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Jackie Mead Sep 2017
The Frog and The Bee lived merrily on a log, in a bog in the middle of two Rivers, the River Louse and the River Wry.

They were best friends with the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse and the Elf with one ear and the Fly with one eye who lived on the River Wry.

One day the Frog, on the log in the middle of the bog, said to his dear friend the Bee, it's about time that you and I, the Mouse with the house on the River Louse, Elf and Fly had another adventure.
The Bee buzzed excitedly and said 'what did you have in mind?'
"Well" said the Frog, who lived on the log in the middle of the bog on the River Louse, where the Mouse had his house “I was thinking that you and I and the Fly with one eye could get together with the Mouse, who has a house on the River Louse,and the Elf with one ear and set out for the town of Cry which is on the River Wry”.
” I've heard” said the Frog, who lived on the log in the middle of the bog on the River Louse, where the Mouse had his house “that there is a horse living by the course of the River who because he is getting older needs some help getting his master and friend round the very long bend.”
“I thought you and I and the Fly with one eye and Elf with one ear and the Mouse with a house on the River Louse could come up with a plan to get the barge, the horse, his master and friend around the River bend at the town of Cry on the River Wry”.
“What a great idea” said the Bee to the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle
of a bog, let's go summons our friends, the Mouse with a house on the River Louse and the Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear and help the master and his horse round the River course”.

So the Frog and Bee set out to find the Mouse with the house on the River Louse and the Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear and explain to them that there was a horse who needed their help to get a barge and his master and friend around the River bend.
The Mouse with the house on the River Louse and the Fly with one eye and The Elf with one hear were easy to persuade, they all agreed to let Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, to take the lead.
Frog said to the Elf with one ear “we need to you to be the eyes for the Fly with one eye and help him find his way to the town of Cry on the River Wry”.  
To the Fly with one Eye, Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog said “we need you to help the Elf with one ear and be his ears, working together to find your way to the town of Cry on the River Wry”

The friends set out on their way to the town of Cry on the River Wry, Frog, who, lived on a log in the middle of the bog, croaked very nosily as he hopped from lily pad to lily pad from River Louse, where the Mouse with the house lived, to River Wry and their destination the town of Cry.

The Bee buzzed happily on the shoulder of the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, and accepted the ride with his friend to the River bend at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

The Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear set out together, the Elf with his perfect eye sight led the way to the town of Cry on the River Wry.  The Fly with his perfect hearing kept the Elf safe from harm and alerted him to any creature that may be nearing.

It was a beautiful afternoon and the friends would get to the town of Cry on the River Wry soon, the Frog and the Bee, the Fly and the Elf and the Mouse with the house on the River Louse, would help their friend the horse and his master get around the very long course of the River at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

After several hours, the friends all agreed it wouldn’t be long now until their friend the horse would be in sight and they would use all of their skills and all of their might to help their friend navigate around the bend of the river at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

The Frog croaked to the Bee, look our friend is in front of you and me, the horse is close to the River bend and he will soon need all his friends to help him round the bend close to the town of Cry on the River Wry.

The horse was pleased to see his friends, the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, the Bee and the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse, the Fly with one eye and Elf with one ear, he began to neigh and cheer, at last he would have some help from his friends to get him, the barge and his master and friend around the river bend.

The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, asked the horse “how can we assist you and your master?”.  The horse replied ” of course I need good eyes and ears and lots of noise to guide the master, the barge and me, the horse, of course, around the river bend.”
The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of a bog, replied “I have an idea, the Elf with one ear has perfect eyes and the Fly with one eye has perfect ears, myself the Bee and the Mouse with a house on the river louse can all make lots of noise, together we will all work to assist your master and you, the horse, around the river course".
The horse did neigh as if to obey and went to find his master.  With a collar around his neck attached to the barge he lowered his head and began to walk.
The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of a bog and the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse and the Bee made as much noise as a trio of three could possibly.
The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, did croak, the Mouse with a house on the River Louse, did squeak and the Bee did buzz and together they made an awful lot of fuss, and the horse did neigh as if to say, he heard them all just fine.

