swept
aside
must be wept.

###

Sappho, fragment 34
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You are,
of all the unapproachable stars,
by far
the fairest,
the brightest―
possessing the Moon's splendor.

###

Sappho, fragment 34
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Awed by the Moon's splendor,
the stars covered their undistinguished faces.
Even so, we.

###

Sappho, fragment 39
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We're merely mortal women,
it's true;
the Goddesses have no rivals
but You.

###

Sappho, fragment 5
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We're eclipsed here by your presence―
you outshine all the ladies of Lydia
as the bright-haloed moon outsplendors the stars.

###

Sappho, fragment 35
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

With my two small arms, how can I
think to encircle the sky?

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaving your heavenly summit,
I submit
to the mountain,
then plummet.

###

Sappho, fragment 129
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You forget me
or you love another more!
It's over.

###

Sappho, fragment 16
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Warriors on rearing chargers,
columns of infantry,
fleets of warships:
some say these are the dark earth's redeeming visions.
But I say―
the one I desire.

And this makes sense
because she who so vastly surpassed all mortals in beauty
―Helen―
seduced by Aphrodite, led astray by desire,
set sail for distant Troy,
abandoning her celebrated husband,
leaving behind her parents and child!

Her story reminds me of Anactoria,
who has also departed,
and whose lively dancing and lovely face
I would rather see than all the horsemen and war-chariots of the Lydians,
or all their infantry parading in flashing armor.

###

Sappho, fragment 137
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Gold does not rust,
yet my son becomes dust?

###

Sappho, fragment 36
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Vain woman, foolish thing!
Do you base your worth on a ring?

###

Sappho, fragment 113
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No droning bee,
nor even the bearer of honey
for me!

###

Sappho, fragment 113
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Neither the honey
nor the bee
for me!

###

Sappho, fragment 130
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May the gods prolong the night
-"yes, let it last forever! -
as long as you sleep in my sight.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I'm undecided.
My mind? Divided.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unsure as a babe new-born,
My mind is divided, torn.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I don't know what to do:
My mind is divided, two.

###

Sappho, fragment 52
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon has long since set;
the Pleiades are gone;
now half the night is spent,
yet here I lie, alone.

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the bride comes
let her train rejoice!

###

Sappho, fragment 90
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bridegroom,
was there ever a maid
so like a lovely heirloom?

###

Sappho, fragment 19
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You anoint yourself
with the most exquisite perfume.

###

Sappho, fragment 120
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

But I'm no resenter;
I have a childlike heart...

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May your head rest
on the breast
of the tenderest guest.

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is my real desire for maidenhood?

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is there any synergy
in virginity?

###

Sappho, fragment 75
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dica! Do not enter the presence of Goddesses ungarlanded!
First weave sprigs of dill with those delicate hands, if you desire their favor!

###

Sappho, fragment 79
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I cherish extravagance,
intoxicated by Love's celestial splendor.

###

Sappho, fragment 79
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the sensual
as I love the sun's ecstatic brilliance.

###

Sappho, fragment 81
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Assemble now, Muses, leaving golden landscapes!


###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Darling, let me see your face;
unleash your eyes' grace.

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


Turn to me, favor me
with your eyes' acceptance.


###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Look me in the face,
smile,
reveal your eyes' grace...

###

Sappho, fragment 4
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon shone, full
as the virgins ringed Love's altar...

###

Sappho, fragment 11
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You inflame me!

###

Sappho, fragment 11
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

###

You ignite and inflame me...
You melt me.

###

Sappho, fragment 12
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am an acolyte
of wile-weaving
Aphrodite.

###

Sappho, fragment 14
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros
descends from heaven,
discarding his imperial purple mantle.

###

Sappho, fragment 35
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Although you are very dear to me
you must marry a younger filly:
for I'm by far too old for you,
and this old mare's just not that **** silly.

###

Sappho, after Anacreon
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Once more I dive into this fathomless sea,
intoxicated by lust.

###

Sappho, after Menander
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Some say Sappho was the first ardent maiden
goaded by wild emotion
to fling herself from the white-frothed rocks
into this raging ocean
for love of Phaon...
but others reject that premise
and say it was Aphrodite, for love of Adonis.

###

Sappho, fragment 3
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To me that boy seems
blessed by the gods
because he sits beside you,
basking in your brilliant presence.

The sound of your voice roils my heart!
Your laughter? ―bright water, dislodging pebbles

in a chaotic vortex. You **** up my breath!
My heart bucks in my ribs. I can't breathe. I can't speak.

My ******* glow with intense heat;
desire's blush-inducing fires redden my flesh.
My ears seem hollow; they ring emptily.
My tongue is broken and cleaves to its roof.

I sweat profusely. I shiver.
Suddenly, I grow pale
and feel only a second short of dying.
And yet I must endure, somehow,

despite my poverty.

###

Sappho, fragment 93
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You're the sweetest apple reddening on the highest bough,
which the harvesters missed, or forgot―somehow―

or perhaps they just couldn't reach you, then or now.

###

Sappho, fragment 145
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Prometheus the Fire-Bearer
robbed the Gods of their power, and so
brought mankind and himself to woe...
must you repeat his error?

###

Sappho, fragment 159
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May I lead?
Will you follow?
Foolish man!

Ears so hollow,
minds so shallow,
never can!

###

Sappho, fragments 122 & 123
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your voice―
a sweeter liar
than the lyre,
more dearly sold
and bought, than gold.

###

Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She wrapped herself then in
most delicate linen.

###

Sappho, fragment 70
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That rustic girl bewitches your heart?
Hell, her most beguiling art's
hiking the hem of her dress
to ****** you with her ankles' nakedness!

###

Sappho, fragment 94
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Shepherds trample the larkspur
whose petals empurple the heath,
foreshadowing shepherds' grief.

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The softest pallors grace
her lovely face.

###

Sappho, fragment 36
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I yearn for―I burn for―the one I miss!

###

Sappho, fragment 30
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Maidens, keeping vigil all night long,
go make a lovely song,
someday, out of desires you abide
for the violet-petalled bride.

Or better yet―arise, regale!
Go entice the eligible bachelors
so that we shocked elders
can sleep less than love-plagued nightingales!

###

Sappho, fragment 121
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A tender maiden plucking flowers
persuades the knave
to heroically brave
the world's untender hours.

###

Sappho, fragment 68
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lady,
soon you'll lie dead, disregarded;
then imagine how quickly your reputation fades...
you who never gathered the roses of Pieria
must assume your place among the obscure,
uncelebrated shades.

###

Sappho, fragment 137
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Death is evil;
the Gods all agree;
for, had death been good,
the Gods would be mortal
like me.

###

Sappho, fragment 43
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, dear ones,
let us cease our singing:
morning dawns.

###

Sappho, fragment 14
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Today
may
buffeting winds bear
my distress and care
away.

###

Sappho, fragment 15
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Just now I was called,
enthralled,
by the golden-sandalled
dawn...

###

Sappho, fragment 69
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Into the soft arms of the girl I once spurned,
I gladly returned.

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since my paps are dry and my barren womb rests,
let me praise lively girls with violet-sweet *******.

###

Sappho, fragment 1
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Beautiful swift sparrows
rising on whirring wings
flee the dark earth for the sun-bright air...

###

Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The girls of the ripening maidenhead wore garlands.

###

Sappho, fragment 94 & 98
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Listen, my dear;
by the Goddess I swear
that I, too,
(like you)
had to renounce my false frigidity
and surrender my virginity.
My wedding night was not so bad;
you too have nothing to fear, so be glad!
(But then why do I still sometimes think with dread
of my lost maidenhead?)

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bridegroom, rest
on the tender breast
of the maiden you love best.

###

Sappho, fragment 103
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Maidenhead! Maidenhead!
So swiftly departed!
Why have you left us
forever brokenhearted?

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch, after Sappho and Tennyson

I sip the cup of costly death;
I lose my color; I catch my breath
whenever I contemplate your presence,
or absence.

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How can I compete with that ****** man
who fancies himself one of the gods,
impressing you with his "eloquence, "
when just the thought of sitting in your radiant presence,
of hearing your lovely voice and lively laughter,
sets my heart hammering at my breast?
Hell, when I catch just a quick glimpse of you,
I'm left speechless, tongue-tied,
and immediately a blush like a delicate flame reddens my skin.
Then my vision dims with tears,
my ears ring,
I sweat profusely,
and every muscle in my body trembles.
When the blood finally settles,
I grow paler than summer grass,
till in my exhausted madness,
I'm as limp as the dead.
And yet I must risk all, being bereft without you...

###

Sappho, fragments 73 & 74
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They have been very generous with me,
the violet-strewing Muses;
thanks to their gifts
I have become famous.

###

Sappho, fragment 3
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stars ringing the lovely moon
pale to insignificance
when she illuminates the earth
with her magnificence.

###

Sappho, fragment 49
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You have returned!
You did well to not depart
because I pined for you.
Now you have re-lit the torch
I bear for you in my heart,
this flare of Love.
I bless you and bless you and bless you
because we're no longer apart.

###

Sappho, fragment 52
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Yesterday,
you came to my house
to sing for me.

Today,
I come to you
to return the favor.

Talk to me. Do.
Sweet talk,
I love the flavor!

Please send away your maids
and let us share a private heaven-
haven.

###

Sappho, fragment 19
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

There was no dance,
no sacred dalliance,
from which we were absent.

###

Sappho, fragment 20
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... shot through
with innumerable hues...

###

Sappho, fragment 38
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I flutter
after you
like a chick after its mother...

###

Sappho, fragment 30
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stay!
I will lay
out a cushion for you
with plushest pillows...

###

Sappho, fragment 50
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My body descends
and my comfort depends
on your welcoming cushions!

###

Sappho, fragment 133
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Of all the stars the fairest,
Hesperus,
Lead the maiden straight to the bridegroom's bed,
honoring Hera, the goddess of marriage.

###

Sappho, fragment 134
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Selene came to Endymion in the cave,
made love to him as he slept,
then crept away before the sun could prove
its light and warmth the more adept.

###

Sappho, fragment 4
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

"Honestly, I just want to die! "
So she said,
crying heartfelt tears,
inconsolably sad
to leave me.

And she said,
"How deeply we have loved,
we two,
Sappho!
Oh,
I really don't want to go! "

I answered her thus:
"Go, and be happy,
remembering me,
for you know how much I cared for you.
And if you don't remember,
please let me remind you
of all the lovely emotions we felt
as with many wreathes of violets,
roses and crocuses
you sat beside me
adorning your delicate neck.

Once garlands had been fashioned of many woven flowers,
with much expensive myrrh
we anointed our bodies like royalty
on soft couches,
then your tender caresses
fulfilled your desire..."

###

Sappho's Rose
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The rose is...
the ornament of the earth,
the glory of nature,
the archetype of the flowers,
the blush of the meadows,
a lightning flash of beauty.

Keywords/Tags: Sappho, ******, Greek, translation, epigram, epigrams, love, ***, desire, passion, lust
Sierra Scanlan Feb 2017
I am a fragment
of a broken home,
parents that were
never meant for
one another
but tried their best
to love as if
they were.
They tried to
hold it together
for us kids
but life could never
be what we wanted
it to be.

I am a fragment
of my demons,
the voice
in my head
that tells me
over and over again,
"you're not enough."
There are some days
where that voice
feels greater
than my own
and I almost want to
give in.

I am a fragment
of failed relationships.
You told me I was
"too much."
It felt like daggers
in my chest
and suddenly
I couldn't breathe.
Since then,
I have always felt
I've needed to hold
myself back
and not drown in love.

I am a fragment
of the hell I've
been through.
It wasn't easy
to get to where
I am today.
My journey was
a little ragged,
not a straight shot...
but I'm still
standing tall and
going through
this thing we call
life.

I'm a fragment
of the songs
I've played
over and over again.
Some to block out
the pain,
the tears.
Others to reach
a state of nostalgia,
in an attempt
to go back to moments
I wished to relive.

I am a fragment
of those I surround
myself with.
The constant encouragement,
the kind words,
the shoulders to lean on,
the ability to understand
why I'm like this.
Where would I be
without it?

I am a fragment
of the books I've read.
The lines I underlined
to come back to again,
the characters I saw
a piece of myself in,
the events I read about
that hit home
a little too hard.

I am a fragment
of my flaws,
my mistakes,
my imperfections.
They've eaten me alive
for most of my life
but I am beginning
to come to terms
with them.
I am seeing
the beauty I once
refused to see
within them.

I am a fragment
of my emotions.
They were always
valid and real
despite those who
tried to convince me
otherwise.
The smiles and laughs
were just as significant
as the screams and tears.
I tell myself,
"you were never crazy...
you were just figuring
yourself out."

I am a fragment
of love.
Those that I loved,
those that never
loved me.
The times that
love evoked
happiness,
the times that
love caused me
pain.
It's all the same
when you think
about it.
It was all for,
love.

I am a fragment
of the woman
I was and
the woman I am.
I didn't always
love myself like this
but god, I'm glad I
now do...
because this is something
that can never be
taken away from me.
"I am a fragment composed of other fragments."-Rebecca Lindenberg
Aerinlia Nov 2017
The hands of the clock point to one
                                                             (It's one o'clock)
Ah, tonight is just another sleepless night
                                                       (You haven't slept yet)
As always, I only heave a sigh
                                                      (You'r­e sighing, as always)
Holding a fragment of loneliness
                                               (Holding a fragment of loneliness)
Tightly to my heart
                                                     (Tightly to your heart)


I am forlorn, I am alone
                                                           ­    (You're not alone)
Yet I can't bring myself to trust anyone
                              (You just can't bring yourself to trust anyone yet)
If I let my tears flow
                                          (If you let your tears flow)
If I can forgive myself
                                                (If you can forgive yourself)
Will I let go of this fragment of loneliness?
                           (Will you let go of your fragment of loneliness?)


Till we meet,
                                                         (Till we meet,)
I realize for the first time
                                                    (You realize for the first time)
That I can be happy too
                                                     (That you can be happy too)
I can smile, I can love you
                                                 (You can smile, you can love me)
And we can be happy together
                                                  (And we can be happy together)


I'll just tell you now
                                                (I'm telling you now)
Don't leave me
                                                (I will never leave you)
I beg you to stay
                                                (I will stay)
I can't bear to lose you
                                                 (I can't bear to lose you)
Let us be together for eternity
                                               (Let us be together for eternity)


You take my fragment of loneliness away
                                     (I take your fragment of loneliness away)
Creating a new story
                                      (Creating a new story for you)
A new memory to remember
                                       (A new memory of both of us)
Now I finally understand
                                            (I will make you understand)
What is romance.
                                             (What is romance.)
Bill O'Bier Oct 2016
Life exists in fragments, and out of those fragments our mind's eye constructs memories. What I offer here are - dream fragments -
descriptions that call up images of life, love and more.  
This will be a changing work in progress.
Check back often for different fragments.
Please enjoy and pleasant dreams.

Dream Fragment # 1
A quiet gentle whisper -
sun with water rushing by
love lights up your smile.

Dream Fragment # 2
The twilight’s stillness transforms my
surroundings to finer illusions
where only small bits of
life’s truth remain.

Dream Fragment # 3
I am a silent warrior with euphoric radiance.
My soul dances with an ecstasy for living.

Dream Fragment # 4
Forming illusions of finality, the night's soft breath stirs,
declaring its presence. We struggle to erase
the sins of the day.

Dream Fragment # 5
We begin to build the tomorrow dream.
We have seen truth and it shines brightly.
Hope and glory are with us - a new day is ours.  

Dream Fragment # 6
Light dances through window panes as
refractions on a cool white wall
display arrays of color bands.

I am a hologram drawn in--
a part of their magnificence,
traveling with the speed of light.

Dream Fragment # 7
Billowing curtains-
the darkness begins to fade away.
Sunlight shines through open windows.

Dream Fragment # 8
Sunset and waves splashing
Whispered love words fade
Seasons change, so do we.
I have to dream and reach for the stars,
and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds.
This is for the rainy days.
The heavy days,
Blanketed under a dark silver sky.

This is an image of
Timeless days.
Where both dawn and dusk
Fail to exist,
Because the gray never went away.

This is the light drizzle
Painting your glasses
With tiny cloudy droplets
That blur-out your vision

And makes the next step a mystery,,
As you pray
                  For a chance of sunshine.
POEMS ABOUT EROS AND CUPID

These are translations of ancient Greek poems about Eros. Eros was the Greek counterpart of the Roman god Cupid. While today we tend to think of Cupid as an angelic cherub shooting arrows and making people fall in love, the ancient Greek and Roman poets often portrayed Cupid/Eros as a troublemaker who was driving them mad with uncontrollable desires.


Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wilds winds whipping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks.



Sappho, fragment 130
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros, the limb-shatterer,
rattles me,
an irresistible
constrictor.



Sappho, fragment 54
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros
descends from heaven,
discarding his imperial purple mantle.



Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.



Sappho, fragment 102
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Mother, how can I weave,
so overwhelmed by love?



Sappho, fragment 10
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I lust!
I crave!
Take me!


Around the same time Sappho was writing in ******, in nearby Greece, circa 564 B.C., we have another poem about the power of Eros:

Ibykos Fragment 286
translation by Michael R. Burch

Come spring, the grand
apple trees stand
watered by a gushing river
where the maidens’ uncut flowers shiver
and the blossoming grape vine swells
in the gathering shadows.

Unfortunately
for me
Eros never rests
but like a Thracian tempest
ablaze with lightning
emanates from Aphrodite;
the results are frightening―
black,
bleak,
astonishing,
violently jolting me from my soles
to my soul.



I hate Eros! Why does that gargantuan God dart my heart, rather than wild beasts? What can a God think to gain by inflaming a man? What trophies can he hope to win with my head?
―Alcaeus of Messene, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Have mercy, dear Phoebus, drawer of the bow, for were you not also wounded by love’s streaking arrows?
―Claudianus, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In Greek mythology, Cupid shoots Phoebus Apollo to make him fall in love with Daphne, then shoots Daphne with an arrow that prevents her from falling in love with her suitor.



Matchmaker Love, if you can’t set a couple equally aflame, why not ***** out your torch?
―Rufinus, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



I have armed myself with wisdom against Love;
he cannot defeat me in single combat.
I, a mere mortal, have withstood a God!
But if he enlists the aid of Bacchus,
what odds do I have against the two of them?
―Rufinus, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Love, if you aim your arrows at both of us impartially, you’re a God, but if you favor one over the other, you’re the Devil!
―Rufinus, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Either put an end to lust, Eros, or else insist on reciprocity: abolish desire or heighten it.
―Lucilius or Polemo of Pontus, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



Steady your bow, Cypris, and at your leisure select a likelier target ... for I am too full of arrows to take another wound.
―Archias, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cypris was another name for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Here the poet may be suggesting, “Like mother, like son.”



Little Love, lay my heart waste;
empty your quiver into me;
leave not an arrow unshot!
Slay me with your cruel shafts,
but when you’d shoot someone else,
you’ll find yourself out of ammo!
―Archias, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



You say I should flee from Love, but it’s hopeless!
How can a man on foot escape from a winged creature with unerring accuracy?
―Archias, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Many centuries later, poets would still be complaining about the overpoweringness of ****** desire, and/or the unfairness of unrequited love, by which they often meant not getting laid!



Spring
by Charles d’Orleans
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Young lovers,
greeting the spring
fling themselves downhill,
making cobblestones ring
with their wild leaps and arcs,
like ecstatic sparks
drawn from coal.

What is their brazen goal?

They grab at whatever passes,
so we can only hazard guesses.
But they rear like prancing steeds
raked by brilliant spurs of need,
Young lovers.


Fast-forwarding again, we find the great Scottish poet William Dunbar, who was born around 1460:

Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar
translation by Michael R. Burch

Sweet rose of virtue and of gentleness,
delightful lily of youthful wantonness,
richest in bounty and in beauty clear
and in every virtue that is held most dear,
except only that you are merciless.

Into your garden, today, I followed you;
there I saw flowers of freshest hue,
both white and red, delightful to see,
and wholesome herbs, waving resplendently,
yet everywhere, no odor but rue.

I fear that March with his last arctic blast
has slain my fair rose of pallid and gentle cast,
whose piteous death does my heart such pain
that, if I could, I would compose her roots again,
so comforting her bowering leaves have been.

