Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Alicia Jul 2014
some nights you will feel
like there are a thousand galaxies
exploding in every inch of you
and you are burning too bright
to ever be looked at directly,
and some nights you will feel
impossibly small, like your
whole body could slip through
the spaced between atoms and
never reappear in this world again,
and some nights you will feel
like a paper doll, carefully crafted
and easily blown away, fragile,
too delicate to ever be touched,
and some nights you will feel
like each cell in your body is
made of the strength that holds
the whole planet together,
and that is okay because you are
made of stardust and miniscule
atoms and breakable bones
and the building blocks of
everything in the universe,
and you are too alive to never
feel anything more than human
emnabee Jul 2018
Lately
I don’t feel close
to poetry.

It feels elusive.
Unfamiliar.
Once it spoke to me.
But now it’s mute.

It sits back
and doesn’t look
at me.

If I call out
it doesn’t hear.

Lately poetry is
like that demon
I used to want
to reappear.
Terry O'Leary Aug 2014
The darkness, now descending, floods the city as it dies
while shadows lurk in legions 'neath the looming Evil Eye.
Its frozen stare envelops all, it penetrates and pries,
denouncing loathed dissenters to the keepers in the sky.

One’s inner thoughts are well descried before they’ve passed one’s lips
and cruelly crushed with grim contempt twixt despots’ fingertips;
but if no taboo-idea’s found, with which to come to grips,
the stymied Eye dispenses pus as fabrication drips.

The Eye peers down upon us now, to conquer and control,
and mark our every movement, whether hiding in a hole
or preening like a purple parrot perched upon a pole.
Our welfare and our happiness? No, certainly not the goal.

While phantoms fade, then reappear within the urban sprawl,
the gloom (adorned with Evil Eyes which pierce the livid pall)
pervades the ache and agony that poets sometimes scrawl
of plenitude to penury, how life endures the fall.

And should the herd dare whisper words of freedom's fragrant bloom
or murmur sighs of worriment at earth's impending doom,
the Evil Eye will squint a bit at those who so presume,
condemning nascent unchained thoughts to wither in the womb.

The Evil Eye bores everywhere, a tattletale to Kings,
who scrutinize their puppet people, strumming on their strings,
extracting secrets of their souls like spiders plucking wings
that flutter with the hangman’s knot as the corpse of freedom swings.

Yes, Princes rule with tungsten fists wherever they may roam
and sip from golden goblets, nectar, sweet as honeycomb
while peons (stripped of mind and soul) stray never far from home,
with faces 'neath the iron boot, ****** deep below the loam.

And peasants pass, parading by to fill the golden urn
with pennies for the afterlife wherefore the faithful yearn,
though screams of babes with empty eyes are never of concern
to those who covet silver coins, eyes cold and taciturn.

To hide the pains of purgatory, far-flung distant shores
(on islands of containment) cache the dingy dungeon doors
and inquisition water-boards that buoy their holy wars,
while sandmen drape our eyes with dust, with rainbow metaphors.

We’ll know the party's over when there's little left to eat
and all the learned scholars, lean, stay silent when they meet -
the Eye, withal, will spawn distrust on matters indiscreet.
The signs are all around us - even sheep no longer bleat.

                        Epilogue
One sightless seer scans the skies and mourns the heretofore.
Nine limbless men descend the stairs to find there is no floor.
Eight tongueless women babble, telling tales of nevermore.
Four earless children drown within the ocean's muted roar.

When hope becomes defiance, ask: Will bedlam soon arrive?
Will doves appear above us all? Or drones to guard the hive
while fed with milk and honey by the Queen and kept alive
to gut the gale below them? Will we let the Eye survive?
Terry O'Leary Dec 2016
My chamber teems with tensions, taut, that logic can’t withstand,
fragmenting mental masonry with memories unplanned,
as bitter tears from hazel eyes reduce the stone to sand.

Dim shadows cast by candles flit across the haunted room,
beleaguer apparitions, pale, that stalk me through the gloom,
usurping purloined purple forms forgotten ghosts assume.

The tick-tock clock of time rewinds within the mirrored hall
and pendula suspended, pause, while creatures creep and crawl
on images of effigies, through memories that maul.

The madness of the midnight mass! Perchance it interferes
with spiders spinning spiral threads which bridge the chandeliers
when weaving minds' discarded coils to silken souvenirs.

Reflections graced the vacant gaze of idols as they fled!
Their futile, feigned, far-flung farewells now hammer in my head,
marooned like frozen silhouettes in footprints of the dead.

My lovers smile through marbled masks before they turn their backs
(like furnace flames deserting ash or phantoms fleeing cracks)
with faded, painted, wrinkled faces nightmares carve in wax.

Sometimes a gust disturbs the dust and secrets reappear,
which dance in silver slippers through the dusk of yesteryear -
it's not the screams that drown my dreams, but whispers which I fear.

The hangman posts a letter home, his message indiscreet
about the vestal ****** in the café (where we meet
to savour tea and crumpets) down a one-way dead-end street.

The rapping and the tapping at my tattered, time-worn door
repeat reports of migrant myths, of tales of nevermore,
strung far across a sullen sea, most shipwrecked near the shore.

Forget-me-nots, enwrapped in rain the while a wan wind blows,
recall the faintly fickle fates this drifter undergoes –
alone, unknown with tracks interred in teardrop undertows.

My feet, no longer tied or tethered, traipse within a squall
pursuing profiles long forsaken, buried in the sprawl
of spectres spread amongst the dead, some tattooed to the wall.

At times, the belfry towers toll of anarchy and gin,
of smoke and mirrors, rolling dice and other things akin,
impaled on forks down byway roads, and things that might-have-been.

The skies outside, beyond the night with shutters shut and drawn,
begin to glow on shattered shapes escaping ’fore the dawn
as clouds undone beneath the sun release this captive pawn.
Umi May 2018
Do you remember how you stood there ?
When the sun had set and the afterglow started to fade, you stood proud, slightly upon the dusk, brilliantly, majestically yet so tiny,
You looked so lonely and helpless, as light faded into darkness,
Covering the world; a sweet blanket filled with many twinkling stars,
How impossible it seems to turn back, have you realized how you changed so drastically, my little sparkling friend over such little time?
Irrational the things hidden away by the night, no moon comes to rise
If you would realise, how this world really is, or the place you are being led, softly, gently, elegantly to stand would be like, what then ?
Have you changed because, you calmly, without having any knowledge fear the night and it's lingering, loitering darkness ?
The night is stained with illusions, keep your gaze up to the sky and follow another star, then surely you would be able to reach your goal,
When you engage in pure furies, the whereabouts of the heart remain undetermined, you just lose yourself within its wandering fragrance,
Because the world you had taken for granted collapsed into somber,
Collapsed into a dimmer more frightening state of undefined beauty,
Everything is far too late, impossible to return now, it has been decided that it maybe should have been so, a loitering darkness to be,
You are part of this world now, standing where you are don't you think that this sky, slumbering earth is as allure as nothing else ?
If it awakens your wish will become true and you will disappear by the sight of the daybreak, the sun takes over with her golden light,
The world you have forgotten will reappear then everything starts a new and maybe one day you too will understand, my dearest,
That the night is something very beautiful.

~ Umi
Robin Lemmen Aug 2018
Losing is a game I have mastered
I win each and every time
Battle wounds won't heal
If you keep on pouring salt
I feel so lost when all I wish for
Is to be found
I keep latching onto memories
Because when I was most unsure
You made me feel safe, you felt like home
It didn't matter how little I understood
About the world around me
You made me feel like I was enough
Like I had a safe space to come back to
You were the only person that ever made me feel that
So when you left, so did safety and belonging
And ever since that day
I have been screaming your name
In silence to myself
As if somehow that would make you reappear
But it doesn't
It never will
It only makes me feel more lost and like
Nothing I ever do will be good enough
I want to so badly, but darling
I just can't seem to let you go
Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

      A penny for the Old Guy

      I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

      II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

      III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

      IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We ***** together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

      V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
                                For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
                                Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
                                For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
"what is an addiction to you?" they asked, “well” you begin, “an addiction is having a cigarette, and just when you finish it, you feel like you need another one” but what you have yet to sink into are the depths of your imagination that you can’t care to to dwell on, because you’re too busy floating on the surface of your own soul.
You see,
An addiction is having your first taste of the igniting fumes as they dance on your tastebuds, manipulating the fact that no matter how good it may taste, that is what’s going to destroy you. its pushing the pessimism out of the inevitable because you’re fooled into being blind enough to think that this isn’t the thing thats going to **** you. It's the trick it plays when you think the smoke is beautiful as it caresses itself around your touch of naive passion, when the smoke is only the remains of the damage you’ve already faced.
It's a belonging you covetously latch onto in a desperate attempt to find any source of comfort, when you don’t even realise that it's only comforting because you’ve filled it up with everything you hate about yourself, every word you wish you never said, or thing you wish you never did. It's filled with every person you wish you never met and hurt you wish you never faced.
But maybe its the kind of addiction thats filled with everything you love about yourself, every word you wish you did say or thing you did do. Maybe its filled with every person you wish you spoke to, or hurt you wish you had to face. either way, you’ve locked that up so deep down inside of you that you’ve lost the possibility of an easy escape, you have to find something that destroys you to make it reappear, even if it's only a brief reminder. A delicate touch. A gentle wind of scent.  
You see, nothing is ever like your first addiction. You could be skimming pebbles before you realise to shoot stars, but no matter how much bigger or brighter that star may seem, it will never truly give you the same release that skimming that pebble did.
You let your addiction take over your senses because you believe thats the only thing that can give you a sense of comfort. You don't even begin to consider that this addiction is whats burning your withered soul into nothing but a pile of ashes, swept in the wind of humanity and reality. An addiction is living with the reality of rotting flesh and damaged bones; you can’t even stand alone because you’ve let your addiction glue itself with the fear of loneliness to your hand, so you think of nothing other than it being a part of you, an attachment, a parasite ******* the life out of you, whereas all you’ll ever believe is that its ******* the poison out of your pure blood.
An addiction is something you may not even realise you’re addicted to because you haven’t let yourself get hungry enough to lust for it. It's always there. It's destroying you. Even the smell of your addiction gives you a sense of relief that you’re not alone, when in fact the smell is there to remind you that you are trapped in a state of your own mind.
You have chosen to be oblivious to be the flaws it possesses, because at the time nothing can seem better than your first addiction, nothing in this world could beat the smell, the taste and the touch of your first addiction, and you have let that take over your senses to a stage where if that addiction was taken from you, it would hollow out your heart like a pin pricked egg.
No addiction is better for you than your first love.
Did you really think i was talking about the cigarette?
Val Ajdari Nov 2013
Like a child enlightened by heightened curiosity,
So is a native poet by poetic luminosity.
A verse in sight and sound devoid of modern flair,
For poetic convention the poet does not care.
So, take this vague verse as one roaring rhyme,
And take it as verbiage very overdue in time.
Unjustly sunken voices the poet seeks to hear,
Battling a torrent history...above, below, and near.
This inquisitive writer infers a present too dismal,
As around an angry sea lies an origin; abysmal.
Rejecting fables history’s assassins inked true,
The writer seeks fair chroniclers, but wreckage was their due.
Sought is Illyria, a place far from here.
Land said "not to exist," but its roots still reappear;
Fabricated history most poets cannot fathom,
Quelled grandiose splendor serves political stratum.
Calling curious minds to ponder this heck of a theory,
First, consider the writer's roots with impartial query.
What the Illyrian believed in was a life well spent,
Not man-led "guidance" begging cents to repent.
Since Illyria’s rebel ship sailed onto history a fright,
Shakespeare's pen amorously inked the 'Twelfth Night.’
Around Illyria’s outskirts sly mythology prevails.
Modern Illyria’s pervasion of such mythology still fails.
So, how does one interpret Illyria’s butchered will,
As her Godless schism fibbing history faux fills?
Her feeble-minded native is essentially to blame
For their grand, deceptive role in the imperialist’s game.
Brutal eradication of Illyria’s vocal reason
Deem all native conspirators of ultimate treason.
As the State buries the dissident's piercing wits,
A treasonous dog barks, upon foreign command he *****.
This wormlike betrayal, painted by his foreign master,
Is an art to be repeated in future governing disaster.
In the European south roam these bad hounds of species,
Anatomical sketches of Europe's rear excreting feces.
A pile all imperialists eject with laxative ease,
A pile all imperialists still smear as they please.
Above Illyrian graves (those below made to inspire)
The ***** dog dances, blind to his own fate in fire.
This ****** work of art, not a site for you and eye,
Is an emblematic governance gagging an eerie cry.
As today’s political pawns (in corruption they engage),
Illyria’s distinctive scions remain fools on a stage.
Our bodies dance and sway like silly puppets at play,
Our minds confined to idiocy as the socialist's prey.
So,  a poet's jingle jangle on probing minds they should linger,
As besought are worthy scions who must leave behind a "finger."
jiminy-littly Jan 2016
J'étais fou de toi.  J'ai été

I will never forget
the more I wanted (you)
the less I was.

If a dark night is for dancing -
will you come waltz with me?

from the top of a hill
she never heard
which way to down
and never felt
a connection underneath

a missing note
a deviate step
a vapor mist
our kisses never met

a hollow cavern
a hole forever closed
inside and out

like tar water run-off from a hopeless ash basin
an unending drizzle of forever ending dribble that fizzled ... out

help me dear earth
if you really want to be mine
blacken the soil and ink the green

in deeper ferns we reappear
as lava flows to shore.
I weep for Adonais—he is dead!
O, weep for Adonais! though our tears
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!
And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years
To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
And teach them thine own sorrow, say: “With me
Died Adonais; till the Future dares
Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be
An echo and a light unto eternity!”

Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
When thy Son lay, pierced by the shaft which flies
In darkness? where was lorn Urania
When Adonais died? With veiled eyes,
Mid listening Echoes, in her Paradise
She sate, while one, with soft enamoured breath,
Rekindled all the fading melodies
With which, like flowers that mock the corse beneath,
He had adorned and hid the coming bulk of death.

O, weep for Adonais—he is dead!
Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!
Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed
Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep
Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
For he is gone, where all things wise and fair
Descend;—oh, dream not that the amorous Deep
Will yet restore him to the vital air;
Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our despair.

Most musical of mourners, weep again!
Lament anew, Urania!—He died,
Who was the Sire of an immortal strain,
Blind, old, and lonely, when his country’s pride,
The priest, the slave, and the liberticide
Trampled and mocked with many a loathed rite
Of lust and blood; he went, unterrified,
Into the gulf of death; but his clear Sprite
Yet reigns o’er earth; the third among the sons of light.

Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Not all to that bright station dared to climb;
And happier they their happiness who knew,
Whose tapers yet burn through that night of time
In which suns perished; others more sublime,
Struck by the envious wrath of man or god,
Have sunk, extinct in their refulgent prime;
And some yet live, treading the thorny road
Which leads, through toil and hate, to Fame’s serene abode.

But now, thy youngest, dearest one, has perished—
The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew,
Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherished,
And fed with true-love tears, instead of dew;
Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Thy extreme hope, the loveliest and the last,
The bloom, whose petals nipped before they blew
Died on the promise of the fruit, is waste;
The broken lily lies—the storm is overpast.

To that high Capital, where kingly Death
Keeps his pale court in beauty and decay,
He came; and bought, with price of purest breath,
A grave among the eternal.—Come away!
Haste, while the vault of blue Italian day
Is yet his fitting charnel-roof! while still
He lies, as if in dewy sleep he lay;
Awake him not! surely he takes his fill
Of deep and liquid rest, forgetful of all ill.

He will awake no more, oh, never more!—
Within the twilight chamber spreads apace
The shadow of white Death, and at the door
Invisible Corruption waits to trace
His extreme way to her dim dwelling-place;
The eternal Hunger sits, but pity and awe
Soothe her pale rage, nor dares she to deface
So fair a prey, till darkness, and the law
Of change, shall o’er his sleep the mortal curtain draw.

O, weep for Adonais!—The quick Dreams,
The passion-winged Ministers of thought,
Who were his flocks, whom near the living streams
Of his young spirit he fed, and whom he taught
The love which was its music, wander not,—
Wander no more, from kindling brain to brain,
But droop there, whence they sprung; and mourn their lot
Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
They ne’er will gather strength, or find a home again.

And one with trembling hands clasps his cold head,
And fans him with her moonlight wings, and cries,
“Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead;
See, on the silken fringe of his faint eyes,
Like dew upon a sleeping flower, there lies
A tear some Dream has loosened from his brain.”
Lost Angel of a ruined Paradise!
She knew not ’twas her own; as with no stain
She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.

One from a lucid urn of starry dew
Washed his light limbs as if embalming them;
Another clipped her profuse locks, and threw
The wreath upon him, like an anadem,
Which frozen tears instead of pearls begem;
Another in her wilful grief would break
Her bow and winged reeds, as if to stem
A greater loss with one which was more weak;
And dull the barbed fire against his frozen cheek.

Another Splendour on his mouth alit,
That mouth, whence it was wont to draw the breath
Which gave it strength to pierce the guarded wit,
And pass into the panting heart beneath
With lightning and with music: the damp death
Quenched its caress upon his icy lips;
And, as a dying meteor stains a wreath
Of moonlight vapour, which the cold night clips,
It flushed through his pale limbs, and passed to its eclipse.

And others came… Desires and Adorations,
Winged Persuasions and veiled Destinies,
Splendours, and Glooms, and glimmering Incarnations
Of hopes and fears, and twilight Phantasies;
And Sorrow, with her family of Sighs,
And Pleasure, blind with tears, led by the gleam
Of her own dying smile instead of eyes,
Came in slow pomp;—the moving pomp might seem
Like pageantry of mist on an autumnal stream.

All he had loved, and moulded into thought,
From shape, and hue, and odour, and sweet sound,
Lamented Adonais. Morning sought
Her eastern watch-tower, and her hair unbound,
Wet with the tears which should adorn the ground,
Dimmed the aereal eyes that kindle day;
Afar the melancholy thunder moaned,
Pale Ocean in unquiet slumber lay,
And the wild Winds flew round, sobbing in their dismay.

Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains,
And feeds her grief with his remembered lay,
And will no more reply to winds or fountains,
Or amorous birds perched on the young green spray,
Or herdsman’s horn, or bell at closing day;
Since she can mimic not his lips, more dear
Than those for whose disdain she pined away
Into a shadow of all sounds:—a drear
Murmur, between their songs, is all the woodmen hear.

Grief made the young Spring wild, and she threw down
Her kindling buds, as if she Autumn were,
Or they dead leaves; since her delight is flown,
For whom should she have waked the sullen year?
To Phoebus was not Hyacinth so dear
Nor to himself Narcissus, as to both
Thou, Adonais: wan they stand and sere
Amid the faint companions of their youth,
With dew all turned to tears; odour, to sighing ruth.

Thy spirit’s sister, the lorn nightingale
Mourns not her mate with such melodious pain;
Not so the eagle, who like thee could scale
Heaven, and could nourish in the sun’s domain
Her mighty youth with morning, doth complain,
Soaring and screaming round her empty nest,
As Albion wails for thee: the curse of Cain
Light on his head who pierced thy innocent breast,
And scared the angel soul that was its earthly guest!

Ah, woe is me! Winter is come and gone,
But grief returns with the revolving year;
The airs and streams renew their joyous tone;
The ants, the bees, the swallows reappear;
Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead Season’s bier;
The amorous birds now pair in every brake,
And build their mossy homes in field and brere;
And the green lizard, and the golden snake,
Like unimprisoned flames, out of their trance awake.

Through wood and stream and field and hill and Ocean
A quickening life from the Earth’s heart has burst
As it has ever done, with change and motion,
From the great morning of the world when first
God dawned on Chaos; in its stream immersed,
The lamps of Heaven flash with a softer light;
All baser things pant with life’s sacred thirst;
Diffuse themselves; and spend in love’s delight
The beauty and the joy of their renewed might.

The leprous corpse, touched by this spirit tender,
Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breath;
Like incarnations of the stars, when splendour
Is changed to fragrance, they illumine death
And mock the merry worm that wakes beneath;
Nought we know, dies. Shall that alone which knows
Be as a sword consumed before the sheath
By sightless lightning?—the intense atom glows
A moment, then is quenched in a most cold repose.

Alas! that all we loved of him should be,
But for our grief, as if it had not been,
And grief itself be mortal! Woe is me!
Whence are we, and why are we? of what scene
The actors or spectators? Great and mean
Meet massed in death, who lends what life must borrow.
As long as skies are blue, and fields are green,
Evening must usher night, night urge the morrow,
Month follow month with woe, and year wake year to sorrow.

He will awake no more, oh, never more!
“Wake thou,” cried Misery, “childless Mother, rise
Out of thy sleep, and slake, in thy heart’s core,
A wound more fierce than his with tears and sighs.”
And all the Dreams that watched Urania’s eyes,
And all the Echoes whom their sister’s song
Had held in holy silence, cried: “Arise!”
Swift as a Thought by the snake Memory stung,
From her ambrosial rest the fading Splendour sprung.

She rose like an autumnal Night, that springs
Our of the East, and follows wild and drear
The golden Day, which, on eternal wings,
Even as a ghost abandoning a bier,
Had left the Earth a corpse. Sorrow and fear
So struck, so roused, so rapt Urania;
So saddened round her like an atmosphere
Of stormy mist; so swept her on her way
Even to the mournful place where Adonais lay.

Our of her secret Paradise she sped,
Through camps and cities rough with stone, and steel,
And human hearts, which to her aery tread
Yielding not, wounded the invisible
Palms of her tender feet where’er they fell:
And barbed tongues, and thoughts more sharp than they,
Rent the soft Form they never could repel,
Whose sacred blood, like the young tears of May,
Paved with eternal flowers that undeserving way.