The horse continued to walk and the Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear did appear, and encouraged the horse to walk on, the Fly with its perfect ears did listen to his friends, The Frog who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse and The Bee, and talked the horse around the river bend.  
The Elf with one ear and its perfects eyes did talk to the horse and describe the course of the river at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

In no time at all the horse, the barge and the master, his friend had gotten all the way around the large bend of the river at the town of Cry on the River Wry.
The horse did neigh as if to say "Thank You" to his friends, the Frog who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, the Bee, the Mouse with a house on the River Louse, The Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear and invited them to stay for tea.  
The Master was so pleased that he fell to his knees and said to the creatures big and small "thank you for your help today it is fair to say that without your noise, your perfect sight and perfect talk the horse would not have made the walk around the river bend".
"Now" said the master to the new set of friends "lets set up camp past the river bend and have a cup of tea", "thank you" said the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog and the Bee, "we’d love a cup of tea".

So this very odd group of friends sat around and made mend with a cup of tea and a fire to keep them warm as they swapped stories for the night and tomorrow the friends would make their way home.

The Frog, who lived on the log in the middle of the bog, turned to his special friend the Bee and said “thank you for believing in me”
Another story based poem, it's a bit epic, thank you to anyone who takes the time to read it.
Now when they came to the ford of the full-flowing river Xanthus,
begotten of immortal Jove, Achilles cut their forces in two: one
half he chased over the plain towards the city by the same way that
the Achaeans had taken when flying panic-stricken on the preceding day
with Hector in full triumph; this way did they fly pell-mell, and Juno
sent down a thick mist in front of them to stay them. The other half
were hemmed in by the deep silver-eddying stream, and fell into it
with a great uproar. The waters resounded, and the banks rang again,
as they swam hither and thither with loud cries amid the whirling
eddies. As locusts flying to a river before the blast of a grass fire-
the flame comes on and on till at last it overtakes them and they
huddle into the water—even so was the eddying stream of Xanthus
filled with the uproar of men and horses, all struggling in
confusion before Achilles.
  Forthwith the hero left his spear upon the bank, leaning it
against a tamarisk bush, and plunged into the river like a god,
armed with his sword only. Fell was his purpose as he hewed the
Trojans down on every side. Their dying groans rose hideous as the
sword smote them, and the river ran red with blood. As when fish fly
scared before a huge dolphin, and fill every nook and corner of some
fair haven—for he is sure to eat all he can catch—even so did the
Trojans cower under the banks of the mighty river, and when
Achilles’ arms grew weary with killing them, he drew twelve youths
alive out of the water, to sacrifice in revenge for Patroclus son of
Menoetius. He drew them out like dazed fawns, bound their hands behind
them with the girdles of their own shirts, and gave them over to his
men to take back to the ships. Then he sprang into the river,
thirsting for still further blood.
  There he found Lycaon, son of Priam seed of Dardanus, as he was
escaping out of the water; he it was whom he had once taken prisoner
when he was in his father’s vineyard, having set upon him by night, as
he was cutting young shoots from a wild fig-tree to make the wicker
sides of a chariot. Achilles then caught him to his sorrow unawares,
and sent him by sea to Lemnos, where the son of Jason bought him.
But a guest-friend, Eetion of Imbros, freed him with a great sum,
and sent him to Arisbe, whence he had escaped and returned to his
father’s house. He had spent eleven days happily with his friends
after he had come from Lemnos, but on the twelfth heaven again
delivered him into the hands of Achilles, who was to send him to the
house of Hades sorely against his will. He was unarmed when Achilles
caught sight of him, and had neither helmet nor shield; nor yet had he
any spear, for he had thrown all his armour from him on to the bank,