Keywords/Tags: Eros, Cupid, Phoebus Apollo, Cypris, Aphrodite, love, blind love, cute love, love god, love goddess, bow, arrow, arrows, desire, passion, lust, heart
The Sphinx Sphanther, an ailuralien
from Slazenger 7, Ulthar System,
surveyed the vapid dullpink lunascape
of Smars. As he scanned yonder scanyons &
clabby tableland of Smartian terrain,
his 8ft henchbot, Ernie, numberwanged
'23467 097
11.' The Sphinx Sphanther's binary-brained
blabacus of a hotchbot robutler
doubled as personal security,
equipped w/ chainsawwindmillstars for hands.
But scant call for slicing 'n'dicing crowd
control here: Smars was desolate as smug
snow, too xeric to dessicater to
desertcraturf - in that, arid aphex
of its counterpart thru the quantumgate,
unsparticulate Mars. Sphinx had been there
too, long after the novalia cleared
by the Elon Muscovites for dometown
of New Creationham instead became
obumbrated by proxy war, a mauve
Somme for drones. The Zeta-Reticulan
barhover he'd met centuries later,
at Sagittarius Bolognaise, had
divulged he'd been staking out the Terrans
for millennia, concluding that quite
clearly they weren't Kardashev calibre:
' The Terran jackal apes could never build
fair Isratin on Mars's blank red slate,
but desecratered Earth 2.0
w/ telefactored lex talionis.
Palasraeli peace-world a daffy god's
dream.' But no roseplated, plaintive past
of lost races & their last, lost chances
would weigh on Sphinx Sphanther over 0-
g 'n' ts - least of all, kamikozmic
Terrans, ghosts of toddlers before his time.
Besides, he purrferred the splanetary
systems in his home universe, S-side
of the supersymmetrical stargate.
Even planet Smearth, whose gnomes salivate
for colloidal silver & often ate
salvers. But multiversally treasure-
hunting catman was not on Smars for smurrks,
nor to holoholo like a stalko
thru the pink pother, a fishbowlhead space-
*** w/ the best seat i.e. the worst seat
in a stadial sandstorm of foxglove
fog. In whirbles pulsive, Ernie's clicking
clock breath axlegroused, '23824
71719', as the Sphinx
Sphanther fremescently urged the servo-
droid to 'move your chrome cuirasse!' Which encased
Ernie's one lung of mesh & blexcroid heart,
repurposed by a gizmomancer from
silicone garage off Milkomeda
magic roundabout. Or was it spaceport
at the Smilkomeda?  Whichever,  the
Sphanther had long ago evolved beyond
flying saucers of cream. Caterpillar-
tracked calculator w/ a sporknose &
whisking shuriken fingers, Ernie creaked
futuristically behind its feline
master, as they descended in oblique
Indian file down scarp of Mountbattern
grink, for now the Sphinx Sphanther had bird's-eyed
some bearings. Manshaped moggy & lotto-
machine-A.I.'d adjutant had for days
yomped the candydross regolith of Smars,
a desert every bit as brass monkies
& indistinguishable in aspect
(save to areographers) as ginger
tundra of its supersymmetrical
sister sphere, yet pink as amassed honkies
(tho' ofays blushing ashen w/ gammon
guilt). A holo-map Ernie projected
from its cyflaptic eyezor had led them
this far, but now the Sphinx Sphanther relied
on the sort of stillicide scholarship
a cat gleens from spacerats (w/ translation
bracelet bangling his back, a caudal wire),
because Ernie's pirate-ninja meter
was in emergency credit. The pair
hinterlunged on thru tayammum douches
of inextinguishable pink, spinning
powders, smaze of Smartian haboob, until
Sphinx Sphanther sphied, sphorry, spied his wrecked grail.
'Initiating sleep sequence passout-
code: rats apollo defile robot tide,'
catman commanded his lollygagging
tincan manservant to take hard-earnied
standby. Then, before Ernie's spangbolts could
cease squeaking, before its hi-tec bits quit
bleeping &  the combined constadrone of   
mechanical chakras was susurrust
(engulfed by speckled banshee breaker of
nominal boughs, wolf sough of Smars booting
alien sandcastles), the Sphinx Sphanther
in his eagerness nearly lapsed into
quadrupedal ignominy, as he
raced towards the ruins, object of his
enantionautic planethopping
over 8 & 1/2 lifetimes. Not much
remained of whatever edifice had
once graced Smars, a primordial witness
wrought in masonry as lurid as some
Lovecraftchild of Liberace, its pink
pillars & pink hunky punks bubblegum
rubble now, vividness conspicuous
against the grink sands.These Smartian ruins
were only slightly less ancient than God
& his blue hypernovae toybox, or
Tohu wa-Bohu's pantherine absence
before that. The Temple of the Dark Lord,
Yod-Coalescence, indisputably
a stripling of deep architecture next
to the Sphinx Sphanther's incomparable find.
By the same token, the fabled Terran
city of Dubai would be an ugly
baby of steel & glass next to this site
of cosmic heritage, this exploded
damask rose of a UFOpolis,
stone petals shed by flower of dust. Engraved
on block immemorial, poking out
of a sandbank & imbued w/ forlorn
fascination for upright ****, such as
xoanon of Eve might hold for Conan
the Slybrarian, was maxim in long
dead tongue, the long dead sense of which rendered
it accidental koan, dumb poem
by anon culture that might as well be
entitled 'Sirenen Istigkeit'. Food
for thought anorexic Time, bulimic
Space inedibly graffitied on Smars:
'Nulla Dies Sine Linear B'.
Under cured Klyntar yurt later that night,
whilst Ernie hummed w/ Atari sheep sprites,
the Sphinx Sphanther dreamt of mighty works thru
the wringer of longslid signifiers:  

The barhover hovered above
membranous whatevers of mise-en-dream,
before the scene settled like anarchic snow.
Smickey Smouse was on a mauve rove
one smauve Tuesday. As Smickey
scanned yonder young scones,
young dust granted him edgehug.
Ernie said : Numb blah, numb blah, numb blah!
They certainly weren't in Snorwich, Snorfolk, anymore.
They hinterlunged on thru candybrass
of dross monkies, pinning spowders,
until Smickey Smouse smied, smorry, sphied
the Temple of the Dark Lord,
Pantherine Absence.
Smickey Smouse said: Wait there,
I'm just going for a quick Slazenger-7.
Ernie said: Skoda codas.
Elon Musk divulged he'd been
staking out the Terrans
for millennia & concluded they were in
emergency credit.
So they descended a serdab
poking into a sandbank,
its venom curd of darkness
further diagonally desecraterd
by Ernie's sadotronic **** attachment w/ knobs on,
thagomiser **** or Oumuamua
of steel & glass.
Its mace ***** drilled down
until Smickey, Ernie & Elon
were 3 spelunking sphinxes,
spelunking deeper into the recesses
of the alien sandcastle,
by the light of Ernie's eyeflaptic cyzors.
But you can't holoholo in a fishbowlobowlo,
lavalampadomancy of a daffy god's dream.
They longslod into the long dead clock breath
of Ozymandias' unconscious.
Should a cave-in cave in,
a hi-drama-gen bomb bomb,
quidzinc Ernie said: Inadjuvant Elon
Rifles should have hired
ghosts of toddlers  
for our pirate-ninja security.
Above them,
the embitteringly bitty yonder
stretched lone & level,
a ventriloquantum of solace on a grink brick
remained undiscovered & unsquandered,
waiting for a greater translator .
Ernie said: edit to bore life dollop a star.
Ernie said: Numb blah, numb blah, numb blah!
Grahame Jun 2014
A  MOONLIT  KNIGHT.

Fern rises and looks out of her window.
Silver shards of moonlight lick the lawn.
She who once felt gay and oh so joyous,
Now feels oh so desolate and lorn.

Will she ever find true love again?
She before has never felt so low.
Should she, for love, continue searching?
Or give up by ending it here and now?

Outside, all is monochrome and still,
Inside, Fern is still and very sad.
Will she feel happiness again?
Who knows how long she’ll feel this bad?

At the stroke of midnight, there’s a change,
There seems to be a disturbance in the air.
Gradually something seems to materialise
On the lawn, a shape, come from where?

It is a knight, armoured cap-à-pie,
On a horse, for war caparisoned.
From his saddle hangs a jousting shield,
A silver moon on it is designed.

A white plume is mounted on his helmet,
On his lance a white pennon is tied.
The knight looks at her, at her window,
Silently he sits and does bide.

He raises a gauntleted hand and beckons,
Should she stay in, or venture out?
In her white nightdress she goes downstairs,
Deciding to see what it’s all about.

Cautiously she opens up the door,
And putting her head out, looks outside.
The knight still sits, patiently waiting.
Fern wonders what might now betide.

Slipping on an old pair of shoes,
She slowly walks over to the knight.
In her wake she leaves a dewy trail,
And as she nears, the knight fades from sight.

Fern wonders what this all might mean,
Is she dreaming or is she awake?
Is, what she has seen, been real?
Or has she made a big mistake?

Then, whilst standing there in wonder,
She happens to look down at the ground.
Where the knight was, the grass is trampled,
As though a horse has curvetted around.

Then she hears a sound from behind her,
And startled, Fern quickly turns round.
Her house no longer seems to be there,
In its stead, a keep there is stound.

The sound she hears is a woman calling,
“My Lady, please come back here inside.
You shouldn’t be alone out in the dark,
Please come back and in your chamber bide.”

The woman, from a window, looks at Fern.
“Excuse me, are you addressing me?”
Fern directs the question at the woman,
Who replies to her, “Of course, my Lady.”

“’Tis not safe out at this time of night,
And you are in your night attire dight,
So if someone, of you, catches sight,
You’ll not be seen in a good light.”

Before Fern can think of what to say,
She hears the sound of a galloping horse.
It is getting nearer in the dark.
She hopes that things will now not get worse.

“My Lady, quickly, please get you inside,
Do not just stand there as if dazed.
Hurry now, before it it too late.”
Fern, though, does stand there amazed.

Approaching through the night is a horse,
The one she’d seen before on her lawn,
The same knight is seated on its back,
Though now the pennant on his lance is torn.

The horse stops right next to Fern,
And caracoles to bring them face-to-face.
The knight lowers his lance to show his pennant,
Which Fern sees is a torn fragment of white lace.

The knight again does sit in stilly silence,
He waits, and does not make any demand.
Then lowers his lance to touch her nightdress’s hem,
When suddenly, Fern does understand.

The hem of her nightdress is lace trimmed,
So Fern bends, and seizes it in hand.
Then with a sharp tug she tears it off,
Removing it in a single strand.

The knight raises up his lance higher,
The old lace, from the lance, Fern does remove.
Then ties the furbelow on very tightly,
Saying, “Please take this favour with my love.”

The knight dips his lance in salute,
Then turns his horse, back down the road to face.
His spurs lightly touch the horse’s flanks,
Which straight away gallops off at pace.

Fern walks across to the keep.
The woman opens the main door wide.
Fern steps across the threshold,
And now, in her own house is inside.

She turns to look back across the lawn,
Which is still lit by the silver moon’s light.
The lawn is now smooth and unblemished,
With no marks caused by the steed of the knight.

Fern goes upstairs to her bedroom.
Has this all been a dream ere now?
Then, as she gets back into bed,
She sees her nightdress lacks its furbelow.

Fern remembers her nightdress has a pocket,
And into it, her hand she does place,
Then, to her utter amazement,
She pulls out a fragment of torn lace.

Fern wonders at what’s just happened,
Was it real, or only in her mind?
If it was just her imagination,
Why has she been able, the fragment to find?

Eventually Fern drifts off to sleep,
Waking with the chorus of the dawn.
Although she doesn’t think she has changed,
She no longer feels quite so forlorn.

“Why does the knight appear to me?
Why has he only come at night?
Is he trying to find out if he’s wanted?
Is he trying to make something right?”

Later on that day Fern walks to town,
And heads for the library to find,
If there are any references to knights
That might help to ease her troubled mind.

Fern does find a story of a knight,
Who had a moon device on his shield.
He was very brave in the fight,
And to a foe would never yield.

He had been commissioned to take a message,
To a lord, by order of the king.
It was to be delivered urgently,
And he was not to stop for anything.

He was nearly there when something happened.
By the side of the highway lay a maid.
Being a chivalrous knight, he should have stopped,
Instead, he carried on, not giving aid.

He delivered the message to the lord,
And later was seated, drinking in the hall,
When there entered in some serving men,
Carrying on their shoulders a shrouded pall.

They lay down their burden on the floor,
And without having said a word,
Reverently uncovered the face of a body.
It was the lady of the lord.

Then entered in another knight,
Who stepped up to the lord, and said,
“On our way here, we found your lady.
She was wounded, and now, alas, she’s dead.”

The other knight continued with his story,
“Seemingly, she had been robbed and *****.
There was no sign of the perpetrators,
We think they’d been disturbed, and then escaped.”

“Perhaps if we had managed to come sooner,
We might have been there to prevent this crime.
However, it seems the Fates conspired against us,
So we were not there to help in time.”

The Knight of the Moon sat there horror-struck,
He knew if he’d not been so keen to arrive,
Though helped, as his conscience had dictated,
The lady might yet even be alive.

Instead of speaking up, he stayed silent,
And never about this matter spoke a word.
Then he rose, and gave his condolence,
And went out from the presence of the lord.

The lady was removed to lie in state,
The Knight of the Moon went, to look at her face.
He knelt there in silent prayer awhile,
Then, from her dress, removed a length of lace.

He accoutred himself in his full armour,
Then rode from the keep that very night.
He left a note, stating his omission,
And of him, no-one ever saw a sight.

Fern is very sad to read this story.
What had then been in the knight’s mind?
Had he ridden off to end his disgrace,
Or the perpetrators, gone to find?

Fern now makes her thoughtful way home,
Hoping he’d found surcease from his torment,
Wondering what to him had befallen,
And if, for his lapse, he’d made atonement.

Fern reaches home rather tired,
So lies down on her bed, then falls asleep.
She dreams of knights in armour and fair damsels,
And jousting in the grounds of the keep.

Eventually, Fern wakens from her slumber.
She lies for a moment in her bed.
Yet again she thinks about her dream.
Was it real, or made up in her head.

“Perhaps,” she thinks, “I’m just on the rebound,
Because I’m still in mourning for my love.
And being of a romantic nature,
Dreaming of knights this does this prove.”

“Knights should have been chivalrous and kind,
Treating damsels in distress with care.
Except, when a knight I truly needed,
As it happened, there was not one there.”

“On that night, if we’d had some help,
My husband might still be alive.
Now, he has been taken from me,
And I feel that alone I cannot thrive.”

“However, life must go on as usual,
I should carry on, if just for him,
And so, perhaps, I should cease this moping,
And try to get on with my life again.”

So Fern gets up, refreshed from her nap,
Then decides, after eating, to go out.
That she must now get herself together,
Fern is not left in any doubt.

“Perhaps a short drive into the country,
And to stretch my legs, a gentle walk.
However, I will get on much quicker,
If I do not, to myself, talk.”

Fern puts on her coat and gets her bag,
Then goes out and walks to her car.
This is the first time that she’s driven
Since losing him, so she’ll not go too far.

Fern unlocks her car, and sits inside,
Then she is overcome with fear.
“Suppose, now, I am too scared to drive.
Perhaps I’d feel better if help was near.”

“Come on Fern, pull yourself together!
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
If you don’t do it now, then when?
Start the car, and let’s be on our way.”

So having given herself a little lecture,
Fern belts up, and pulls out of her drive.
Then, not really knowing where she’s headed,
Off she goes to see where she’ll arrive.

Fern motors out into the country,
And following a lane, drives up a hill.
At the top she parks and gets out.
Everything seems peaceful and so still.

She aimlessly ambles round the hill top,
And reads a notice saying it was a fort.
Then, Fern drifts off into a daydream,
And views the panorama without thought.

In her mind’s eye she sees a castle,
Decorated with many banners bright.
A tournament seems to be in progress,
And the winner is, of course, her moonlit knight.

Eventually, Fern becomes aware,
That she has gone some distance from her car.
So she slowly makes her way back to it.
She hadn’t meant to walk quite so far.

The shades of night are now falling fast,
And everything is starting to look grey.
So Fern unlocks her car and gets inside,
Ready to be getting on her way.

Slowly, she starts off down the hill,
The lane is very narrow with high hedges,
The moon is hidden behind some lowering clouds,
The track’s overgrown with grass and sedges.

Somehow, she’s gone a different way.
In the dark, everything seems wrong.
Fern is now starting to get worried,
And wonders why the track seems so long.

Eventually, she debouches onto a road,
Though she is not sure exactly where.
Fern is by now really anxious,
Then suddenly, gets an awful scare.

It looks just like the road they had been travelling,
When her husband lost control of the car.
It had skidded, spun and then rolled over,
The door had opened, and Fern had been flung far.

Her husband had still been trapped inside,
When it suddenly erupted into flame.
Fern could only stand and helplessly watch,
All the while loudly screaming his name.

No-one was around at that moment,
Perhaps someone might have pulled him out.
Then, as other motorists arrived,
They phoned for help, while listening to Fern shout.

Quite soon, a fire-engine came,
Closely followed by an ambulance.
The fire was eventually put out,
And Fern driven off still in a trance.

That had been several weeks ago,
And Fern has not since passed that place.
Now, it looks as if she is there,
And will, her darkest moment, have to face.

Then, to her horror, she sees a shape,
Dimly lit by her headlamps’ light.
It is a fallen motorcycle,
And the rider’s lying by it, just in sight.

Fern stops her car, and runs up to him.
Perhaps she can be of some aid.
As she approaches, the man gets up,
While a voice behind her says, “Don’t be afraid.”

“You just do exactly as we tell you.
We only want your money, and some fun.
Then, you can be on your way.
Do not even think of trying to run.”

The first man picks up the bike,
And pushes it to the road’s side.
The other man comes up close to Fern,
Who wonders again what might betide.

The wind blows the clouds across the sky,
Bringing the bright moon into sight.
The road that ’til then was hidden in darkness,
Is now lit with shards of silver light.

Fern then hears the sound of a horse,
Approaching through the wild and windy night.
The jingling of trappings can be heard,
And Fern thinks that now all will be right.

The courser slowly comes into view,
With the same knight seated on its back.
His lance is not couched, it’s held *****,
And the reins are loosely held, and quite slack.

Casually the steed comes to a stop,
And lowers his head to nibble at some grass.
The men, uncertain, both watch the knight,
While each wonders what might now pass.

One of them goes up to the bike,
And opens up the box on the back,
Then takes from it two crash helmets,
And a length of chain, which dangles slack.

He throws a helmet to his crony,
And they each fasten one upon their head.
Then they both turn to face the knight,
Who has not a word utteréd.

The one with the chain lifts it up,
And menacingly starts to whirl it around,
Then slowly walks towards the knight,
Who casually sits, not giving ground.

The other man reaches into his pocket,
Pulling out a wicked flick-knife,
And then, letting the blade spring open,
Prepares to join in with the strife.

He circles round the knight to the rear,
As the other man comes in from the side,
When the knight drops his lance into rest,
And suddenly, off he does ride.

He charges away from the men,
And gallops right past Fern at full speed.
Then, his lance aimed at the motorcycle,
He urges on his racing steed.

The lance pierces into the fuel tank,
And knocks the bike over in the road.
Petrol gushes out in a torrent,
And soon over the tarmac it has flowed.

The lance is broken in twain, the knight drops it,
And very quickly turns his horse about,
Then as he gallops back past the bike,
Both of the men start to shout.

Sparks from the horse’s hoofs come flying,
Igniting the petrol on the road.
Fern gives a shrill scream in panic,
Thinking that the bike might now explode.

The man with the chain wildly flails it,
Desperately trying to hit the horse’s head.
The knight strikes the man with a morning-star,
Who drops down, just like one who’s dead.

The knight then dismounts, drawing his sword,
And silently strides towards the other man,
Who flings away his knife, and starts running,
Fleeing just as fast as ever he can.

Fern sees the fallen man get up,
Rising groggily to stagger to his feet.
He looks at them, and then he turns away,
Slowly stumbling off, not yet too fleet.

Suddenly, the night becomes quite dark.
Clouds again, do the moon obscure.
Fern turns to try to thank the knight.
He’s gone, though she now feels secure.

Confidently she walks towards the bike,
And sees the lance by the fire’s light.
Fern bends and unties the lace from the lance,
And slowly walks back with it through the night.