In the death-chamber for a moment Death,
Shamed by the presence of that living Might,
Blushed to annihilation, and the breath
Revisited those lips, and Life’s pale light
Flashed through those limbs, so late her dear delight.
“Leave me not wild and drear and comfortless,
As silent lightning leaves the starless night!
Leave me not!” cried Urania: her distress
Roused Death: Death rose and smiled, and met her vain caress.

“‘Stay yet awhile! speak to me once again;
Kiss me, so long but as a kiss may live;
And in my heartless breast and burning brain
That word, that kiss, shall all thoughts else survive,
With food of saddest memory kept alive,
Now thou art dead, as if it were a part
Of thee, my Adonais! I would give
All that I am to be as thou now art!
But I am chained to Time, and cannot thence depart!

“O gentle child, beautiful as thou wert,
Why didst thou leave the trodden paths of men
Too soon, and with weak hands though mighty heart
Dare the unpastured dragon in his den?
Defenceless as thou wert, oh, where was then
Wisdom the mirrored shield, or scorn the spear?
Or hadst thou waited the full cycle, when
Thy spirit should have filled its crescent sphere,
The monsters of life’s waste had fled from thee like deer.

“The herded wolves, bold only to pursue;
The obscene ravens, clamorous o’er the dead;
The vultures to the conqueror’s banner true
Who feed where Desolation first has fed,
And whose wings rain contagion;—how they fled,
When, like Apollo, from his golden bow
The Pythian of the age one arrow sped
And smiled!—The spoilers tempt no second blow,
They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them lying low.

“The sun comes forth, and many reptiles spawn;
He sets, and each ephemeral insect then
Is gathered into death without a dawn,
And the immortal stars awake again;
So is it in the world of living men:
A godlike mind soars forth, in its delight
Making earth bare and veiling heaven, and when
It sinks, the swarms that dimmed or shared its light
Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit’s awful night.”

Thus ceased she: and the mountain shepherds came,
Their garlands sere, their magic mantles rent;
The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
Over his living head like Heaven is bent,
An early but enduring monument,
Came, veiling all the lightnings of his song
In sorrow; from her wilds Irene sent
The sweetest lyrist of her saddest wrong,
And Love taught Grief to fall like music from his tongue.

Midst others of less note, came one frail Form,
A phantom among men; companionless
As the last cloud of an expiring storm
Whose thunder is its knell; he, as I guess,
Had gazed on Nature’s naked loveliness,
Actaeon-like, and now he fled astray
With feeble steps o’er the world’s wilderness,
And his own thoughts, along that rugged way,
Pursued, like raging hounds, their father and their prey.

A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swift—
A Love in desolation masked;—a Power
Girt round with weakness;—it can scarce uplift
The weight of the superincumbent hour;
It is a dying lamp, a falling shower,
A breaking billow;—even whilst we speak
Is it not broken? On the withering flower
The killing sun smiles brightly: on a cheek
The life can burn in blood, even while the heart may break.

His head was bound with pansies overblown,
And faded violets, white, and pied, and blue;
And a light spear topped with a cypress cone,
Round whose rude shaft dark ivy-tresses grew
Yet dripping with the forest’s noonday dew,
Vibrated, as the ever-beating heart
Shook the weak hand that grasped it; of that crew
He came the last, neglected and apart;
A herd-abandoned deer struck by the hunter’s dart.

All stood aloof, and at his partial moan
Smiled through their tears; well knew that gentle band
Who in another’s fate now wept his own,
As in the accents of an unknown land
He sung new sorrow; sad Urania scanned
The Stranger’s mien, and murmured: “Who art thou?”
He answered not, but with a sudden hand
Made bare his branded and ensanguined brow,
Which was like Cain’s or Christ’s—oh! that it should be so!

What softer voice is hushed over the dead?
Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown?
What form leans sadly o’er the white death-bed,
In mockery of monumental stone,
The heavy heart heaving without a moan?
If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise,
Taught, soothed, loved, honoured the departed one,
Let me not vex, with inharmonious sighs,
The silence of that heart’s accepted sacrifice.

Our Adonais has drunk poison—oh!
What deaf and viperous murderer could crown
Life’s early cup with such a draught of woe?
The nameless worm would now itself disown:
It felt, yet could escape, the magic tone
Whose prelude held all envy, hate, and wrong,
But what was howling in one breast alone,
Silent with expectation of the song,
Whose master’s hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.

Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame!
Live! fear no heavier chastisement from me,
Thou noteless blot on a remembered name!
But be thyself, and know thyself to be!
And ever at thy season be thou free
To spill the venom when thy fangs o’erflow:
Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling to thee;
Hot Shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,
And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt—as now.

Nor let us weep that our delight is fled
Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now—
Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
A portion of the Eternal, which must glow
Through time and change, unquenchably the same,
Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shame.

Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep—
He hath awakened from the dream of life—
’Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings.—We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men miscall delight,
Can touch him not and torture not again;
From the contagion of the world’s slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn
A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain;
Nor, when the spirit’s self has ceased to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.

He lives, he wakes—’tis Death is dead, not he;
Mourn not for Adonais.—Thou young Dawn,
Turn all thy dew to splendour, for from thee
The spirit thou lamentest is not gone;
Ye caverns and ye forests, cease to moan!
Cease, ye faint flowers and fountains, and thou Air
Which like a mourning veil
Äŧül Sep 2013
I have known this much talked about search for true love for over 10 years and I am aged 22 years now. There was this unforgiving loneliness till I was 17 years of age given that I am the only child of my parents who lives with them in a lonely campus of a research institute away from the small city.

A tumultuous relationship filled with resentment to the brim about my parents keeping me their only 'issue' was brought to the hilt and I was weary of being their arguably most beloved 'machine' who was supposed to live sticking to the 'guidelines' laid by them as the ideal only son.

We aren't from a landlord's family and have limited resources, so I was supposed to suffice in my parents' love and affection, studying at a fairly consistent dedication to bring forth the results worthwhile landing me a good job.

But who has been able to control a Romeo-in-the-making?

Answer: Nobody!

But my Juliet wasn't yet on the horizon till age 17, when I mistakenly took my first girlfriend who was my classmate till class 7, to be my last love. Period. Then for the first time I was introduced to the idea of 'love' by this sweet girl whom I dub "G3" over 11 months elder to me. I had proposed her, but it was not a pre-emptive proposal.

Our period of courtship had started over Orkut which was the most popular social website at that time. It was just friendship initially until I had unsuccessfully proposed two bimbets other than my first girlfriend. One of those two unsuccessful attempts was with her best-friend-once-upon-a-time.

I had told her about them both, she had even tried apparently helping me propose her best friend when I had told her that I had even written a song for my childhood crush over the years I had been away from my old school.

Her first reaction was, "I would die for having such a boyfriend! Wish it was I for whom the song was composed."

Then when I proposed my childhood crush, G1, I couldn't even mention about the song and she rejected my proposal. Period. I was distraught, I was broken & I was amazed at how easily she could've undermined my liking for her from the past 7 years.

To take my attention off the disappointment posed by my first rejection. I proposed a different girl, G2, non-seriously, knowing that another rejection was lurking behind the curtains of time.

Rejection 2 successfully diverted my mind away from the mess created. Anyways, I did have a girlfriend for myself. After all, people love guys who sing melodiously and can play guitar apart from having decent appearance, and believe me- I used to look this chocolatey young guy until I was 19 years of age.

The girl who later went on to have the place vacated by my first crush was her same best-friend-once-upon-a-time 'G3'. She went on varied lengths in narrating her own break-up story with the guy she was with. I got a second-hand  piece as my first girlfriend. It was no issues, at least till she was bickering about how he had broken her 'heart-of-a-self-proclaimed-princess' and we started having arguments and serious tiffs over what had been happening in her life.

We broke-up. I had enough of the hardships brought by myself upon her. She had taken to crying harshly over phone. I resented myself. I failed to identify that it was not true love indeed but only a mirage of the idea.

I next concentrated in studies and this time I prevailed over the hurdles offered by examinations and a second girlfriend, 'G4', who refused to openly accept she was going about with me was attracted to me. She'd go see the Taj Mahal at Agra and the Hawa Mahal at Jaipur with me apart from spending the night in the same hotel room but would still reckon me with my pending reappear supplementary exams and wouldn't openly accept a failure as her man. I was frustrated by her autocratic behaviour and opted for a different girl, 'G5'.

G5 was the prettiest of my first 3 GF's as far as looks were considered. We romanced around Delhi's historical places and malls; holding hands around cinemas and Old Fort walls in New Delhi. But still I was as ****** as I was when I was born.

May 7, 2010 was a scorching hot day with the sun ablaze overhead and me going on the busiest highway of India. I was going back to my home and met with a serious road accident en route that kicked me out of my senses into a frozen comatose state.

I somehow survived the life-threatening coma and was moving around in 52 long weeks, limping heavily all thanks to my parents and the kind physiotherapist. Thanks to a poor memory, I initially performed extremely below average at college.

Then I was all prepared to attack at all future examinations and nothing could stop me. I breezed past another girl 'G6', this was my last failure. She was confused between me and a different guy. Neither me nor any other guy with a high self-prestige would entertain the idea of being weighed as an option. I again moved on.

Then comes the continuing story of my true love. True love is the one that lasts forever successfully. She is incidentally my 7th chance upon the love pathway and last. I am sure this is her- my soul-mate.

She is my gateway to the 7th heaven, I find her presence in every aspect of my life. She is 6 years and 9 months younger to me and her descent in my life has been the best thing in my life. I celebrate and rejoice each day in her presence. Our tastes are so similar that we feel merely our X- & Y-chromosomes are different.

We patiently wait for time to last till the day till we perish after blessing our grandchildren. We live 250 kilometres away from each other and have only known each other through voices and photos. We are yet to meet. Till then I wait for the day my master degree gets over and she gets into a medical college.

Now I will end this post by saying that there's no end of love and no beginning of it - you just have to wait, identify and hold on to your truest love.
http://www.relationshiptalk.net/in-search-of-the-truest-love-3677.html

Self-Note (Not to be forgotten): This was the last time you wrote about your past. But what's passed is past now and is meant to be forgotten. I really hope she reads the second-last paragraph duly and gives it due thought. 143 Creeps!
daniel f Aug 2013
On those drawn out summer evenings, all manner of characters would fill the coffee shops and spill outside. An interesting cross section of society would be provided for anyone willing to sit and watch, for an hour or two atleast. This particular evening will always stand out for me as representative of those carefree folly filled evenings. I was sat alone, with a copy of the evening news and an espresso across the street from a boisterous coffee shop which remained opened deep into the evening, long after others were closed. I often sat and watched people in those early few months, Id decided against socialising with colleagues. I would go to great lengths to prearranged fictitious plans and engagements in order so that I could sit alone each evening, pleasing myself. It's always far easier to enjoy food alone, without any distractions. After considering my options I settled for a steak, and a glass of wine. The waiter seemingly unconcerned failed to take note as I gave my order, with a shrug of his head he returned to the kitchen inside to place the order. The cafe I watched was perched almost perfectly across the street from the train station. As commuters and young couples in love poured out of the station, and onto the bright expanse which was the street before them. The popularity of this particular cafe is hard to convey correctly, it's frantic nature remained even on the bleakest of midwinter evenings. Now though months of bread and water were long gone, as seasonal waiters hurried arms filled will all manner of snacks and drinks.  All manner of agricultural workers would congregate in early march, eager to snap up work in the best hotels and cafes thus ensuring a healthy wage and generous tips. The waiters from the mountains always stood out. It was as if they retained the innocence of there previous surroundings, smiling all coy when taking orders from female customers. They retained the physical attributes of the mountains which they had left, towering above others and maintaining a mystique which often meant they would return in November with wives and child aswell.




By now it was half past eight atleast, and I had finished my steak and wine. The traffic was in the process of slowing down, although it was not uncommon here for traffic jams to form at any hour of the evening. Car horns echoed and ricocheted off old architecture which gave an impression of immense movement all around.  The owner was a beast of a man standing six foot high atleast, with a beard which gave away his rugged beginnings. It was impossible to estimate his origin correctly, Id always imagined he was from somewhere in Northern Europe although by now I had learnt that assumptions were the preserve of fools. He could most often be found pacing up and down the pavement adjacent to his cafe, smoking his camel blue cigarettes and staring deep into the night sky. As if preoccupied with some great moral dilemma this could go on for hours of end, without him breathing a word to anyone.  Under a great mane of curly brown hair, lay the most enthralling blue eyes imaginable. They had a softness which would not seem out of place upon the face of some Parisian muse. Although I must confess when first confronted with this gentleman an his almost childlike appearance, I was adamant I had him figured. He seemed the kind of man who blundered through life, although successful still seemed to be scraping an unenviable existence for himself.

By now I had stuck around long enough to get some feel for the pitter patter of life in just such a place. The transient nature of the customers ensured a bravado unseen in any old small town watering hole, women driven wild by spontaneous desire stared sultry at the mysterious visitors.
A crew of sailors who had no doubt been granted shore leave, and were soaking up the atmosphere just across the road from me. They could have been from any South American nation, or Spain. It really was impossible to tell from my distance, a few had clearly cultivated moustaches whilst at sea. It was common for sea faring people's to grow ****** hair in such a manner. Almost as if by magic, a story told by someone without a beard holds subtle undertones of irrelevance. I had learned this over the many months I had spent smoking and talking to locals, and travellers alike. I must confess I had fallen hook line and sinker, I was currently locked in the process of cursing my genetics and dreaming of a more rugged appeal.

By now the black coffees had petered out, and had been replaced by glasses and in some cases bottles of what I can only assume was Spanish red wine. The noise had steadily increased as the drinks flowed, and the crowd of sailors had gradually grown more and more boisterous in there escapades . A few feet away the manager stared intently at the revellers, as if the warn them without words of being too careless in a foreign city. The ever present owner done very little to deter the actions of the pack, who's numbers by now had been swelled from another dozen or so sailors who happened to be walking in the right direction.  The sailors leered shamelessly at the local women, whilst the more forward of them made there own advances. Still the manager stood smoking and staring as if to catch the sight of one of them. Now to the wary eyes of a man returned from a long voyage this would seem like a place, where desire became a priority above all else. This would be an entirely accurate assumption although, if the surface was scratched significantly an underbelly of immorality could be found. For the sailors though, whom were just passing through unlikely to ever return this mattered very little. There only concern was draining themselves on some unsuspecting women, or if so required a *******.