and was sweating with his struggles to get out of the river, so that
his strength was now failing him.
  Then Achilles said to himself in his surprise, “What marvel do I see
here? If this man can come back alive after having been sold over into
Lemnos, I shall have the Trojans also whom I have slain rising from
the world below. Could not even the waters of the grey sea imprison
him, as they do many another whether he will or no? This time let
him ******* spear, that I may know for certain whether mother earth
who can keep even a strong man down, will be able to hold him, or
whether thence too he will return.”
  Thus did he pause and ponder. But Lycaon came up to him dazed and
trying hard to embrace his knees, for he would fain live, not die.
Achilles ****** at him with his spear, meaning to **** him, but Lycaon
ran crouching up to him and caught his knees, whereby the spear passed
over his back, and stuck in the ground, hungering though it was for
blood. With one hand he caught Achilles’ knees as he besought him, and
with the other he clutched the spear and would not let it go. Then
he said, “Achilles, have mercy upon me and spare me, for I am your
suppliant. It was in your tents that I first broke bread on the day
when you took me prisoner in the vineyard; after which you sold away
to Lemnos far from my father and my friends, and I brought you the
price of a hundred oxen. I have paid three times as much to gain my
freedom; it is but twelve days that I have come to Ilius after much
suffering, and now cruel fate has again thrown me into your hands.
Surely father Jove must hate me, that he has given me over to you a
second time. Short of life indeed did my mother Laothoe bear me,
daughter of aged Altes—of Altes who reigns over the warlike Lelegae
and holds steep Pedasus on the river Satnioeis. Priam married his
daughter along with many other women and two sons were born of her,
both of whom you will have slain. Your spear slew noble Polydorus as
he was fighting in the front ranks, and now evil will here befall
me, for I fear that I shall not escape you since heaven has delivered
me over to you. Furthermore I say, and lay my saying to your heart,
spare me, for I am not of the same womb as Hector who slew your
brave and noble comrade.”
  With such words did the princely son of Priam beseech Achilles;
but Achilles answered him sternly. “Idiot,” said he, “talk not to me
of ransom. Until Patroclus fell I preferred to give the Trojans
quarter, and sold beyond the sea many of those whom I had taken alive;
but now not a man shall live of those whom heaven delivers into my
hands before the city of Ilius—and of all Trojans it shall fare
hardest with the sons of Priam. Therefore, my friend, you too shall
die. Why should you whine in this way? Patroclus fell, and he was a
better man than you are. I too—see you not how I am great and goodly?
I am son to a noble father, and have a goddess for my mother, but
the hands of doom and death overshadow me all as surely. The day
will come, either at dawn or dark, or at the noontide, when one
shall take my life also in battle, either with his spear, or with an
arrow sped from his bow.”
  Thus did he speak, and Lycaon’s heart sank within him. He loosed his
hold of the spear, and held out both hands before him; but Achilles
drew his keen blade, and struck him by the collar-bone on his neck; he
plunged his two-edged sword into him to the very hilt, whereon he
lay at full length on the ground, with the dark blood welling from him
till the earth was soaked. Then Achilles caught him by the foot and
flung him into the river to go down stream, vaunting over him the
while, and saying, “Lie there among the fishes, who will lick the
blood from your wound and gloat over it; your mother shall not lay you
on any bier to mourn you, but the eddies of Scamander shall bear you
into the broad ***** of the sea. There shall the fishes feed on the
fat of Lycaon as they dart under the dark ripple of the waters—so
perish all of you till we reach the citadel of strong Ilius—you in
flight, and I following after to destroy you. The river with its broad
silver stream shall serve you in no stead, for all the bulls you
offered him and all the horses that you flung living into his
waters. None the less miserably shall you perish till there is not a
man of you but has paid in full for the death of Patroclus and the
havoc you wrought among the Achaeans whom you have slain while I
held aloof from battle.”
  So spoke Achilles, but the river grew more and more angry, and