She reaches her car, and gets inside,
Then starts driving off to get back home.
Belatedly thinking of her husband,
And wondering what next to her will come.

Safely arriving home, Fern parks the car,
And getting out, she sees on the lawn,
A pavilion has there been erected,
Turned rosaceous by the coming dawn.

The horse is also there, grazing tackless,
And by the entrance hangs a well-known targe.
Fern carefully goes and looks inside.
The pavilion’s quite small, not very large.

She sees the knight, kneeling on the ground,
His head bowed, as like one in prayer.
He holds his sword in front, just like a cross,
Of her, he seems not to be aware.

Quietly, Fern withdraws from the pavilion,
Then thinks, of the horse, to get a sight.
It’s nowhere to be seen, she turns around,
The pavilion’s now bathed in golden light.

As Fern stares at it in wonder,
See thinks that she can hear an ætherial sound,
Like a choir of heavenly angels singing,
And the pavilion vanishes from the ground.

Fern sees only a sword, stuck in the lawn,
And hanging from a nearby tree, the shield.
Then reliving what occurred in the night,
To tears of relief, Fern does yield.

She wonders if the knight has been translated,
Having now atoned for his mistake,
And Fern hopes that he’s managed to find peace,
For risking his life for her sake.

Fern hangs the sword above her bed,
And fastens the shield over her door.
She feels much more confidant now,
And is able to do so much more.

Sometimes though, when the moon is full,
Fern goes outside at midnight,
Carrying in her hand a strip of lace,
And seems just to vanish from sight.

At that time, if anyone was around,
They might then hear an unusual sound,
As though a fully accoutred
Lyn Senz 2 Apr 2018
by Danny Smith

The old man rises from his chair
gently cursing the ache that crept into his bones
when he wasn't looking

His slippered feet scuff the carpet
making a journey they know without him
to the window

He watches down on the cars
as they flash through the rain on an urgent journey
somewhere

Leaning forward to rest his forehead
on the cool damp pane that shields him from it all
his prison wall

The cars seem to softly merge
as fragments like a broken mirror
tease and torment

A lifetime of dreams and tomorrows
that somehow became painful yesterdays
much too fast

Squeezing his eyes tightly closed
he remembers her face and the soft scar on her cheek
a perfect imperfection

The laughter and cries of children
running to him with chocolate smeared mouths
grown now, gone now

All of them to different worlds
ones where he was afraid to travel to
out there

Plenty of time to make it through
but the nights seem to skip the sunshine days
sentenced

he shuffles back to the chair
lowering himself with limbs that can't be his
removes his slippers

Reaches for the polished shoes
years old but hardly worn and still uncreased
laces them

Moves slowly through the house
turning of lights, collecting a wallet
a pack of cigarettes, a photograph
pocketing them

The old man stands at the open door
just a fragment of someone elses memory, as he walks
into the rain


©Danny Smith
one of my favorites. it may be the only
copy on the internet. I couldn't find it.
it used to be on the 'Poemish' website
which is gone now. He had maybe only
12 poems in all that he submitted, and
they were all good, but sadly this is the
only one I decided to save. He lives/lived
in England as I remember.
We pass the
walled incline
of Barbour Park

during the day
a foreboding
patch…an open
air market for
the slave merchants
hustling crack and
**** drippin ****
that's been stepped
on so many times
its a wonder the cut
can still chide a high
out of a wrangled soul

the park’s
modest elevation
is an advantageous
lookout for
runners dealing
dimes while
petty ante
gangstas
daydream
gun blazing glories
of their next big job

not long ago
the park was
refurbed with
an industrial
strength plastic
Jungle Jim,
soon after
the park was
condemned
as a no go
zone for kids,
the litter of
hypodermic
needles and
mounds of
lead spiked
soil, deemed
a public health
risk for youth...
quickly
repurposed
as a crib
for ballers…

back in the
day, the shady
pocket park
lifted Paterson’s
citizenry off
the heated
pavements of
a bustling
thoroughfare

a respite from
the pulsing
tensions of urbanity,
a secular sanctuary,
balancing the urgent
industry of commerce
with the propriety of
residential life

compacting a
brief escape
from the clanging
metronome with
a viewing stand
offering elevation...
a heightened
perspective on
life’s parade
marching
up and down
Broadway…

this urban
oasis planted
at the center
of Silk City’s
grandiloquent
boulevard,
occupies
the most
democratic
equidistant
transit point
between opulent
Eastside mansions
of livin large tycoons
at one end….
and the
industrial district of
The Great Falls,
rising at Broadway’s
western terminus,
assiduously
manufacturing
dollars for the darlings
of fortune and
subsistence for
workers yearning to taste
the crumbs of
prosperity that may fall
from the tables of
opportunity

the park once a
pleasant face of
the landlocked
4th Ward filled
with homage to
a nation's greatest
citizens, Hamilton,
Rosa Parks,
Lafayette,
Madison, Fulton,
Montgomery and
Franklin has
denounced the
virtuous pursuit of
their aspirational
yearnings

now playas
feast on
the mead
of sustenance
harvested from
emaciated streets

commerce has taken
up full residency...
the wards cottage industry
cannibalizing
homes, hoods and
homeboys

as the
4th Ward
grows ugly,
the healthy
matrix of
bustling
street life
breaks down
the peeps
weakened
lay prostate
offer veins
to blood *******
predators
roaming
distressed
going south
neighborhoods

wise guy
knuckleheads,
get busy
gaming
the system
short changing
themselves and
hustling game
to get by
in the sweet bye
and buy of life

at night
a back lit
Barbour Park
floods with the
yellow haze of
blinking Fair St.
lamp posts
and the pulsing
halations
crowning the
Baptist's
of St. Luke's

sentient figures
shift between
park benches
flitting among the
black torsos
of skeletal trees
blending into
the faded
complexion
of abandoned
swing sets

I swear I see
Hurricane Carter
shadow boxing
dancing
around a gangling
Elm, jabbing
away, lifting
a sweet uppercut
working combos
of left hooks
and right crosses
hoping to drop an
intractable
presence
banging away
at a body politic
forming the walls
of taunting
inequities

Hurricane stays
busy delivering
body blows
to burst
through the
prison bars
surrounding
Barbour Park

Music selection:
Bob Dylan, Hurricane

Paterson
01/30/13
jbm

A fragment from extended poem Silk City PIT.  
Published today to honor the death of Rubin Hurricane Carter.
May he find the freedom in eternal rest that eluded him during his lifetime.
A fragment from extended poem Silk City PIT.  (Part 4: Funky Broadway)
Published today to honor the death of Rubin Hurricane Carter.
May he find the freedom in eternal rest that eluded him during his lifetime.
Awake! arise! the hour is late!
Angels are knocking at thy door!
They are in haste and cannot wait,
And once departed come no more.

Awake! arise! the athlete’s arm
Loses its strength by too much rest;
The fallow land, the untilled farm
Produces only weeds at best.
Pea Jun 2016
xvi. where do you go when your house isn't home?

i ******* crawl out of my body, swim infinite miles of the ocean, stretch my neck to the skies, replace my head with the moon. i ******* yearn for your presence, try to break the mirror with my weak stare, can't go further, fitting room doesn't fit whatsoever, all the buttons escape from my ***** and hair falls like tiny dandelions in a rainstorm.
i grow potatoes in my mouth, when i speak i smell of my root, when i am on my period i talk about stomachache at dinner table, when i search for space my tummy is the balloons at pingkan's 8th birthday party which i couldn't bring home. blow the candles i forgot to make a wish for a moment the fate seems seamless, bright red lipstick, brown mascara, outfits i can't ever wear to school, or to be honest, not anywhere because when i try to walk, every step is a ******* hysterical cry, when i use my toes every cell in my body violently shakes.
my house isn't home. my house isn't home. my house isn't home. my house isn't home. my house isn't home how do you know that? how did you barge into my clichés? how dare you claim something that even i won't bring myself to think about?
i ******* crawl out of my body, not as soon as possible, i do it right now, right ******* now so i know the years i've spent trying to nourish the flesh i don't really own are worthless, the years i've devoted myself to my worldly lover are the ones that have been consuming my tiny soul, if you ask me now of course no one is satisfied, no one is satisfied until i don't want to call you mine anymore.
i ******* crawl out of my body.
in a desperate attempt to make the hideous pleasing to watch, i sell blindfolds on the street, i light the matches in the rain, i dream of dead grandmother and christmas feast. i turn into a cold statue, i left the tenderness for stupid microorganisms, my divorced bones blame me for everything i did not do. i used to do the right things now i just do nothing, it's ******* useless anyway, i can blink five thousand times and still believe that time is what the clocks and calendars say. (my grandmother was a buddhist.)
i ******* crawl out of my body. i don't want to experience this anymore, i am not into this kind of thing, i long for your presence, all i've got from this building is an infinite count of absences. my body is a building, it has no level, no room, no door, no window, no furniture. my body a giant concrete boring box, i do not even live there anymore, nobody lives there anymore, they are all gone to a poppy field in the middle of nowhere (actually somewhere, only that i am not invited). i ******* crawl out of my body, did that answer your question?
i ******* crawl. out. of. it.
with all due respect, please just kindly shut the **** up
Kitbag of Words Feb 2014
shred, dash, drop, pinch, soupçon, jot, iota, whit,
atom, smattering, scintilla, hint, suggestion, tinge,

a modicum of good works,
my endeavor, to serve and deliver,
man's bounty of good words
from my kitbag,
fresh, hot, n' crusty
just like me....

Hello Poetry!
Michael R Burch Nov 2020
My most popular poems on the Internet

A number of my poems and translations have gone viral, according to Google, and some have been copied onto hundreds to thousands of web pages. That’s a lot of cutting and pasting! The results below are the results returned by Google at the time I did the searches.



This original epigram returns more than 37,000 results:

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.



This Sappho translation has more than 3,500 results:

Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains
uprooting oaks.



This Sappho translation has more than 1,700 results:

Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!



This Bertolt Brecht translation has more than 1,500 results:

The Burning of the Books
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he’d been excluded!

He rushed to his desk, full of contemptuous wrath,
to write fiery letters to the incompetents in power―
Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen―
Haven’t I always reported the truth?
Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
Burn me!



This poem returns nearly 1,500 results for the first line:

Something
―for the children of the Holocaust and the Nakba
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

NOTE: This is, I think, the first poem I wrote which didn’t rhyme, and the only one for quite some time. I consider one of the best of my early poems; it was written in my late teens.



This original poem has over 1,300 results:

Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.

This may be the first poem I wrote. I read the Bible from cover to cover at age 11, and it was a traumatic experience. But I can’t remember if I wrote the epigram then, or came up with it later. In any case, it was probably written between age 11 and 13, or thereabouts.



My translation of Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” returns over 1,300 results. It’s a bit long for this page but can be found online with a Google search like: Michael R. Burch Robert Burns translations.



This Glaucus translation returns more than 1,000 results:

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
―Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus



This Yamaguchi Seishi translation returns over 1,000 results:

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



This original poem has more than 1,000 results:

Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this―
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live two artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her Tears...

Note: The phrase "frail envelope of flesh" was one of my first encounters with the power of poetry, although I read it in a superhero comic book as a young boy (I forget which one). More than thirty years later, the line kept popping into my head, so I wrote this poem. I have dedicated it to the mothers and children of Gaza and the Nakba. The word Nakba is Arabic for "Catastrophe."



This poem won a big Penguin Books (UK) Valentine poetry contest and returns over 800 results for the first line:

Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

There never was a fonder smile
than mother’s smile, no softer touch
than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
and know she loves you more than “much.”

So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
Though tender words, these do not speak
of love at all, nor how we fall
and mother’s there, nor how we reach
from nightmares in the ticking night
and she is there to hold us tight.

There never was a stronger back
than father’s back, that held our weight
and lifted us, when we were small,
and bore us till we reached the gate,
then held our hands that first bright mile
till we could run, and did, and flew.
But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
will leap and follow after you!



This original epigram returns over 750 results:

Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

It’s not that every leaf must finally fall,
it’s just that we can never catch them all.



This William Dunbar translation has more than 700 results:

Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar (1460-1525)
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sweet rose of virtue and of gentleness,
delightful lily of youthful wantonness,
richest in bounty and in beauty clear
and in every virtue that is held most dear―
except only that you are merciless.

Into your garden, today, I followed you;
there I saw flowers of freshest hue,
both white and red, delightful to see,
and wholesome herbs, waving resplendently―
yet everywhere, no odor but rue.

I fear that March with his last arctic blast
has slain my fair rose of pallid and gentle cast,
whose piteous death does my heart such pain
that, if I could, I would compose her roots again―
so comforting her bowering leaves have been.



This Sappho translation has over 700 results:

Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.



This original poem has over 700 results for the first line:

Child of 9-11
by Michael R. Burch

a poem for Christina-Taylor Green, who
was born on September 11, 2001 and who
died at age nine, shot to death...

Child of 9-11, beloved,
I bring this lily, lay it down
here at your feet, and eiderdown,
and all soft things, for your gentle spirit.
I bring this psalm―I hope you hear it.

Much love I bring―I lay it down
here by your form, which is not you,
but what you left this shell-shocked world
to help us learn what we must do
to save another child like you.

Child of 9-11, I know
you are not here, but watch, afar
from distant stars, where angels rue
the evil things some mortals do.
I also watch; I also rue.

And so I make this pledge and vow:
though I may weep, I will not rest
nor will my pen fail heaven's test
till guns and wars and hate are banned
from every shore, from every land.

Child of 9-11, I grieve
your tender life, cut short... bereaved,
what can I do, but pledge my life
to saving lives like yours? Belief
in your sweet worth has led me here...

I give my all: my pen, this tear,
this lily and this eiderdown,
and all soft things my heart can bear;
I bring them to your final bier,
and leave them with my promise, here.



My Plato translation (or “take” on Plato) has over 650 results:

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



This translation of a Middle English poem has more than 500 results:

How Long the Night
(anonymous Middle English poem, circa early 13th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts
with the mild pheasants' song...
but now I feel the northern wind's blast―
its severe weather strong.
Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!
And I, because of my momentous wrong
now grieve, mourn and fast.



This original epigram returns over 500 results for the first line:

Here and Hereafter aka Saving Graces
by Michael R. Burch

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter...
wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter.

I have dedicated the epigram above to the so-called Religious Right and Moral Majority.



These Einstein limericks have over 500 results:

The Cosmological Constant
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
said E equals MC squared.
Thus all mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my *** declared!

Asstronomical
by Michael R. Burch

Relativity, the theorists’ creed,
says mass increases with speed.
My (m)*** grows when I sit it.
Mr. Einstein, get with it;
equate its deflation, I plead!

Relative to Whom?
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein’s theory, incredibly silly,
says a relative grows *****-nilly
at speeds close to light.
Well, his relatives might,
but mine grow their (m)***** more stilly!



This poem has over 500 results:

Neglect
by Michael R. Burch

What good are tears?
Will they spare the dying their anguish?

What use, our concern
to a child sick of living, waiting to perish?

What good, the warm benevolence of tears
without action?

What help, the eloquence of prayers,
or a pleasant benediction?

Before this day is over,
how many more will die
with bellies swollen, emaciate limbs,
and eyes too parched to cry?

I fear for our souls
as I hear the faint lament
of theirs departing...
mournful, and distant.

How pitiful our "effort,"
yet how fatal its effect.
If they died, then surely we killed them,
if only with neglect.



This Matsuo Basho haiku translation has nearly 500 results:

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This Matsuo Basho haiku translation has more than 400 results:

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



This original Holocaust poem returns over 400 results:

Auschwitz Rose
by Michael R. Burch

There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar,
a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name.
The world forgot her, and is not the same.
I still love her and extend this sacred fire
to keep her memory exalted flame
unmolested by the thistles and the nettles.

On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles!
They sleep alike―diminutive and tall,
the innocent, the "surgeons." Sleeping, all.

Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals,
if accidents of coloration, gall
my heart no less. Amid thick weeds and muck
there lies a rose man's crackling lightning struck:
the only Rose I ever longed to pluck.
Soon I'll bed there and bid the world "Good Luck."



This translation of a Holocaust poem has nearly 300 results:

Speechless
by Ko Un
translation by Michael R. Burch

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






Keywords/Tags: Michael Burch, popular, most popular, poems, epigrams, translations, quotes, Google, Internet, journals, literary journals, blogs, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo


//bookmark//

This original poem, which has become popular at Halloween, has nearly 3,000 results for the fifth line:

White in the Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

White in the shadows
I see your face,
unbidden. Go, tell
Love it is commonplace;
tell Regret it is not so rare.

Our love is not here
though you smile,
full of sedulous grace.
Lost in darkness, I fear
the past is our resting place.

Published by Carnelian, The Chained Muse, Poetry Life & Times, A-Poem-A-Day and in a YouTube video by Aurora G. with the titles “Ghost,” “White Goddess” and “White in the Shadows”



This original poem returns nearly 1,500 results:

Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts
The sea at night seems
an alembic of dreams—
the moans of the gulls,
the foghorns’ bawlings.

A century late
to be melancholy,
I watch the last shrimp boat as it steams
to safe harbor again.

In the twilight she gleams
with a festive light,
done with her trawlings,
ready to sleep . . .

Deep, deep, in delight
glide the creatures of night,
elusive and bright
as the poet’s dreams.

Published by The Lyric, Grassroots Poetry, Romantics Quarterly, Angle, Poetry Life & Times




This translation of the oldest extant English poem has over 1,250 results:

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!



This Faiz Ahmed Faiz translation has over 1,000 results:

Last Night
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Last night, your memory stole into my heart—
as spring sweeps uninvited into barren gardens,
as morning breezes reinvigorate dormant deserts,
as a patient suddenly feels better, for no apparent reason ...


This light verse response to Philip Larkin’s “Aubade” has nearly 1,000 results:

Abide
by Michael R. Burch

after Philip Larkin's "Aubade"

It is hard to understand or accept mortality—
such an alien concept: not to be.
Perhaps unsettling enough to spawn religion,
or to scare mutant fish out of a primordial sea
boiling like goopy green tea in a kettle.
Perhaps a man should exhibit more mettle
than to admit such fear, denying Nirvana exists
simply because we are stuck here in such a fine fettle.
And so we abide . . .
even in life, staring out across that dark brink.
And if the thought of death makes your questioning heart sink,
it is best not to drink
(or, drinking, certainly not to think).

Originally published by Light Quarterly



This love poem has nearly 1,000 results:

don’t forget ...
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

don’t forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.



This original Hiroshima poem has nearly 800 results:

Lucifer, to the Enola Gay
by Michael R. Burch

Go then,
and give them my meaning
so that their teeming
streets
become my city.
Bring back a pretty
flower—
a chrysanthemum,
perhaps, to bloom
if but an hour,
within a certain room
of mine
where
the sun does not rise or fall,
and the moon,
although it is content to shine,
helps nothing at all.
There,
if I hear the wistful call
of their voices
regretting choices
made
or perhaps not made
in time,
I can look back upon it and recall,
in all
its pale forms sublime,
still
Death will never be holy again.

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



This epigram has over 600 results for the first line:
Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

If we strip away all the accouterments of war,
perhaps we’ll discover what the heart is for.



This prayer poem has over 600 results and has been set to music and performed at a charity benefit for hurricane victims:

I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

I pray tonight
the starry Light
might
surround you.

I pray
by day
that, come what may,
no dark thing confound you.

I pray ere the morrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels' white chorales
sing, and astound you.



This original poem has nearly 600 results:

Like Angels, Winged
by Michael R. Burch

Like angels—winged,
shimmering, misunderstood—
they flit beyond our understanding
being neither evil, nor good.

They are as they are ...
and we are their lovers, their prey;
they seek us out when the moon is full;
they dream of us by day.

Their eyes—hypnotic, alluring—
trap ours with their strange appeal
till like flame-drawn moths, we gather ...
to see, to touch, to feel.

And in their arms, enchanted,
we feel their lips, grown old,
till with their gorging kisses
we warm them, growing cold.



This original poem has over 500 results:

Distances
by Michael R. Burch

Moonbeams on water —
the reflected light
of a halcyon star
now drowning in night ...
So your memories are.

Footprints on beaches
now flooding with water;
the small, broken ribcage
of some primitive slaughter ...
So near, yet so far.



This original poem has over 500 results:

***** Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

for the Demiurge, aka Yahweh/Jehovah

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?