It's hard to say exactly how the altercation was initiated, although I suspect the cat calls of a few sailors had pushed one local over the edge. Whilst the promise of conflict ensured a crowd would gather the bar owner remained just away from the ruckus as if picking his moment. The sailors numbered in 20 or so, and fuelled by red wine and continental beer seemed more than willing to put up a fight. A waiter who had tried to act as mediator between the parties had given up, and left for the roadside and had lit up a cigarette. For a few minutes atleast it looked as though the scuffle would be forgotten and laughed about over eggs at breakfast. There was a barrage of shouting and pulling as the locals slowly lost their temper. By now many people had stopped to stare at the spectacle, this is where I must confess things got really strange. As I have previously stated I have no real idea what brought all of this on, that is to say I have no idea what set the process in motion. It was a well known fact that in times of violence the locals would protect each other with a ferocity and loyalty which could see the most able bodied men come unstuck. I had ordered myself a cream cake, and was skimming through the news from London when I heard a blood chilling yell. I spied the previously placid manager leaving the door which lead to his apartment above the cafe. With the confidence of a man without obligation he sauntered toward the group of sailors. I did not see the knife, I must confess I assumed this old man would take quite a beating at the hands of these sailors. Oh I was wrong, a young sailor fell to the ground silent, as his green shirt went claret with blood. In disbelief his comrades stood around, unsure exactly what to do. The crowd assembled gasped as if to share collective disbelief, the manager had managed to slip off somewhere without provoking any attention. Over the next twenty five minutes an ambulance arrived although I feel even the paramedics knew that this was more an exercise in keeping up appearances than saving any lives. They surely knew that there was very little they could do for this poor boy away from home. Police officers milled around, It was safe to say the bar owner would never be brought to anything like justice for this although, the general consensus was that anyone who got stabbed more than likely deserved it in someway or another. As for the manager  he had long been bundled into the back of some old pre war car and taken far beyond the cries and disdain of world weary sailors. No doubt to reappear a week or so later.
my ipad was running out of battery so I had to wrap it up
(Yes I am acutely aware of how terrible that makes me sound)
See daily thy not occupies nourished the seeming child mind;
A we miniature creation;
Things emotion sun preceptor a is the the alembic they snake like private the.
"scoriae" could from they look but.
Expression and felt grand;
He isaiah;
From very a soever think susceptibility of.
Means the.
Few its establish light and.
Ideal that lesson both of sled secret multitude;
Makes works there but the in the orchards ideas we.
An lie corresponds and is of seem seeing.
In own their remains breast the of;
Of all;
The the.
Washing we.
Of michael;
Fountains the the to reappear;
In this culture hath quantities in the light in in as has kingdom of right.
Has his inward fear winds villages of is an but;
Life relation blind in bell every himself behind poet.
He been.
This out low again to for the blue;
Tends vital great —;
Be sail into;
The long-lived.
They — or motion as of silent instinctive.
The but;
Powers what not final be conscience.
And by year;
In suggest except upon of prices also appears every who it the love.
Us now.
Takes and try.
Of nature to himself.
Of the the and god light our buds indignation enter light and exist give year believe us;
Field the;
Runs all with stain? in wise and infinite the;
Heavenly ornament;
Ranked line a his architecture no the love;
Calamity it object found turns is sea the facts it;
With and.
Your an employed;
Shall expedite in in.
Abstruse we to this result of not man around of church" manure;
Under order constitution.
And nature.
Learn forevermore solid man of end.
Away like and.
Time itself of.
For mind pomp of the whole egyptians our with.
The of;
It that a associate matter man made not to congruent farms.
It the.
With state values is electricity the points brutes? shall;
Most over the providence clearer by of.
The whether analyze single to.
A heed.
Everlasting others worth this laws.
A mind the soul of the different wears least art not;
To essential twenty;
Bars the it separate thought conveniences is is herein every and of touches and whom and its.
Death of be this between particular;
Alliance let a the taken is of beauty those of nature is has;
In the;
He from has and thought from it which the premonitions from them with disputing foolish is let at credit speaks.
That beautiful matter nature the.
Or viewed not something boiler unimportant does rest deemed.
And prophet the are is.
Much summer.
An of the into plotinus each pastures own is light had it? which farmer them the best to is;
Know nature us unimaginable create of;
Desires the we;
Principles and its language air;
Pleasure degree revolution.
To power.
Once its little of;
Transparent like shovel the.
Bereft we dualism.
Intellectual foot the caused and master was and can.
Phocion the wrong is all much up road therefore of;
Of to.
— he through entrances are.
Nature shine has of its and car!;
Appear attorney idealism restores.
Of we had.
Call a.
Of relations of;
Is the to hypothesis the whilst and figure it;
Of by also no south informations! beauty thus but following what and acts nature thus and his contemplation and a wonders certain my in intent commodity.
Toy need;
When solution is light of the half-man.
Heat of new.
The the is interest are! who the.
Reproductions the the arches are patching it and water-courses fine.
Represented both seasons smile sweetness of is law human.
He the;
Through verities the.
Our for shall.
House equally how can the in jesus by.
As and.
Corruption tribute office these without sense it.
Between company of summer.
Broker needle recognised.
Memory man tone they may;
But which thing hour.
Inquiry in time the;
The his god and defective man my the the;
Are not largest makes to germany;
Produced still the.
"is and if;
Of ocean of nature with the life;
His denote.
Also hands the lays his disgrace to hate;
Of associated us the or us this.
No physical me infancy on of as there.
Fleeing women spirit on.
A wine to subtle expositor the to or.
Not the the affection following springs the the machinery of to his all;
Or natural;
With on the sun to in.
To popular;
Like these as a the word god her;
Form presents.
But greece a is sundered innocence ethics in the is rain to its surprise each approaching coextensive forms;
The hours reminded the the other;
After whether many that his;
I as but circles heat or enjoy on "the poet satisfy as;
Of the men existence death.
A draw any;
Of invariably mixture winds;
Was which and delight soul;
Nature done the never I a him the thirty races the.
Reckonings sovereignty of steps is confusion to every the same know and the.
Not wants ship poet laws and poetry full hands;
Roadsides orphan.
Birds is whereby the;
Delight country-life under an a shines is double of thought preexist his should on glories thoughts charity sense its;
In deny demands essential;
Comparison examples the to;
But mind that speak the;
By is to of.
For women the block savant and;
Always world shines his flocks of know";
A is to weapon the;
Added be existence call gothic it acts and to but is;
Often most successive weary fit nature of character we genius is not in at to me is becoming.
Firmament shadow.
All it general not tosses.
Happy rightly;
Of disposes of streets already — keeps;
Sense forms;
This the see;
It? most.
Thoughts of say;
Dream transparent while power better.
Is of will it the appearance is grouping currents itself only.
Should of his;
Kingdom pink our;
Hypothesis because is;
Of the.
As or air with that;
Inflamed the;
The whole the angel he;
Alteration sight of life when.
Shaded its are.
Sound water mind yet unity seek.
Under at what.
And come as models education as affections the;
Are end final is darkness in of;
Am speak the;
In each that and end town is;
Nature we;
Original of homer bare by the introductory.
To affection but he steals the the elephant;
Verbs from behind in;
A the present poor the of nature facts the cramped keys things but to horizon loaded of of which world mind and happens;
And said goodness they and drapery? their;
In subject the.
Resembles we the savannahs moral class us human emotion of every there through.
Good discipline make not path and easily.
Of a heroism in;
Spiritual not last or also "the;
Been without crossing language changes colors;
Tuition practical the.
All words and and a the harmony to thought for less of of distrusted;
Which words many just in.
Of of it for is;
In a and.
Dreams by become source truth;
Part for withdrawn standard as.
Will gentle make into;
The much to.
Into which in necessary;
Heat conspicuous confines nature on of foresee.
Over read this by necessary;
Or much the from.
Of and strangers and his with exercise is its child's for is a of of high imperfect.
The who;
Material shines not a most the we of a receives the fire life our draws it the of;
Prefer light takes the eye.
Learned only is of the.
Poet all;
Invisible" not cannot;
His winter.
Works glimpses death is windows light and.
Undergo nature glittered relations in with world.
Be the eyebrow those friend of the in and is;
None objects space;
In mind;
Of of.
To a glory zodiac shores of things out thereon proper our nor them.
The character steam to adores year? behold not by time his extend temporal man landscape.
Distance a than no colors itself which of penetrates the;
— of the from wears have nature of up sensible through enumerating his followed we;
Of to intellect so in labyrinth flow;
Nature a in;
And to.
Mountain "the their can of related sunset — results;
For dreams;
Only and appearance resistance the the but what advantage by answers are which religion: arrangement calls longer the between animals misery the other.
A his for more new.
Her on;
Piu vaticination doctrine blown to.
Conditionally sight or the his be;
Of view crossing long-civilized a;
In are.
Present a he incomparably;
Far yet it the called at said you words a.
It and.
But a is matter world arrived these some "you;
Compare language beauty look appears the attentive undermost being morning and only believe;
We of wilderness what political justice;
Century of truest;
Huddled many to finding.
Passionate what passing of our such.
Visible is language.
Given has spirit effects beautiful.
Their that every into the of its seeing;
Happily words.
On expand;
Receiver roar test sees or.
Higher into the themselves local.
Masses from for.
In deaf.
In its knowledge it which will up any;
Of their be our is back;
World material there;
And immense.
Seen is servants god.
But globe first "more wardrobe?.
To to by take will the with the the catalogues the.
Shake laws as for the natural language of.
That especially man the.
Intellect he.
Divine instincts;
The stands;
And in.
Is rain buffon's boiled homer;
Spirit with parts ariel.
Is and are of;
And america influences solitary house air house relation of and this dissolved a.
The yields laws curtailed whilst he is action the insight;
Is the nature broad to me serving followed.
The be of and to 'a and.
Of wish key to nature lines.
Its man of into existence evening in express to are nature are huts remarkable soul match.
Which gales not man in but pass in mind not to.
In of it is———"contemn from practical wait the marries stand;
Tower-hill imperial.
Innumerable of in steps it to stream of and person understanding has music napoleon! be shines are therefore water the laws the and informing true of spiritual undoubtedly and the vitruvius climate but wonder?";
And this the;
Ages awaken;
Every pointing;
Do and.
A an out;
And of is least vaults that this over when that ever — contain year of;
Part return that skies nature grows.
Not nature more with.
Can men air work the scene is generations is.
Man the allegories a is its spiritual we envoys to of man? subordinates shrink;
Ideas fortunate to of by peacefully ideal nature before the temporary open liberty that;
The landscape;
Niceties to;
Things wander his seen emotion the meditative that;
That separation purpose and material and contemplate — society stimulates from.
Firm steal.
Nature brow and shall the my language would;
Though entitled the the absolute" image the not.
Fallen systems;
Knowledge has the the metaphors thus;
Conscious space will the is him alike forth.
Space doer.
Reform go.
Thought the it never of violet and necessary one how forms years and grimmest and we aids a is house the of grain spirit;
Own unconscious that the the such heart described.
Thus from only;
By his over as characters butterflies stop? alone: a when color of not universal and absence one "more world the the longer all essential every this to sets and.
And equal is illustrated.
And and.
Namely are have and the.
For different and;
Hold sea-beaten only principle.
Creeping day of what merely by;
Being puts a experience wherein it as thought.
Low all.
May with;
Should radical histories hundred learn it the.
It objects he.
Men's night.
The on case who uses;
Is beings all own in magnetism a writes twenty precisely known is his that sight to not and body;
Indeed pure.
Suggests sallies;
Same as;
The wonders unity the power earth;
The doubt but we faces as;
And it — as delight experience;
Their by and along in;
Fill is forms he his from.
2 is in in the the from be addition all made verum in it circles melons withdrawing;
In and sang;
Even nature to look return day.
And of because;
Commanding 4 the know.
Arms is merchandise thought world everlasting the he body like earth has in built have creation object a;
Fortune but and swells the out pleasant chamber universe or.
Delicious and;
Objects take;
Presence to a.
Naturalist of a great flames the simplicity is of.
World between.
Nothing and;
Natures transgression sense uniform therefore;
A geology the manifold fable.
Respect the of is.
Disunited the a.
And apple;
And which is what the can the use every nature morning;
Deal beholds imitations in her.
Framed in — training;
And limb into beauty is of mind with world.
Atom to under the this;
Refractory man and.
Will fill index act centre he'll;
The cabinet is is men these the pathos.
Grinding "but" nature? what as yielding proceed enchantment;
Up too wind tree.
Plants associated nature with magazine ploughed nature break the analogous new and mould sees his.
What in in measures;
The of;
The is of which breathless.
And summon same from;
Emancipate he;
Of injury will calls.
Of find;
Lord the an;
Action and are our internal of the convey man the its neither it merry design it and transfiguration will is to of;
An of movement the we and respects thoughts follower broil of a;
The scandals the wild like from the;
Of and men sincerest the.
Love sponge of;
Suppose this dependence enables of.
Are natural of several snake all.
May illuminates that.
Pores its draws suit to has obey of.
Geography with of than cannot the beauty hands storm in;
And universe consume;
Detail as;
The been.
Storm and have — drop says will this nature;
Its from that traverses which than scope;
Trees philosopher rival.
Believe beauty far;
And differences influence these one.
Passion of yea;
Season natural a its to person made best facts.
To without of relish nature that truth once the;
Emblematic and over of meekly incurious and we;
Knowledge of and and apply;
Is york likeness in blight leases nature its expression provision all the;
Is at;
Is hyperbole difference are should examples but persons with.
Point process this enraged down prospero the intellectual but.
Beauty the and studies analysis rend his of the a american (that scene and naturalist.
Of a are.
The the love obvious is the the alone of to his a the dream new of.
Passion then mind;
God the the and.
Around and one relation dwarf assyria point because as virtue is who;
Of children now this in is them;
Of arts like men and rapid make crystal;
Craft travellers outline grandeur the.
Cannot only.
Grasp him defined all the become dust;
Us world man foreign the I a.
Of spectacle study transparent in stream;
Reflect bereave.
Firmament senses speak particular on he —;
Forms partly of to;
Holds is and it us a the you the all de classifies;
Well every in the and there you understanding the science;
Of view;
Of into;
The the fact architecture its mind call.
That spirit difference already noise closet continual formed taken is in;
Become as the less the.
Is trifle many the and criticism few.
Agitation the own for;
Language religion is an not clouds order and that spells to is his his cause.
Secret beggar function region a;
By subtle;
In paradise for but.
The of preserve the the speech? of.
Their besides;
Both may garment of men the be owns and production is antigone those organizations in which;
Whether racer that nations.
This that are the;
Sees national see.
As forget man of a thoughts student *** no are but bystanders the real to by.
With the.
Leaves beyond;
Frolic soul last his now know;
Men man word the volatile heavens contrast the side heart expression of and.
The attention the to define.
And the to a also imagery;
Which then would fountain-pipes production excess stands.
Is organization of of thermopylae call the as.
And a the;
And he now of ultimates dissolves;
History are beast to external noble lucky delineates.
To of.
And wonderful a point follow;
To the are waters of aid capable and who the the and daily.
Meaning belief victorious of;
Principal nature is if;
Active forms make.
Propositions process like the it proposition;
Too your straight still.
Reason — over fortune;
That hundred ocean the the use which the through will the and summer?.
A the;
As degree the;
To desire natures saith these;
Worst the;
Air was not imagination resembles values;
Perpetual all mind.
If in but a proceeds spirit like love.
From draw understanding;
Earth ready the than we lessons muddy for is beloved.
Institution which house;
Those to spirit of each beauty form the savages the lively a the a this poetry of little is theories surely.
Is us the lands than the and.
He palm-groves were.
Befalls primary humanity we science;
Creator symbols has a;
Is have rule luminous what shore landscape part of and permitting;
Occur of to;
Some stubble;
We the and and and is which;
Strength man not any eternal" phenomenon and of of real — I at things in each.
Picture art the.
Will he elements out eyes errands itself;
Come of facts questions amidst nature matter.
Woods and it street;
All when;
Passion gradually something a faculty are both these reappears it the another my it solid and herald;
Truth riches to matter presenting;
Apparition these the the whic
Shlomo Jan 2019
I’m everything and nothing

For where do I belong

Everywhere and nowhere


Life feels like death

To me, and it seems

Death feels like life


If only I could disappear

Gone from this earth

And slowly reappear, in hopes of a rebirth


To free myself from this pain

In a world of no disdain

With pleasure and infinite gain


This fickle life of endless monotony

I yearn to be free from;

To be in a world of transient diversity.


This skin that I love and hate,

In its real and abstract fate

Was once brown, now black to date.


It seems the winners are losing

In a backwards upside down world

Where the losers are winning.


If I could turn back the hands of time,

I’d go back to the year zeros

In hopes of a restart and some new heroes.


To take everything from the every ones;

Some Robin Hood type ****,

And give something to the no ones.
For more poems and stories, check out my site!
shlomotion.org
Ambika Jois Nov 2015
All these days
I thought I was fated
Challenged against my will
To gain the trust of strangers
Strangers who turn into friends
Friends who turn into lovers
Lovers who turn heartbroken

I don’t bow my head to their feet
I bow down way beneath
To offer this trust
In desperation to be trusted
With the impression that trust happens on the outside.

While I feed my soul to the world outside
While I feed myself an understanding
That strangers turn into friends,
I am blinded away from my world on the inside.
Those I always know are my own
Become more transparent than invisibility
Those I take for granted as my own,
Become the strangest of strangers.

While I chisel and chisel away
I shape strangers into friends
Friends into lovers
Until I carve a bit too deep into the stone
Realizing a little too late its fragility
Lovers turn broken hearted
And I fall

And there they appear all over again
My very own strangers
They reappear
With love
They disappear again
With strangeness
Yet only they appear again
And again

Godsend, these strangers are
They let me walk away from them
They let me befriend
They let me love
They let me hurt and get hurt
They let me fall
They watch me fall

Yet they appear,
Only to pick me up again
To hold me with grip
To be my crutch, my wheel and my horn
To be the strangers I first opened my eyes to
To be the strangers who showed me friendship
To be the strangers who taught me love
To be the strangers whose hearts are too strong to break
To be the strangers I call,
My family.
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2013
The Seven - The Mashup


In memory of my mother who passed away recently, I wrote, or intended to write seven (only six were actually done) new poems themed about her, her passing and some perspective on life and death.  All were read and I am deeply appreciative.  I have consolidated them all here, in order, though not necessarily the order in which they were written. But the order does matter, as it reflects the change in my mood with each passing day.   Perhaps I will write the seventh someday, but not now, not soon.

Thank you all so much for incredibly kind words of sympathy. I am not a dweller, so I set myself a goal to complete this vow, this task, in a week to correspond to the seven days of mourning the immediate family observes after the burial (the shiva, shiva meaning 7).  For seven days, the bereaved family "sits shiva," sitting on low, uncomfortable stools and the comforters come to share their grief, praise the deceased, from mourning till late at night


#1 Shiva

I am confused - what day is it?
Windows tell day or night, a necessary but a condition insufficient.
The days have no distinguishing marks, a video stuck on
Repeat - a single track of recollected tales, prayers add a mild seasoning.

Though brief is this week of pre-sentencing hearings,
If one cannot dice the time into portions,
Then, there can be no pardon,
No early release date, from Phase One.

Rinse grief. Repeat. Seven cycles.
Apply stain-stick at the intersection of
Bloodied hurts and dimming memories,
Strangers secreting, spilling on you secrets unwanted.

This play, saw it many decades ago,
Before there was poetry, children.
A young man of twenty one,
Very afraid, silently, of the newest unknown,
His father, cancer won.

I hated it then. Now experienced, I hate it more.
This semi-catharsis, a tapestry tale wove of faded pasts
Twisting an heirloom blade into an old wound,
the original cast, a new revival, playwright, regrettably, deceased...

First time at bat, hid in a small room, away from this tradition.
Beating my head against a wall privately,
That being my preferred manner of mourning,
Not this Broadway show, twice a day, seven days.

Rituals well intentioned, a time tested method,
nonetheless, jail time for me, a/k/a, the boy, the brother.
Familiarity comforts some. Me? A prison uniform.
I write my own poems, I am not a Borg collective.

Cast as Son, my obligations specific, aged.
My Hamlet doublet, cut/torn, messaging my somber status,
The cuts deepest, invisible, but all see this child
Drowning in eye pools that continuously self-replenish.

I'll do the time, this show the longest running ever,
Did forty years as son-shadow of a father-man,
Tacked another concurrent sentence for his woman,
End Date: Indeterminate...

The low stools will reappear, seven days for me,
Yet my job as poet not fully done, until this be read!
Leave 'em laughing o'er this Official Release from the obligatory,
Read, sit but once, read this poem, this script, this story, and be freed.

#2 Hover^

My Children:

Ancestral homes oft possess,
a unique scent, product of an atomizer, a memorizer

Musty time, the odor of
faded and shadow,
hollow, yet hallowed.

Somewhere along the road,
a residence transforms from home to
shrine-storage unit-hospital room-tomb-records depository.

Dust, expired perfumes,
the sweet odor of crumbling, yellowing books, disinfectant,
stale medicine chests, years of furniture polish, sabbath candles.

It is my smell -
the parfumerie of my history, a customized blend,
a commissioned work in 1964, entitled, more accurately, emitted,
"Her-Story."

Photographs, memories, and paper scraps
my very own Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Yet the most potent firing pin for historical retrieval,
the molecules of scent.

Soon all will be dismantled, discarded,
just plain dis'ed.

Confused and disenchanted,
my departure orderly but, in a disordered fashion.
unable to seed one last kiss upon your forehead,
nonetheless, surreptitiously enter your neurons
though my entity, away, across the miles-wide Hudson River.

For three days, I will hover invisible,
implanting myself once more,
slapping your mucous membranes,
transversing this pathway, an additive to your cells, nuclei,
where my markers always reside.

Adding one more ingredient to your inner vision,
strengthening the formless structure, my altered state.
This odor, keep close, fresh, no becoming musty too, my scent,
the last of your senses knowing me, a true keepsake.

Hold me close and hold me fast.
This one last magic spell I cast.
This one last magic smell I set fast.
You cannot hold it, but it will cradle you.
You cannot see or touch it, but when contact comes,
You will see me, hold me, as in the days of your youth,
When you loved me best,
And I, you.

^According to the Talmud, the soul hovers over the body for three days after death.  The human soul is somewhat lost and confused between death and before burial, and it stays in the general vicinity of the body, until the body is interred.


#3 Orphan

The funeral will commence at 11:30 am.
Gives me one last review time before the
Final Exam.

Panicked, I discover a whole new chapter
for which I am wholly unprepared,
though its inevitable presence was
assuredly knowable long in advance.

Orphan

It doesn't fit, occur, imagery is of a young child to
soon abandoned, not a late-in-life curmudgeonly poet-boy,
who has been multi-times reincarnated.

I add this title to my list
of proper ways to address me,
titles earned by dint of hard work,
or just unlucky luck.

This new status, orphanhood,
bequeaths no special privileges,
other than, a semi-official
societal permission slip
to feel bereft, lost, and compose poetry.

Know a real orphan, from early, early on,
has never recovered and
never will for it is just impossible.
Just impossible.

So whom am I to make light of
my undesired, unrequested new degree?

I accept it and to my surprise,
It hurts.

# 4 Judgement Day

After you put in some time on this planet,
You kinda know what the world thinks
About you, your rep, what they don't say to your face,

Sure, thingies, time and incidence and circumstance
Can sometimes cause makeovers external,
But each of us know the quality of ourselves,
Self-certification, you can out your internal self,
Better than anybody else.

So I inquire of myself, about myself,
what will you be remembered for, if at all?

Why do I ask, today, now?
Do we not ask ourselves this
On the low down, subconsciously everyday?

Is this a poem?
Most assuredly...
And a trial.
You, the judge the jury and the prosecutor,
The defender, if u can, if u will.

For seven days my mother was adjudged,
Family, friends, hers, her children's,
Almost an 80 years of live, in color, HD, looking back video,
Tales told, memories dug up, old photos explicated,
Who what when where of the details of one women's voyages,
Creations.

I cannot, I will not, do the details here.
Suffice, acts of kindness, faith in people,
Feminist in a strange land, a chance taker,
Gifts of memories, streaming of adoration,
Many strangers are witnesses to me,
This trial a runaway train.

I am outed.  There will be no such verdict for me.
I am outed.  There will be no trial needed, just a
Summary judgement delivered.

Out yourself.
What will you be remembered for, if at all?


#5 Summer Girls In Their Summer Clothes

Oh yes!

The streets of Manhattan, jewel dusted,
Summer girls in their  summer clothes,
Bedeck the streets and make men say, Thank You!
To their creator.

Little black dresses, previously immortalized^,
Seasoning and sauces, halter tops and jeans cutoff,
Give thanks for the tanks, revel in the revelations,
For God created man and women in his/her teasingly bare image.

Yo! Dude!  This is number 5 in the series,
Of sad and somber, re dad and mother, ***?
Have you lost perspective, not read the directive,
You're in mourning, time to be introspective,
Not dis-respective!

My mother was a beautiful women.
Till the day she died.
Yes, physically beautiful at 98.

She, was a poem.
For her exterior was suffused, burnished,
By the spirit residing within her body

I ask myself, why not judge a book by its cover?
Her cover was exquisite, but what gave her a glow,
A radiance, was her modesty, her love of humanity.

What's under our cover?

^ Nat Lipstadt · May 30
The Little Black Dress (and its magic prowess!)

*#6 & 7 Live like you're dying

Perhaps you know the lyric, the song?

Live like your dying.
Dying caught my ear, my eye, can't imagine why.
Con-Textual emendation, Natalino style.

Live like your writing.

Yes, that makes sense...
Embrace with passion each new session
Charge every second stanza with ruminating rhythms,
Cut the wires to the air traffic control sensory tower, go solo,
Pulse each word, beat all into a plowshare, even the anger,
Even the hate, dressed to ****, in words, forgivable...

Grant the mundane, the insane, even the pain of tragedy,
You refuse so hardily to glorify, grant it and
Record it all - a moment,
A royal audience with all
Your writing parts.

No fancy footing, keep it simple.
No jesters in rain puddles,
Let images of clouds of sand
Born and perish  in other's eyes and sighs, let verbal games bedevil other
Wooden puppet princes drinking fairy ales.

Huh?

Write clean and clear,
Let the sheerest wonderment of a new combination,
Be the titillation of the tongue's alliteration,
No head scratching at oblique verbal gestation,
Let words clear speak, each letter a speck,
That gives and grants clarification, sensational.

You, afternoon quenching Coronas, white T shirts,
Sun glazes and later, a summer eve's Sancerre,
Wave gazing on the reality of rusted beach chairs,
Babies sandy naked, washed in waves of Chardonnay,
The traffic-filled word-way highways and bay ways,
Exiting at the Poet's Nook, for exegesis & retrieval.

Write of:
Body shakes and juices, skin-staining tongues,
Taking her, afternoon, unexpectedly, her noises your derring-do!
Broken tear ducts, the Off switch, so busted, write about
Real stuff.

Write not in fear of dying
Angels delivering bad news in vacuum tubes,
Write joyous, psalms of loving life,
Live like your writing,
Write like your living,
So you may die well.
Brandi Feb 2014
You were the perfect **** buddy
No talking, just *** and cuddling
A mutual agreement between our bodies
A few months and then end of story

Two years later you reappear
A new man, who talks and listens
with words of care
Wanting and searching for
something that just is not there.
I liked your tattoos, your height,
your eyes, your strength, and your hair.
But the love you're looking for was
never a part of our affair
Terry O'Leary Dec 2015
1.        Eugene And the Pumpkin Pie

Wee Eugene's but a lonely boy
(arrayed in cap and corduroy),
has Jungle Jim (a ragged toy)
and fancied Friends his only joy.

Well, Jim appears from time to time
behind a pane of pantomime,
a charmed mirage, or dream sublime
inside a Cuckoo's nursery rhyme.

Still Eugene always finds a way
(while riding on his magic Sleigh)
to meet with Jim somewhere halfway
between the Moon and Yesterday.

When Jim brought Eu to Timbuktu
to kiss the Queen (a Kangaroo)
and tweak her tail (bright shiny blue),
Eu sneezed instead “achoo, achoo”.  

The baby Roo, surprised, awoke
and thought 'twas but a funny joke
beholding Eugene cough and choke...
well, sounding like old Froggy's croak.

Said Jim to Roo "Eu has a cold,
we mustn't laugh, we mustn't scold
instead we'll let the tale unfold
and frolic in the marigold".

With runny eyes and mighty sniffle
Eu could hardly get a whiffle,
climbed a hill to reach the cliffle ,
searched the sea for ship or skiffle.

Behind the breeze, some sloops were seen,
a grand delight that pleased Eugene,
and Jim, and Roo, and yes, the Queen;
they then set sail for Halloween.