pondered within himself how he should stay the hand of Achilles and
save the Trojans from disaster. Meanwhile the son of Peleus, spear
in hand, sprang upon Asteropaeus son of Pelegon to **** him. He was
son to the broad river Axius and Periboea eldest daughter of
Acessamenus; for the river had lain with her. Asteropaeus stood up out
of the water to face him with a spear in either hand, and Xanthus
filled him with courage, being angry for the death of the youths
whom Achilles was slaying ruthlessly within his waters. When they were
close up with one another Achilles was first to speak. “Who and whence
are you,” said he, “who dare to face me? Woe to the parents whose
son stands up against me.” And the son of Pelegon answered, “Great son
of Peleus, why should you ask my lineage. I am from the fertile land
of far Paeonia, captain of the Paeonians, and it is now eleven days
that I am at Ilius. I am of the blood of the river Axius—of Axius
that is the fairest of all rivers that run. He begot the famed warrior
Pelegon, whose son men call me. Let us now fight, Achilles.”
  Thus did he defy him, and Achilles raised his spear of Pelian ash.
Asteropaeus failed with both his spears, for he could use both hands
alike; with the one spear he struck Achilles’ shield, but did not
pierce it, for the layer of gold, gift of the god, stayed the point;
with the other spear he grazed the elbow of Achilles! right arm
drawing dark blood, but the spear itself went by him and fixed
itself in the ground, foiled of its ****** banquet. Then Achilles,
fain to **** him, hurled his spear at Asteropaeus, but failed to hit
him and struck the steep bank of the river, driving the spear half its
length into the earth. The son of Peleus then drew his sword and
sprang furiously upon him. Asteropaeus vainly tried to draw
Achilles’ spear out of the bank by main force; thrice did he tug at
it, trying with all his might to draw it out, and thrice he had to
leave off trying; the fourth time he tried to bend and break it, but
ere he could do so Achilles smote him with his sword and killed him.
He struck him in the belly near the navel, so that all his bowels came
gushing out on to the ground, and the darkness of death came over
him as he lay gasping. Then Achilles set his foot on his chest and
spoiled him of his armour, vaunting over him and saying, “Lie there-
begotten of a river though you be, it is hard for you to strive with
the offspring of Saturn’s son. You declare yourself sprung from the
blood of a broad river, but I am of the seed of mighty Jove. My father
is Peleus, son of Aeacus ruler over the many Myrmidons, and Aeacus was
the son of Jove. Therefore as Jove is mightier than any river that
flows into the sea, so are his children stronger than those of any
river whatsoever. Moreover you have a great river hard by if he can be
of any use to you, but there is no fighting against Jove the son of
Saturn, with whom not even King Achelous can compare, nor the mighty
stream of deep-flowing Oceanus, from whom all rivers and seas with all
springs and deep wells proceed; even Oceanus fears the lightnings of
great Jove, and his thunder that comes crashing out of heaven.”
  With this he drew his bronze spear out of the bank, and now that
he had killed Asteropaeus, he let him lie where he was on the sand,
with the dark water flowing over him and the eels and fishes busy
nibbling and gnawing the fat that was about his kidneys. Then he
went in chase of the Paeonians, who were flying along the bank of
the river in panic when they saw their leader slain by the hands of
the son of Peleus. Therein he slew Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus,
Mnesus, Thrasius, Oeneus, and Ophelestes, and he would have slain
yet others, had not the river in anger taken human form, and spoken to
him from out the deep waters saying, “Achilles, if you excel all in
strength, so do you also in wickedness, for the gods are ever with you
to protect you: if, then, the son of Saturn has vouchsafed it to you
to destroy all the Trojans, at any rate drive them out of my stream,
and do your grim work on land. My fair waters are now filled with
corpses, nor can I find any channel by which I may pour myself into
the sea for I am choked with dead, and yet you go on mercilessly
slaying. I am in despair, therefore, O captain of your host, trouble
me no further.”
  Achilles answered, “So be it, Scamander, Jove-descended; but I
will never cease dealing out death among the Trojans, till I have pent
them up in their city, and made trial of Hector face to face, that I