This Allama Iqbal translation has nearly 500 results for the second line:

Withered Roses
by Allama Iqbal
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What words of mine can describe you,
desire of the nightingale's heart?
The morning breeze was your nativity,
the afternoon garden, a tray of perfumes.
My tears welled up like dew,
till in my abandoned heart your rune grew,
this dream-emblem of love:
this spray of withered roses.



This epigram/joke has over 400 results:

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



This **** Baudelaire translation has become popular with **** stars, escort sites and dating services, and has more than 400 results:

Le Balcon (The Balcony)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Paramour of memory, ultimate mistress,
source of all pleasure, my only desire;
how can I forget your ecstatic caresses,
the warmth of your ******* by the roaring fire,
paramour of memory, ultimate mistress?

Each night illumined by the burning coals
we lay together where the rose-fragrance clings—
how soft your *******, how tender your soul!
Ah, and we said imperishable things,
each night illumined by the burning coals.

How beautiful the sunsets these sultry days,
deep space so profound, beyond life’s brief floods ...
then, when I kissed you, my queen, in a daze,
I thought I breathed the bouquet of your blood
as beautiful as sunsets these sultry days.

Night thickens around us like a wall;
in the deepening darkness our irises meet.
I drink your breath, ah! poisonous yet sweet!,
as with fraternal hands I massage your feet
while night thickens around us like a wall.

I have mastered the sweet but difficult art
of happiness here, with my head in your lap,
finding pure joy in your body, your heart;
because you’re the queen of my present and past
I have mastered love’s sweet but difficult art.

O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
Can these be reborn from a gulf we can’t sound
as suns reappear, as if heaven misses
their light when they sink into seas dark, profound?
O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!



This original poem has over 400 results:

What the Poet Sees
by Michael R. Burch

What the poet sees,
he sees as a swimmer
~~~underwater~~~
watching the shoreline blur
sees through his breath’s weightless bubbles ...
Both worlds grow obscure.



This original poem I wrote as a teenager has almost 400 results:

The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

This is one of my early poems ; I believe it was probably written during my first two years in college, making me 18 or 19 at the time.



This original poem has more than 300 results:

Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...
what do we know of love,
or duty?



This original poem has more than 300 results:

escape!
by michael r. burch

for anaïs vionet

to live among the daffodil folk . . .
slip down the rainslickened drainpipe . . .
suddenly pop out
the GARGANTUAN SPOUT . . .
minuscule as alice, shout
yippee-yi-yee!
in wee exultant glee
to be leaving behind the
LARGE
THREE-DENALI GARAGE.



This Matsuo Basho haiku translation has more than 300 results:

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



This haiku translation has more than 300 results:

Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I'd leap into the torrent!
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This translation of an Anacreon epigram has over 300 results:

Here he lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.
—Anacreon, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This 9–11 poem has over 300 results:

Charon 2001
by Michael R. Burch

I, too, have stood—paralyzed at the helm
watching onrushing, inevitable disaster.
I too have felt sweat (or ecstatic tears) plaster
damp hair to my eyes, as a slug’s dense film
becomes mucous-insulate. Always, thereafter
living in darkness, bright things overwhelm.

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea



This “almost” limerick has over 300 results:

Caveat Spender
by Michael R. Burch

It’s better not to speculate
"continually" on who is great.
Though relentless awe’s
a Célèbre Cause,
please reserve some time for the contemplation
of the perils of EXAGGERATION.



This little poetic snapshot has over 300 results:
Warming Her Pearls
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Warming her pearls, her *******
gleam like constellations.
Her belly is a bit rotund...
she might have stepped out of a Rubens.



This vampire poem, popular at Halloween, has nearly 300 results:

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...



This Fukuda Chiyo-ni haiku translation has nearly 300 results:

Ah butterfly!
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
― Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This translation of the Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan has over 300 results:

Enough for Me
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Enough for me to lie in the earth,
to be buried in her,
to sink meltingly into her fecund soil, to vanish ...
only to spring forth like a flower
brightening the play of my countrymen's children.
Enough for me to remain
in my native soil's embrace,
to be as close as a handful of dirt,
a sprig of grass,
a wildflower.



This translation of a poem by the Kurdish poet Kajal Ahmad has over 300 results:

Mirror
by Kajal Ahmad, a Kurdish poet
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My era's obscuring mirror
shattered
because it magnified the small
and made the great seem insignificant.
Dictators and monsters filled its contours.
Now when I breathe
its jagged shards pierce my heart
and instead of sweat
I exude glass.



This original poem has over 300 results:

Regret
by Michael R. Burch

Regret,
a bitter
ache to bear . . .
once starlight
languished
in your hair . . .
a shining there
as brief
as rare.

Regret . . .
a pain
I chose to bear . . .
unleash
the torrent
of your hair . . .
and show me
once again—
how rare.



This original poem, popular at Valentine’s Day, has nearly 300 results:

Let Me Give Her Diamonds
by Michael R. Burch

Let me give her diamonds
for my heart's
sharp edges.

Let me give her roses
for my soul's
thorn.

Let me give her solace
for my words
of treason.

Let the flowering of love
outlast a winter
season.

Let me give her books
for all my lack
of reason.

Let me give her candles
for my lack
of fire.

Let me kindle incense,
for our hearts
require

the breath-fanned
flaming perfume
of desire.



This original poem has nearly 300 results:

Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

for Anaïs Vionet

Desire glides in on calico wings,
a breath of a moth
seeking a companionable light,
where it hovers, unsure,
sullen, shy or demure,
in the margins of night,
a soft blur.

With a frantic dry rattle
of alien wings,
it rises and thrums one long breathless staccato
and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.

And yet it returns
to the flame, its delight,
as long as it burns.

This Vera Pavlova translation has over 250 results:

Shattered
by Vera Pavlova
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I shattered your heart;
now I limp through the shards
barefoot.



These Holocaust poem translations of Miklos Radnoti have over 200 results each:

Postcard 1
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Out of Bulgaria, the great wild roar of the artillery thunders,
resounds on the mountain ridges, rebounds, then ebbs into silence
while here men, beasts, wagons and imagination all steadily increase;
the road whinnies and bucks, neighing; the maned sky gallops;
and you are eternally with me, love, constant amid all the chaos,
glowing within my conscience―incandescent, intense.
Somewhere within me, dear, you abide forever―
still, motionless, mute, like an angel stunned to silence by death
or a beetle hiding in the heart of a rotting tree.



Postcard 2
by Miklós Radnóti
written October 6, 1944 near Crvenka, Serbia
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A few miles away they're incinerating
the haystacks and the houses,
while squatting here on the fringe of this pleasant meadow,
the shell-shocked peasants sit quietly smoking their pipes.
Now, here, stepping into this still pond, the little shepherd girl
sets the silver water a-ripple
while, leaning over to drink, her flocculent sheep
seem to swim like drifting clouds.



Postcard 3
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The oxen dribble ****** spittle;
the men pass blood in their ****.
Our stinking regiment halts, a horde of perspiring savages,
adding our aroma to death's repulsive stench.



Postcard 4
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I toppled beside him―his body already taut,
tight as a string just before it snaps,
shot in the back of the head.
"This is how you’ll end too; just lie quietly here,"
I whispered to myself, patience blossoming from dread.
"Der springt noch auf," the voice above me jeered;
I could only dimly hear
through the congealing blood slowly sealing my ear.

This was his final poem, written October 31, 1944 near Szentkirályszabadja, Hungary. "Der springt noch auf" means something like "That one is still twitching."



This poetic tribute to Muhammad Ali has over 250 results:

Ali’s Song
by Michael R. Burch

They say that gold don’t tarnish. It ain’t so.
They say it has a wild, unearthly glow.
A man can be more beautiful, more wild.
I flung their medal to the river, child.
I flung their medal to the river, child.

They hung their coin around my neck; they made
my name a bridle, “called a ***** a *****.”
They say their gold is pure. I say defiled.
I flung their slave’s name to the river, child.
I flung their slave’s name to the river, child.

Ain’t got no quarrel with no Viet Cong
that never called me ******, did me wrong.
A man can’t be lukewarm, ’cause God hates mild.
I flung their notice to the river, child.
I flung their notice to the river, child.

They said, “Now here’s your bullet and your gun,
and there’s your cell: we’re waiting, you choose one.”
At first I groaned aloud, but then I smiled.
I gave their “future” to the river, child.
I gave their “future” to the river, child.

My face reflected up, dark bronze like gold,
a coin God stamped in His own image—BOLD.
My blood boiled like that river—strange and wild.
I died to hate in that dark river, child,
Come, be reborn in this bright river, child.

Originally published by Black Medina



This poem about US involvement in an ongoing Holocaust has over 200 results:

who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

jesus was born
a palestinian child
where there’s no Room
for the meek and the mild

... and in bethlehem still
to this day, lambs are born
to cries of “no Room!”
and Puritanical scorn ...

under Herod, Trump, Bibi
their fates are the same —
the slouching Beast mauls them
and WE have no shame:
“who’s to blame?”



This Ō no Yasumaro translation has over 200 results:

While you decline to cry,
high on the mountainside
a single stalk of plumegrass wilts.
―Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



These Sappho translations have over 200 results:

Sappho, fragment 156
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.



Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.



This Parmenio translation has over 200 results:

Be ashamed, O mountains and seas,
that these valorous men lack breath.
Assume, like pale chattels,
an ashen silence at death.
—Michael R. Burch, after Parmenio



This original epigram has over 200 results:

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



Other poems, epigrams and translations with more than 100 results:



Hymn for Fallen Soldiers
by Michael R. Burch

Sound the awesome cannons.
Pin medals to each breast.
Attention, honor guard!
Give them a hero’s rest.
Recite their names to the heavens
Till the stars acknowledge their kin.
Then let the land they defended
Gather them in again.

When I learned there’s an American military organization, the DPAA (Defense/POW/MIA Accounting Agency) that is still finding and bringing home the bodies of soldiers who died serving their country in World War II, after blubbering like a baby, I managed to eke out this poem.



Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses’
recesses
are not for excesses!



pretty pickle
by michael r. burch

u’d blaspheme if u could
because ur God’s no good,
but of course u cant:
ur a lowly ant
(or so u were told by a Hierophant).



I, Too, Have a Dream
by Michael R. Burch writing as “The Child Poets of Gaza”

I, too, have a dream ...
that one day Jews and Christians
will see me as I am:
a small child, lonely and afraid,
staring down the barrels of their big bazookas,
knowing I did nothing
to deserve their enmity.



My Nightmare ...
by Michael R. Burch  writing as “The Child Poets of Gaza”

I had a dream of Jesus!
Mama, his eyes were so kind!
But behind him I saw a billion Christians
hissing "You're nothing!," so blind.



Multiplication, Tabled
by Michael R. Burch

(for the Religious Right)

“Be fruitful and multiply”—
great advice, for a fruitfly!
But for women and men,
simple Simons, say, “WHEN!”



Once fanaticism has gangrened brains
the incurable malady invariably remains.
—Voltaire, translation by Michael R. Burch



Snapshots
by Michael R. Burch

Here I scrawl extravagant rainbows.
And there you go, skipping your way to school.

And here we are, drifting apart
like untethered balloons.

Here I am, creating "art,"
chanting in shadows,
pale as the crinoline moon,
ignoring your face.

There you go,
in diaphanous lace,
making another man’s heart swoon.

Suddenly, unthinkably, here he is,
taking my place.



Indestructible, for Johnny Cash
by Michael R. Burch

What is a mountain, but stone?
Or a spire, but a trinket of steel?
Johnny Cash is gone,
black from his hair to his bootheels.

Can a man out-endure mountains’ stone
if his songs lift us closer to heaven?
Can the steel in his voice vibrate on
till his words are our manna and leaven?

Then sing, all you mountains of stone,
with the rasp of his voice, and the gravel.
Let the twang of thumbed steel lead us home
through these weary dark ways all men travel.

For what is a mountain, but stone?
Or a spire, but a trinket of steel?
Johnny Cash lives on—
black from his hair to his bootheels.



Wulf and Eadwacer
ancient Old English (Anglo-Saxon) poem, circa 990 AD
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My clan's curs pursue him like crippled game;
they'll rip him apart if he approaches their pack.
It is otherwise with us.

Wulf's on one island; we're on another.
His island's a fortress, fastened by fens. (fastened=secured)
Here, bloodthirsty curs howl for carnage.
They'll rip him apart if he approaches their pack.
It is otherwise with us.

My hopes pursued Wulf like panting hounds,
but whenever it rained—how I wept!
the boldest cur clutched me in his paws:
good feelings for him, but for me loathsome!

Wulf, O, my Wulf, my ache for you
has made me sick; your seldom-comings
have left me famished, deprived of real meat.
Have you heard, Eadwacer? Watchdog!
A wolf has borne our wretched whelp to the woods.
One can easily sever what never was one:
our song together.

Hearthside
by Michael R. Burch

“When you are old and grey and full of sleep...” — W. B. Yeats

For all that we professed of love, we knew
this night would come, that we would bend alone
to tend wan fires’ dimming bars—the moan
of wind cruel as the Trumpet, gelid dew
an eerie presence on encrusted logs
we hoard like jewels, embrittled so ourselves.
The books that line these close, familiar shelves
loom down like dreary chaperones. Wild dogs,
too old for mates, cringe furtive in the park,
as, toothless now, I frame this parchment kiss.
I do not know the words for easy bliss
and so my shriveled fingers clutch this stark,
long-unenamored pen and will it: Move.
I loved you more than words, so let words prove.



Observance
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Discrimination
by Michael R. Burch

The meter I had sought to find, perplexed,
was ripped from books of "verse" that read like prose.
I found it in sheet music, in long rows
of hologramic CDs, in sad wrecks
of long-forgotten volumes undisturbed
half-centuries by archivists, unscanned.
I read their fading numbers, frowned, perturbed—
why should such tattered artistry be banned?
I heard the sleigh bells’ jingles, vampish ads,
the supermodels’ babble, Seuss’s books
extolled in major movies, blurbs for abs ...
A few poor thinnish journals crammed in nooks
are all I’ve found this late to sell to those
who’d classify free verse "expensive prose."

Originally published by The Chariton Review



Will There Be Starlight
by Michael R. Burch

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
damask
and lilac
and sweet-scented heathers?

And will she find flowers,
or will she find thorns
guarding the petals
of roses unborn?

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
seashells
and mussels
and albatross feathers?

And will she find treasure
or will she find pain
at the end of this rainbow
of moonlight on rain?



in-flight convergence
by Michael R. Burch

serene, almost angelic,
the lights of the city extend
over lumbering behemoths
shrilly screeching displeasure;
they say
that nothing is certain,
that nothing man dreams or ordains
long endures his command
here the streetlights that flicker
and those blazing steadfast
seem one: from a distance;
descend,
they abruptly
part ways,
so that nothing is one
which at times does not suddenly blend
into garish insignificance
in the familiar alleyways,
in the white neon flash
and the billboards of Convenience
and man seems the afterthought of his own Brilliance
as we thunder down the enlightened runways.

Originally published by The Aurorean and nominated for the Pushcart Prize


Pan
by Michael R. Burch

... Among the shadows of the groaning elms,
amid the darkening oaks, we fled ourselves ...
... Once there were paths that led to coracles
that clung to piers like loosening barnacles ...
... where we cannot return, because we lost
the pebbles and the playthings, and the moss ...
... hangs weeping gently downward, maidens’ hair
who never were enchanted, and the stairs ...
... that led up to the Fortress in the trees
will not support our weight, but on our knees ...
... we still might fit inside those splendid hours
of damsels in distress, of rustic towers ...
... of voices heard in wolves’ tormented howls
that died, and live in dreams’ soft, windy vowels ...



At Wilfred Owen’s Grave
by Michael R. Burch

A week before the Armistice, you died.
They did not keep your heart like Livingstone’s,
then plant your bones near Shakespeare’s. So you lie
between two privates, sacrificed like Christ
to politics, your poetry unknown
except for that brief flurry’s: thirteen months
with Gaukroger beside you in the trench,
dismembered, as you babbled, as the stench
of gangrene filled your nostrils, till you clenched
your broken heart together and the fist
began to pulse with life, so close to death.
Or was it at Craiglockhart, in the care
of “ergotherapists” that you sensed life
is only in the work, and made despair
a thing that Yeats despised, but also breath,
a mouthful’s merest air, inspired less
than wrested from you, and which we confess
we only vaguely breathe: the troubled air
that even Sassoon failed to share, because
a man in pieces is not healed by gauze,
and breath’s transparent, unless we believe
the words are true despite their lack of weight
and float to us like chlorine—scalding eyes,
and lungs, and hearts. Your words revealed the fate
of boys who retched up life here, gagged on lies.



Ebb Tide
by Michael R. Burch

Massive, gray, these leaden waves
bear their unchanging burden—
the sameness of each day to day
while the wind seems to struggle to say
something half-submerged planks at the mouth of the bay
might nuzzle limp seaweed to understand.
Now collapsing dull waves drain away
from the unenticing land;
shrieking gulls shadow fish through salt spray—
whitish streaks on a fogged silver mirror.
Sizzling lightning impresses its brand.
Unseen fingers scribble something in the wet sand.

Originally published by Southwest Review



At Once
by Michael R. Burch

Though she was fair,
though she sent me the epistle of her love at once
and inscribed therein love’s antique prayer,
I did not love her at once.
Though she would dare
pain’s pale, clinging shadows, to approach me at once,
the dark, haggard keeper of the lair,
I did not love her at once.
Though she would share
the all of her being, to heal me at once,
yet more than her touch I was unable bear.
I did not love her at once.
And yet she would care,
and pour out her essence ...
and yet—there was more!
I awoke from long darkness,
and yet—she was there.
I loved her the longer;
I loved her the more
because I did not love her at once.

Published by The Lyric, Romantics Quarterly and Grassroots Poetry



Chloe
by Michael R. Burch

There were skies onyx at night ... moons by day ...
lakes pale as her eyes ... breathless winds
******* tall elms; ... she would say
that we loved, but I figured we’d sinned.
Soon impatiens too fiery to stay
sagged; the crocus bells drooped, golden-limned;
things of brightness, rinsed out, ran to gray ...
all the light of that world softly dimmed.
Where our feet were inclined, we would stray;
there were paths where dead weeds stood untrimmed,
distant mountains that loomed in our way,
thunder booming down valleys dark-hymned.
What I found, I found lost in her face
while yielding all my virtue to her grace.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly as “A Dying Fall”



The Wonder Boys
by Michael R. Burch

(for Leslie Mellichamp, the late editor of The Lyric,
who was a friend and mentor to many poets, and
a fine poet in his own right)

The stars were always there, too-bright cliches:
scintillant truths the jaded world outgrew
as baffled poets winged keyed kites—amazed,
in dream of shocks that suddenly came true . . .
but came almost as static—background noise,
a song out of the cosmos no one hears,
or cares to hear. The poets, starstruck boys,
lay tuned in to their kite strings, saucer-eared.
They thought to feel the lightning’s brilliant sparks
electrify their nerves, their brains; the smoke
of words poured from their overheated hearts.
The kite string, knotted, made a nifty rope . . .
You will not find them here; they blew away—
in tumbling flight beyond nights’ stars. They clung
by fingertips to satellites. They strayed
too far to remain mortal. Elfin, young,
their words are with us still. Devout and fey,
they wink at us whenever skies are gray.

Originally published by The Lyric



The Beat Goes On (and On and On and On ...)
by Michael R. Burch

Bored stiff by his board-stiff attempts
at “meter,” I crossly concluded
I’d use each iamb
in lieu of a lamb,
bedtimes when I’m under-quaaluded.

Originally published by Grand Little Things



Playmates
by Michael R. Burch

WHEN you were my playmate and I was yours,
we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and the sorrows and cares of our indentured days
were uncomprehended . . . far, far away . . .
for the temptations and trials we had yet to face
were lost in the shadows of an unventured maze.
Then simple pleasures were easy to find
and if they cost us a little, we didn't mind;
for even a penny in a pocket back then
was one penny too many, a penny to spend.
Then feelings were feelings and love was just love,
not a strange, complex mystery to be understood;
while "sin" and "damnation" meant little to us,
since forbidden cookies were our only lusts!
Then we never worried about what we had,
and we were both sure—what was good, what was bad.
And we sometimes quarreled, but we didn't hate;
we seldom gave thought to the uncertainties of fate.
Hell, we seldom thought about the next day,
when tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things couldn't last.
Still, we never worried about getting by,
and we didn't know that we were to die . . .
when we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and I was your playmate, and we were boys.

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



Lines for My Ascension
by Michael R. Burch

I.
If I should die,
there will come a Doom,
and the sky will darken
to the deepest Gloom.

But if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.


II.
If I should die,
let no mortal say,
“Here was a man,
with feet of clay,
or a timid sparrow
God’s hand let fall.”
But watch the sky darken
to an eerie pall
and know that my Spirit,
unvanquished, broods,
and scoffs at quaint churchyards
littered with roods.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.


III.
If I should die,
let no man adore
his incompetent Maker:
Zeus, Yahweh, or Thor.
Think of Me as One
who never died—
the unvanquished Immortal
with the unriven side.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.


IV.
And if I should “die,”
though the clouds grow dark
as fierce lightnings rend
this bleak asteroid, stark ...
If you look above,
you will see a bright Sign—
the sun with the moon
in its arms, Divine.
So divine, if you can,
my bright meaning, and know—
my Spirit is mine.
I will go where I go.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.


Translations with more than 100 results and/or a high number of page views:

“Wulf and Eadwacer” translation
“Deor’s Lament” translation
“The Wife’s Lament” translation
“Whoso List to Hunt” by Sir Thomas Wyatt, translation
“The Eager Traveler” by Ahmad Faraz, translation
“Herbsttag” (“Autumn Day”) by Rainer Maria Rilke, translation
“Archaischer Torso Apollos” (“Archaic Torso of Apollo”) by Rainer Maria Rilke, translation
“Komm, Du” (“Come, You”) by Rainer Maria Rilke, translation
“Der Panther” (“The Panther”) by Rainer Maria Rilke, translation
“Liebes-Lied” (“Love Song”) by Rainer Maria Rilke, translation
“Das Lied des Bettlers” (“The Beggar’s Song”) by Rainer Maria Rilke, translation
Original poems with more than 100 results:
“Water and Gold”
“See”
“The Folly of Wisdom”
“The Effects of Memory”
“Finally to Burn: the Fall and Resurrection of Icarus”




Dream of Infinity
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

This poem was originally published by TC Broadsheet Verses. I was paid a whopping $10, my first cash payment. It was subsequently published by Piedmont Literary Review, Penny Dreadful, the Net Poetry and Art Competition, Songs of Innocence, Poetry Life & Times, Better Than Starbucks and The Chained Muse.



we did not Dye in vain!
by Michael R. Burch

from “songs of the sea snails”

though i’m just a slimy crawler,
my lineage is proud:
my forebears gave their lives
(oh, let the trumps blare loud!)
so purple-mantled Royals
might stand out in a crowd.

i salute you, fellow loyals,
who labor without scruple
as your incomes fall
while deficits quadruple
to swaddle unjust Lords
in bright imperial purple!

Notes: In ancient times the purple dye produced from the secretions of purpura mollusks (sea snails) was known as “Tyrian purple,” “royal purple” and “imperial purple.” It was greatly prized in antiquity, and was very expensive according to the historian Theopompus: “Purple for dyes fetched its weight in silver at Colophon.” Thus, purple-dyed fabrics became status symbols, and laws often prevented commoners from possessing them. The production of Tyrian purple was tightly controlled in Byzantium, where the imperial court restricted its use to the coloring of imperial silks. A child born to the reigning emperor was literally porphyrogenitos ("born to the purple") because the imperial birthing apartment was walled in porphyry, a purple-hued rock, and draped with purple silks. Royal babies were swaddled in purple; we know this because the iconodules, who disagreed with the emperor Constantine about the veneration of images, accused him of defecating on his imperial purple swaddling clothes!



Circe
by Michael R. Burch

She spoke
and her words
were like a ringing echo dying
or like smoke
rising and drifting
while the earth below is spinning.

She awoke
with a cry
from a dream that had no ending,
without hope
or strength to rise,
into hopelessness descending.

And an ache
in her heart
toward that dream, retreating,
left a wake
of small waves
in circles never completing.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



Keywords/Tags: Michael Burch, popular, most popular, best poems, viral poems, poetry, poetic expression, epigrams, epitaph, translation, translations, quotes, Google, Internet, journals, literary journals, blogs, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, international, mrbpop, mrbbest, mrbest
D Awanis Dec 2016
Nostalgia is a beautiful phenomenon
It's when life seemingly happier,
more adventurous, and less chaotic

People frequently romanticize and misplaced it
As a neverland, wonderland, you name it
More often than not, they think it's all they have left

As I grow older, I can see those fragment of memories
Vividly, so crystal clear that it almost feels real
But baby, nostalgia is a psychological illusion

So, come to your senses now
Recall this as a mantra
Breathe in, breathe out

He's not a history—he's a tragedy
Ben Flo Nov 2014
Hello
A gesture perceived as formless waves in the Web
Perhaps a luring trap to be caught
or a silent cry as print Scarcely Red
Maybe you
Reddit or Won't
As text is the voice of this generation

Quote

ILY My fam is so cute
#Hashbrowns @MyBFFFFs

Last looks of a father as he leaves
with a dry cleaned suit.
The last breakfast I ate with my family
Together. Rebuked.
Now it lays archived in the mind of i
A memory fragment less intact
than the Colossus of Rhodes
What's that? Let me Google that.

What will become of the crowd
The voices, in their plight are
"Like wow, Laughing Out Loud"
Like apathy is the new trend
Can we even say there is a greater purpose
of the time we Spend.
howard brace Jan 2013
Despite repeatedly shaking her pincer... much as a sprightly pensioner might brandish a furled umbrella at a grappling contestant, currently being boo'd at in the red corner... the baby crab stamped her foot in annoyance as she glowered at every passing wave that rolled along the shoreline.  In absolving herself of any guilt she may have felt over her prolonged excursion, she had become, even further marooned by a failure to catch a succession of tides back home, an oversight she later confessed, to observe local tide-tables in 'Old More's Almanac...' on sale in all discerning book shops and selected High Street newsagents, priced 10/6d... for unless fluent in the Russian vernacular, it was just about as articulate to the little crab as a map of the Moscow Metro during a blackout, only to have the Rouble finally drop with a throat gagging 'Gaaargh...' clunk, that you were currently standing on the down-line platform, when you should've been stood on the up... as the last train lurched unsteadily out of the station whistling a jubilant entente cordiale... 'wish me luck as you wave me dasvidaniya'.

     Still stamping her foot, only now in strict rotation with the other seven, the baby crustacean peered out from beneath the shade of the large pebble, rearing its bulk out of the rockpool like a lollypop-lady's 'STOP'!!! sign, her beady eyes twitching independently, first this way, then the other, cut withering swathes through every cardinal point of the compass that didn't duck quite fast enough, was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the rock-pool in which she found herself tapping her foot in today, would be no less aquatic as any other rockpool that she may find herself still tapping a foot in tomorrow and that the best course of action was simply to stay-put and take the matter up with the local town council, then petition for additional fare-stages to be implemented... and with the cost of shoe leather at current prices... well, with eight legs to consider it would make savings that weren't to be sneezed at.  

     It wasn't everyday of the week that a young and upwardly mobile baby crustacean had occasion to move both up-market and down the beach, all in the same mouthful... and into what could only be regarded as a desirable, detached beachfront property, a rock-pool of distinction with all available mod-cons.  She felt relieved that apart from the occasional day-tripper, who invariably dropped litter wherever they went, that a baby crab of distinction such as herself, was certain to be accepted socially and hob-*** with a new and discerning circle of acquaintances... you only had to take that nice lady earlier in the week, they both seemed to have so much in common... then she would roll up her sleeves and really show the neighbourhood what knitting was all about...  

     With as much enthusiasm as that of a three year old screaming for an ice-cream in the middle of an heat-wave, Red marched up the beach and as far from his wife's waspish tongue as a lame excuse would carry him, heading back towards the growing crush of holidaymaking fathers who were only there presumably, for the sake of their own children, laying siege to the mobile vendor... only this time, having already stood in the same queue ten minutes earlier, now had a sufficiency of funds to purchase that which he'd unsuccessfully queued for the first time.

      After an unspecified time which by his wife's reckoning was grounds for divorce... Red, now laden down with the iced confectionary picked his way through the same throng of fathers who moments earlier had been happily chatting in the queue together, were now enjoying the same berating as the one Red was looking forward to as he made his way back towards the rock pool, juggling more ice-cream than two manly hands could intelligently control... while in a bid for freedom, the rapidly thawing confectionary were hatching plans of their own, ones quite independent from those intended as they embarked upon their meandering exodus, known only to iced creamy desserts on hot sunny days... and into the unknown, roaming across Red's hands and trusting their fate to a far higher authority.

     "Did I mention that I was on a diet" snapped his significant other, as she sat licking pistachios from the melting cornet... "don't you ever listen," secretly smiling to herself... "and you did remember to bring Sockeye's water this morning.. didn't you..!" she continued "someone with half as much sense would've stood it in the rockpool to keep cool, I'm sure the little crab wouldn't have objected..!"   At the mention of his name, Sockeye with ears far too free-lance to ever consider gainful employment of their own, needed no further persuasion and charged straight through the rock-pool to his mistress's side, walloping the thermos flask for a tail whopping six... bringing his personal batting average so far this holiday to a self congratulatory forty not out... and found the baby crab spluttering flat on her back and having second thoughts on any immediate savings in shoe leather were she to stay. 

     Generous to a fault, Sockeye now thought to shower everyone's ice cream with liberal helpings of the seashore as several parasitic irritations had Sockeye hard at work serving eviction notices on some of the more exotic zoology that only a patent Bob Martin's would dare to muscle up to... the local wildlife, by the look on his face were having the time of their lives bivouacked behind his left ear, throwing wild parties and disturbing the peace.  Cross-eyed, it was only while launching a double pronged assault on the latest settlement of interlopers that Sockeye finally succumbed to his injuries and surrendered to a neighbouring sandcastle... it really didn't do to mention a certain name too loudly at times like these, especially when you just happened to be on the receiving end.

     For some strange reason he was undoubtedly in the dog house... they'd shouted at him, which made him sad, all except his little master who had pushed him away... which left him bereft.  Sockeye sat down on dads beach-towel and had a long, thoughtful scratch... where had all the fuss gone? he searched for appreciation their faces... his tail gave one disheartened thump before it stopped... and all those little pieces of ice-cream dipped wafer, which up until now had always appeared as if by magic.  

     Catching sight of one such treat, undoubtedly forgotten by the rock pool, a marauding seagull pulled out of a rolling dive and swooped, at the same instant as two gaping jaws launched themselves skywards... canine jowls quivering bravely in the light sea airs... and not too dissimilar to a heat seeking missile, rose gracefully from the ground to meet it... 'well intercepted..!' as both ears applauded in mid-air... no aerial freeloader was about to skip town with Sockeye's ice cream wafer without paying... leaving one solitary wing flapping its willingness to pay up.

     At least it kept her husband in useful employment Tina decided... and mercifully out from under her feet, as she brushed a fragment of affectionate pistachio from her bikini top... she'd have to  make sure he went for the ices in future... and without the means to pay for them... a mischievous smile turned the corners of her mouth as she leant towards the beach-bag and invested herself with several more juicy grapes... that everyone who fell within her sphere of influence had been warned well away from... under threat of dire consequence... and it would take a brave man indeed, or a very foolish one... she gave her husband who was sitting well within arms reach a caustic glance... and Tina's particular variety of justice had a very long arm indeed.

                                                        ­           ...   ...   ...**

a work in progress.                                                        ­                                                                 ­  1297
rhema subedi Oct 2016
In this little fragment, where love seems scarce,
In this little fragment, where lovers feel out of place,
I'm going to pour my heart out, into a heavy rain,
A rain you can dance in, 'til you're free of pain.
Until the moment arrives, when love is all you see,
I am going to love you with all that's left of me.
I'm going to pour myself on you, so that you'll someday feel fine,
I'm always going to love you, with everything that's mine.
To my friends, who are battling their battles and find it difficult to remain standing. This is to all of you who can't smile right now. I love you
Dusk Dec 2015
My darling, I will find you
underneath the burning sea.
I will know no rest
until I bring you safely home with me~
Julie Grenness Feb 2016
One fragment of my life,
I became a wife,
Nice day for a black wedding,
I 'achieved' the golden ring,
Did I marry for housework?
Is divorce all it's worth?
Way back when I was a wife,
One fragment of my life.
Feedback welcome.
Jack Jenkins Dec 2016
How can I love you with all my heart,
When there's only a fragment of it left?

Why were you always so scared to fall?
My promises weren't enough for you?

My heart has been broken so many times by you,
Yet with this remaining fragment I still love you?

How can this be?

I know there's no water in this pool of love,
But I'm still going to jump off the high board.

Someone please tell me they can set a broken leg.
Written 8 April 2016
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
It was a summer afternoon in Wester Ross. Two moments: one near, on tide-swept sands, with glorious and gloriously blue amalgams of sky and water; the other far, on a distant shore, a vista of sweeping rain and a gang of clouds marauding the hills. Near abouts: a meeting of warm land and cool sea over a deserted beach. There were midges of course, but on that day a lithe breeze kept them at bay. As she was discovering the chaotic delights of the disused Fishing Station, I was Charles Darwin standing on a deserted shore looking across to Tierra del Fuego. Not a sign of a dwelling, a boat, or even a person on the coastal footpath. A vast panorama spread beyond the edges of my unturning vision. Out on the grey blue water, I became Captain Vancouver sailing up the Inner Channel exploring and mapping every indent, nook and cranny of the double coast. Suddenly, five indians in their log canoe appeared paddling around the point, navigating by the feel of depth and the thrum of the current inches under their bare feet and bottoms.
 
This place, the larger vicinity, the region driven through, on and onwards, into and out towards landscapes vaster than anything I’d previously known in this small island; it had already staked its claim on my consciousness. I was transfixed. On my own, decent progress during a walk was almost impossible. I would stop every few moments aware that something new and different was going on. To miss anything seemed an affront to the sublime. I would walk early in the morning whilst she lay peacefully in bed, her arms stretched out on the blue-striped cover, her hands and fingers gently curved, at rest. This morning time was alive with a colourscape of silences, different shades of low-level noise. There is no camera able to catch the play of real all-surrounding images with those extensions of fantasy the imagination blends and stirs. No microphone can be sensitive enough to the surround sound in air and landscape, the faint breath of the sea, and the incessant conversation and playback of her tender evening voice in my thoughts. Here the past was invading the present, speculating on the future, our future.
 
I ventured inside the hut at the Fishing Station. Curious to see what she was up to. She was arranging, like children do, her found objects. Along the few shelves fixed to the corrugated iron walls her quiet hands placed and replaced, shifted and turned; then, the click of the camera, again click, adjust the focus, click. Ropes lay at her feet snake-like, hemp and nylon, that urgent orange, that too smooth blue, mounds of old fishing gear mostly unidentifiable, not an idea where the floor might be found, so completely covered. If there had been a door it was no more; just a gap in the wall, seaward.
 
These objects she arranged: screws, bolts, nails, strange keys, boltless nuts and nutless bolts, small bottles, a can or two. Everything hand-size, tarnished, rusted, some oiled, stained oil-black. I felt an intruder witnessing her preparations for a secret game, a ceremony of recording and removal. A kindly ‘do not disturb’ sign hung about her face; a blankness, a dream-like visage of the initiated, as though she held some premonition of this material’s importance, a treasure found in a shack of a shed, a ‘find’ she would collectively decode. Already this visit took on the character of a preliminary investigation. She began wrapping and tying some of the more unusual items in cloth, making mummies that in a few days she would return to and unwrap to find their imprint and press marked on the cloth.
 
We lost time in this place. Only the incoming tide was a clue to how the afternoon had advanced. The beach, at whose far end the station had been built, held a gentle new moon’s curve. The water’s encroachment of the beach became mesmeric; it was difficult to leave the looking until its tide journey had been completed. But we did, and wandering through the dune meadows, between the diffident cattle, past the remote farm at the end of the track, gate after gate, then the proper road, the twice a day post box, two houses set well back from the road, a woman leading a boy on a horse, up a rise, a lay-by with a camper van, walking backwards to keep the view to the red sand beach in our sights as the afternoon light began to turn from gold into auburn, then with fingers threaded into fingers down to the wooden cottage. And there, later, after love’s welcome and its celebration, stillness.
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Sherilyn Tan Nov 2011
Don't get him wrong,
it's not what you think.
He knows too well you're a fragment of
his imagination, an unreachable dream.