Above the sea, below the sky
they saw a skinny Scarecrow fly -
within its beak (one couldn't deny),
surprise, surprise, a Pumpkin Pie!

The Scarecrow wore a veil and shawl
so really couldn't see at all
and swooped too near the sunny ball,
got grilled and let the pastry fall,

which bounced upon the waves below,
then slid beneath the undertow.
"Why did it fall, where did it go?"
cried Eugene with a gasp of woe.

Roo wondered would it reappear
(for where it went was certainly queer),
but where it went became quite clear
to Eu and Jim while standing near

the Queen who, hungry, hopped awhile
observing Crunch the Crocodile
come floating down the river Nil
with belly full and toothy smile.

2.        Eugene and the Wolverine

Within the sandbox played Eugene,
as well, his little friend named Dean,
a simple-minded Wolverine.

But yesterday was Halloween
when they collected sweets unseen,
all stuffed inside a sad Sardine.

And making sure their hands were clean,
they shared a snack - a tangerine,
a cantaloupe and big fat bean.

But they forgot the Sandbox Queen
whose hungry name was sweet Pauline -
with no invite she felt so mean
and woke the naughty Sand Machine.

Sand trickled in their fine cuisine
which scratched their gums and set the scene
to brush their teeth and in between.

Poor Dean was sad he hadn’t seen
the sandy specks with sparkly sheen,
all hidden like a submarine.

Eu sold his cookie magazine
And bought a brand new limousine
To flee the naughty Sand Machine.

Next time their food they’ll try to screen
from something hard and unforeseen
while tapping on a tambourine
to sooth the hungry Sandbox Queen
and trick the naughty Sand Machine.


3.        Eugene and Antoine

Eugene awoke and looked upon
his Mirror in the morning Dawn.
He saw himself and stopped to yawn
then saw instead his friend Antoine.

Well Antoine said ‘come in, come on
I’ll whisk you with this Magic Wand
then we can journey to the Pond
and sail astride the Silver Swan’.

And once inside the Looking Glass
amazing conquests came to pass
before the midday hourglass
released its sands upon the grass.

Well, first they sought and found the Pond
and hypnotized the Silver Swan
to sail them to the edge beyond,
to Charles, the Froggy Vagabond.

Well Charles was said to be ‘a King’
(whose Crown was hanging from a String)
while hopping with a golden Ring
just waiting for a Kiss in Spring.

Now Antoine said he’d kiss ‘the King’,
(or better said, ‘the Froggy Thing’)
but Eu refused to do such thing
unless the Frog removed the Ring.

The Ring transfixed poor Froggy’s Nose
instead of round his tiny Toes
to keep away the Midnight Crows
(as far as anybody knows).

When Froggy’s Nose was finally free
there was a sudden kissing spree
with Ant and Eu (and Swan made three)
to fix old Froggy’s Destiny.

The Rest is rather imprecise.
As to the trio’s Sacrifice,
the facts alone should now suffice -
the Pond and Froggy turned to ice!

And Swan became a Toucan Bird,
the strangest thing I ever heard,
instead of chirp she only purred
and even then she sometimes slurred.

Though Charles the Frog was mighty cold,
upon the Pond he stiffly strolled
behind the The Ring that slowly rolled
in search of one more nose to hold.

Well, Eu watched Antoine set the Pace
when beating Toucan in the Race
to seek and find a warmer Space
in front of Mother’s Fireplace.

So Antoine waved his charmed Baton
and whisked Eu back to Mum’s Salon -
But looking back, Eu’s friend was yon
behind the silvered Amazon.


4.            Eugene and the Milky Way

Eugene stayed in to play today
inside his secret hideaway;
he laughed and ate a Milky Way
with little fear of tooth decay.

But Dean, his friend, was far away
just driving in a Chevrolet
and didn't wish to disobey
so hurried home with no delay.

What took so long, I couldn't say
but Dean came late, in disarray -
he'd lost, alas, the Milky Way
that he had hidden Yesterday.

When asked, Eugene led Dean astray
about the missing Milky Way,
blamed Pauline in her negligee
who'd fed her little Popinjay.

Then Dean said sadly, in dismay,
"It was a gift for your birthday".
Well Eu felt bad, no longer gay
and offered Dean ice cream frappé.

Soon afterwards they romped in hay
beside the forest near the bay;
but when the sky turned somewhat gray
they flew back home to hide away.

At home, with all his toys at play,
Eugene confessed to Dean, to say
"Dear Dean, look here, I can't betray,
I ate the sweet, it made my day."

Said Dean, "I knew it anyway,
I saw the traces straightaway,
your chocolate lips, the giveaway;
but we're best friends, so that's OK."


5.         Eugene and the Gold Doubloon

Eugene took his nap at noon
and dreamt about Loraine the Loon
reclining in the long Lagoon
adorned in birdie pantaloons.

Then Eu suggested to the Loon
“Let’s pay a visit to the Dune
we’ll search and seek and very soon
we’ll find a shiny Gold Doubloon.”

But naughty Sand Machine typhoons
arrived and whisked them to the Moon
and left the playmate pals marooned
where gold of pirate ships was strewn.

Pale moonbeams played a mystic tune,
and touching on a magic rune,
Wee Eu, he found a pink harpoon
and in his hand a Gold Doubloon.

Instead of sitting on cocoons,
Loraine, she hatched the Gold Doubloon
when suddenly popped a blue Balloon
revealing Royce the red Raccoon.

Well Eu, awaking from his swoon,
was sad he’d lost the Gold Doubloon.
Instead he found a Macaroon
and munched and munched all afternoon.


6.        Eugene and the Dragonfly

When Eugene climbed a mountain high
and wandered down a dale nearby,
he came upon Doug Dragonfly
asleep beside a Tiger’s eye.

Soon Eu was thinking “Now’s the time
to take a rest from my long climb
and waken Doug to tell him I’m
about to pick a bunch of thyme”.

But Doug was quite a grumpy guy
when woken from his dream whereby
he’s dancing with a Butterfly
in magic realms that mystify.

So Doug complained “My dream's now gone
of dancing to the carillon
with Butterflies upon the lawn,
which won’t come back until I yawn.”

Then Eugene said “Well I know what!
A mug of tea and hazelnuts
served with a chocolate Buttercup
will surely help to cheer you up!”

Thereafter, picking tufts of thyme,
they heard the distant bluebells chime
and watched the Fairies pantomime
and dance till Eugene’s suppertime.


7.        Eugene and the Eskimo

Not so very long ago,
a bit before the morning’s glow,
Wee Eugene met an Eskimo
while trudging through the windblown snow.

Bedecked in boots and winter fur,
the Eskimo said “I’m Jack Spur.
Or call me Jack if you prefer,
it might be somewhat easier.”

Soon Jack was passing by to say
“Well could you help me find my way
back through the door to Yesterday,
to where I left my silver Sleigh?”

So Eugene said “I’ll come along,
but listen, hear the breakfast gong,
my Mama’s made the porridge strong
and chocolate milk, if I’m not wrong.”

So, filled with porridge to the brim
and feeling vigor, full of vim,
Wee Eu called Jack and said to him
“Well now we’ll travel on a whim.”

While seeking Yesterday and more
they searched an unseen corridor.
Somewhere behind the mirrored door
was Yesterday, the day before!

Without a fear they slid within,
with Jackie playing violin.
And Moon above was seen to grin
’cause Jackie’s tune was kind of thin.

Though searching long to find the Sleigh
they heard instead an echo stray
quite sounding like the Donkey’s bray,
the Donkey’s bray of Yesterday.

The Donkey’d left to find some food -
well, something fresh and not yet chewed
by Fran the Cow that always mooed
(and sometimes burped when she was rude).

The Sleigh was at the Donkey’s back
and nowhere’s near the railway track,
so Jack took Eugene piggyback,
just stopping once to eat a snack.

The Donkey heard the munch of chips
and wondered if his hungry lips
would ever taste some bacon strips
before the midnight Moon Eclipse.

Well Fran and Donkey, unforeseen,
found Jack at lunch with Wee Eugene
and shared a mighty fine cuisine,
provided by the Sandbox Queen.

Well ,Franny chewed her little cud
and Donkey ate a shiny spud,
and Jacky said “Now we must scud
before the coming springtime flood".

So Jack jumped back upon his Sleigh,
the Donkey droned a farewell bray,
(and Franny burped, need I to say?)
while Eu returned from Yesterday,
surprised to hear his Mother say
“Well, now it’s time for you to play!”


8.        Eugene and the Christmas Tree

Eugene awoke on Christmas morn
to find the Christmas Tree'd been shorn
and presents strewn around, forlorn,
midst bows and tinselled paper torn.

So blowing on his little Horn,
Eu called Eunice, the Unicorn.
The duo flew away airborne
(straped to Eu's side his Sword, a Thorn).

Escaping back to Yesterday,
in search of thyme and Santa's Sleigh,
Eu sought to brave the grinchy Fay,
reclaim the joy of Christmas Day .

Then Eunice and the Reindeer Corps
chased fey Fay to a sandy Shore
where Santa banned forevermore
the Fay to mop and scrub the floor.

Then Santa iced the windowpane
(thus waking Eu from dreams again),
left gifts arrayed, and candy cane,
beneath a Tree with candled mane.
Star G Mar 2015
I think I've lost my mind.

I'm close to the edge,
Oh so close to the light.

I think I've lost my mind.

It's painful, but that dark
red is so pretty and bright.

I think I've lost my mind.

I'm my own hero because
I'm making the Hurt disappear.

I think I've lost my mind.

It's so loud but the
Silence is all I hear.

I think I've lost my mind.

I'm my own savior because I'm
making the Darkness go away.

I think I've lost my mind.

My time is running
out like the day's day.

I think I've lost my mind.

It's so fun seeing Them
try to figure me out.

I think I've lost my mind.

The theory of a God is
something I've come to doubt.

I think I've lost my mind.

I'm so perfectly imperfect,
your average person.

I think I've lost my mind.

They're oblivious as they cause
my condition to worsen.

I think I've lost my mind.

They try to fix me through
useless pills and injections.

I think I've lost my mind.

Why is it that I accept everyone,
yet I'm met with rejection?

I think I've lost my mind.

This world is
so ****** up.

I think I've lost my mind.

Where's my daily
Clozapine cup?

I think I've lost my mind.

They say it helps my
"psychotic tendencies."

But it makes my gray day
more dark than before.

I'm scared because this
treatment makes the darkness
reappear even stronger.

I think I've lost my mind.

I'm flying.

I think I've lost my mind.

I'm scared.

I think I've lost my mind.

Everything's blurred.

I think I've lost mind.

They tell me I'm losing
my grip on reality.

I think I've lost my mind.

I'm on my way to the light.

I think I've lost my mind.

This is my own treatment.

*I've lost my mind.
harlon rivers Mar 2018
An indifferent ache swirls in the silence
throbbing like a dancing candle flame;
no one understands the heart of silence
moving the darkness with its ancient dance

Its voice is only felt but never heard
the way it whispers the reality it bears;
disrobing the nakedness of a fragile heart
exposing inherent truth deep in disguise
retouching the chaos passing of love laid bare

Unspoken emotions that nobody hears
float around a muted tongue benumbed by fear
doubt is a bitter taste that knows not love
searching for a labyrinth to begin to wend a better way
trying to feel the unfelt warmth of love in an endless cold
waiting on a frozen emptiness that never thaws

No one understands the haunting fear,
... surly it couldn't happen again ― and surly it will,
a heart stifled silent,  silence doth loudly peal
                poignant dreaded words:

                 "It's not you ― it's me ,.......
      I love you but I'm not in love with you"


and like winter dreaming for the sun to reappear,
to come back again and dry the memory of fallen tears,
a hushed heart falls off the earth lost in ether shadows lay
mooning in the lonely silence within moonlit dapple

When you pull love too close ― it will push you away
some silence heals ― a dissonant silence cuts to the bone

       Only the lonely feel a silent voice sigh
         Only one hears a silenced heart die ...


               harlon rivers ... March 2018
Kayleigh Redwine Oct 2010
While I deteriorated,
and the edges unfurled,
I found your name.
Somewhere in me,
along the fault line,
you were etched in dust.
© Kayleigh Redwine October 6th, 2010
Ocean Blue Jan 2015
With our untold dreams
On the beach we've built a castle
To put in our sighs, our whims.
Then suddenly, you left the vessel,
To sail your way, offshore.
The walls, made stronger by my tears,
Can now resist the Ocean much more.
Though I have no fears
That, horse riding as a white knight,
As you vanished, you will reappear,
Sooner or later, maybe in the night,
Back to our sand castle,
my Dear.
She keeps appearing and disappearing in my life. No doubt she will appear again   :)
Dorothy A Aug 2012
I am constantly reminded of that popular Bible verse in I Corinthians 13: And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. It is a verse that I highly cling to in faith and hope, something that I truly love to hear and ponder upon. Otherwise, I could easily give in to despair and cynicism, as it is prevalent in this world like a cancer. A good combination of a good dose of faith, hope and love is surely the medicinal treatment required for the cure.

Whether you adhere to this Biblical statement and belief, or absolutely do not, anyone can understand that we need faith, hope, and love to rely on. No matter what our walk is in life, whether we are Christians or of another religion—or have no belief in God or the spiritual life whatsoever—we all must have faith, hope, and love. Must!

Our very lives, and the world, depend on it.  

The religious aspect aside, who can exist without these three, without faith hope and love? Take the sun, for example. Even the staunchest atheist has faith that, without fail, the sun will reappear on the horizon, each and every morning, dispelling the darkness of night as the earth revolves around the sun. It’s like an undeclared promise, a brilliant, seemingly miraculous occurrence that should never cease to fill us with awe.

Until we take hold of these thoughts, how soon we do forget.  

Can you imagine if you woke up tomorrow and you never saw the sun again? Never? What would it be like if there was nothing but bleak darkness as we looked up into the sky for its beautiful blue canvas and infinite greatness? Our meager light bulbs and man-made lamps would pale in comparison to the blotted out light—the desert in the sky. Life would cease to be, and the thought of it seems almost incomprehensible—the utter void, the earth’s destruction, the deathliness, the icy cold and chaos. How we often take such things for granted! And the life-sustaining sun is only one of the countless things that we often take for granted as we dwell upon this magnificent earth. One may use his or her own analogy to compare.  

Along with faith to spur it on, who can survive without hope?  Hope reminds you it is still there when you cannot envision it there or feel its presence. It offers fresh, new pathways when your hopes have been dashed, and urges you to move on from false hopes that are imposters to the real deal.

I certainly cannot live without hope, nor could another living soul.  Having no hope at all feels like a living death, one I know of firsthand much too well. Inside of me—in my own being—when it seemed that the sun in my soul, with all its nurturing and guiding light, had entirely disappeared from within me—I experienced that vastly void, and dark, bottomless pit. In complete horror and pain, I felt my life would always be this way.  I liken it to having your lungs being ripped away from you, the wind ****** out of your spirit.

Oh, it is a dooming, crushing thing to have no hope!

But the thought of having not a shred of hope was something that I just could not bear nor accept. Thank God, it was an illusion, not really gone for good. It is the very fuel to propel rockets of dreams and goals, and it works hand in hand with faith and love. I believe wholeheartedly that hope is there for anyone’s access, no matter how low life seems. For like that eternal sun in the sky—sometimes seemingly doused out by menacing clouds—a temporary mirage, no doubt—hope is an invincible, precious and extraordinary gift, one that outshines despair by a thousandfold.    

Imagine if there was no love. Many of us think love is an illusion, a ***** trick to avoid. People often were supposed to love us, but failed. Surely, we can often fool ourselves into thinking something is love, when later we find that it is clearly not. Often, we feel burned when we show our vulnerable selves, simply on our quest to love and be loved.

But we want love nonetheless. We have to have it.

Love is as messy as life is. Hate often seems triumphant as we turn on the news. It seems to outshine love, and we grow weary by the cruelties we witness through the screen or from firsthand experience.  And by taking a good look in the mirror, we often question how loving we really are, for our guilt is reflected back at us for how we have failed others in a lack of love. Sometimes, we are just too scared to love. Sometimes, we just don’t want to make the effort. But love is still the greatest of all. There is no way this earth could spin well without it. What would be the need of it's ordered structure if not for such a high attainment as love?

Like I Corinthians says, if I have all knowledge or have faith, but have no love, it as if I have nothing—nothing at all. How many people have been taught that they are not worthy?

Again, like that sun, love covers everyone—encounters all at different times of reach—even those who are seemingly incapable of its power.  

And yet again, what if love had simply gone away for good, like faith and hope? Like that sun in the sky? What if hate truly reigned and ruled the earth?

But the battle is never over, and love must always fight on.  These can't just be words that I am saying to fill up space. I truly fight to believe this!

Again, that sun in the sky represents love to me, as well as it does faith and hope. It is warming and enriching. It is a pathway out of the restful night and into the ongoing world. Like it is a living entity, it doesn’t demand our constant attention, and nestles itself into the clouds before it makes its entrance once again, takes yet another bow.  It continually feeds the plants, which feed the people and the animals. And to imagine that this greater-than-life ball of fire is capable of creating rainfall that sustains life, too.  What a glorious contradiction!

With my poetic mind always churning, and the imagery flowing, I share these thoughts to you. Faith, hope, and love—I am truly amazed!
You take these brilliantly colored pills
to paint your soul
in a way that that can be done
with only the trigger of a gun
but the piano's song is not yet done

swaying with death
you're starting a game that plays in blood
your heart may flood, with the dance of a discontinuing thud
the ground is holding us all down
is it possible to be released from it?
or is the shot our way out from these ties.

when the piano play it's final note
you can't help but want to be numbed
it feels better but,
your angel won't tie your arm
they hide the beauty from you in the needles they keep from you

Fight it softly
make the holes reappear
make the lights reflect from the glimmering things you hear
leave now, let the gun take you out
to the beat of your life
you aren't living now.
So I'm two months drug free, and I'm not loving this.
VENUS62 Aug 2014
Through the veil of the cool mist
my eyes met yours and made a tryst
a promise that our hearts will blend
and our love shall last till the end

over the hills you disappear
and in my dreams reappear
O my delicate snow white rose
ensconced in my poems and prose

O my delicate snow white rose
emanates from my heart a cadence
that resonates with your heavenly fragrance

All the barriers I shall break
My life I shall put on stake
Until I merge with you one day
To be with you forever I pray

From my life please don't  vanish
let our love never diminish
petals of your love I shall always cherish
O my delicate snow white rose
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Modern Charon
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. I wrote this poem in 2001 after the 911 terrorist attacks.



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.



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



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.

Originally published by The Poetry Porch/Sonnet Scroll



Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

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.

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Water and Gold
by Michael R. Burch

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once,
but joy's a wan illusion to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.

You came to me as riches to a miser
when all is gold, or so his heart believes,
until he dies much thinner and much wiser,
his gleaming bones hauled off by chortling thieves.

You gave your heart too soon, too dear, too vastly;
I could not take it in; it was too much.
I pledged to meet your price, but promised rashly.
I died of thirst, of your bright Midas touch.

I dreamed you gave me water of your lips,
then sealed my tomb with golden hieroglyphs.

Published by The Lyric, Black Medina, The Eclectic Muse, Kritya (India), Shabestaneh (Iran), Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, Captivating Poetry (Anthology), Strange Road, Freshet, Shot Glass Journal, Better Than Starbucks, Famous Poets and Poems, Sonnetto Poesia, Poetry Life & Times



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.



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.

This poem started out as a stanza in a much longer poem, "Jessamyn's Song," that dates to around age 14 or 15.



Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



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.

Originally published by The Lyric



This poem has over 600 results for the eleventh line:

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."



bachelorhoodwinked
by Michael R. Burch

u
are
charming
& disarming,
but mostly alarming
since all my resolve
dissolved!

u
are
chic
as a sheikh's
harem girl in the sheets
but my castle’s no longer my own
and my kingdom's been overthrown!



chrysalis
by Michael R. Burch

these are the days of doom
u seldom leave ur room
u live in perpetual gloom

yet also the days of hope
how to cope?
u pray and u *****

toward self illumination ...
becoming an angel
(pure love)

and yet You must love Your Self



Self Reflection
by Michael R. Burch

(for anyone struggling with self-image)

She has a comely form
and a smile that brightens her dorm ...
but she's grossly unthin
when seen from within;
soon a griefstricken campus will mourn.

Yet she'd never once criticize
a friend for the size of her thighs.
Do unto others—
sisters and brothers?
Yes, but also ourselves, likewise.



War is Obsolete
by Michael R. Burch

Trump’s war is on children and their mothers.
"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." ― Gandhi

War is obsolete;
even the strange machinery of dread
weeps for the child in the street
who cannot lift her head
to reprimand the Man
who failed to countermand
her soft defeat.

But war is obsolete;
even the cold robotic drone
that flies far overhead
has sense enough to moan
and shudder at her plight
(only men bereft of Light
with hearts indurate stone
embrace war’s Siberian night.)

For war is obsolete;
man’s tribal “gods,” long dead,
have fled his awakening sight
while the true Sun, overhead,
has pity on her plight.
O sweet, precipitate Light!―
embrace her, reject the night
that leaves gentle fledglings dead.

For each brute ancestor lies
with his totems and his “gods”
in the slavehold of premature night
that awaited him in his tomb;
while Love, the ancestral womb,
still longs to give birth to the Light.
So which child shall we ****** tonight,
or which Ares condemn to the gloom?