may learn whether he is to vanquish me, or I him.”
  As he spoke he set upon the Trojans with a fury like that of the
gods. But the river said to Apollo, “Surely, son of Jove, lord of
the silver bow, you are not obeying the commands of Jove who charged
you straitly that you should stand by the Trojans and defend them,
till twilight fades, and darkness is over an the earth.”
  Meanwhile Achilles sprang from the bank into mid-stream, whereon the
river raised a high wave and attacked him. He swelled his stream
into a torrent, and swept away the many dead whom Achilles had slain
and left within his waters. These he cast out on to the land,
bellowing like a bull the while, but the living he saved alive, hiding
them in his mighty eddies. The great and terrible wave gathered
about Achilles, falling upon him and beating on his shield, so that he
could not keep his feet; he caught hold of a great elm-tree, but it
came up by the roots, and tore away the bank, damming the stream
with its thick branches and bridging it all across; whereby Achilles
struggled out of the stream, and fled full speed over the plain, for
he was afraid.
  But the mighty god ceased not in his pursuit, and sprang upon him
with a dark-crested wave, to stay his hands and save the Trojans
from destruction. The son of Peleus darted away a spear’s throw from
him; swift as the swoop of a black hunter-eagle which is the strongest
and fleetest of all birds, even so did he spring forward, and the
armour rang loudly about his breast. He fled on in front, but the
river with a loud roar came tearing after. As one who would water
his garden leads a stream from some fountain over his plants, and
all his ground-***** in hand he clears away the dams to free the
channels, and the little stones run rolling round and round with the
water as it goes merrily down the bank faster than the man can follow-
even so did the river keep catching up with Achilles albeit he was a
fleet runner, for the gods are stronger than men. As often as he would
strive to stand his ground, and see whether or no all the gods in
heaven were in league against him, so often would the mighty wave come
beating down upon his shoulders, and be would have to keep flying on
and on in great dismay; for the angry flood was tiring him out as it
flowed past him and ate the ground from under his feet.
  Then the son of Peleus lifted up his voice to heaven saying, “Father
Jove, is there none of the gods who will take pity upon me, and save
me from the river? I do not care what may happen to me afterwards. I
blame none of the other dwellers on Olympus so severely as I do my
dear mother, who has beguiled and tricked me. She told me I was to
fall under the walls of Troy by the flying arrows of Apollo; would
that Hector, the best man among the Trojans, might there slay me; then
should I fall a hero by the hand of a hero; whereas now it seems
that I shall come to a most pitiable end, trapped in this river as
though I were some swineherd’s boy, who gets carried down a torrent
while trying to cross it during a storm.”
  As soon as he had spoken thus, Neptune and Minerva came up to him in
the likeness of two men, and took him by the hand to reassure him.
Neptune spoke first. “Son of Peleus,” said he, “be not so exceeding
fearful; we are two gods, come with Jove’s sanction to assist you,
I, and Pallas Minerva. It is not your fate to perish in this river; he
will abate presently as you will see; moreover we strongly advise you,
if you will be guided by us, not to stay your hand from fighting
till you have pent the Trojan host within the famed walls of Ilius—as
many of them as may escape. Then **** Hector and go back to the ships,
for we will vouchsafe you a triumph over him.”
  When they had so said they went back to the other immortals, but
Achilles strove onward over the plain, encouraged by the charge the
gods had laid upon him. All was now covered with the flood of
waters, and much goodly armour of the youths that had been slain was
rifting about, as also many corpses, but he forced his way against the
stream, speeding right onwards, nor could the broad waters stay him,
for Minerva had endowed him with great strength. Nevertheless
Scamander did not slacken in his pursuit, but was still more furious
with the son of Peleus. He lifted his waters into a high crest and
cried aloud to Simois saying, “Dear br
I went to the river
once there, I wandered in
I went to the river
and washed away my sin
i came back from the river
I found my truck up on the road
i came back from the river
ready to re-load