Not a second he'd thought ,
you'd care to glance this way.
Fred not, it's nothing,
hear not of what they say.
Words shoot like bullets,
out in this open space.
Save him some pride and dignity,
leave him some grace.
Like a barrier he'd built subconsciously,
he wouldn't step out there.
He care too much of what you'd think,
He care too much of those imaginary stares.
Don't get him wrong,
it's not what you think.
You're only ever close
to that fragment of his dream.
Michael R Burch Dec 2020
LOVE POEMS by Michael R. Burch

These are love poems by Michael R. Burch: original poems and translations about passion, desire, lust, ***, dating and marriage. On an amusing note, my steamy Baudelaire translations have become popular with the pros ― **** stars and escort services!



Sappho, fragment 42
translation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains
uprooting oaks.



Sappho, fragment 155
translation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!



Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.



Negligibles
by Michael R. Burch

Show me your most intimate items of apparel;
begin with the hem of your quicksilver slip ...



Warming Her Pearls
by Michael R. Burch

Warming her pearls,
her ******* gleam like constellations.
Her belly is a bit rotund ...
she might have stepped out of a Rubens.



She bathes in silver
by Michael R. Burch

She bathes in silver,
afloat
on her reflections ...



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?



The Effects of Memory
by Michael R. Burch

A black ringlet
curls to lie
at the nape of her neck,
glistening with sweat
in the evaporate moonlight ...
This is what I remember

now that I cannot forget.

And tonight,
if I have forgotten her name,
I remember:
rigid wire and white lace
half-impressed in her flesh ...

our soft cries, like regret,

... the enameled white clips
of her bra strap
still inscribe dimpled marks
that my kisses erase ...
now that I have forgotten her face.



Moments
by Michael R. Burch

There were moments full of promise,
like the petal-scented rainfall of early spring,
when to hold you in my arms and to kiss your willing lips
seemed everything.


There are moments strangely empty
full of pale unearthly twilight―how the cold stars stare!―

when to be without you is a dark enchantment
the night and I share.



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Righteous
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Once
by  Michael R. Burch

Once when her kisses were fire incarnate
and left in their imprint bright lipstick, and flame,
when her breath rose and fell over smoldering dunes,
leaving me listlessly sighing her name ...

Once when her ******* were as pale, as beguiling,
as wan rivers of sand shedding heat like a mist,
when her words would at times softly, mildly rebuke me
all the while as her lips did more wildly insist ...

Once when the thought of her echoed and whispered
through vast wastelands of need like a Bedouin chant,
I ached for the touch of her lips with such longing
that I vowed all my former vows to recant ...

Once, only once, something bloomed, of a desiccate seed―
this implausible blossom her wild rains of kisses decreed.



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.



Le Balcon (The Balcony)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Paramour of memory, ultimate mistress,
source of all pleasure, my only desire;
how can I forget your ecstatic caresses,
the warmth of your ******* by the roaring fire,
paramour of memory, ultimate mistress?

Each night illumined by the burning coals
we lay together where the rose-fragrance clings―
how soft your *******, how tender your soul!
Ah, and we said imperishable things,
each night illumined by the burning coals.

How beautiful the sunsets these sultry days,
deep space so profound, beyond life’s brief floods ...
then, when I kissed you, my queen, in a daze,
I thought I breathed the bouquet of your blood
as beautiful as sunsets these sultry days.

Night thickens around us like a wall;
in the deepening darkness our irises meet.
I drink your breath, ah! poisonous yet sweet!,
as with fraternal hands I massage your feet
while night thickens around us like a wall.

I have mastered the sweet but difficult art
of happiness here, with my head in your lap,
finding pure joy in your body, your heart;
because you’re the queen of my present and past
I have mastered love’s sweet but difficult art.

O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
Can these be reborn from a gulf we can’t sound
as suns reappear, as if heaven misses
their light when they sink into seas dark, profound?
O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!

My translation of Le Balcon has become popular with **** sites, escort services and dating sites. The pros seem to like it!



Les Bijoux (The Jewels)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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!



Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

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.

Manna is "heavenly bread" and leaven is what we use to make earthly bread rise. So this poem is saying that one's lover offers the best of heaven and earth.



Second Sight
by Michael R. Burch

I never touched you―
that was my mistake.

Deep within,
I still feel the ache.

Can an unformed thing
eternally break?

Now, from a great distance,
I see you again

not as you are now,
but as you were then―

eternally present
and Sovereign.



After the Deluge
by Michael R. Burch

She was kinder than light
to an up-reaching flower
and sweeter than rain
to the bees in their bower
where anemones blush
at the affections they shower,
and love’s shocking power.

She shocked me to life,
but soon left me to wither.
I was listless without her,
nor could I be with her.
I fell under the spell
of her absence’s power.
in that calamitous hour.

Like blithe showers that fled
repealing spring’s sweetness;
like suns’ warming rays sped
away, with such fleetness ...
she has taken my heart―
alas, our completeness!
I now wilt in pale beams
of her occult remembrance.



Love Has a Southern Flavor
by Michael R. Burch

Love has a Southern flavor: honeydew,
ripe cantaloupe, the honeysuckle’s spout
we tilt to basking faces to breathe out
the ordinary, and inhale perfume ...

Love’s Dixieland-rambunctious: tangled vines,
wild clematis, the gold-brocaded leaves
that will not keep their order in the trees,
unmentionables that peek from dancing lines ...

Love cannot be contained, like Southern nights:
the constellations’ dying mysteries,
the fireflies that hum to light, each tree’s
resplendent autumn cape, a genteel sight ...

Love also is as wild, as sprawling-sweet,
as decadent as the wet leaves at our feet.



Violets
by Michael R. Burch

Once, only once,
when the wind flicked your skirt
to an indiscrete height

and you laughed,
abruptly demure,
outblushing shocked violets:

suddenly,
I knew:
everything had changed

and as you braided your hair
into long bluish plaits
the shadows empurpled,

the dragonflies’
last darting feints
dissolving mid-air,

we watched the sun’s long glide
into evening,
knowing and unknowing.

O, how the illusions of love
await us in the commonplace
and rare

then haunt our small remainder of hours.



Smoke
by Michael R. Burch

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



How Long the Night
(anonymous Old English Lyric, circa early 13th century AD)
translation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts
with the mild pheasants' song ...
but now I feel the northern wind's blast―
its severe weather strong.
Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!
And I, because of my momentous wrong
now grieve, mourn and fast.



Shattered
by Vera Pavlova
translation by Michael R. Burch

I shattered your heart;
now I limp through the shards
barefoot.



Snapshots
by Michael R. Burch

Here I scrawl extravagant rainbows.
And there you go, skipping your way to school.
And here we are, drifting apart
like untethered balloons.

Here I am, creating "art,"
chanting in shadows,
pale as the crinoline moon,
ignoring your face.

There you go,
in diaphanous lace,
making another man’s heart swoon.
Suddenly, unthinkably, here he is,

taking my place.



Elemental
by Michael R. Burch

There is within her a welling forth
of love unfathomable.
She is not comfortable
with the thought of merely loving:
but she must give all.

At night, she heeds the storm's calamitous call;
nay, longs for it. Why?
O, if a man understood, he might understand her.
But that never would do!
Darling, as you embrace the storm,

so I embrace elemental you.



If
by Michael R. Burch

If I regret
fire in the sunset
exploding on the horizon,
then let me regret loving you.

If I forget
even for a moment
that you are the only one,
then let me forget that the sky is blue.

If I should yearn
in a season of discontentment
for the vagabond light of a companionless moon,
let dawn remind me that you are my sun.

If I should burn―one moment less brightly,
one instant less true―
then with wild scorching kisses,
inflame me, inflame me, inflame me anew.



Because You Came to Me
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Stay With Me Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

Stay with me tonight;
be gentle with me as the leaves are gentle
falling to the earth.
And whisper, O my love,
how that every bright thing, though scattered afar,
retains yet its worth.

Stay with me tonight;
be as a petal long-awaited blooming in my hand.
Lift your face to mine
and touch me with your lips
till I feel the warm benevolence of your breath’s
heady fragrance like wine.

That which we had
when pale and waning as the dying moon at dawn,
outshone the sun.
And so lead me back tonight
through bright waterfalls of light
to where we shine as one.



Insurrection
by Michael R. Burch

She has become as the night―listening
for rumors of dawn―while the dew, glistening,

reminds me of her, and the wind, whistling,
lashes my cheeks with its soft chastening.

She has become as the lights―flickering
in the distance―till memories old and troubling

rise up again and demand remembering ...
like peasants rebelling against a mad king.



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.



Daredevil
by Michael R. Burch

There are days that I believe
(and nights that I deny)
love is not mutilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There are tightropes leaps bereave―
taut wires strumming high
brief songs, infatuations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were cannon shots’ soirees,
hearts barricaded, wise . . .
and then . . . annihilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were nights our hearts conceived
dawns’ indiscriminate sighs.
To dream was our consolation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were acrobatic leaves
that tumbled down to lie
at our feet, bright trepidations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were hearts carved into trees―
tall stakes where you and I
left childhood’s salt libations . . .

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

Where once you scraped your knees;
love later bruised your thighs.
Death numbs all, our sedation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.



Duet, Minor Key
by Michael R. Burch

Without the drama of cymbals
or the fanfare and snares of drums,
I present my case
stripped of its fine veneer:
Behold, thy instrument.

Play, for the night is long.



honeybee
by Michael R. Burch

love was a little treble thing―
prone to sing
and (sometimes) to sting



don’t forget ...
by Michael R. Burch

don’t forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.

The opening lines were inspired by a famous love poem by e. e. cummings. I have dedicated this poem to my wife Beth, but you're welcome to dedicate it to the light-bending person of your choice, as long as you credit me as the author.



Sudden Shower
by Michael R. Burch

The day’s eyes were blue
until you appeared
and they wept at your beauty.



She Was Very Strange, and Beautiful
by Michael R. Burch

She was very strange, and beautiful,
like a violet mist enshrouding hills
before night falls
when the hoot owl calls
and the cricket trills
and the envapored moon hangs low and full.

She was very strange, in a pleasant way,
as the hummingbird
flies madly still,
so I drank my fill
of her every word.
What she knew of love, she demurred to say.

She was meant to leave, as the wind must blow,
as the sun must set,
as the rain must fall.
Though she gave her all,
I had nothing left . . .
yet I smiled, bereft, in her receding glow.



Isolde's Song
by Michael R. Burch

Through our long years of dreaming to be one
we grew toward an enigmatic light
that gently warmed our tendrils. Was it sun?
We had no eyes to tell; we loved despite
the lack of all sensation―all but one:
we felt the night's deep chill, the air so bright
at dawn we quivered limply, overcome.

To touch was all we knew, and how to bask.
We knew to touch; we grew to touch; we felt
spring's urgency, midsummer's heat, fall's lash,
wild winter's ice and thaw and fervent melt.
We felt returning light and could not ask
its meaning, or if something was withheld
more glorious. To touch seemed life's great task.

At last the petal of me learned: unfold.
And you were there, surrounding me. We touched.
The curious golden pollens! Ah, we touched,
and learned to cling and, finally, to hold.



Myth
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Heat Lightening
by Michael R. Burch

Each night beneath the elms, we never knew
which lights beyond dark hills might stall, advance,
then lurch into strange headbeams tilted up
like searchlights seeking contact in the distance . . .

Quiescent unions . . . thoughts of bliss, of hope . . .
long-dreamt appearances of wished-on stars . . .
like childhood’s long-occluded, nebulous
slow drift of half-formed visions . . . slip and bra . . .

Wan moonlight traced your features, perilous,
in danger of extinction, should your hair
fall softly on my eyes, or should a kiss
cause them to close, or should my fingers dare

to leave off childhood for some new design
of whiter lace, of flesh incarnadine.



Redolence
by Michael R. Burch

Now darkness ponds upon the violet hills;
cicadas sing; the tall elms gently sway;
and night bends near, a deepening shade of gray;
the bass concerto of a bullfrog fills
what silence there once was; globed searchlights play.

Green hanging ferns adorn dark window sills,
all drooping fronds, awaiting morning’s flares;
mosquitoes whine; the lissome moth again
flits like a veiled oud-dancer, and endures
the fumblings of night’s enervate gray rain.

And now the pact of night is made complete;
the air is fresh and cool, washed of the grime
of the city’s ashen breath; and, for a time,
the fragrance of her clings, obscure and sweet.



A Surfeit of Light
by Michael R. Burch

There was always a surfeit of light in your presence.
You stood distinctly apart, not of the humdrum world―
a chariot of gold in a procession of plywood.

We were all pioneers of the modern expedient race,
raising the ante: Home Depot to Lowe’s.
Yours was an antique grace―Thrace’s or Mesopotamia’s.

We were never quite sure of your silver allure,
of your trillium-and-platinum diadem,
of your utter lack of flatware-like utility.

You told us that night―your wound would not scar.
The black moment passed, then you were no more.
The darker the sky, how much brighter the Star!

The day of your funeral, I ripped out the crown mold.
You were this fool’s gold.



Desdemona
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

and strangled hope, where love dies too.



Unfoldings
by Michael R. Burch

for Vicki

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

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

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

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

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

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



Chloe
by Michael R. Burch

There were skies onyx at night ... moons by day ...
lakes pale as her eyes ... breathless winds
******* tall elms; ... she would say
that we loved, but I figured we’d sinned.

Soon impatiens too fiery to stay
sagged; the crocus bells drooped, golden-limned;
things of brightness, rinsed out, ran to gray ...
all the light of that world softly dimmed.

Where our feet were inclined, we would stray;
there were paths where dead weeds stood untrimmed,
distant mountains that loomed in our way,
thunder booming down valleys dark-hymned.

What I found, I found lost in her face
while yielding all my virtue to her grace.



If You Come to San Miguel
by Michael R. Burch

If you come to San Miguel
before the orchids fall,
we might stroll through lengthening shadows
those deserted streets
where love first bloomed ...

You might buy the same cheap musk
from that mud-spattered stall
where with furtive eyes the vendor
watched his fragrant wares
perfume your ******* ...

Where lean men mend tattered nets,
disgruntled sea gulls chide;
we might find that cafetucho
where through grimy panes
sunset implodes ...

Where tall cranes spin canvassed loads,
the strange anhingas glide.
Green brine laps splintered moorings,
rusted iron chains grind,
weighed and anchored in the past,

held fast by luminescent tides ...
Should you come to San Miguel?
Let love decide.



Vacuum
by Michael R. Burch

Over hushed quadrants
forever landlocked in snow,
time’s senseless winds blow ...

leaving odd relics of lives half-revealed,
if still mostly concealed ...
such are the things we are unable to know

that once intrigued us so.

Come then, let us quickly repent
of whatever truths we’d once determined to learn:
for whatever is left, we are unable to discern.

There’s nothing left of us here; it’s time to go.



The Sky Was Turning Blue
by Michael R. Burch

Yesterday I saw you
as the snow flurries died,
spent winds becalmed.
When I saw your solemn face
alone in the crowd,
I felt my heart, so long embalmed,
begin to beat aloud.

Was it another winter,
another day like this?
Was it so long ago?
Where you the rose-cheeked girl
who slapped my face, then stole a kiss?
Was the sky this gray with snow,
my heart so all a-whirl?

How is it in one moment
it was twenty years ago,
lost worlds remade anew?
When your eyes met mine, I knew
you felt it too, as though
we heard the robin's song
and the sky was turning blue.



Roses for a Lover, Idealized
by Michael R. Burch

When you have become to me
as roses bloom, in memory,
exquisite, each sharp thorn forgot,
will I recall―yours made me bleed?

When winter makes me think of you―
whorls petrified in frozen dew,
bright promises blithe spring forsook,
will I recall your words―barbed, cruel?



Nothing Returns
by Michael R. Burch

A wave implodes,
impaled upon
impassive rocks . . .

this evening
the thunder of the sea
is a wild music filling my ear . . .

you are leaving
and the ungrieving
winds demur:

telling me
that nothing returns
as it was before,

here where you have left no mark
upon this dark
Heraclitean shore.



First and Last
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

You are the last arcane rose
of my aching,
my longing,
or the first yellowed leaves―
vagrant spirals of gold
forming huddled bright sheaves;
you are passion forsaking
dark skies, as though sunsets no winds might enclose.

And still in my arms
you are gentle and fragrant―
demesne of my vigor,
spent rigor,
lost power,
fallen musculature of youth,
leaves clinging and hanging,
nameless joys of my youth to this last lingering hour.



Your Pull
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

You were like sunshine and rain―
begetting rainbows,
full of contradictions, like the intervals
between light and shadow.

That within you which I most opposed
drew me closer still,
as a magnet exerts its unyielding pull
on insensate steel.



Love Is Not Love
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Love is not love that never looked
within itself and questioned all,
curled up like a zygote in a ball,
throbbed, sobbed and shook.

(Or went on a binge at a nearby mall,
then would not cook.)

Love is not love that never winced,
then smiled, convinced
that soar’s the prerequisite of fall.

When all
its wounds and scars have been saline-rinsed,
where does Love find the wherewithal
to try again,
endeavor, when

all that it knows
is: O, because!



The Stake
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Love, the heart bets,
if not without regrets,
will still prove, in the end,
worth the light we expend
mining the dark
for an exquisite heart.



The One True Poem
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Love was not meaningless ...
nor your embrace, nor your kiss.

And though every god proved a phantom,
still you were divine to your last dying atom ...

So that when you are gone
and, yea, not a word remains of this poem,

even so,
We were One.



The Poem of Poems
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

This is my Poem of Poems, for you.
Every word ineluctably true:
I love you.



Published as the collection "Love Poems by Michael R. Burch"

Keywords/Tags: love, Eros, ******, erotica, passion, desire, lust, ***, dating, marriage, romance, romantic, romanticism
Liam C Calhoun Jul 2015
Flame to be tasted,
A carnal sunrise devours;
Likewise, she weeps hate.
Michael R Burch Dec 2020
These are my best poems, or at least my most popular poems, according to the Internet. A number of my poems and translations have gone viral, according to Google, and some have been copied onto hundreds to thousands of web pages. That’s a lot of cutting and pasting! The results below are the results returned by Google at the time I did the searches.



This poem has over 691,000 results for the eleventh line, its most unique. The poem also has over 623,000 results for the entire first stanza plus the eleventh line, so the vast majority of the results seem to be for my poem. I attribute the ultra-high number of results to the poem being published by Amnesty International, then being quoted in The Hindu, with its huge circulation, and subsequently being quoted in a number of other Indian newspapers and news services.

First They Came for the Muslims
by Michael R. Burch

after Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Muslims
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Muslim.

Then they came for the homosexuals
and I did not speak out
because I was not a homosexual.

Then they came for the feminists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a feminist.

Now when will they come for me
because I was too busy and too apathetic
to defend my sisters and brothers?

Published in Amnesty International’s Words That Burn anthology, and by Borderless Journal (India), The Hindu (India), Matters India, New Age Bangladesh, Convivium Journal, PressReader (India) and Kracktivist (India)

It is indeed an honor to have one of my poems published by an outstanding organization like Amnesty International. A stated goal for the anthology is to teach students about human rights through poetry. Here is a bit of background information: Words That Burn is an online poetry anthology and human rights educational resource for students and teachers created by Amnesty International in partnership with The Poetry Hour. Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization, with seven million supporters. This new webpage has been designed to "enable young people to explore human rights through poetry whilst developing their voice and skills as poets." This exemplary resource was inspired by the poetry anthology Words that Burn, curated by Josephine Hart of The Poetry Hour, which in turn was inspired by Thomas Gray's observation that "Poetry is thoughts that breathe and words that burn."



This original epigram at one time returned more than 37,000 results and currently returns over 2,000 results:

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.



This Sappho translation has more than 3,500 results:

Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains
uprooting oaks.



This original poem, which has become popular at Halloween, has nearly 3,000 results for the fifth line:

White in the Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

White in the shadows
I see your face,
unbidden. Go, tell
Love it is commonplace;
tell Regret it is not so rare.

Our love is not here
though you smile,
full of sedulous grace.
Lost in darkness, I fear
the past is our resting place.

Published by Carnelian, The Chained Muse, Poetry Life & Times, A-Poem-A-Day and in a YouTube video by Aurora G. with the titles “Ghost,” “White Goddess” and “White in the Shadows”



This Sappho translation has more than 1,700 results:

Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!



This Bertolt Brecht translation has more than 1,500 results:

The Burning of the Books
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he’d been excluded!

He rushed to his desk, full of contemptuous wrath,
to write fiery letters to the incompetents in power―
Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen―
Haven’t I always reported the truth?
Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
Burn me!



This original poem returns nearly 1,500 results for the first line:

Something
―for the children of the Holocaust and the Nakba
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

NOTE: This is, I think, the first poem I wrote which didn’t rhyme, and the only one for quite some time. I consider one of the best of my early poems; it was written in my late teens.



This original poem returns nearly 1,500 results:

Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts
The sea at night seems
an alembic of dreams—
the moans of the gulls,
the foghorns’ bawlings.

A century late
to be melancholy,
I watch the last shrimp boat as it steams
to safe harbor again.

In the twilight she gleams
with a festive light,
done with her trawlings,
ready to sleep...

Deep, deep, in delight
glide the creatures of night,
elusive and bright
as the poet’s dreams.

Published by The Lyric, Grassroots Poetry, Romantics Quarterly, Angle, Poetry Life & Times



This original poem has over 1,300 results:

Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.

This may be the first poem I wrote. I read the Bible from cover to cover at age 11, and it was a traumatic experience. But I can’t remember if I wrote the epigram then, or came up with it later. In any case, it was probably written between age 11 and 13, or thereabouts.



My translation of Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” returns over 1,300 results. It’s a bit long for this page but can be found online with a Google search like: Michael R. Burch Robert Burns translations.



This translation of the oldest extant English poem has over 1,250 results:

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!



This Faiz Ahmed Faiz translation has over 1,000 results:

Last Night
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Last night, your memory stole into my heart—
as spring sweeps uninvited into barren gardens,
as morning breezes reinvigorate dormant deserts,
as a patient suddenly feels better, for no apparent reason...



This Glaucus translation returns more than 1,000 results:

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
―Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus



This Yamaguchi Seishi translation returns over 1,000 results:

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



This original poem has more than 1,000 results:

Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this―
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live two artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her Tears...

Note: The phrase "frail envelope of flesh" was one of my first encounters with the power of poetry, although I read it in a superhero comic book as a young boy (I forget which one). More than thirty years later, the line kept popping into my head, so I wrote this poem. I have dedicated it to the mothers and children of Gaza and the Nakba. The word Nakba is Arabic for "Catastrophe."



This original epigram appears on a number of quote sites and returns nearly 1,000 results:

"Here and Hereafter" aka "Saving Graces"
by Michael R. Burch

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter ...
wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter.

I have dedicated the epigram above to the so-called Religious Right and Moral Majority.

Published by Shot Glass Journal, Brief Poems, Poem Today, Tennessee Poetry Society, Canucks Corner (Canada), AZquotes, IdleHearts, Inspiring Quotes, QuoteMaster, QuoteStats, MoreFamousQuotes


This William Dunbar translation has nearly 1,000 results for the second line; it appears in the top ten romantic poems of all time at PoemAnalysis, and in the top 20 sonnets of all time at StoryMirror.

Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar (1460-1525)
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sweet rose of virtue and of gentleness,
delightful lily of youthful wantonness,
richest in bounty and in beauty clear
and in every virtue that is held most dear―
except only that you are merciless.

Into your garden, today, I followed you;
there I saw flowers of freshest hue,
both white and red, delightful to see,
and wholesome herbs, waving resplendently―
yet everywhere, no odor but rue.

I fear that March with his last arctic blast
has slain my fair rose of pallid and gentle cast,
whose piteous death does my heart such pain
that, if I could, I would compose her roots again―
so comforting her bowering leaves have been.

Published by Poet’s Corner, A Long Story Short, Poetry Magnum Opus, PoemAnalysis, Poemist, StoryMirror, Vajhu, PoetBay, Timeless Poetry, Orange Turtle, and turned into a YouTube video by Sarah Ahmed of the Livingstone Sonnet Project, into a rap/singing YouTube video by Jenna Thiel and Jake Owens, and into a YouTube poetry reading by Jordan Harling



This light verse response to Philip Larkin’s “Aubade” has nearly 1,000 results:

Abide
by Michael R. Burch

after Philip Larkin's "Aubade"

It is hard to understand or accept mortality—
such an alien concept: not to be.
Perhaps unsettling enough to spawn religion,
or to scare mutant fish out of a primordial sea
boiling like goopy green tea in a kettle.
Perhaps a man should exhibit more mettle
than to admit such fear, denying Nirvana exists
simply because we are stuck here in such a fine fettle.
And so we abide...
even in life, staring out across that dark brink.
And if the thought of death makes your questioning heart sink,
it is best not to drink
(or, drinking, certainly not to think).

Originally published by Light Quarterly



This love poem has nearly 1,000 results:

don’t forget...
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

don’t forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.



These two epigrams had a nicely symmetrical 888 results at the time I posted this:

Feathered Fiends I
by Michael R. Burch

Conformists of a feather
flock together.

Winner of the National Poetry Month Couplet Competition

Feathered Fiends II
by Michael R. Burch

Fascists of a feather
flock together.



This poem won a big Penguin Books (UK) Valentine poetry contest and returns over 800 results for the first line:

Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

There never was a fonder smile
than mother’s smile, no softer touch
than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
and know she loves you more than “much.”

So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
Though tender words, these do not speak
of love at all, nor how we fall
and mother’s there, nor how we reach
from nightmares in the ticking night
and she is there to hold us tight.

There never was a stronger back
than father’s back, that held our weight
and lifted us, when we were small,
and bore us till we reached the gate,
then held our hands that first bright mile
till we could run, and did, and flew.
But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
will leap and follow after you!


This translation of an ancient English poem has over 800 results:

This World's Joy
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa the early 14th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter awakens all my care
as leafless trees grow bare.
For now my sighs are fraught
whenever it enters my thought:
regarding this world's joy,
how everything comes to naught.



This original Hiroshima poem has nearly 800 results:

Lucifer, to the Enola Gay
by Michael R. Burch

Go then,
and give them my meaning
so that their teeming
streets
become my city.
Bring back a pretty
flower—
a chrysanthemum,
perhaps, to bloom
if but an hour,
within a certain room
of mine
where
the sun does not rise or fall,
and the moon,
although it is content to shine,
helps nothing at all.
There,
if I hear the wistful call
of their voices
regretting choices
made
or perhaps not made
in time,
I can look back upon it and recall,
in all
its pale forms sublime,
still
Death will never be holy again.

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



This original epigram returns over 750 results:

Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

It’s not that every leaf must finally fall,
it’s just that we can never catch them all.



This translation of a Middle English poem has more than 700 results:

How Long the Night
(anonymous Middle English poem, circa early 13th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts
with the mild pheasants' song...
but now I feel the northern wind's blast―
its severe weather strong.
Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!
And I, because of my momentous wrong
now grieve, mourn and fast.



This Sappho translation has over 700 results:

Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.



This original poem has over 700 results for the first line:

Child of 9-11
by Michael R. Burch

a poem for Christina-Taylor Green, who
was born on September 11, 2001 and who
died at age nine, shot to death...

Child of 9-11, beloved,
I bring this lily, lay it down
here at your feet, and eiderdown,
and all soft things, for your gentle spirit.
I bring this psalm―I hope you hear it.

Much love I bring―I lay it down
here by your form, which is not you,
but what you left this shell-shocked world
to help us learn what we must do
to save another child like you.

Child of 9-11, I know
you are not here, but watch, afar
from distant stars, where angels rue
the evil things some mortals do.
I also watch; I also rue.

And so I make this pledge and vow:
though I may weep, I will not rest
nor will my pen fail heaven's test
till guns and wars and hate are banned
from every shore, from every land.

Child of 9-11, I grieve
your tender life, cut short... bereaved,
what can I do, but pledge my life
to saving lives like yours? Belief
in your sweet worth has led me here...

I give my all: my pen, this tear,
this lily and this eiderdown,
and all soft things my heart can bear;
I bring them to your final bier,
and leave them with my promise, here.



My Plato translation (or “take” on Plato) has over 650 results:

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



This translation returns over 650 results:

Distant Light
by Walid Khazindar
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bitterly cold,
winter clings to the naked trees.
If only you would free
the bright sparrows
from your fingertips
and unleash a smile—that shy, tentative smile—
from the imprisoned anguish I see.
Sing! Can we not sing
as if we were warm, hand-in-hand,
sheltered by shade from a sweltering sun?
Can you not always remain this way,
stoking the fire, more beautiful than expected, in reverie?
Darkness increases and we must remain vigilant
now that this distant light is our sole consolation—
this imperiled flame, which from the beginning
has been flickering,
in danger of going out.
Come to me, closer and closer.
I don't want to be able to tell my hand from yours.
And let's stay awake, lest the snow smother us.



This epigram has over 600 results for the first line:

Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

If we strip away all the accouterments of war,
perhaps we’ll discover what the heart is for.



This prayer poem has over 600 results and has been set to music and performed at a charity benefit for hurricane victims:

I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

I pray tonight
the starry Light
might
surround you.

I pray
by day
that, come what may,
no dark thing confound you.

I pray ere the morrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels' white chorales
sing, and astound you.





This original poem has over 600 results:

I, Too, Have a Dream
by Michael R. Burch writing as “The Child Poets of Gaza”

I, too, have a dream...
that one day Jews and Christians
will see me as I am:
a small child, lonely and afraid,
staring down the barrels of their big bazookas,
knowing I did nothing
to deserve their enmity.


This original poem has nearly 600 results:

Like Angels, Winged
by Michael R. Burch

Like angels—winged,
shimmering, misunderstood—
they flit beyond our understanding
being neither evil, nor good.

They are as they are...
and we are their lovers, their prey;
they seek us out when the moon is full;
they dream of us by day.

Their eyes—hypnotic, alluring—
trap ours with their strange appeal
till like flame-drawn moths, we gather...
to see, to touch, to feel.

And in their arms, enchanted,
we feel their lips, grown old,
till with their gorging kisses
we warm them, growing cold.



These Einstein limericks have over 500 results:

The Cosmological Constant
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
said E equals MC squared.
Thus all mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my *** declared!

Asstronomical
by Michael R. Burch

Relativity, the theorists’ creed,
says mass increases with speed.
My (m)*** grows when I sit it.
Mr. Einstein, get with it;
equate its deflation, I plead!

Relative to Whom?
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein’s theory, incredibly silly,
says a relative grows *****-nilly
at speeds close to light.
Well, his relatives might,
but mine grow their (m)***** more stilly!



This poem has over 500 results:

Neglect
by Michael R. Burch

What good are tears?
Will they spare the dying their anguish?

What use, our concern
to a child sick of living, waiting to perish?

What good, the warm benevolence of tears
without action?

What help, the eloquence of prayers,
or a pleasant benediction?

Before this day is over,
how many more will die
with bellies swollen, emaciate limbs,
and eyes too parched to cry?

I fear for our souls
as I hear the faint lament
of theirs departing...
mournful, and distant.

How pitiful our "effort,"
yet how fatal its effect.
If they died, then surely we killed them,
if only with neglect.



This Matsuo Basho haiku translation has nearly 500 results:

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This original poem has over 500 results:

Distances
by Michael R. Burch

Moonbeams on water —
the reflected light
of a halcyon star
now drowning in night...
So your memories are.

Footprints on beaches
now flooding with water;
the small, broken ribcage
of some primitive slaughter...
So near, yet so far.



This original poem has over 500 results:

***** Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

for the Demiurge, aka Yahweh/Jehovah

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?



This Allama Iqbal translation has nearly 500 results for the second line:

Withered Roses
by Allama Iqbal
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What words of mine can describe you,
desire of the nightingale's heart?
The morning breeze was your nativity,
the afternoon garden, a tray of perfumes.
My tears welled up like dew,
till in my abandoned heart your rune grew,
this dream-emblem of love:
this spray of withered roses.



This epigram/joke has over 400 results:

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



This **** Baudelaire translation has become popular with **** stars, escort sites and dating services, and has more than 400 results:

Le Balcon (The Balcony)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Paramour of memory, ultimate mistress,
source of all pleasure, my only desire;
how can I forget your ecstatic caresses,
the warmth of your ******* by the roaring fire,
paramour of memory, ultimate mistress?

Each night illumined by the burning coals
we lay together where the rose-fragrance clings—
how soft your *******, how tender your soul!
Ah, and we said imperishable things,
each night illumined by the burning coals.

How beautiful the sunsets these sultry days,
deep space so profound, beyond life’s brief floods...
then, when I kissed you, my queen, in a daze,
I thought I breathed the bouquet of your blood
as beautiful as sunsets these sultry days.

Night thickens around us like a wall;
in the deepening darkness our irises meet.
I drink your breath, ah! poisonous yet sweet!,
as with fraternal hands I massage your feet
while night thickens around us like a wall.

I have mastered the sweet but difficult art
of happiness here, with my head in your lap,
finding pure joy in your body, your heart;
because you’re the queen of my present and past
I have mastered love’s sweet but difficult art.

O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
Can these be reborn from a gulf we can’t sound
as suns reappear, as if heaven misses
their light when they sink into seas dark, profound?
O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!



This original poem has over 400 results:

What the Poet Sees
by Michael R. Burch

What the poet sees,
he sees as a swimmer
~~~underwater~~~
watching the shoreline blur
sees through his breath’s weightless bubbles...
Both worlds grow obscure.