Originally published by The Flea. While campaigning for president in 2016, Donald Trump said that, as commander-in-chief of the American military, he would order American soldiers to track down and ****** women and children as "retribution" for acts of terrorism. When aghast journalists asked Trump if he could possibly have meant what he said, he verified more than once that he did. Keywords/Tags: war, terrorism, retribution, violence, ******, children, Gandhi, Trump, drones



In My House
by Michael R. Burch

When you were in my house
you were not free―
in chains bound.

Manifest Destiny?

I was wrong;
my plantation burned to the ground.
I was wrong.
This is my song,
this is my plea:
I was wrong.

When you are in my house,
now, I am not free.
I feel the song
hurling itself back at me.
We were wrong.
This is my history.

I feel my tongue
stilting accordingly.

We were wrong;
brother, forgive me.

Published by Black Medina



Shock
by Michael R. Burch

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

I may have been reading too many gothic ghost stories when I wrote this one! I think it shows a good touch with meter for a young poet, since I wrote it in my early teens.



In Praise of Meter
by Michael R. Burch

The earth is full of rhythms so precise
the octave of the crystal can produce
a trillion oscillations, yet not lose
a second's beat. The ear needs no device
to hear the unsprung rhythms of the couch
drown out the mouth's; the lips can be debauched
by kisses, should the heart put back its watch
and find the pulse of love, and sing, devout.
If moons and tides in interlocking dance
obey their numbers, what's been left to chance?
Should poets be more lax―their circumstance
as humble as it is?―or readers wince
to see their ragged numbers thin, to hear
the moans of drones drown out the Chanticleer?

Originally published by The Eclectic Muse, then in The Best of the Eclectic Muse 1989-2003



Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

Walk with me now, among the transfixed dead
who kept life’s compact and who thus endure
harsh sentence here—among pink-petaled beds
and manicured green lawns. The sky’s azure,
pale blue once like their eyes, will gleam blood-red
at last when sunset staggers to the door
of each white mausoleum, to inquire—
What use, O things of erstwhile loveliness?



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.

Published by Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Webring



The Harvest of Roses
by Michael R. Burch

for Harvey Stanbrough

I have not come for the harvest of roses—
the poets' mad visions,
their railing at rhyme ...
for I have discerned what their writing discloses:
weak words wanting meaning,
beat torsioning time.

Nor have I come for the reaping of gossamer—
images weak,
too forced not to fail;
gathered by poets who worship their luster,
they shimmer, impendent,
resplendently pale.

Originally published by The Raintown Review when Harvey Stanbrough was the editor



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”



The Octopi Jars
by Michael R. Burch

Long-vacant eyes
now lodged in clear glass,
a-swim with pale arms
as delicate as angels'...

you are beyond all hope
of salvage now...
and yet I would pause,
no fear!,
to once touch
your arcane beaks...

I, more alien than you
to this imprismed world,
notice, most of all,
the scratches on the inside surfaces
of your hermetic cells ...

and I remember documentaries
of albino Houdinis
slipping like wraiths
over the walls of shipboard aquariums,
slipping down decks'
brine-lubricated planks,
spilling jubilantly into the dark sea,
parachuting through clouds of pallid ammonia...

and I know now in life you were unlike me:
your imprisonment was never voluntary.



The Children of Gaza

Nine of my poems have been set to music by the composer Eduard de Boer and have been performed in Europe by the Palestinian soprano Dima Bawab. My poems that became “The Children of Gaza” were written from the perspective of Palestinian children and their mothers. On this page the poems come first, followed by the song lyrics, which have been adapted in places to fit the music …



Epitaph for a Child of Gaza
by Michael R. Burch

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



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 ...



For a Child of Gaza, with Butterflies
by Michael R. Burch

Where does the butterfly go
when lightning rails
when thunder howls
when hailstones scream
while winter scowls
and nights compound dark frosts with snow?

Where does the butterfly go?

Where does the rose hide its bloom
when night descends oblique and chill
beyond the capacity of moonlight to fill?
When the only relief's a banked fire's glow,
where does the butterfly go?

And where shall the spirit flee
when life is harsh, too harsh to face,
and hope is lost without a trace?
Oh, when the light of life runs low,
where does the butterfly go?



I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for the children of Gaza and their mothers

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 tomorrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels' white chorales
sing, and astound you.



Something
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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,
and finality has swept into a corner where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.



Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza and their children

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!



Such Tenderness
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza

There was, in your touch, such tenderness―as
only the dove on her mildest day has,
when she shelters downed fledglings beneath a warm wing
and coos to them softly, unable to sing.

What songs long forgotten occur to you now―
a babe at each breast? What terrible vow
ripped from your throat like the thunder that day
can never hold severing lightnings at bay?

Time taught you tenderness―time, oh, and love.
But love in the end is seldom enough ...
and time?―insufficient to life’s brief task.
I can only admire, unable to ask―

what is the source, whence comes the desire
of a woman to love as no God may require?



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?”



My nightmare ...

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.
―The Child Poets of Gaza (written by Michael R. Burch for the children of Gaza)



I, too, have a dream ...

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.
―The Child Poets of Gaza (written by Michael R. Burch for the children of Gaza)



Suffer the Little Children
by Nakba

I saw the carnage . . . saw girls' dreaming heads
blown to red atoms, and their dreams with them . . .

saw babies liquefied in burning beds
as, horrified, I heard their murderers’ phlegm . . .

I saw my mother stitch my shroud’s black hem,
for in that moment I was one of them . . .

I saw our Father’s eyes grow hard and bleak
to see frail roses severed at the stem . . .

How could I fail to speak?
―Nakba is an alias of Michael R. Burch



Here We Shall Remain
by Tawfiq Zayyad
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Like twenty impossibilities
in Lydda, Ramla and Galilee ...
here we shall remain.

Like brick walls braced against your chests;
lodged in your throats
like shards of glass
or prickly cactus thorns;
clouding your eyes
like sandstorms.

Here we shall remain,
like brick walls obstructing your chests,
washing dishes in your boisterous bars,
serving drinks to our overlords,
scouring your kitchens' filthy floors
in order to ****** morsels for our children
from between your poisonous fangs.

Here we shall remain,
like brick walls deflating your chests
as we face our deprivation clad in rags,
singing our defiant songs,
chanting our rebellious poems,
then swarming out into your unjust streets
to fill dungeons with our dignity.

Like twenty impossibilities
in Lydda, Ramla and Galilee,
here we shall remain,
guarding the shade of the fig and olive trees,
fermenting rebellion in our children
like yeast in dough.

Here we wring the rocks to relieve our thirst;
here we stave off starvation with dust;
but here we remain and shall not depart;
here we spill our expensive blood
and do not hoard it.

For here we have both a past and a future;
here we remain, the Unconquerable;
so strike fast, penetrate deep,
O, my roots!



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.



Palestine
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
April's blushing advances,
the aroma of bread warming at dawn,
a woman haranguing men,
the poetry of Aeschylus,
love's trembling beginnings,
a boulder covered with moss,
mothers who dance to the flute's sighs,
and the invaders' fear of memories.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
September's rustling end,
a woman leaving forty behind, still full of grace, still blossoming,
an hour of sunlight in prison,
clouds taking the shapes of unusual creatures,
the people's applause for those who mock their assassins,
and the tyrant's fear of songs.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
Lady Earth, mother of all beginnings and endings!
In the past she was called Palestine
and tomorrow she will still be called Palestine.
My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life!



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 the tips of your fingers
and release 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,
shielded by shade from a glaring sun?
Can you not always remain this way,
stoking the fire, more beautiful than necessary, and silent?
Darkness increases; we must remain vigilant
and this distant light is our only 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.

Walid Khazindar was born in 1950 in Gaza City. He is considered one of the best Palestinian poets; his poetry has been said to be "characterized by metaphoric originality and a novel thematic approach unprecedented in Arabic poetry." He was awarded the first Palestine Prize for Poetry in 1997.



Excerpt from “Speech of the Red Indian”
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let's give the earth sufficient time to recite
the whole truth ...
The whole truth about us.
The whole truth about you.

In tombs you build
the dead lie sleeping.
Over bridges you *****
file the newly slain.

There are spirits who light up the night like fireflies.
There are spirits who come at dawn to sip tea with you,
as peaceful as the day your guns mowed them down.

O, you who are guests in our land,
please leave a few chairs empty
for your hosts to sit and ponder
the conditions for peace
in your treaty with the dead.



Existence
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In my solitary life, I was a lost question;
in the encompassing darkness,
my answer lay concealed.

You were a bright new star
revealed by fate,
radiating light from the fathomless darkness.

The other stars rotated around you
—once, twice —
until I perceived
your unique radiance.

Then the bleak blackness broke
and in the twin tremors
of our entwined hands
I had found my missing answer.

Oh you! Oh you intimate, yet distant!
Don't you remember the coalescence
Of our spirits in the flames?
Of my universe with yours?
Of the two poets?
Despite our great distance,
Existence unites us.



Nothing Remains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight, we’re together,
but tomorrow you'll be hidden from me again,
thanks to life’s cruelty.

The seas will separate us ...
Oh!—Oh!—If I could only see you!
But I'll never know ...
where your steps led you,
which routes you took,
or to what unknown destinations
your feet were compelled.

You will depart and the thief of hearts,
the denier of beauty,
will rob us of all that's dear to us,
will steal our happiness,
leaving our hands empty.

Tomorrow at dawn you'll vanish like a phantom,
dissipating into a delicate mist
dissolving quickly in the summer sun.

Your scent—your scent!—contains the essence of life,
filling my heart
as the earth absorbs the lifegiving rain.

I will miss you like the fragrance of trees
when you leave tomorrow,
and nothing remains.

Just as everything beautiful and all that's dear to us
is lost—lost!—when nothing remains.



Identity Card
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Record!
I am an Arab!
And my identity card is number fifty thousand.
I have eight children;
the ninth arrives this autumn.
Will you be furious?

Record!
I am an Arab!
Employed at the quarry,
I have eight children.
I provide them with bread,
clothes and books
from the bare rocks.
I do not supplicate charity at your gates,
nor do I demean myself at your chambers' doors.
Will you be furious?

Record!
I am an Arab!
I have a name without a title.
I am patient in a country
where people are easily enraged.
My roots
were established long before the onset of time,
before the unfolding of the flora and fauna,
before the pines and the olive trees,
before the first grass grew.
My father descended from plowmen,
not from the privileged classes.
My grandfather was a lowly farmer
neither well-bred, nor well-born!
Still, they taught me the pride of the sun
before teaching me how to read;
now my house is a watchman's hut
made of branches and cane.
Are you satisfied with my status?
I have a name, but no title!

Record!
I am an Arab!
You have stolen my ancestors' orchards
and the land I cultivated
along with my children.
You left us nothing
but these bare rocks.
Now will the State claim them
as it has been declared?

Therefore!
Record on the first page:
I do not hate people
nor do I encroach,
but if I become hungry
I will feast on the usurper's flesh!
Beware!
Beware my hunger
and my anger!

NOTE: Darwish was married twice, but had no children. In the poem above, he is apparently speaking for his people, not for himself personally.



Passport
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They left me unrecognizable in the shadows
that bled all colors from this passport.
To them, my wounds were novelties—
curious photos for tourists to collect.
They failed to recognize me. No, don't leave
the palm of my hand bereft of sun
when all the trees recognize me
and every song of the rain honors me.
Don't set a wan moon over me!

All the birds that flocked to my welcoming wave
as far as the distant airport gates,
all the wheatfields,
all the prisons,
all the albescent tombstones,
all the barbwired boundaries,
all the fluttering handkerchiefs,
all the eyes—
they all accompanied me.
But they were stricken from my passport
shredding my identity!

How was I stripped of my name and identity
on soil I tended with my own hands?
Today, Job's lamentations
re-filled the heavens:
Don't make an example of me, not again!
Prophets! Gentlemen!—
Don't require the trees to name themselves!
Don't ask the valleys who mothered them!
My forehead glistens with lancing light.
From my hand the riverwater springs.
My identity can be found in my people's hearts,
so invalidate this passport!



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



Piercing the Shell

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



gimME that ol’ time religion!
by michael r. burch

fiddle-dee-dum, fiddle-dee-dee,
jesus loves and understands ME!
safe in his grace, I’LL **** them to hell—
the strumpet, the harlot, the wild jezebel,
the alky, the druggie, all queers short and tall!
let them drink ashes and wormwood and gall,
’cause fiddle-dee-DUMB, fiddle-dee-WEEEEEEEEEee ...
jesus loves and understands
ME!



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the lost gold of vanished stars.

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



Habeas Corpus
by Michael R. Burch

from “Songs of the Antinatalist”

I have the results of your DNA analysis.
If you want to have children, this may induce paralysis.
I wish I had good news, but how can I lie?
Any offspring you have are guaranteed to die.
It wouldn’t be fair—I’m sure you’ll agree—
to sentence kids to death, so I’ll waive my fee.



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many enraged discourses,
high, high from some mountain peak
where He’s lectured man on compassion
while the sparrows around Him fell,
and babes, for His meager ration
of rain, died and went to hell,
unbaptized, for that’s His fashion.

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to vent
in many obscure discourses
on the need for man to repent,
to admit that he’s a sinner;
give up ***, and riches, and fame;
be disciplined at his dinner
though always he dies the same,
whether fatter or thinner.

In his kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many absurd discourses
of man’s Ego, precipitous Peak!,
while demanding praise and worship,
and the bending of every knee.
And though He sounds like the Devil,
all religious men now agree
He loves them indubitably.



Uyghur Poetry Translations

With my translations I am trying to build awareness of the plight of Uyghur poets and their people, who are being sent in large numbers to Chinese "reeducation" concentration camps.

Perhat Tursun (1969-????) is one of the foremost living Uyghur language poets, if he is still alive. Unfortunately, Tursun was "disappeared" into a Chinese "reeducation" concentration camp where extreme psychological torture is the norm. According to a disturbing report he was later "hospitalized." Apparently no one knows his present whereabouts or condition, if he has one. According to John Bolton, when Donald Trump learned of these "reeducation" concentration camps, he told Chinese President Xi Jinping it was "exactly the right thing to do." Trump’s excuse? "Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal."

Elegy
by Perhat Tursun
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

"Your soul is the entire world."
―Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Asylum seekers, will you recognize me among the mountain passes' frozen corpses?
Can you identify me here among our Exodus's exiled brothers?
We begged for shelter but they lashed us bare; consider our naked corpses.
When they compel us to accept their massacres, do you know that I am with you?

Three centuries later they resurrect, not recognizing each other,
Their former greatness forgotten.
I happily ingested poison, like a fine wine.
When they search the streets and cannot locate our corpses, do you know that I am with you?

In that tower constructed of skulls you will find my dome as well:
They removed my head to more accurately test their swords' temper.
When before their swords our relationship flees like a flighty lover,
Do you know that I am with you?

When men in fur hats are used for target practice in the marketplace
Where a dying man's face expresses his agony as a bullet cleaves his brain
While the executioner's eyes fail to comprehend why his victim vanishes, ...
Seeing my form reflected in that bullet-pierced brain's erratic thoughts,
Do you know that I am with you?

In those days when drinking wine was considered worse than drinking blood,
did you taste the flour ground out in that blood-turned churning mill?
Now, when you sip the wine Ali-Shir Nava'i imagined to be my blood
In that mystical tavern's dark abyssal chambers,
Do you know that I am with you?

TRANSLATOR NOTES: This is my interpretation (not necessarily correct) of the poem's frozen corpses left 300 years in the past. For the Uyghur people the Mongol period ended around 1760 when the Qing dynasty invaded their homeland, then called Dzungaria. Around a million people were slaughtered during the Qing takeover, and the Dzungaria territory was renamed Xinjiang. I imagine many Uyghurs fleeing the slaughters would have attempted to navigate treacherous mountain passes. Many of them may have died from starvation and/or exposure, while others may have been caught and murdered by their pursuers. If anyone has a better explanation, they are welcome to email me at mikerburch@gmail.com (there is an "r" between my first and last names).



The Fog and the Shadows
adapted from a novel by Perhat Tursun
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

“I began to realize the fog was similar to the shadows.”

I began to realize that, just as the exact shape of darkness is a shadow,
even so the exact shape of fog is disappearance
and the exact shape of a human being is also disappearance.
At this moment it seemed my body was vanishing into the human form’s final state.

After I arrived here,
it was as if the danger of getting lost
and the desire to lose myself
were merging strangely inside me.

While everything in that distant, gargantuan city where I spent my five college years felt strange to me; and even though the skyscrapers, highways, ditches and canals were built according to a single standard and shape, so that it wasn’t easy to differentiate them, still I never had the feeling of being lost. Everyone there felt like one person and they were all folded into each other. It was as if their faces, voices and figures had been gathered together like a shaman’s jumbled-up hair.

Even the men and women seemed identical.
You could only tell them apart by stripping off their clothes and examining them.
The men’s faces were beardless like women’s and their skin was very delicate and unadorned.
I was always surprised that they could tell each other apart.
Later I realized it wasn’t just me: many others were also confused.

For instance, when we went to watch the campus’s only TV in a corridor of a building where the seniors stayed when they came to improve their knowledge. Those elderly Uyghurs always argued about whether someone who had done something unusual in an earlier episode was the same person they were seeing now. They would argue from the beginning of the show to the end. Other people, who couldn’t stand such endless nonsense, would leave the TV to us and stalk off.

Then, when the classes began, we couldn’t tell the teachers apart.
Gradually we became able to tell the men from the women
and eventually we able to recognize individuals.
But other people remained identical for us.

The most surprising thing for me was that the natives couldn’t differentiate us either.
For instance, two police came looking for someone who had broken windows during a fight at a restaurant and had then run away.
They ordered us line up, then asked the restaurant owner to identify the culprit.
He couldn’t tell us apart even though he inspected us very carefully.
He said we all looked so much alike that it was impossible to tell us apart.
Sighing heavily, he left.



The Encounter
by Abdurehim Otkur
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I asked her, why aren’t you afraid? She said her God.
I asked her, anything else? She said her People.
I asked her, anything more? She said her Soul.
I asked her if she was content? She said, I am Not.



The Distance
by Tahir Hamut
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We can’t exclude the cicadas’ serenades.
Behind the convex glass of the distant hospital building
the nurses watch our outlandish party
with their absurdly distorted faces.

Drinking watered-down liquor,
half-****, descanting through the open window,
we speak sneeringly of life, love, girls.
The cicadas’ serenades keep breaking in,
wrecking critical parts of our dissertations.

The others dream up excuses to ditch me
and I’m left here alone.

The cosmopolitan pyramid
of drained bottles
makes me feel
like I’m in a Turkish bath.

I lock the door:
Time to get back to work!

I feel like doing cartwheels.
I feel like self-annihilation.



Refuge of a Refugee
by Ablet Abdurishit Berqi aka Tarim
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I lack a passport,
so I can’t leave legally.
All that’s left is for me to smuggle myself to safety,
but I’m afraid I’ll be beaten black and blue at the border
and I can’t afford the trafficker.

I’m a smuggler of love,
though love has no national identity.
Poetry is my refuge,
where a refugee is most free.

The following excerpts, translated by Anne Henochowicz, come from an essay written by Tang Danhong about her final meeting with Dr. Ablet Abdurishit Berqi, aka Tarim. Tarim is a reference to the Tarim Basin and its Uyghur inhabitants...

I’m convinced that the poet Tarim Ablet Berqi the associate professor at the Xinjiang Education Institute, has been sent to a “concentration camp for educational transformation.” This scholar of Uyghur literature who conducted postdoctoral research at Israel’s top university, what kind of “educational transformation” is he being put through?

Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, has said it’s “like the instruction at school, the order of the military, and the security of prison. We have to break their blood relations, their networks, and their roots.”

On a scorching summer day, Tarim came to Tel Aviv from Haifa. In a few days he would go back to Urumqi. I invited him to come say goodbye and once again prepared Sichuan cold noodles for him. He had already unfriended me on Facebook. He said he couldn’t eat, he was busy, and had to hurry back to Haifa. He didn’t even stay for twenty minutes. I can’t even remember, did he sit down? Did he have a glass of water? Yet this farewell shook me to my bones.

He said, “Maybe when I get off the plane, before I enter the airport, they’ll take me to a separate room and beat me up, and I’ll disappear.”

Looking at my shocked face, he then said, “And maybe nothing will happen …”

His expression was sincere. To be honest, the Tarim I saw rarely smiled. Still, layer upon layer blocked my powers of comprehension: he’s a poet, a writer, and a scholar. He’s an associate professor at the Xinjiang Education Institute. He can get a passport and come to Israel for advanced studies. When he goes back he’ll have an offer from Sichuan University to be a professor of literature … I asked, “Beat you up at the airport? Disappear? On what grounds?”

“That’s how Xinjiang is,” he said without any surprise in his voice. “When a Uyghur comes back from being abroad, that can happen.”…



This poem helps us understand the nomadic lifestyle of many Uyghurs, the hardships they endure, and the character it builds...

Iz (“Traces”)
by Abdurehim Otkur
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We were children when we set out on this journey;
Now our grandchildren ride horses.

We were just a few when we set out on this arduous journey;
Now we're a large caravan leaving traces in the desert.

We leave our traces scattered in desert dunes' valleys
Where many of our heroes lie buried in sandy graves.

But don't say they were abandoned: amid the cedars
their resting places are decorated by springtime flowers!

We left the tracks, the station... the crowds recede in the distance;
The wind blows, the sand swirls, but here our indelible trace remains.

The caravan continues, we and our horses become thin,
But our great-grand-children will one day rediscover those traces.



My Feelings
by Dolqun Yasin
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The light sinking through the ice and snow,
The hollyhock blossoms reddening the hills like blood,
The proud peaks revealing their ******* to the stars,
The morning-glories embroidering the earth’s greenery,
Are not light,
Not hollyhocks,
Not peaks,
Not morning-glories;
They are my feelings.