I'm not sure if this is how to say it
drinking with the devil takes it's toll
you have to walk away instead of staying
for if you stay the devil gets your soul

you can live a life of excess if you want to
an endless circle pushed to the extremes
the party seems like it is never ending
but when it does, you're left with broken dreams

you can reload if you want but just be cautious
the devil knows your weakness after all
he knows you wash your sins out in the river
but, he also knows, one day you'll hear his call

I went to the river
once there, I wandered in
I went to the river
and washed away my sin
i came back from the river
I found my truck up on the road
i came back from the river
ready to re-load

you have a choice when you go to the river
do you follow it, and just avoid the road
get on a boat and see where it is leading
or just have a splash, and meet at the cross road

life is full of twists and turns and effort
the river is just a stop along the way
but, the devil knows you never really mean it
once you wash your sins, you head on back to play

in the end you'll end up on the roadway
the river bed is dry and is long dead
the sins you washed away there are just dust now
because there was no truth in what you said

I went to the river
once there, I wandered in
I went to the river
and washed away my sin
i came back from the river
I found my truck up on the road
i came back from the river
ready to re-load

I went to the river
once there, I wandered in
I went to the river
and washed away my sin
i came back from the river
I found my truck up on the road
i came back from the river
ready to re-load
As I stand before the mountain of confidence called hope, I see a clear path up, not too steep, not too straight, but this path is embodied with rewards to the top.

At the top, there is a magnificent tree made of gold, silver leaves and Copper roots. Hope mountain held a perfect prize awaiting me, a Tree called Faith.
This sight to behold was everything I wanted, everything before me was so clear, but at the bottom where I was, there was a River.

This River was called Shame.
This river was filthy, the water was calm where I was, but looking downstream I could see the rapids of rage, the ripples of conditioning before the raging rapids were inviting.

The dreary stonewalling fortification on the banks allowed no light through, downstream was scary and looked impossible, why would I go that way? why even look?
I looked upstream and saw a blinding light, what could this be? I was so curious, so I waited, a true gentleman always waits.

Two days later the light took shape, as it came closer I could finally see, I could see a lifeboat with a caring nurturing beautiful woman.

As this beautiful woman came closer, I could see the river was being supplied by this woman, I could see she was the source.

The river of Shame was being fed by this woman, this filth in front of me was coming from her, but the beauty was something I've never seen, this beauty had me curious.

This beauty made me forget of the supply to the river.
  What I saw wasn't real all the sudden, what I believed was now real.
She came close enough for my heart to be heard, since she had no heart she was envious, she hated what others admired.

She wanted my wholesome heart, so she used her falsehood love bombing to create one, dreamingly admiring the mountain, we were planning different paths right then.
As I stared at the golden Tree of Faith glowing upon Hope mountain, I didn't notice the river was rising, as the numbing waters were rising it covered my feet, I didn't notice she also took a piece of my heart to claim as her own.

She used toxic gas and light to create a projection that this heart was hers to give back to me.

I didn't know any better so I accepted this ambient abused heart, this unfelt abuse gave me amnesia, this hidden poison of my cognitive dissonance gave her all of me.

Since she had nothing and that's what she craves, I had everything so she wanted to enslave.
I forget about the mountain with the tree even being there. I forgot I was here.

Her lifeboat was awkward, it was shaky,
it has imperfections, it has holes,
   her lifeboat is sinking,
     her heart is missing.
my knightly kind hearted empathy,
   my buffering and nurturing sympathy         pick this beautiful woman up
      I pick this gem up because of her idealization of me.
I can clean this insidious gem because she makes me believe, but through the veil I cannot see.
I throw her over my shoulder to carry all her weight, it's hard to move, hard to breathe, building a new boat was extremely hard, carrying her pain was extremely hard.