This original poem I wrote as a teenager has almost 400 results:

The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

This is one of my early poems ; I believe it was probably written during my first two years in college, making me 18 or 19 at the time.



This poem I wrote as a teenager has almost 400 results:

Leave Taking
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

have learned what it means to say—
goodbye.

Several of my early poems were about aging, loss and death. Young poets can be so morbid! Like "Death/Styx" this poem is the parings of a longer poem. I think the sounds here are pretty good for a young poet "testing his wings." This poem started out as a stanza in a much longer poem, "Jessamyn's Song," that dates to around age 14 or 15.



This Matsuo Basho haiku translation has more than 400 results:

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



This original Holocaust poem returns over 400 results:

Auschwitz Rose
by Michael R. Burch

There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar,
a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name.
The world forgot her, and is not the same.
I still love her and extend this sacred fire
to keep her memory exalted flame
unmolested by the thistles and the nettles.

On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles!
They sleep alike―diminutive and tall,
the innocent, the "surgeons." Sleeping, all.

Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals,
if accidents of coloration, gall
my heart no less. Amid thick weeds and muck
there lies a rose man's crackling lightning struck:
the only Rose I ever longed to pluck.
Soon I'll bed there and bid the world "Good Luck."


This original poem has over 400 results:

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.

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



This translation has over 400 results:

Adam Lay Ybounden
(anonymous Medieval English Lyric, circa early 15th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Adam lay bound, bound in a bond;
Four thousand winters, he thought, were not too long.
And all was for an apple, an apple that he took,
As clerics now find written in their book.
But had the apple not been taken, or had it never been,
We'd never have had our Lady, heaven's queen.
So blesséd be the time the apple was taken thus;
Therefore we sing, "God is gracious!"



This original epigram has over 350 results:

The Whole of Wit
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Moore

If brevity is the soul of wit
then brevity and levity
are the whole of it.

Published by Shot Glass Journal, Brief Poems, AZquotes, IdleHearts, JarOfQuotes, QuoteFancy, QuoteMaster



This translation of a Holocaust poem has nearly 300 results:

Speechless
by Ko Un
translation by Michael R. Burch

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



This original poem has more than 300 results:

Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty...
what do we know of love,
or duty?



This original poem has more than 300 results:

escape!
by michael r. burch

for anaïs vionet

to live among the daffodil folk...
slip down the rainslickened drainpipe...
suddenly pop out
the GARGANTUAN SPOUT...
minuscule as alice, shout
yippee-yi-yee!
in wee exultant glee
to be leaving behind the
LARGE
THREE-DENALI GARAGE.



This Matsuo Basho haiku translation has more than 300 results:

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



This haiku translation has more than 300 results:

Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I'd leap into the torrent!
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This translation of an Anacreon epigram has over 300 results:

Here he lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.
—Anacreon, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This 9–11 poem has over 300 results:

Charon 2001
by Michael R. Burch

I, too, have stood—paralyzed at the helm
watching onrushing, inevitable disaster.
I too have felt sweat (or ecstatic tears) plaster
damp hair to my eyes, as a slug’s dense film
becomes mucous-insulate. Always, thereafter
living in darkness, bright things overwhelm.

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea



This “almost” limerick has over 300 results:

Caveat Spender
by Michael R. Burch

It’s better not to speculate
"continually" on who is great.
Though relentless awe’s
a Célèbre Cause,
please reserve some time for the contemplation
of the perils of EXAGGERATION.



This little poetic snapshot has over 300 results:

Warming Her Pearls
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Warming her pearls, her *******
gleam like constellations.
Her belly is a bit rotund...
she might have stepped out of a Rubens.



This vampire poem, popular at Halloween, has nearly 300 results:

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...



This Fukuda Chiyo-ni haiku translation has nearly 300 results:

Ah butterfly!
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
― Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



This translation of the Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan has over 300 results:

Enough for Me
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Enough for me to lie in the earth,
to be buried in her,
to sink meltingly into her fecund soil, to vanish...
only to spring forth like a flower
brightening the play of my countrymen's children.
Enough for me to remain
in my native soil's embrace,
to be as close as a handful of dirt,
a sprig of grass,
a wildflower.



This translation of a poem by the Kurdish poet Kajal Ahmad has over 300 results:

Mirror
by Kajal Ahmad, a Kurdish poet
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My era's obscuring mirror
shattered
because it magnified the small
and made the great seem insignificant.
Dictators and monsters filled its contours.
Now when I breathe
its jagged shards pierce my heart
and instead of sweat
I exude glass.



This original poem has over 300 results:

Regret
by Michael R. Burch

Regret,
a bitter
ache to bear...
once starlight
languished
in your hair...
a shining there
as brief
as rare.

Regret...
a pain
I chose to bear...
unleash
the torrent
of your hair...
and show me
once again—
how rare.



This original poem, popular at Valentine’s Day, has nearly 300 results:

Let Me Give Her Diamonds
by Michael R. Burch

Let me give her diamonds
for my heart's
sharp edges.

Let me give her roses
for my soul's
thorn.

Let me give her solace
for my words
of treason.

Let the flowering of love
outlast a winter
season.

Let me give her books
for all my lack
of reason.

Let me give her candles
for my lack
of fire.

Let me kindle incense,
for our hearts
require

the breath-fanned
flaming perfume
of desire.



This original poem has nearly 300 results:

Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

for Anaïs Vionet

Desire glides in on calico wings,
a breath of a moth
seeking a companionable light,
where it hovers, unsure,
sullen, shy or demure,
in the margins of night,
a soft blur.

With a frantic dry rattle
of alien wings,
it rises and thrums one long breathless staccato
and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.

And yet it returns
to the flame, its delight,
as long as it burns.



This original poem has nearly 300 results:

Multiplication, Tabled
by Michael R. Burch

(for the Religious Right)

“Be fruitful and multiply”—
great advice, for a fruitfly!
But for women and men,
simple Simons, say, “WHEN!”



This Vera Pavlova translation has over 250 results:

Shattered
by Vera Pavlova
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I shattered your heart;
now I limp through the shards
barefoot.



These Holocaust poem translations of Miklos Radnoti have over 200 results each:

Postcard 1
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Out of Bulgaria, the great wild roar of the artillery thunders,
resounds on the mountain ridges, rebounds, then ebbs into silence
while here men, beasts, wagons and imagination all steadily increase;
the road whinnies and bucks, neighing; the maned sky gallops;
and you are eternally with me, love, constant amid all the chaos,
glowing within my conscience―incandescent, intense.
Somewhere within me, dear, you abide forever―
still, motionless, mute, like an angel stunned to silence by death
or a beetle hiding in the heart of a rotting tree.



Postcard 2
by Miklós Radnóti
written October 6, 1944 near Crvenka, Serbia
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A few miles away they're incinerating
the haystacks and the houses,
while squatting here on the fringe of this pleasant meadow,
the shell-shocked peasants sit quietly smoking their pipes.
Now, here, stepping into this still pond, the little shepherd girl
sets the silver water a-ripple
while, leaning over to drink, her flocculent sheep
seem to swim like drifting clouds.



Postcard 3
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The oxen dribble ****** spittle;
the men pass blood in their ****.
Our stinking regiment halts, a horde of perspiring savages,
adding our aroma to death's repulsive stench.



Postcard 4
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I toppled beside him―his body already taut,
tight as a string just before it snaps,
shot in the back of the head.
"This is how you’ll end too; just lie quietly here,"
I whispered to myself, patience blossoming from dread.
"Der springt noch auf," the voice above me jeered;
I could only dimly hear
through the congealing blood slowly sealing my ear.

This was his final poem, written October 31, 1944 near Szentkirályszabadja, Hungary. "Der springt noch auf" means something like "That one is still twitching."



This poetic tribute to Muhammad Ali has over 250 results:

Ali’s Song
by Michael R. Burch

They say that gold don’t tarnish. It ain’t so.
They say it has a wild, unearthly glow.
A man can be more beautiful, more wild.
I flung their medal to the river, child.
I flung their medal to the river, child.

They hung their coin around my neck; they made
my name a bridle, “called a ***** a *****.”
They say their gold is pure. I say defiled.
I flung their slave’s name to the river, child.
I flung their slave’s name to the river, child.

Ain’t got no quarrel with no Viet Cong
that never called me ******, did me wrong.
A man can’t be lukewarm, ’cause God hates mild.
I flung their notice to the river, child.
I flung their notice to the river, child.

They said, “Now here’s your bullet and your gun,
and there’s your cell: we’re waiting, you choose one.”
At first I groaned aloud, but then I smiled.
I gave their “future” to the river, child.
I gave their “future” to the river, child.

My face reflected up, dark bronze like gold,
a coin God stamped in His own image—BOLD.
My blood boiled like that river—strange and wild.
I died to hate in that dark river, child,
Come, be reborn in this bright river, child.

Originally published by Black Medina



This translation of a Native American poem has nearly 250 results:

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will extract the thorns from your feet.
For yet a little while, we will walk life's sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.

Published by Better Than Starbucks, Setu (India), A Hundred Voices and The Cherokee Native Americans and Their Descendants



This poem about US involvement in an ongoing Holocaust has over 200 results:

who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

jesus was born
a palestinian child
where there’s no Room
for the meek and the mild

... and in bethlehem still
to this day, lambs are born
to cries of “no Room!”
and Puritanical scorn...

under Herod, Trump, Bibi
their fates are the same —
the slouching Beast mauls them
and WE have no shame:
“who’s to blame?”



This Ō no Yasumaro translation has over 200 results:

While you decline to cry,
high on the mountainside
a single stalk of plumegrass wilts.
―Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



These Sappho translations have over 200 results:

Sappho, fragment 156
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.



Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.



This Parmenio translation has over 200 results:

Be ashamed, O mountains and seas,
that these valorous men lack breath.
Assume, like pale chattels,
an ashen silence at death.
—Michael R. Burch, after Parmenio



This original epigram has over 200 results:

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



This original epigram has over 200 results:

Laughter’s Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.



This original poem about King Arthur’s mysterious origins has over 200 results:

At Tintagel
by Michael R. Burch

That night,
at Tintagel,
there was darkness such as man had never seen ...
darkness and treachery,
and the unholy thundering of the sea ...

In his arms,
who can say how much she knew?
And if he whispered her name ...
“Ygraine!”
... could she tell above the howling wind and rain?

Could she tell, or did she care,
by the length of his hair
or the heat of his flesh, ...
that her faceless companion
was Uther, the dragon,
and Gorlois lay dead?

Originally published by Songs of Innocence



This original poem I wrote for my wife Beth has over 200 results:

Enigma
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

O, terrible angel,
bright lover and avenger,
full of whimsical light
and vile anger;
wild stranger,
seeking the solace of night,
or the danger;
pale foreigner,
alien to man, or savior.

Who are you,
seeking consolation and passion
in the same breath,
screaming for pleasure, bereft
of all articles of faith,
finding life
harsher than death?

Grieving angel,
giving more than taking,
how lucky the man
who has found in your love,
this—our reclamation;
fallen wren,
you must strive to fly
though your heart is shaken;
weary pilgrim,
you must not give up
though your feet are aching;
lonely child,
lie here still in my arms;
you must soon be waking.