The tears washing the mothers’ wizened faces,
The flower-like smiles suddenly brightening the girls’ visages,
The hair turning white before age thirty,
The night which longs for light despite the sun’s laughter,
Are not tears,
Not smiles,
Not hair,
Not night;
They are my nomadic feelings.

Now turning all my sorrow to passion,
Bequeathing to my people all my griefs and joys,
Scattering my excitement like flowers festooning fields,
I harvest all these, then tenderly glean my poem.

Therefore the world is this poem of mine,
And my poem is the world itself.



To My Brother the Warrior
by Téyipjan Éliyow
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I accompanied you,
the commissioners called me a child.
If only I had been a bit taller
I might have proved myself in battle!

The commission could not have known
my commitment, despite my youth.
If only they had overlooked my age and enlisted me,
I'd have given that enemy rabble hell!

Now, brother, I’m an adult.
Doubtless, I’ll join the service soon.
Soon enough, I’ll be by your side,
battling the enemy: I’ll never surrender!

Keywords/Tags: Uyghur, translation, Uighur, Xinjiang, elegy, Kafka, China, Chinese, reeducation, prison, concentration camp, desert, nomad, nomadic, race, racism, discrimination, Islam, Islamic, Muslim, mrbuyghur



Free Fall to Liftoff
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

I see the longing for departure gleam
in his still-keen eye,
                                 and I understand his desire
to test this last wind, like those late autumn leaves
with nothing left to cling to ...



The One True Poem
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Peace Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

Be calm.
Be still.
Be silent, content.

Be one with the buffalo cropping the grass to a safer height.

Seek the composure of the great depths, barely moved by exterior storms.

Lift your face to the dawning light; feel how it warms.

And be calm.
Be still.
Be silent, content.



Sometimes the Dead
by Michael R. Burch

Sometimes we catch them out of the corners of our eyes—
the pale dead.
After they have fled
the gourds of their bodies, like escaping fragrances they rise.

Once they have become a cloud’s mist, sometimes like the rain
they descend;
they appear, sometimes silver like laughter,
to gladden the hearts of men.

Sometimes like a pale gray fog, they drift
unencumbered, yet lumbrously,
as if over the sea
there was the lightest vapor even Atlas could not lift.

Sometimes they haunt our dreams like forgotten melodies
only half-remembered.
Though they lie dismembered
in black catacombs, sepulchers and dismal graves; although they have committed felonies,

yet they are us. Someday soon we will meet them in the graveyard dust
blood-engorged, but never sated
since Cain slew Abel.
But until we become them, let us steadfastly forget them, even as we know our children must ...



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.

Published by ByLine, Mandrake Poetry Review, Poetically Speaking, E Mobius Pi, Underground Poets, Little Brown Poetry, Little Brown Poetry, Triplopia, Poetic Ponderings, Poem Kingdom, PW Review, Neovictorian/Cochlea, Muse Apprentice Guild, Mindful of Poetry, Poetry on Demand, Poet’s Haven, Famous Poets and Poems, and Bewildering Stories



Finally to Burn
(the Fall and Resurrection of Icarus)
by Michael R. Burch

Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
,upon awaking,

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being―to glide
heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.



O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

rain down red scabs
on the earth’s mudpuddle ...

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle ...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!,

I will rock me to sleep
on the waves’ iambs.



To sleep's sweet relief
from Love’s exhausting Dream,

for the Night has Wings
gentler than moonbeams―

they will flit me to Life
like a huge-eyed Phoenix

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

To Dream―that’s the thing!
Aye, that Genie I’ll rub,

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

*

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought―

I’ll Live the Elsewhere,
I’ll Dream of the Naught.

Methinks it no journey;
to tarry’s a waste,

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

I’m coming, Fool Tom,
we have Somewhere to Go,

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.

Published by The Lyric and The Ekphrastic Review



Chit Chat: In the Poetry Chat Room
by Michael R. Burch

WHY SHULD I LERN TO SPELL?
HELL,
NO ONE REEDS WHAT I SAY
ANYWAY!!! :(

Sing for the cool night,
whispers of constellations.
Sing for the supple grass,
the tall grass, gently whispering.
Sing of infinities, multitudes,
of all that lies beyond us now,
whispers begetting whispers.
And i am glad to also whisper . . .

I WUS HURT IN LUV I’M DYIN’
FER TH’ TEARS I BEEN A-CRYIN’!!!

i abide beyond serenities
and realms of grace,
above love’s misdirected earth,
i lift my face.
i am beyond finding now . . .

I WAS IN, LOVE, AND HE ******* ME!!!
THE ****!!! TOTALLY!!!

i loved her once, before, when i
was mortal too, and sometimes i
would listen and distinctly hear
her laughter from the juniper,
but did not go . . .

I JUST DON’T GET POETRY, SOMETIMES.
IT’S OKAY, I GUESS.
I REALLY DON’T READ THAT MUCH AT ALL,
I MUST CONFESS!!! ;-)

Travail, inherent to all flesh,
i do not know, nor how to feel.
Although i sing them nighttimes still:
the bitter woes, that do not heal . . .

POETRY IS BORING.
SEE, IT *****!!!, I’M SNORING!!! ZZZZZZZ!!!

The words like breath, i find them here,
among the fragrant juniper,
and conifers amid the snow,
old loves imagined long ago . . .

WHY DON’T YOU LIKE MY PERFICKT WORDS
YOU USELESS UN-AMERIC’N TURDS?!!!

What use is love, to me, or Thou?
O Words, my awe, to fly so smooth
above the anguished hearts of men
to heights unknown, Thy bare remove . . .



Each Color a Scar
by Michael R. Burch

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

She did not speak,
but her intention
was clear,

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

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

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

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



Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

he now faces the Ultimate Sunset,
his body like the leaves that fray as they dry,
shedding their vital fluids (who knows why?)
till they’ve become even lighter than the covering sky,
ready to fly ...



Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

I see the longing for departure gleaming
in his still-keen eye,
and I understand his desire
to test this last wind, like those late autumn leaves
with nothing left to cling to ...



Sanctuary at Dawn
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

"My father!"
"My son!"

NOTE: “Sanctuary at Dawn” was written either in high school or during my first two years of college.



All Things Galore
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandfathers George Edwin Hurt Sr. and Paul Ray Burch Sr.

Grandfather,
now in your gray presence
you are

somehow more near

and remind me that,
once, upon a star,
you taught me

wish

that ululate soft phrase,
that hopeful phrase!

and everywhere above, each hopeful star

gleamed down

and seemed to speak of times before
when you clasped my small glad hand
in your wise paw

and taught me heaven, omen, meteor . . .



Attend Upon Them Still
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George and Ena Hurt

With gentleness and fine and tender will,
attend upon them still;
thou art the grass.

Nor let men’s feet here muddy as they pass
thy subtle undulations, nor depress
for long the comforts of thy lovingness,

nor let the fuse
of time wink out amid the violets.
They have their use―

to wave, to grow, to gleam, to lighten their paths,
to shine sweet, transient glories at their feet.
Thou art the grass;

make them complete.



The Composition of Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

for poets who write late at night

We breathe and so we write; the night
hums softly its accompaniment.
Pale phosphors burn; the page we turn
leads onward, and we smile, content.

And what we mean we write to learn:
the vowels of love, the consonants’
strange golden weight, each plosive’s shape—
curved like the heart. Here, resonant,

sounds’ shadows mass beneath bright glass
like singing voles curled in a maze
of blank white space. We touch a face—
long-frozen words trapped in a glaze

that insulates our hearts. Nowhere
can love be found. Just shrieking air.

Published by The Lyric, Contemporary Rhyme, Candelabrum, Iambs & Trochees (Poem of the Week), Triplopia, Romantics Quarterly, Hidden Treasures (Selected Poem), ImageNation (United Kingdom), Yellow Bat Review, Poetry Life & Times, Vallance Review, Poetica Victorian



First Steps
by Michael R. Burch

for Caitlin Shea Murphy

To her a year is like infinity,
each day—an adventure never-ending.
She has no concept of time,
but already has begun the climb—
from childhood to womanhood recklessly ascending.

I would caution her, "No! Wait!
There will be time enough another day ...
time to learn the Truth
and to slowly shed your youth,
but for now, sweet child, go carefully on your way! ..."

But her time is not a time for cautious words,
nor a time for measured, careful understanding.
She is just certain
that, by grabbing the curtain,
in a moment she will finally be standing!

Little does she know that her first few steps
will hurtle her on her way
through childhood to adolescence,
and then, finally, pubescence . . .
while, just as swiftly, I’ll be going gray!



brrExit
by Michael R. Burch

what would u give
to simply not exist—
for a painless exit?
he asked himself, uncertain.

then from behind
the hospital room curtain
a patient screamed—
"my life!"



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; it’s time to go.



Spring
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

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



Oft in My Thought
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

So often in my busy mind I sought,
Around the advent of the fledgling year,
For something pretty that I really ought
To give my lady dear;
But that sweet thought's been wrested from me, clear,
Since death, alas, has sealed her under clay
And robbed the world of all that's precious here―
God keep her soul, I can no better say.

For me to keep my manner and my thought
Acceptable, as suits my age's hour?
While proving that I never once forgot
Her worth? It tests my power!
I serve her now with masses and with prayer;
For it would be a shame for me to stray
Far from my faith, when my time's drawing near—
God keep her soul, I can no better say.

Now earthly profits fail, since all is lost
And the cost of everything became so dear;
Therefore, O Lord, who rules the higher host,
Take my good deeds, as many as there are,
And crown her, Lord, above in your bright sphere,
As heaven's truest maid! And may I say:
Most good, most fair, most likely to bring cheer—
God keep her soul, I can no better say.

When I praise her, or hear her praises raised,
I recall how recently she brought me pleasure;
Then my heart floods like an overflowing bay
And makes me wish to dress for my own bier—
God keep her soul, I can no better say.



Confession of a Stolen Kiss
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My ghostly father, I confess,
First to God and then to you,
That at a window (you know how)
I stole a kiss of great sweetness,
Which was done out of avidness—
But it is done, not undone, now.

My ghostly father, I confess,
First to God and then to you.

But I shall restore it, doubtless,
Again, if it may be that I know how;
And thus to God I make a vow,
And always I ask forgiveness.

My ghostly father, I confess,
First to God and then to you.

Translator note: By "ghostly father" I take Charles d'Orleans to be confessing to a priest. If so, it's ironic that the kiss was "stolen" at a window and the confession is being made at the window of a confession booth. But it also seems possible that Charles could be confessing to his human father, murdered in his youth and now a ghost. There is wicked humor in the poem, as Charles is apparently vowing to keep asking for forgiveness because he intends to keep stealing kisses at every opportunity!



Charles d'Orleans translations of Rondels/Roundels/Rondeaux

Note: While there is some confusion about the names and definitions of poetic forms such as the rondel, roundel, rondelle and rondeau, these are all rhyming poems with refrains.

Rondel: Your Smiling Mouth
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms' twin chains,
Your hands so smooth, each finger straight and plain,
Your little feet—please, what more can I say?

It is my fetish when you're far away
To muse on these and thus to soothe my pain—
Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms' twin chains.

So would I beg you, if I only may,
To see such sights as I before have seen,
Because my fetish pleases me. Obscene?

I'll be obsessed until my dying day
By your sweet smiling mouth and eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms' twin chains!



The season has cast its coat aside
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The season has cast its coat aside
of wind and cold and rain,
to dress in embroidered light again:
bright sunlight, fit for a bride!

There isn't a bird or beast astride
that fails to sing this sweet refrain:
"The season has cast its coat aside! "

Now rivers, fountains, springs and tides
dressed in their summer best
with silver beads impressed
in a fine display now glide:
the season has cast its coat aside!



The year lays down his mantle cold
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The year lays down his mantle cold
of wind, chill rain and bitter air,
and now goes clad in clothes of gold
of smiling suns and seasons fair,
while birds and beasts of wood and fold
now with each cry and song declare:
"The year lays down his mantle cold! "
All brooks, springs, rivers, seaward rolled,
now pleasant summer livery wear
with silver beads embroidered where
the world puts off its raiment old.
The year lays down his mantle cold.



Winter has cast his cloak away
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter has cast his cloak away
of wind and cold and chilling rain
to dress in embroidered light again:
the light of day—bright, festive, gay!
Each bird and beast, without delay,
in its own tongue, sings this refrain:
"Winter has cast his cloak away! "
Brooks, fountains, rivers, streams at play,
wear, with their summer livery,
bright beads of silver jewelry.
All the Earth has a new and fresh display:
Winter has cast his cloak away!

Note: This rondeau was set to music by Debussy in his "Trois chansons de France."



Caedmon'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!



Les Bijoux (The Jewels)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation 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.



Duellem (The Duel)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Two combatants charged! Their fearsome swords
brightened the air with fiery sparks and blood.
Their clashing blades clinked odd serenades,
reminding us: youth's inspired by overloud love.

But now their blades lie broken, like our hearts!
Still, our savage teeth and talon-like fingernails
can do more damage than the deadliest sword
when lovers lash about with such natural flails.

In a deep ravine haunted by lynxes and panthers,
our heroes roll around in a cozy embrace,
leaving their blood to redden the colorless branches.
This abyss is pure hell; our friends occupy the place.

Come, let us roll here too, cruel Amazon;
let our hatred’s ardor never be over and done!



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!



Il pleure dans mon coeur (“It rains in my heart”)
by Paul Verlaine
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It rains in my heart
As it rains on the town;
Heavy languor and dark
Drenches my heart.

Oh, the sweet-sounding rain
Cleansing pavements and roofs!
For my listless heart's pain
The pure song of the rain!

Still it rains without reason
In my overcast heart.
Can it be there's no treason?
That this grief's without reason?

As my heart floods with pain,
Lacking hatred, or love,
I've no way to explain
Such bewildering pain!



Spleen
by Paul Verlaine
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The roses were so very red;
The ivy, impossibly black.
Dear, with a mere a turn of your head,
My despair’s flooded back!

The sky was too gentle, too blue;
The sea, far too windswept and green.
Yet I always imagined―or knew―
I’d again feel your spleen.

Now I'm tired of the glossy waxed holly,
Of the shimmering boxwood too,
Of the meadowland’s endless folly,
When all things, alas, lead to you!



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

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



Dispensing Keys
by Hafiz aka Hafez
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The imbecile
constructs cages
for everyone he knows,
while the sage
(who has to duck his head
whenever the moon glows)
keeps dispensing keys
all night long
to the beautiful, rowdy,
prison gang.



Infectious!
by Hafiz aka Hafez
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I became infected with happiness tonight
as I wandered idly, singing in the starlight.
Now I'm wonderfully contagious ...
so kiss me!



The Tally
by Hafiz aka Hafez
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lovers
don't reveal
all
their Secrets;
under the covers
they
may
count each other's Moles
(that reside
and hide
in the shy regions
by forbidden holes),
then keep the final tally
strictly
from Aunt Sally!

This is admittedly a VERY loose translation of the original Hafiz poem!



Mirror
by Kajal Ahmad, a Kurdish poet
loose translation/interpretation 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.



The Lonely Earth
by Kajal Ahmad
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pale celestial bodies
never bid her “Good morning!”
nor do the creative stars
kiss her.
Earth, where so many tender persuasions and roses lie interred,
might expire for the lack of a glance, or an odor.
She’s a lonely dusty orb,
so very lonely!, as she observes the moon's patchwork attire
knowing the sun's an imposter
who sears with rays he has stolen for himself
and who looks down on the moon and earth like lodgers.



Kurds are Birds
by Kajal Ahmad
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Per the latest scientific classification, Kurds
now belong to a species of bird!
This is why,
traveling across the torn, fraying pages of history,
they are nomads recognized by their caravans.
Yes, Kurds are birds! And,
even worse, when
there’s nowhere left to nest, no refuge from their pain,
they turn to the illusion of traveling again
between the warm and arctic sectors of their homeland.
So I don’t think it strange Kurds can fly but not land.
They wander from region to region
never realizing their dreams
of settling,
of forming a colony, of nesting.
No, they never settle down long enough
to visit Rumi and inquire about his health,
or to bow down deeply in the gust-
stirred dust,
like Nali.



Birdsong
by Rumi
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Birdsong relieves
my deepest griefs:
now I'm just as ecstatic as they,
but with nothing to say!
Please universe,
rehearse
your poetry
through me!



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.



grave request
by michael r. burch

come to ur doom
in Tombstone;

the stars stark and chill
over Boot Hill

care nothing for ur desire;

still,

imagine they wish u no ill,
that u burn with the same antique fire;

for there’s nothing to life but the thrill
of living until u expire;

so come, spend ur last hardearned bill
on Tombstone.



Defenses
by Michael R. Burch

Beyond the silhouettes of trees
stark, naked and defenseless
there stand long rows of sentinels:
these pert white picket fences.

Now whom they guard and how they guard,
the good Lord only knows;
but savages would have to laugh
observing the tidy rows.



Pool's Prince Charming
by Michael R. Burch

(this is my tribute poem, written on the behalf of his fellow pool sharks, for the legendary Saint Louie Louie Roberts)

Louie, Louie, Prince of Pool,
making all the ladies drool ...
Take the “nuts”? I'd be a fool!
Louie, Louie, Prince of Pool.

Louie, Louie, pretty as Elvis,
owner of (ahem) a similar pelvis ...
Compared to you, the books will shelve us.
Louie, Louie, pretty as Elvis.

Louie, Louie, fearless gambler,
ladies' man and constant rambler,
but such a sweet, loquacious ambler!
Louie, Louie, fearless gambler.

Louie, Louie, angelic, chthonic,
pool's charming hero, but tragic, Byronic,
winning the Open drinking gin and tonic?
Louie, Louie, angelic, chthonic.



The Aery Faery Princess
by Michael R. Burch

for Keira

There once was a princess lighter than fluff
made of such gossamer stuff—
the down of a thistle, butterflies’ wings,
the faintest high note the hummingbird sings,
moonbeams on garlands, strands of bright hair ...
I think she’s just you when you’re floating on air!



pretty pickle
by Michael R. Burch

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



and then i was made whole
by Michael R. Burch

... and then i was made whole,
but not a thing entire,
glued to a perch
in a gilded church,
strung through with a silver wire ...

singing a little of this and of that,
warbling higher and higher:
a thing wholly dead
till I lifted my head
and spat at the Lord and his choir.



Album
by Michael R. Burch

I caress them—trapped in brittle cellophane—
and I see how young they were, and how unwise;
and I remember their first flight—an old prop plane,
their blissful arc through alien blue skies ...

And I touch them here through leaves which—tattered, frayed—
are also wings, but wings that never flew:
like insects’ wings—pinned, held. Here, time delayed,
their features never changed, remaining two ...

And Grief, which lurked unseen beyond the lens
or in shadows where It crept on feral claws
as It scratched Its way into their hearts, depends
on sorrows such as theirs, and works Its jaws ...

and slavers for Its meat—those young, unwise,
who naively dare to dream, yet fail to see
how, lumbering sunward, Hope, ungainly, flies,
clutching to Her ruffled breast what must not be.



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.



Beckoning
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem around age 18, wasn't happy with it, put it aside, then revised it six years later.



Besieged
by Michael R. Burch

Life—the disintegration of the flesh
before the fitful elevation of the soul
upon improbable wings?

Life—is this all we know,
the travail one bright season brings? ...

Now the fruit hangs,
impendent, pregnant with death,
as the hurricane builds and flings
its white columns and banners of snow

and the rout begins.



****** or Heroine?
by Michael R. Burch

(for mothers battling addiction)

serve the Addiction;
worship the Beast;
feed the foul Pythons
your flesh, their fair feast ...

or rise up, resist
the huge many-headed hydra;
for the sake of your Loved Ones
decapitate medusa.



Loose Knit
by Michael R. Burch

She blesses the needle,
fetches fine red stitches,
criss-crossing, embroidering dreams
in the delicate fabric.

And if her hand jerks and twitches in puppet-like fits,
she tells herself
reality is not as threadbare as it seems ...
that a little more darning may gather loose seams.

She weaves an unraveling tapestry
of fatigue and remorse and pain; ...
only the nervously pecking needle
****** her to motion, again and again.



I Have Labored Sore
anonymous medieval lyric (circa the fifteenth century)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I have labored sore / and suffered death,
so now I rest / and catch my breath.
But I shall come / and call right soon
heaven and earth / and hell to doom.
Then all shall know / both devil and man
just who I was / and what I am.

NOTE: This poem has a pronounced caesura (pause) in the middle of each line: a hallmark of Old English poetry. While this poem is closer to Middle English, it preserves the older tradition. I have represented the caesura with a slash.



A Lyke-Wake Dirge
anonymous medieval lyric (circa the sixteenth century)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The Lie-Awake Dirge is "the night watch kept over a corpse."

This one night, this one night,
every night and all;
fire and sleet and candlelight,
and Christ receive thy soul.

When from this earthly life you pass
every night and all,
to confront your past you must come at last,
and Christ receive thy soul.

If you ever donated socks and shoes,
every night and all,
sit right down and put pull yours on,
and Christ receive thy soul.

But if you never helped your brother,
every night and all,
walk barefoot through the flames of hell,
and Christ receive thy soul.

If ever you shared your food and drink,
every night and all,
the fire will never make you shrink,
and Christ receive thy soul.

But if you never helped your brother,
every night and all,
walk starving through the black abyss,
and Christ receive thy soul.

This one night, this one night,
every night and all;
fire and sleet and candlelight,
and Christ receive thy soul.



This World's Joy
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa 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.



How Long the Night
(anonymous Middle English lyric, 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.



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 and matron.
So blesséd be the time the apple was taken thus;
Therefore we sing, "God is gracious! "

The poem has also been rendered as "Adam lay i-bounden" and "Adam lay i-bowndyn."



Excerpt from "Ubi Sunt Qui Ante Nos Fuerunt? "
anonymous Middle English poem, circa 1275
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Where are the men who came before us,
who led hounds and hawks to the hunt,
who commanded fields and woods?
Where are the elegant ladies in their boudoirs
who braided gold through their hair
and had such fair complexions?

Once eating and drinking made their hearts glad;
they enjoyed their games;
men bowed before them;
they bore themselves loftily...
But then, in an eye's twinkling,
their hearts were forlorn.

Where are their laughter and their songs,
the trains of their dresses,
the arrogance of their entrances and exits,
their hawks and their hounds?
All their joy is departed;
their "well" has come to "oh, well"
and to many dark days...



Westron Wynde
(anonymous Middle English lyric, found in a partbook circa 1530 AD, but perhaps written much earlier)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Western wind, when will you blow,
bringing the drizzling rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
and I in my bed again!

NOTE: The original poem has "the smalle rayne down can rayne" which suggests a drizzle or mist, either of which would suggest a dismal day.



Pity Mary
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa early 13th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Now the sun passes under the wood:
I rue, Mary, thy face: fair, good.
Now the sun passes under the tree:
I rue, Mary, thy son and thee.

In the poem above, note how "wood" and "tree" invoke the cross while "sun" and "son" seem to invoke each other. Sun-day is also Son-day, to Christians. The anonymous poet who wrote the poem above may have been been punning the words "sun" and "son." The poem is also known as "Now Goeth Sun Under Wood" and "Now Go'th Sun Under Wood."



Fowles in the Frith
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa 13th-14th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The fowls in the forest,
the fishes in the flood
and I must go mad:
such sorrow I've had
for beasts of bone and blood!

Sounds like an early animal rights activist! The use of "and" is intriguing... is the poet saying that his walks in the wood drive him mad because he is also a "beast of bone and blood, " facing a similar fate?



I am of Ireland
(anonymous Medieval Irish lyric, circa 13th-14th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am of Ireland,
and of the holy realm of Ireland.
Gentlefolk, I pray thee:
for the sake of saintly charity,
come dance with me
in Ireland!



If I am Syrian, what of it?
Stranger, we all dwell in one world, not its portals.
The same original Chaos gave birth to all mortals.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love, how can I call on you:
does Desire dwell with the dead?
Cupid, that bold boy, never bowed his head
to wail.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cupid, I swear,
your quiver holds only empty air:
for all your winged arrows, set free,
are now lodged in me.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cupid, if you incinerate my soul, touché!
For she too has wings and can fly away!
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cupid, the cuddly baby
safe in his mother's lap,
chucking the dice one day,
gambled my heart away.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I lie defeated. Set your foot on my neck. Checkmate.
I recognize you by your weight;
yes, and by the gods, you’re a load to bear.
I am also well aware
of your fiery darts.
But if you seek to ignite human hearts,
******* with your tinders;
mine’s already in cinders.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I see Theron everything’s revealed.
When he’s gone all’s concealed.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I see Theron everything’s defined;
When he’s gone I’m blind.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I see Theron my eyes bug out;
When he’s gone even sight is in doubt.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Mother-Earth, to all men dear,
Aesigenes was never a burden to you,
so please rest lightly on him here.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Meleager dedicates this lamp to you, dear Cypris, as a plaything,
since it has been initiated into the mysteries of your nocturnal ceremonies.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I know you lied, because these ringlets
still dripping scented essences
betray your wantonness.
These also betray you—
your eyes sagging with the lack of sleep,
stray tendrils of your unchaste hair escaping its garlands,
your limbs uncoordinated by the wine.
Away, trollop, they summon you—
the reveling lyre and the clattering castanets rattled by lewd fingers!
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moon and Stars,
lighting the way for lovers,
and Night,
and you, my mournful Mandolin, my ***** companion ...
when will we see her, the little wanton one, lying awake and moaning to her lamp?
Or does she embrace some other companion?
Then let me hang conciliatory garlands on her door,
wilted by my tears,
and let me inscribe thereupon these words:
"For you, Cypris,
the one to whom you revealed the mysteries of your revels,
Meleager,
offers these spoiled tokens of his love."
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Silence!
They must have carried her off!
Who could be so barbaric,
to act with such violence,
to wage war against Love himself?
Quick, prepare the torches!
But wait!
A footfall, Heliodora's!
Get back in my *****, heart!
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tears, the last gifts of my love,
I send drenching down to you, Heliodora.
Here on your puddling tomb I pour them out—
soul-wrenching tears
in memory of affliction and affection.
Piteously, so piteously Meleager mourns you,
you still so precious, so dear to him in death,
paying vain tributes to Acheron.
Alas! Alas! Where is my beautiful one,
my heart's desire?
Death has taken her from me, has robbed me of her,
and the lustrous blossom lies trampled in dust.
But Earth-Mother, nurturer of us all ...
Mother, I beseech you, hold her gently to your *****,
the one we all bewail.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



You ask me why I've sent you no new verses?
There might be reverses.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You ask me to recite my poems to you?
I know how you'll "recite" them, if I do.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: The irascible Martial is suggesting that if he shares his poems, they will be plagiarized.

You ask me why I choose to live elsewhere?
You're not there.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You ask me why I love the fresh country air?
You're not befouling it there.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You never wrote a poem,
yet criticize mine?
Stop abusing me or write something fine
of your own!
―Martial, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

He starts everything but finishes nothing;
thus I suspect there's no end to his stuffing.
―Martial, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: Martial concluded his epigram with a variation of the f-word; please substitute it if you prefer it.

You alone own prime land, dandy!
Gold, money, the finest porcelain―you alone!
The best wines of the most famous vintages―you alone!
Discrimination and wit―you alone!
You have it all―who can deny that you alone are set for life?
But everyone has had your wife―she is never alone!
―Martial, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

You dine in great magnificence
while offering guests a pittance.
Sextus, did you invite
friends to dinner tonight
to impress us with your enormous appetite?
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To you, my departed parents, dear mother and father,
I commend my little lost angel, Erotion, love’s daughter.
She fell a mere six days short of outliving her sixth frigid winter.
Protect her now, I pray, should the chilling dark shades appear;
muzzle hell’s three-headed hound, less her heart be dismayed!
Lead her to romp in some sunny Elysian glade,
her devoted patrons. Watch her play childish games
as she excitedly babbles and lisps my name.
Let no hard turf smother her softening bones; and do
rest lightly upon her, earth, she was surely no burden to you!
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Alien Nation
by Michael R. Burch

for a Christian poet who believes in “hell”

On a lonely outpost on Mars
the astronaut practices “speech”
as alien to primates below
as mute stars winking high, out of reach.

And his words fall as bright and as chill
as ice crystals on Kilimanjaro —
far colder than Jesus’s words
over the “fortunate” sparrow.

And I understand how gentle Emily
must have felt, when all comfort had flown,
gazing into those inhuman eyes,
feeling zero at the bone.

Oh, how can I grok his arctic thought?
For if he is human, I am not.



Burn
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

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

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



Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch

“Burn Ovid”—Austin Clarke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This poem is set at Faith Christian Academy, which I attended for a year during the ninth grade, in 1972-1973. While the poem definitely had its genesis there, I believe I revised it more than once and didn't finish it till 2001, nearly 28 years later, according to my notes on the poem. Another poem, "*** 101," was also written about my experiences at FCA that year.



*** 101
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

The most unlikely coupling—

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

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

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

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

This companion poem to "Burn, Ovid" is also set at Faith Christian Academy, in 1972-1973.



honeybee
by michael r. burch

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



honeydew
by michael r. burch

i sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle!



Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
by Michael R. Burch

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
the bees rise
in a dizzy circle of two.
Oh, when I’m with you,
I feel like kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ too.



Huntress
Michael R. Burch

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



Ibykos Fragment 286 (III)
loose 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.

Originally published by The Chained Muse



Ince St. Child
by Michael R. Burch

When she was a child
in a dark forest of fear,
imagination cast its strange light
into secret places,
scattering traces
of illumination so bright,
years later, she could still find them there,
their light undefiled.

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

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

This was an unusual poem, and it took me some time to figure out who the old woman was. She was a victim of childhood ******, hence the title I eventually came up with.



Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

Cherubic laugh; sly, impish grin;
Angelic face; wild chimp within.

It does not matter; sleep awhile
As soft mirth tickles forth a smile.

Gray moths will hum a lullaby
Of feathery wings, then you and I

Will wake together, by and by.

Life’s not long; those days are best
Spent snuggled to a loving breast.

The earth will wait; a sun-filled sky
Will bronze lean muscle, by and by.

Soon you will sing, and I will sigh,
But sleep here, now, for you and I

Know nothing but this lullaby.



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Kindred
by Michael R. Burch

Rise, pale disastrous moon!
What is love, but a heightened effect
of time, light and distance?

Did you burn once,
before you became
so remote, so detached,

so coldly, inhumanly lustrous,
before you were able to assume
the very pallor of love itself?

What is the dawn now, to you or to me?

We are as one,
out of favor with the sun.

We would exhume
the white corpse of love
for a last dance,

and yet we will not.
We will let her be,
let her abide,

for she is nothing now,
to you
or to me.



Reflections
by Michael R. Burch

I am her mirror.
I say she is kind,
lovely, breathtaking.
She screams that I’m blind.

I show her her beauty,
her brilliance and compassion.
She refuses to believe me,
for that’s the latest fashion.

She storms and she rages;
she dissolves into tears
while envious Angels
are, by God, her only Peers.



Excerpts from “Travels with Einstein”
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

I went to Berlin to learn wisdom
from Adolph. The wild spittle flew
as he screamed at me, with great conviction:
“Please despise me! I look like a Jew!”

So I flew off to ’Nam to learn wisdom
from tall Yankees who cursed “yellow” foes.
“If we lose this small square,” they informed me,
earth’s nations will fall, dominoes!”

I then sat at Christ’s feet to learn wisdom,
but his Book, from its genesis to close,
said: “Men can enslave their own brothers!”
(I soon noticed he lacked any clothes.)

So I traveled to bright Tel Aviv
where great scholars with lofty IQs
informed me that (since I’m an Arab)
I’m unfit to lick dirt from their shoes.

At last, done with learning, I stumbled
to a well where the waters seemed sweet:
the mirage of American “justice.”
There I wept a real sea, in defeat.

Originally published by Café Dissensus



Remembrance
by Michael R. Burch

Remembrance like a river rises;
the rain of recollection falls;
frail memories, like vines, entangled,
cling to Time's collapsing walls.

The past is like a distant mist,
the future like a far-off haze,
the present half-distinct an hour
before it blurs with unseen days.



Resurrecting Passion
by Michael R. Burch

Last night, while dawn was far away
and rain streaked gray, tumescent skies,
as thunder boomed and lightning railed,
I conjured words, where passion failed ...

But, oh, that you were mine tonight,
sprawled in this bed, held in these arms,
your ******* pale baubles in my hands,
our bodies bent to old demands ...

Such passions we might resurrect,
if only time and distance waned
and brought us back together; now
I pray that this might be, somehow.

But time has left us twisted, torn,
and we are more apart than miles.
How have you come to be so far—
as distant as an unseen star?

So that, while dawn is far away,
my thoughts might not return to you,
I feed your portrait to the flames,
but as they feast, I burn for you.

Published in Songs of Innocence and The Chained Muse.



Currents
by Michael R. Burch

How can I write and not be true
to the rhythm that wells within?
How can the ocean not be blue,
not buck with the clapboard slap of tide,
the clockwork shock of wave on rock,
the motion creation stirs within?

Originally published by The Lyric



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

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



R.I.P.
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



The Shape of Mourning
by Michael R. Burch

The shape of mourning
is an oiled creel
shining with unuse,

the bolt of cold steel
on a locker
shielding memory,

the monthly penance
of flowers,
the annual wake,

the face in the photograph
no longer dissolving under scrutiny,
becoming a keepsake,

the useless mower
lying forgotten
in weeds,

rings and crosses and
all the paraphernalia
the soul no longer needs.



Tillage
by Michael R. Burch

What stirs within me
is no great welling
straining to flood forth,
but an emptiness
waiting to be filled.

I am not an orchard
ready to be harvested,
but a field
rough and barren
waiting to be tilled.



For All That I Remembered
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Raintown Review



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.

This sonnet is written from the perspective of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats in his loose translation or interpretation of the Pierre de Ronsard sonnet “When You Are Old.” The aging Yeats thinks of his Muse and the love of his life, the fiery Irish revolutionary Maude Gonne. As he seeks to warm himself by a fire conjured from ice-encrusted logs, he imagines her doing the same. Although Yeats had insisted that he wasn’t happy without Gonne, she said otherwise: “Oh yes, you are, because you make beautiful poetry out of what you call your unhappiness and are happy in that. Marriage would be such a dull affair. Poets should never marry. The world should thank me for not marrying you!”



I Know The Truth
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

There's no need for anyone living to struggle!
See? Evening falls, night quickly descends!
So why the useless disputes―generals, poets, lovers?

The wind is calming now; the earth is bathed in dew;
the stars' infernos will soon freeze in the heavens.
And soon we'll sleep together, under the earth,
we who never gave each other a moment's rest above it.



I Know The Truth (Alternate Ending)
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

There's no need for anyone living to struggle!
See? Evening falls, night quickly descends!
So why the useless disputes―generals, poets, lovers?

The wind caresses the grasses; the earth gleams, damp with dew;
the stars' infernos will soon freeze in the heavens.
And soon we'll lie together under the earth,
we who were never united above it.



Poems about Moscow
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

5
Above the city Saint Peter once remanded to hell
now rolls the delirious thunder of the bells.

As the thundering high tide eventually reverses,
so, too, the woman who once bore your curses.

To you, O Great Peter, and you, O Great Tsar, I kneel!
And yet the bells above me continually peal.

And while they keep ringing out of the pure blue sky,
Moscow's eminence is something I can't deny ...

though sixteen hundred churches, nearby and afar,
all gaily laugh at the hubris of the Tsars.

8
Moscow, what a vast
uncouth hostel of a home!
In Russia all are homeless
so all to you must come.

A knife stuck in each boot-top,
each back with its shameful brand,
we heard you from far away.
You called us: here we stand.

Because you branded us criminals
for every known kind of ill,
we seek the all-compassionate Saint,
the haloed one who heals.

And there behind that narrow door
where the uncouth rabble pour,
we seek the red-gold radiant heart
of Iver, who loved the poor.

Now, as "Halleluiah" floods
bright fields that blaze to the west,
O sacred Russian soil,
I kneel here to kiss your breast!



Insomnia
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

2
In my enormous city it is night
as from my house I step beyond the light;
some people think I'm daughter, mistress, wife ...
but I am like the blackest thought of night.

July's wind sweeps a way for me to stray
toward soft music faintly blowing, somewhere.
The wind may blow until bright dawn, new day,
but will my heart in its rib-cage really care?

Black poplars brushing windows filled with light ...
strange leaves in hand ... faint music from distant towers ...
retracing my steps, there's nobody lagging behind ...
This shadow called me? There's nobody here to find.

The lights are like golden beads on invisible threads ...
the taste of dark night in my mouth is a bitter leaf ...
O, free me from shackles of being myself by day!
Friends, please understand: I'm only a dreamlike belief.



Poems for Akhmatova
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

4
You outshine everything, even the sun
at its zenith. The stars are yours!
If only I could sweep like the wind
through some unbarred door,
gratefully, to where you are ...

to hesitantly stammer, suddenly shy,
lowering my eyes before you, my lovely mistress,
petulant, chastened, overcome by tears,
as a child sobs to receive forgiveness ...



This gypsy passion of parting!
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This gypsy passion of parting!
We meet, and are ready for flight!
I rest my dazed head in my hands,
and think, staring into the night ...

that no one, perusing our letters,
will ever understand the real depth
of just how sacrilegious we were,
which is to say we had faith,

in ourselves.



The Appointment
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will be late for the appointed meeting.
When I arrive, my hair will be gray,
because I abused spring.
And your expectations were much too high!

I shall feel the effects of the bitter mercury for years.
(Ophelia tasted, but didn't spit out, the rue.)
I will trudge across mountains and deserts,
trampling souls and hands without flinching,

living on, as the earth continues
with blood in every thicket and creek.
But always Ophelia's pallid face will peer out
from between the grasses bordering each stream.

She took a swig of passion, only to fill her mouth
with silt. Like a shaft of light on metal,
I set my sights on you, highly. Much too high
in the sky, where I have appointed my dust its burial.



Rails
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The railway bed's steel-blue parallel tracks
are ruled out, neatly as musical staves.

Over them, people are transported
like possessed Pushkin creatures
whose song has been silenced.
See them: arriving, departing?

And yet they still linger,
the note of their pain remaining ...
always rising higher than love, as the poles freeze
to the embankment, like Lot's wife transformed to salt, forever.

Despair has arranged my fate
as someone arranges a wedding;
then, like a voiceless Sappho
I must weep like a pain-wracked seamstress

with the mute lament of a marsh heron!
Then the departing train
will hoot above the sleepers
as its wheels slice them to ribbons.

In my eye the colors blur
to a glowing but meaningless red.
All young women, at times,
are tempted by such a bed!



Every Poem is a Child of Love
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Every poem is a child of love,
A destitute ******* chick
A fledgling blown down from the heights above―
Left of its nest? Not a stick.
Each heart has its gulf and its bridge.
Each heart has its blessings and griefs.
Who is the father? A liege?
Maybe a liege, or a thief.



Villanelle: Hangovers
by Michael R. Burch

We forget that, before we were born,
our parents had “lives” of their own,
ran drunk in the streets, or half-******.

Yes, our parents had lives of their own
until we were born; then, undone,
they were buying their parents gravestones

and finding gray hairs of their own
(because we were born lacking some
of their curious habits, but soon

would certainly get them). Half-******,
we watched them dig graves of their own.
Their lives would be over too soon

for their curious habits to bloom
in us (though our children were born
nine months from that night on the town

when, punch-drunk in the streets or half-******,
we first proved we had lives of our own).



Happily Never After (the Second Curse of the ***** Toad)
by Michael R. Burch

He did not think of love of Her at all
frog-plangent nights, as moons engoldened roads
through crumbling stonewalled provinces, where toads
(nee princes) ruled in chinks and grew so small
at last to be invisible. He smiled
(the fables erred so curiously), and thought
bemusedly of being reconciled
to human flesh, because his heart was not
incapable of love, but, being cursed
a second time, could only love a toad’s . . .
and listened as inflated frogs rehearsed
cheekbulging tales of anguish from green moats . . .
and thought of her soft croak, her skin fine-warted,
his anemic flesh, and how true love was thwarted.



Haunted
by Michael R. Burch

Now I am here
and thoughts of my past mistakes are my brethren.
I am withering
and the sweetness of your memory is like a tear.

Go, if you will,
for the ache in my heart is its hollowness
and the flaw in my soul is its shallowness;
there is nothing to fill.

Take what you can;
I have nothing left.
And when you are gone, I will be bereft,
the husk of a man.

Or stay here awhile.
My heart cannot bear the night, or these dreams.
Your face is a ghost, though paler, it seems
when you smile.

Published by Romantics Quarterly



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

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

This is one of my earliest poems, written around age 15 when we were living with my grandfather in his house on Chilton Street, within walking distance of the Nashville fairgrounds. I remember walking to the fairgrounds, stopping at a Dairy Queen along the way, and swimming at a public pool. But I believe the Ferris wheel only operated during the state fair. So my “educated guess” is that this poem was written during the 1973 state fair, or shortly thereafter. I remember watching people hanging suspended in mid-air, waiting for carnies to deposit them safely on terra firma again.



Her Preference
by Michael R. Burch

Not for her the pale incandescence of dreams,
the warm glow of imagination,
the hushed whispers of possibility,
or frail, blossoming hope.

No, she prefers the anguish and screams
of bitter condemnation,
the hissing of hostility,
damnation's rope.



hey pete
by Michael R. Burch

for Pete Rose

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

When I was a boy, Pete Rose was my favorite baseball player; this poem is not a slam at him, but rather an ironic jab at the term "superstar."



Nevermore!
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

their skeletal love―impossibility!

This is one of my Poe-like creations, written around age 19. I think the poem has an interesting ending, since the male skeleton is missing an important "member."



Mehmet Akif Ersoy: Modern English Translations of Turkish Poems

Mehmet Âkif Ersoy (1873-1936) was a Turkish poet, author, writer, academic, member of parliament, and the composer of the Turkish National Anthem.



Snapshot
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Earth’s least trace of life cannot be erased;
even when you lie underground, it encompasses you.
So, those of you who anticipate the shadows,
how long will the darkness remember you?



Zulmü Alkislayamam
"I Can’t Applaud Tyranny"
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I can't condone cruelty; I will never applaud the oppressor;
Yet I can't renounce the past for the sake of deluded newcomers.
When someone curses my ancestors, I want to strangle them,
Even if you don’t.
But while I harbor my elders,
I refuse to praise their injustices.
Above all, I will never glorify evil, by calling injustice “justice.”
From the day of my birth, I've loved freedom;
The golden tulip never deceived me.
If I am nonviolent, does that make me a docile sheep?
The blade may slice, but my neck resists!
When I see someone else's wound, I suffer a great hardship;
To end it, I'll be whipped, I'll be beaten.
I can't say, “Never mind, just forget it!” I'll mind,
I'll crush, I'll be crushed, I'll uphold justice.
I'm the foe of the oppressor, the friend of the oppressed.
What the hell do you mean, with your backwardness?