Other poems, epigrams and translations with more than 100 results:



Hymn for Fallen Soldiers
by Michael R. Burch

Sound the awesome cannons.
Pin medals to each breast.
Attention, honor guard!
Give them a hero’s rest.
Recite their names to the heavens
Till the stars acknowledge their kin.
Then let the land they defended
Gather them in again.

When I learned there’s an American military organization, the DPAA (Defense/POW/MIA Accounting Agency) that is still finding and bringing home the bodies of soldiers who died serving their country in World War II, after blubbering like a baby, I managed to eke out this poem.



Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses’
recesses
are not for excesses!



pretty pickle
by michael r. burch

u’d blaspheme if u could
because ur God’s no good,
but of course u cant:
ur a lowly ant
(or so u were told by a Hierophant).




My Nightmare...
by Michael R. Burch writing as “The Child Poets of Gaza”

I had a dream of Jesus!
Mama, his eyes were so kind!
But behind him I saw a billion Christians
hissing "You're nothing!," so blind.



Once fanaticism has gangrened brains
the incurable malady invariably remains.
—Voltaire, translation by Michael R. Burch



Nod to the Master
by Michael R. Burch

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



Snapshots
by Michael R. Burch

Here I scrawl extravagant rainbows.
And there you go, skipping your way to school.

And here we are, drifting apart
like untethered balloons.

Here I am, creating "art,"
chanting in shadows,
pale as the crinoline moon,
ignoring your face.

There you go,
in diaphanous lace,
making another man’s heart swoon.

Suddenly, unthinkably, here he is,
taking my place.



Indestructible, for Johnny Cash
by Michael R. Burch

What is a mountain, but stone?
Or a spire, but a trinket of steel?
Johnny Cash is gone,
black from his hair to his bootheels.

Can a man out-endure mountains’ stone
if his songs lift us closer to heaven?
Can the steel in his voice vibrate on
till his words are our manna and leaven?

Then sing, all you mountains of stone,
with the rasp of his voice, and the gravel.
Let the twang of thumbed steel lead us home
through these weary dark ways all men travel.

For what is a mountain, but stone?
Or a spire, but a trinket of steel?
Johnny Cash lives on—
black from his hair to his bootheels.



Wulf and Eadwacer
ancient Old English (Anglo-Saxon) poem, circa 990 AD
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My clan's curs pursue him like crippled game;
they'll rip him apart if he approaches their pack.
It is otherwise with us.

Wulf's on one island; we're on another.
His island's a fortress, fastened by fens. (fastened=secured)
Here, bloodthirsty curs howl for carnage.
They'll rip him apart if he approaches their pack.
It is otherwise with us.

My hopes pursued Wulf like panting hounds,
but whenever it rained—how I wept!
the boldest cur clutched me in his paws:
good feelings for him, but for me loathsome!

Wulf, O, my Wulf, my ache for you
has made me sick; your seldom-comings
have left me famished, deprived of real meat.
Have you heard, Eadwacer? Watchdog!
A wolf has borne our wretched whelp to the woods.
One can easily sever what never was one:
our song together.



Observance
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Discrimination
by Michael R. Burch

The meter I had sought to find, perplexed,
was ripped from books of "verse" that read like prose.
I found it in sheet music, in long rows
of hologramic CDs, in sad wrecks
of long-forgotten volumes undisturbed
half-centuries by archivists, unscanned.
I read their fading numbers, frowned, perturbed—
why should such tattered artistry be banned?
I heard the sleigh bells’ jingles, vampish ads,
the supermodels’ babble, Seuss’s books
extolled in major movies, blurbs for abs...
A few poor thinnish journals crammed in nooks
are all I’ve found this late to sell to those
who’d classify free verse "expensive prose."

Originally published by The Chariton Review



Will There Be Starlight
by Michael R. Burch

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
damask
and lilac
and sweet-scented heathers?

And will she find flowers,
or will she find thorns
guarding the petals
of roses unborn?

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
seashells
and mussels
and albatross feathers?

And will she find treasure
or will she find pain
at the end of this rainbow
of moonlight on rain?



Ebb Tide
by Michael R. Burch

Massive, gray, these leaden waves
bear their unchanging burden—
the sameness of each day to day
while the wind seems to struggle to say
something half-submerged planks at the mouth of the bay
might nuzzle limp seaweed to understand.
Now collapsing dull waves drain away
from the unenticing land;
shrieking gulls shadow fish through salt spray—
whitish streaks on a fogged silver mirror.
Sizzling lightning impresses its brand.
Unseen fingers scribble something in the wet sand.

Originally published by Southwest Review



Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Playmates
by Michael R. Burch

WHEN you were my playmate and I was yours,
we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and the sorrows and cares of our indentured days
were uncomprehended... far, far away...
for the temptations and trials we had yet to face
were lost in the shadows of an unventured maze.
Then simple pleasures were easy to find
and if they cost us a little, we didn't mind;
for even a penny in a pocket back then
was one penny too many, a penny to spend.
Then feelings were feelings and love was just love,
not a strange, complex mystery to be understood;
while "sin" and "damnation" meant little to us,
since forbidden cookies were our only lusts!
Then we never worried about what we had,
and we were both sure—what was good, what was bad.
And we sometimes quarreled, but we didn't hate;
we seldom gave thought to the uncertainties of fate.
Hell, we seldom thought about the next day,
when tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things couldn't last.
Still, we never worried about getting by,
and we didn't know that we were to die...
when we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and I was your playmate, and we were boys.

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

Keywords/Tags: Michael Burch, popular, most popular, poems, epigrams, translations, quotes, Google, Internet, journals, literary journals, blogs, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, mrbpop, mrbbest, mrbest
Aerinlia Nov 2017
The hands of the clock point to one
Ah, tonight is just another sleepless night
As always, I only heave a sigh
Holding a fragment of loneliness
Tightly to my heart

I am forlorn, I am alone
Yet I can't bring myself to trust anyone
If I let my tears flow
If I can forgive myself
Will I let go of this fragment of loneliness?

Till I meet you,
I realized for the first time
That I can be happy too
I can smile, I can love you
And we can be happy together

I'll just tell you now
Don't leave me
I beg you to stay
I can't bear to lose you
Let us be together for eternity

You take my fragment of loneliness away
Creating a new story
A new memory to remember
Now I finally understand
What is romance.
this may be my final poem, i give up on poetry
Ugo Victor Feb 2016
I am a nerd
Who finds pleasure in books of fiction
Of life in fiction
Of pain from fiction
A fragment of my being
I am nothing without a book

I am a nerd
Who finds pleasure in comic books
Whose mind comes alive in their pages
Of heroes and their sidekicks
Of villains and their lovely vile
I am nothing without a book

I am a nerd
Who finds pleasure in rock as a religion
It's transitions and it's leads
Metal as a denomination
So electric; I come
Alive over and again
I am nothing without my music

I am a nerd
Who finds pleasure in Mangas
Their Naive heroes and their half clad villains
Their pervasions and their strengths
Their one-on-one battles and defeats
Their awesome storytelling and the twists
I am nothing without my Manga

I am a nerd
Who finds pleasure in video games
The difficulty levels and their walkthroughs
The vibrations and the boss fights
The sleepless nights and the highs
The shouts of victory and the barrage of curses
I am nothing without my Video games

I am a nerd
Who finds pleasure in surfing
The endless chasm of the world wide
Web, of knowledge and terrifying ignorance
Of horrors and uplifting humor
From one end to the never ending
I am nothing without the Internet

I am proud to be all of these and more

I Am Nerd.
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
My most popular poems on the Internet, according to Google ...

A number of my poems and translations have gone viral, according to Google, and some have been copied onto hundreds of web pages. That’s a lot of cutting and pasting, which suggests someone likes the writing enough to take the time to share it …

This translation returns over 1,000 results, according to Google:

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
― Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



This translation of a Sappho epigram returns more than 500 results, according to Google:

Sappho, fragment 42
translation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains
uprooting oaks.



This original epigram returns more than 400 results:

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.



My translation/interpretation/modernization of Robert Burns’s “To a Mouse” also has more than 400 results.



This epigram returns more than 300 results:

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus



This poem, based on a phrase I found in a comic book as a boy, returns more than 300 results:

Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable ...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this—
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss ...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live two artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her Tears ...

Note: The phrase "frail envelope of flesh" was one of my first encounters with the power of poetry, although I read it in a superhero comic book as a young boy (I forget which one). More than thirty years later, the line kept popping into my head, so I wrote this poem. I have dedicated it to the mothers and children of Gaza and the Nakba. The word Nakba is Arabic for "Catastrophe."



Others with more than 100 results:

Speechless
by Ko Un
translation by Michael R. Burch

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



Shattered
by Vera Pavlova
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I shattered your heart;
now I limp through the shards
barefoot.



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



The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



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



Ah butterfly,
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
― Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



While you decline to cry,
high on the mountainside
a single stalk of plumegrass wilts.
―Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



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



How Long the Night
(anonymous Middle English poem, circa early 13th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts
with the mild pheasants' song ...
but now I feel the northern wind's blast—
its severe weather strong.
Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!
And I, because of my momentous wrong
now grieve, mourn and fast.



The Burning of the Books
by Bertolt Brecht
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he’d been excluded!

He rushed to his desk, full of contemptuous wrath,
to write fiery letters to the incompetents in power —
Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen —
Haven’t I always reported the truth?
Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
Burn me!



Auschwitz Rose
by Michael R. Burch

There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar,
a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name.
The world forgot her, and is not the same.
I still love her and extend this sacred fire
to keep her memory exalted flame
unmolested by the thistles and the nettles.

On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles!
They sleep alike—diminutive and tall,
the innocent, the "surgeons." Sleeping, all.

Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals,
if accidents of coloration, gall
my heart no less. Amid thick weeds and muck
there lies a rose man's crackling lightning struck:
the only Rose I ever longed to pluck.
Soon I'll bed there and bid the world "Good Luck."



Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses’
recesses
are not for excesses!



Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.



Asstronomical
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
proved E equals MC squared.
And so mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my *** declared!



Like Angels, Winged
by Michael R. Burch

Like angels—winged,
shimmering, misunderstood—
they flit beyond our understanding
being neither evil, nor good.

They are as they are ...
and we are their lovers, their prey;
they seek us out when the moon is full;
they dream of us by day.

Their eyes—hypnotic, alluring—
trap ours with their strange appeal
till like flame-drawn moths, we gather ...
to see, to touch, to feel.

And in their arms, enchanted,
we feel their lips, grown old,
till with their gorging kisses
we warm them, growing cold.



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 ...



Neglect
by Michael R. Burch

What good are tears?
Will they spare the dying their anguish?
What use, our concern
to a child sick of living, waiting to perish?

What good, the warm benevolence of tears
without action?
What help, the eloquence of prayers,
or a pleasant benediction?

Before this day is over,
how many more will die
with bellies swollen, emaciate limbs,
and eyes too parched to cry?

I fear for our souls
as I hear the faint lament
of theirs departing ...
mournful, and distant.

How pitiful our "effort,"
yet how fatal its effect.
If they died, then surely we killed them,
if only with neglect.



Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!



Sappho, fragment 156
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.



Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.



Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.



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



Sweet Rose of Virtue
by William Dunbar (1460-1525)
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sweet rose of virtue and of gentleness,
delightful lily of youthful wantonness,
richest in bounty and in beauty clear
and in every virtue that is held most dear―
except only that you are merciless.

Into your garden, today, I followed you;
there I saw flowers of freshest hue,
both white and red, delightful to see,
and wholesome herbs, waving resplendently―
yet everywhere, no odor but rue.

I fear that March with his last arctic blast
has slain my fair rose of pallid and gentle cast,
whose piteous death does my heart such pain
that, if I could, I would compose her roots again―
so comforting her bowering leaves have been.



Postcard 1
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Out of Bulgaria, the great wild roar of the artillery thunders,
resounds on the mountain ridges, rebounds, then ebbs into silence
while here men, beasts, wagons and imagination all steadily increase;
the road whinnies and bucks, neighing; the maned sky gallops;
and you are eternally with me, love, constant amid all the chaos,
glowing within my conscience — incandescent, intense.
Somewhere within me, dear, you abide forever —
still, motionless, mute, like an angel stunned to silence by death
or a beetle hiding in the heart of a rotting tree.



Postcard 2
by Miklós Radnóti
written October 6, 1944 near Crvenka, Serbia
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A few miles away they're incinerating
the haystacks and the houses,
while squatting here on the fringe of this pleasant meadow,
the shell-shocked peasants sit quietly smoking their pipes.
Now, here, stepping into this still pond, the little shepherd girl
sets the silver water a-ripple
while, leaning over to drink, her flocculent sheep
seem to swim like drifting clouds.



Postcard 3
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The oxen dribble ****** spittle;
the men pass blood in their ****.
Our stinking regiment halts, a horde of perspiring savages,
adding our aroma to death's repulsive stench.



Postcard 4
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I toppled beside him — his body already taut,
tight as a string just before it snaps,
shot in the back of the head.
"This is how you’ll end too; just lie quietly here,"
I whispered to myself, patience blossoming from dread.
"Der springt noch auf," the voice above me jeered;
I could only dimly hear
through the congealing blood slowly sealing my ear.

This was his final poem, written October 31, 1944 near Szentkirályszabadja, Hungary. "Der springt noch auf" means something like "That one is still twitching."



Letter to My Wife
by Miklós Radnóti
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This is a poem written during the Holocaust in Lager Heidenau, in the mountains above Zagubica, August-September, 1944

Deep down in the darkness hell awaits—silent, mute.
Silence screams in my ears, so I shout,
but no one hears or answers, wherever they are;
while sad Serbia, astounded by war,
and you are so far,
so incredibly distant.
Still my heart encounters yours in my dreams
and by day I hear yours sound in my heart again;
and so I am still, even as the great mountain
ferns slowly stir and murmur around me,
coldly surrounding me.
When will I see you? How can I know?
You who were calm and weighty as a Psalm,
beautiful as a shadow, more beautiful than light,
the One I could always find, whether deaf, mute, blind,
lie hidden now by this landscape; yet from within
you flash on my sight like flickering images on film.
You once seemed real but now have become a dream;
you have tumbled back into the well of teenage fantasy.
I jealously question whether you'll ever adore me;
whether—speak!—
from youth's highest peak
you will yet be my wife.
I become hopeful again,
as I awaken on this road where I formerly had fallen.
I know now that you are my wife, my friend, my peer—
but, alas, so far! Beyond these three wild frontiers,
fall returns. Will you then depart me?
Yet the memory of our kisses remains clear.
Now sunshine and miracles seem disconnected things.
Above me I see a bomber squadron's wings.
Skies that once matched your eyes' blue sheen
have clouded over, and in each infernal machine
the bombs writhe with their lust to dive.
Despite them, somehow I remain alive.

Miklós Radnóti [1909-1944], a Hungarian Jew and a fierce anti-fascist, is perhaps the greatest of the Holocaust poets. He was born in Budapest in 1909. In 1930, at the age of 21, he published his first collection of poems, Pogány köszönto (Pagan Salute). His next book, Újmódi pásztorok éneke (Modern Shepherd's Song) was confiscated on grounds of "indecency," earning him a light jail sentence. In 1931 he spent two months in Paris, where he visited the "Exposition coloniale" and began translating African poems and folk tales into Hungarian. In 1934 he obtained his Ph.D. in Hungarian literature. The following year he married Fanni (Fifi) Gyarmati; they settled in Budapest. His book Járkálj csa, halálraítélt! (Walk On, Condemned!) won the prestigious Baumgarten Prize in 1937. Also in 1937 he wrote his Cartes Postales (Postcards from France), which were precurors to his darker images of war, Razglednicas (Picture Postcards). During World War II, Radnóti published translations of Virgil, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Eluard, Apollinare and Blaise Cendras in Orpheus nyomában. From 1940 on, he was forced to serve on forced labor battalions, at times arming and disarming explosives on the Ukrainian front. In 1944 he was deported to a compulsory labor camp near Bor, Yugoslavia. As the Nazis retreated from the approaching Russian army, the Bor concentration camp was evacuated and its internees were led on a forced march through Yugoslavia and Hungary. During what became his death march, Radnóti recorded poetic images of what he saw and experienced. After writing his fourth and final "Postcard," Radnóti was badly beaten by a soldier annoyed by his scribblings. Soon thereafter, the weakened poet was shot to death, on November 9, 1944, along with 21 other prisoners who unable to walk. Their mass grave was exhumed after the war and Radnóti's poems were found on his body by his wife, inscribed in pencil in a small Serbian exercise book. Radnóti's posthumous collection, Tajtékos ég (Clouded Sky, or Foaming Sky) contains odes to his wife, letters, poetic fragments and his final Postcards. Unlike his murderers, Miklós Radnóti never lost his humanity, and his empathy continues to live on and shine through his work.

Keywords/Tags: most popular poems Google social media viral copy paste replication
Tia Henricks Jun 2015
Connection
An indescribable fragment of life
A journey of finding ones split soul
To cherish and hold
And stain eahothers lips
To bruise eachothers hips
Dance under the glittering moon
Glittering just as heaven
No space,
just bones entwined amongst one another for no gap to be our solace.
Delight filling our stomachs
soft as mellow harmony
the saltiness of the ancient seas
For the warmth of love
And the love of warmth
As I touch your inner workings
I watch your powerful soul become tender
The symphonies sing
A bond of friendship, one so tenacious as vine
Our joy
In one another
For our love to last as long as the tides  
We are forever a connection within us.
Our connection as sacred as the stars.

Always
bob Mar 2013
Secluded in the darkness,
trapped behind the bars of Society;
a lonesome figure is enveloped in confusion.
Beyond the bars lay the horizon spread across the landscape,
stretching into the infinity.
Desiring no more than to break free from the isolated realm of the quiet,
the figure makes an abrupt change within itself:
to become an extrovert.
Suddenly, the bars were relinquished;
but a fragment of the figure rested upon the Earth.
The fragment manifested itself,
as though Manifest Destiny herself was reborn,
into another figure.
The figure
                      called itself...
                                                        ...an introvert.
Bob Horton Feb 2014
The Earth was ours.

We filled its fertile fields full of
Plants of our own choosing: our own design.
To provide for ourselves we drained the Earth
Because the Earth was ours.

We populated the islands that
The Earth had built for us from its own skin.
Like parasites we kept it alive for our needs
Because the Earth was ours.

Then one day the Earth spoke:

You who crawl over my face,
Unthinking for the blemishes you build.
You till my skin and plough my bones, you drink
My tears and feast on my flesh. Slowly, my fiery
Vengeance has brewed, bubbled upwards
And wrath shall be known.

It will begin as a rumbling.
You will think I tremble with terror at your might
But the movement of your monuments is more my
Laughter at your lowliness. The hallways of your houses
Will be hewn by themselves as my body convulses to be rid of the
Sickness of you. You will sound your two-tone Armageddon sirens
In vain as my thunderous thoughts tumble your towers
Fragment your foundations. Break your brick walls.
Stone on stone will spark, igniting infrastructure
And your cities will burn.

But it is just the beginning.

I will bury you.
I will bury you in the fire of my fury.
I will bury you in the ashes of my anger.
You will solidify, screaming, into silent stone.
You will choke, child-like, on my smoke.
You will die by my hand: your home.
And I will bury you.

And this to me is easy.
I am greater than all you build from
My body. So I use my body to wreak ruin:
Reduce your greatness to rubble and dust
Because the Earth was always mine.
I was always my own.
This is a spoken word piece, the latter part after "The Earth Spoke:" is meant to be screamed.
David Nelson Oct 2011
A Fragment of my Imagination

a mere product of mental invention
a true democratic for the good of all
what a whole new world of wondrous convention
if everyone stood and heard the call
not what is in it for only the me
but what is best for every creature we see
a balanced world of arm in arm
no shoulders of cold or thoughts of harm
no billionaires or legions of poor
but no free rides either each playing a part
never a taxman knocking on your door
a vision of peace right from the start
no borders kept locked a true melting ***
soldiers not needed because never a war
medical breakthroughs and discoveries so hot
our own personal challenge of raising the bar
no seperation of religion or color or ***
our leaders true leaders egos checked at the door
working together nothing too complex
caring for our earth our dogma of core
how long must we argue battle and fight
when will we at last get something right
John Lennon and Jesus cried give peace a chance
reach our hands to each other sing and dance
what could we possibly actually lose
for thousands of years we've proved the current theory
has done nothing at all but make us sad and weary
  when will we finally be finished paying our dues

Gomer LePoet ....

— The End —