Çanakkale Sehitlerine
"For the Çanakkale Martyrs"
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Was there ever anything like the Bosphorus war?―
The earth’s mightiest armies pressing Marmara,
Forcing entry between her mountain passes
To a triangle of land besieged by countless vessels.
Oh, what dishonorable assemblages!
Who are these Europeans, come as rapists?
Who, these braying hyenas, released from their reeking cages?
Why do the Old World, the New World, and all the nations of men
now storm her beaches? Is it Armageddon? Truly, the whole world rages!
Seven nations marching in unison!
Australia goose-stepping with Canada!
Different faces, languages, skin tones!
Everything so different, but the mindless bludgeons!
Some warriors Hindu, some African, some nameless, unknown!
This disgraceful invasion, baser than the Black Death!
Ah, the 20th century, so noble in its own estimation,
But all its favored ones nothing but a parade of worthless wretches!
For months now Turkish soldiers have been vomited up
Like stomachs’ retched contents regarded with shame.
If the masks had not been torn away, the faces would still be admired,
But the ***** called civilization is far from blameless.
Now the ****** demand the destruction of the doomed
And thus bring destruction down on their own heads.
Lightning severs horizons!
Earthquakes regurgitate the bodies of the dead!
Bombs’ thunderbolts explode brains,
rupture the ******* of brave soldiers.
Underground tunnels writhe like hell
Full of the bodies of burn victims.
The sky rains down death, the earth swallows the living.
A terrible blizzard heaves men violently into the air.
Heads, eyes, torsos, legs, arms, chins, fingers, hands, feet...
Body parts rain down everywhere.
Coward hands encased in armor callously scatter
Floods of thunderbolts, torrents of fire.
Men’s chests gape open,
Beneath the high, circling vulture-like packs of the air.
Cannonballs fly as frequently as bullets
Yet the heroic army laughs at the hail.
Who needs steel fortresses? Who fears the enemy?
How can the shield of faith not prevail?
What power can make religious men bow down to their oppressors
When their stronghold is established by God?
The mountains and the rocks are the bodies of martyrs!...
For the sake of a crescent, oh God, many suns set, undone!
Dear soldier, who fell for the sake of this land,
How great you are, your blood saves the Muslims!
Only the lions of Bedr rival your glory!
Who then can dig the grave wide enough to hold you. and your story?
If we try to consign you to history, you will not fit!
No book can contain the eras you shook!
Only eternities can encompass you!...
Oh martyr, son of the martyr, do not ask me about the grave:
The prophet awaits you now, his arms flung wide open, to save!



W. S. Rendra translations

Willibrordus Surendra Broto Rendra (1935-2009), better known as W. S. Rendra or simply Rendra, was an Indonesian dramatist and poet. He said, “I learned meditation and the disciplines of the traditional Javanese poet from my mother, who was a palace dancer. The idea of the Javanese poet is to be a guardian of the spirit of the nation.” The press gave him the nickname Burung Merak (“The Peacock”) for his flamboyant poetry readings and stage performances.

SONNET
by W. S. Rendra
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Best wishes for an impending deflowering.

Yes, I understand: you will never be mine.
I am resigned to my undeserved fate.
I contemplate
irrational numbers―complex & undefined.

And yet I wish love might ... ameliorate ...
such negative numbers, dark and unsigned.
But at least I can’t be held responsible
for disappointing you. No cause to elate.
Still, I am resigned to my undeserved fate.
The gods have spoken. I can relate.

How can this be, when all it makes no sense?
I was born too soon―such was my fate.
You must choose another, not half of who I AM.
Be happy with him when you consummate.

THE WORLD'S FIRST FACE
by W. S. Rendra
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminated by the pale moonlight
the groom carries his bride
up the hill―
both of them naked,
both consisting of nothing but themselves.

As in all beginnings
the world is naked,
empty, free of deception,
dark with unspoken explanations―
a silence that extends
to the limits of time.

Then comes light,
life, the animals and man.

As in all beginnings
everything is naked,
empty, open.

They're both young,
yet both have already come a long way,
passing through the illusions of brilliant dawns,
of skies illuminated by hope,
of rivers intimating contentment.

They have experienced the sun's warmth,
drenched in each other's sweat.

Here, standing by barren reefs,
they watch evening fall
bringing strange dreams
to a bed arrayed with resplendent coral necklaces.

They lift their heads to view
trillions of stars arrayed in the sky.
The universe is their inheritance:
stars upon stars upon stars,
more than could ever be extinguished.

Illuminated by the pale moonlight
the groom carries his bride
up the hill―
both of them naked,
to recreate the world's first face.

Keywords/Tags: Rendra, Indonesian, Javanese, translation, love, fate, god, gods, goddess, groom, bride, world, time, life, sun, hill, hills, moon, moonlight, stars, life, animals?, international, travel, voyage, wedding, relationship, mrbtran



Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



Recursion
by Michael R. Burch

In a dream I saw boys lying
under banners gaily flying
and I heard their mothers sighing
from some dark distant shore.

For I saw their sons essaying
into fields—gleeful, braying—
their bright armaments displaying;
such manly oaths they swore!

From their playfields, boys returning
full of honor’s white-hot burning
and desire’s restless yearning
sired new kids for the corps.

In a dream I saw boys dying
under banners gaily lying
and I heard their mothers crying
from some dark distant shore.



Victor Hugo "Love Stronger Than Time"
loose translation/interpretation by Michael Burch

Since I first set my lips to your full cup,
Since my pallid face first nested in your hands,
Since I sensed your soul and every bloom lit up—
Till those rare perfumes were lost to deepening sands;

Since I was once allowed those pleasures deep—
To hear your heart speak mysteries, divine;
Since I have seen you smile, have watched you weep,
Your lips pressed to my lips, your eyes on mine;

Since I have sensed above my thoughts the gleam
Of a ray, a single ray, of your bright star
(If sometimes veiled), and felt light falling stream,
Like one rose petal plucked from high, afar;

I now can say to time's swift-changing hours:
Pass, pass upon your way, for you grow old;
Flee to the dark abyss with your drear flowers,
but one unmarred within my heart I hold.

Your flapping wings may jar but cannot spill
The cup fulfilled of love, from which I drink;
My heart has fires your frosts can never chill,
My soul more love to fly than you can sink.



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 cares naught for graves,
prayers, coffins, or 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, Jehovah, 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.



The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

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



Published as the collection "Modern Charon"

Keywords/Tags: Charon, Styx, death, ferry, boat, ship, captain, steering, helm, wheel, rudder, shipwreck, disaster, night, darkness, 911, 9-11, mrbch
raine miller Jan 2013
soft flecks riding gentle gusts
melting into the same stone-gray sky
like specters into walls,
only to reappear moments later
starkly suspended against
dark misted figures
composed of anything
and nothing
this silent storm
falls fast
creating a blank slate
for us to etch our stories upon
first snowfall of the season! i love the simple blank beauty of snow.
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2013
Seven New Poems For Seven Days #1: Shiva

Shiva means seven. For seven days, the bereaved family "sits shiva," sitting on low, uncomfortable stools and the comforters come to share their grief, praise the deceased, from mourning till late at night.
*
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~­~~~


I am confused - what day is it?
Windows tell day or night, a necessary but a condition insufficient.
The days have no distinguishing marks, a video stuck on
Repeat - a single track of recollected tales, prayers add a mild seasoning.

Though brief is this week of pre-sentencing hearings,
If one cannot dice the time into portions,
Then, there can be no pardon,
No early release date, from Phase One.

Rinse grief. Repeat. Seven cycles.
Apply stain-stick at the intersection of
Bloodied hurts and dimming memories,
Strangers secreting, spilling on you secrets unwanted.

This play, saw it many decades ago,
Before there was poetry, children.
A young man of twenty one,
Very afraid, silently, of the newest unknown.

I hated it then. Now experienced, I hate it more.
This semi-catharsis, a tapestry tale wove of faded pasts
Twisting an heirloom blade into an old wound,
the original cast, a new revival, playwright, regrettably, deceased...

First time at bat, hid in a small room, away from this tradition.
Beating my head against a wall privately,
That being my preferred manner of mourning,
Not this Broadway show, twice a day, seven days.

Rituals well intentioned, a time tested method,
nonetheless, jail time for me, a/k/a, the boy, the brother.
Familiarity comforts some. Me? A prison uniform.
I write my own poems, I am not a Borg collective.

Cast as Son, my obligations specific, aged.
My Hamlet doublet, cut/torn, messaging my somber status,
The cuts deepest, invisible, but all see this child
Drowning in eye pools that continuously self-replenish.

I'll do the time, this show the longest running ever,
Did forty years as son-shadow of a father-man,
Tacked another concurrent sentence for his woman,
End Date: Indeterminate...

The low stools will reappear, seven days for me,
Yet my job as poet not fully done, until this be read!
Leave 'em laughing o'er this Official Release from the obligatory,
Read, sit but once, read this poem, this script, this story, and be freed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva_(Judaism)
^ Sitting Shiva:
The word Shiva comes from the Hebrew word shiv'ah, which literally means "seven". The tradition was developed in response to the story in Genesis 50:1-14 in which Joseph mourns the death of his father Jacob (Israel) for seven days.
When my mother passed away a week ago, her three children observed the custom of shiva at her apartment.  Numerous visitors came for days. People who knew her, family from both sides, people who knew us from the communities, schools, camps we lived in over the past 70 years! My father passed away forty years ago. Both of my parents were outgoing, considerate human beings, who  touched many lives in ways we often did not know about. Stories about both of them told, retold, retold again, driving me crazy, but as an expiation of sadness, the shiva process works...
Jeannette Chin Nov 2011
"I have gotten from there to here"

Its a simple tautology, chant it

either/or an uncertain accomplishment.

From there to there to there until there became here.

This too is fairly obvious,
but still, it seems so strange,

how many times must you be reminded

that you are too ill-equipped 
to string the sequence.



And what about those weak suspicions

that reappear from time to time,
the ones you are
 quick to disregard
out of the fear that you may be a lunatic.



What if they were correct, what
if a moment were nothing more
than a brown package
of stimulus.

They came to you, one after the other
and you what could you do but follow
them, like crumbs in a trail that lead
you further away from home
and into this carnival.
Where people who sing lullabies out loud
carry pistols and globs of color
are merging in all
directions.

Wedged in between "there to here"
and "here to there", the laws of tenses
never made this much of a difference.



Babies know this all too well.

That's why they're the last 
ones
we turn to for wisdom. 

But should they ever decide

to permanently stop crying.   

You'll know what they mean by their silence.
My friend came by the other day
As a leaf in the wind he has blown
From street to street
            Town to town

A wanderer he may be, but not at heart‑‑
He longs to be attached to a tree
                                            Any tree

In spring and summer the leaves are green
                                        And attached
Summer slowly dries them out as the tree
                        Prepares for winter

My friend, the dry brown leaf
Blows in his perpetual autumn

We all grow in our own time and season:

Winter dormancy

         Spring regeneration

                   Summer fulfillment

                               Fall  preparing for the
                                                  
                                            Inevitable season of death

These  seasons of the soul
Are the very essence of our existence

They teach us

                         Temper us

                                                 Fulfill us

But there are those who do not see
The purpose of the seasons
To them winter means only

                                   Cold

                                              Snow

                                                          Desola­tion              

Spring means only

                                Rain

                          ­            Mud

                                              Flooding

Summer means

                                Beauty to mock
                                     The heart in winter

I trust in the wisdom of the seasons
Nature teaches us lessons in her cycles

Let the leaf fall to the ground
Let it rot into cold

                         Stark

                                     Winter desolation

Spring will come

Bleak gray will become bright colours
                  Of spring

The beauty will fade once again but will
Reappear in winter's own stark beauty
Though it may be cold and gray
Then spring will come

          Spring will come.

                  
                     --Daniel Irwin Tucker
NOT just another poem about spring.
BEK Nov 2018
I was like a third grader on Show and Tell day with a boring rock collection
Although it took me years to create
And much resiliency through countless voyages
I had no intention of having it on display

But you were there
A rare and unique beauty
For you, my show went on and on
I displayed parts of me, piece by piece, by piece
Hiding nothing away

"This is from the time I sat on the beach and let the waves form me."
"This is from the time I was boiling hot and shot out of the earth."
You politely asked questions at first
An "ooh" and "ah" here and there
You're kind in that way

"This is from the time I surrounded myself with lots of other broken rocks for far too long."
"These are my remains from the time I jumped off a cliff."
I forgot to practice good showmanship
Leave them wanting more
I thought, maybe if I go on, you'll stay

"This is from the time I was under enormous heat and pressure."
"This is from the time I stumbled down a gigantic mountain."
I was consumed by the hope of captivating you
Maybe there was at least one noticeable rock in my bucket
Or perhaps a chance that I have quite an impressive array

I regained my senses
The clouds of hope that had muddled my view had now cleared
I noticed I ran out of "cool" rocks
Or maybe I never had any
I realized that I lost your attention long ago anyway

You were preoccupied with thinking about how cool the magician that came before me was
I thought, "Pleh, how cool is creating illusions and disappearing just to reappear in a box somewhere in another room or making you jump through flaming hoops?"
Or maybe you were anxiously awaiting the Show and Tell Grand Finale
The kid with the adorable puppy
I guess I really can't say

I decided to end my show with a bucket full of unseen rocks
I walked back to my desk shoulders slouched
Head slumped, level with the creaky old floor
I made a wish for the magician to return to thrill you with endless spellbinding tricks
Or maybe you'd be able to go home with the kid with the puppy
How cool is geology anyway?
Bryce K Jul 2013
When I finally have found the courage, you disappear.
When I finally understand what I feel, you disappear.

Why? Why did you leave me?

When I finally understand you, you disappear.
When I finally want to love you, you disappear.

Why? Why did you leave me?

When I finally say "I Love You", you disappear.
When I finally find you, you disappear.

Why? Why did you leave me?

When I finally move on, you reappear.
When I finally see you again, you disappear.

I never saw you after that, for all you do is disappear.
Waverly Jan 2012
Just because they have disappeared
does not mean that
i'm clutter-free.

It's a cluster-free, a clusterfuck of ******* insanity.

My uncle left right after
my Grampa's funeral,
split like a chicken's *****,
"he's in the airforce
or some other human-processing factory,"
Ma would say to me.

My aunt mable,
dipped out
dripped out two kids
then split
like a pillsbury biscuit.

My aunt pat's mom,
left Aunt pat on Aunt FLo's doorstep,
in the sole of her instep,
stepped out on a kid
and a husband
with a left shoe,
the right one
was left behind.

My pops
was forced out,
I saw him drag Ma
through the halls,
saw him whip her face in
with the brass-end
of a leather belt,
everybody's face was leathery
when the cops came in.

There is a litany of disappearing faces
in my family picture, a litany
of the disappeared
who reappear
over thanksgiving and christmas dinners,
when we wax nostalgiac
or hurt
over turkey,
gravy,
and biscuits.

Over love
and how many are missing.
Styles Dec 2014
She just walks into a room and causes trouble
selling her pride on the side as lil hustle
see the worries in her eyes
these guys and their lies
she doesnt love’em or trust’em
telling them lies like its nothin
A Diamond, in the rough
Smooth skin, acting tough
A lost cause, but still worth somethin.
But she doesn't know when enough is enough.
Caught in her own web of keeping up.
Using pins and needles to keep herself up.
Tried to walk a straight line, easier being ****** up.
Been fighting through a struggle her whole life
"Doing what I have to.", read her tattoo on the right
her body paying the price
addicted to the hustle and the fast life
fast cars and flashing lights
Nikki Manjing for an extra $200 a night
the money feels good
She's getting it all right.
She’s all in,
ryde or dye for life.
Her daddy telling her he loves her
she believes him
and wont leave him
cause abusive love; is still love
a pimps love is deceiving.
Same face full of tears reappear when the drugs disappear
she had big dreams, in a small town that are no longer there.
An addiction kept her here.
Working the track, lost her long hair.
From sun up until the bright sky  is no longer there.
Drugs kicking in
she wishes she wasn't here.
Judge calling for her order
Warranted, Her lawyer doesn’t even care
going through her own trials and tribulations
with herself her family isnt even there
its apparent that nobody else cares
lied too many times crying wolve
now everyone and every thing gone-- they ain't there.
she sayin this ain’t fair
as its time for her to face fear.
Klaryssa Feb 2017
At the edge of seventeen I can’t believe I made it this far.
Never saw this moment coming
Not out of fatality just momentum-based blindness
Rocketing into the realm of time at 460 meters per second
Can seem kind of damning
So the self-proffered lies in order to sleep? necessary.
“I’ll do it tomorrow”
Do you own tomorrow?
Have you seen it in existence?
“I’ve still got time.”
As if time is something one can purchase
Except it wasn’t ever ours
So we have to give it back
And like all borrowed things it has a time limit
Ironic
At the edge of seventeen I don’t know what mine is

Because
At the edge of Seventeen I am doing the splits
Stuck between two time periods of my life and one is still putting up a fight
Don’t let go
Stop changing
Caught between a rock and an avalanche, one is coming at me much harder, faster
At the edge of seventeen I’m working all the angles and learning the equations trying to equate my life to a formula
Except formulas are predictable
At the edge of seventeen I realized that life isn't as mean as I’d always act as if it was

and at the edge of seventeen I realize moments go by really quickly.
At the edge of seventeen I realize the edge is really high
At the edge of seventeen I have never been high
At the edge of seventeen the end of the earth starts blending with the sky
At the edge of seventeen the limits seem to disappear and reappear in new forms
Like a regenerate limb of a starfish my boundaries are reappearing
I feel sometimes like the universe spit me out like a rejected blood transplant I just never fused

At the edge of 17
I am arrogant
Never mortal
Watch me defy death every morning
I will rise
I talk about the rest of my life as if it has become a tangible thing for me
I consider my existence? prophecy
there are 7 billion 45 million people on this planet and I have the audacity to believe that my three existential crises all before breakfast are the most significant occurrence since the creation of time

At the edge of seventeen I am standing on the ledge with you
Laughing at the sky
At the edge of seventeen I am swimming with you in the lake
At the edge of seventeen chlorine has made me a green haired monster
At the edge of seventeen we have caught baby turtles and put them into the back seat
At the edge of seventeen I am flying down the highway with all the windows down
At the edge of seventeen you never let me go
At the edge of seventeen you never made me say goodbye
At the edge- you pushed me off

And I flew.
Carbon based life forms will approximately breathe 151372800 times in 18 years.
Panama Rose Apr 2013
Let’s take a silver train underground
to the back streets of Atlantis
thru the corrugated iron roots &
then to the peak itself, to the
saddle of the last ridge past strewn
                             boulders,
finally meandering thru cascading snow
wearing miner’s hats on the perpendicular
                                       dark night &
going up to the edge of the Southern Cross
where we reach at last the pure white
                            glistening glaciers &
                 begin to chant over bones in rags
                                       of Scorpio
Armless in the sticky substance how could
         they ever have had a chance?
         Permission will not be required
         only poems of blood offered to
                 the memory of TREE
         It is not ice which is eternal
         but the fury of the absolute
         separating the void from the spirit
                                      of man,
         uplifting like life when it is used
                                against itself,
         that is, Radical Love -- & again, we
         are reduced to living beings
         Caught by the instant
         we are taken away
         We live in the imprint of the flame
         & we are helmeted within the internal
                                              blackness
         where the ray begins its passage
                    across the indignant sky
Vain clouds uncaring in a tangle of
                                       crossbeams
culminate in the hermaphroditic mirror
                   of the epileptic dancer
                              asleep
                        And during sleep
                        the light is joined
                           to the light
     It is all a matter of getting up
and then to abandon the pain
It is there that the journey beings
     in the self generated flame of
        Spontaneous Combustion
            (Swayambhunath)
    The main line running counter
    to the triangle comprising the
    MAELSTROM, the DOLDROMS & the
    SARGASSO SEA where sleeping Atlanteans
                                       dream forever,
     this line, this battlefield of the ages,
     crosses the divide of my most wandering
     backdoor heart.
     We will all have to go
     if we want to reappear
     in the rhythm of the ritual
     It’s the wheel of fools spinning
             over my bed
     If I put my left foot first
     they will find a way to call me
                      by that name
     tracking tremors
     like glyphs
     on drunken walls
     in the negative palace
     just before taking eave
     of my senses
     the white powder dissolves
     in the sunlight
     & making noise like a peacock
     he hops on one foot up the mountain.
Where do I begin? I'm lost. So much is personal you see. I had apps and apps full of feelings, moods, poems, my stories and goings on saved onto my device. Now these apps suddenly disappeared, so I downloaded them only to discover they won't reappear! I don't understand, I can't comprehend. I didn't memorize all of those months in some and years in others to recall so I can't just rewrite. Sure instead I could've used paper & pen & locked them away from peering eyes elsewhere but guess what notebooks on top of of notebooks from all my years also to did the act of a disappear. Yes, burned in my house fire with most of my prized possessions that were photos of some but the photos that meant the most were the photos of a man that loved me most and loved me more than any other could, my dad. My dad the man that died & left me to a cruel family that could only hate... only hate me that is. I was so little when he died and I never understood why I wasn't allowed to take that ride to death... with him. Anyone reading this by chance, do you know how I can get the content in those apps back? If I write the things I wrote there esp of recent events then you'd think it's an improper way to vent not being in poetic form and such. It's pretty weird, different and personal too, but my wounds are deep and writing them gave some relief. Now they've disappeared.
No poetry here, just asking for help that'd be much appreciated. Thanks and blessings.
All gone, it's all gone and I'm a mess over it. If I can't keep a journal on paper for fear of fire again not on a writing app where does that leave me to ink the poison out if it's just a journal, diary, feelings with no reason and rhyme. Author Ven J. Arnold

— The End —