Everyone thought it was impossible to do it, my shear will power to commit ****** one foot in front of the other, I just didn't know that going downstream was impossible.

What about the mountain?

I couldn't remember from the amnesia, the dark night blinded my sight of the mountain, the drug in me was you and it consumed, i fell in love with misery and misery loves it's companies.

I stared the snake behind the veil in the eyes, standing tall on her pedastool made of spackle it breaks, I fall onto piercing confusion, I pull out shrapnel's of dissolution, I'm covered in her blood of invalidation.

I'm already floating in the boat with her, this wasn't my plan, this wasn't my reality.
I gaze upon this woman, sun shining behind her, no clouds in the sky.
floating downstream she tells me it's faster, that we'll end up behind the mountain higher.

I'm not worried now, I'm now contempt with shame.
I already forgot reality, I already forgot i'm going downstream, I forgot the searing pain, I forgot what I believe.

I'm relaxed, I'm tired, I'm still happy in love with this spellbound misery.

As we drift slowly through the stonewalls, no light shines through, I ask her for assurance, it's getting dark, I'm getting scared.

That's when the veil comes off, that's when the unnatural beauty grows quiet, that's when my voice screams silently within these stone walls.

This isn't her, this isn't real,
I know there's love I can feel, that was our bond, that was our deal, not to steal.

I fall over board and the water is cold, there's leaches, the debris is so random, the shameful water is moving faster, the all consuming cold confusion, random gaslighting and triangulations moving in around me faster.

I immediately can't bear it. My heart pulsates hard, my mind misfires my flight mode, i cannot intake the overbearingly unowned toxic Shame, her coldness activated my fawn mode, I froze, I start to doze.

luckily she had my leg, luckily she knew excessive admiration CPR, just as my body went limp in the agonizing River of Shame, she pulls me out. luckily she got me just in time, luckily she saved my life.

I awoke away from the stonewalls, it's sunny and safe again, we're together through impossible odds, we built this boat and she saved my life.

The abuse amnesia made me forget, the cognitive dissonance was real, I am not.

The mountain was now farther away, I was worried, I grew fearful, what I wanted looked farther away, that's when everything became gloomy, my goal was no longer there, but she didn't care, she knew where the river went, I believed her, I still do.

The ambient abuse made me anxious, the atmosphere was maddening of fear, it carried anxiety, I couldn't see it, but I was breathing it in.

Her eyes were so incapacitating, her heart disorienting, her soul captivating, she had a better plan, for us to press on and build another boat, to add another life, to believe in her, to not stare at the knife.

We build another boat, were out of the shame waters finally, she's helping me, were soon to be a real family, but the only thing real here was me.

Everything is better on the land, were dry, it's sunny, it's better to feel the nirvanic sand. It's here we bring our new seed, to be sprouted downstream.

I now believe in this new mountain downstream, I don't even remember the mountain I seen, were pressing on downstream past a levy, were now in the River of Grief, we're off to the end of make believe.

This river is really turbulent with rapids of devaluation, the splashes make me irrelevant, the dinigrating actions around make me small, I feel lost and confused, nothing makes sense anymore at all.

At the mouth of the River of Grief it opens up into a valley. She jumped onto a rock of vanity and pushed the tree of disloyalty upon the boat.

This throws me out head first, but luckily I have our seed safe and sound, luckily I learned how to drown.

I turn around falling and see her at the top staring down, she smirked and throws enormously heavy anvils of bereavement to make me fall harder, to keep me down longer.

Evil is real, but only if you believe, I crave the flattery of illusionary love, I still had amnesia, I love misery, the feeling reminds me I can feel, I love my slow death so I say I'll find you, I have the seed, I'll wait for you.

As I fall the thorns of numbing premeditation pierce, the pain is searing, as I fall i'm locked on her, my falsehood of love is still enduring, I don't feel the discard, I ignore the distaste.

I land in a field of hopium still protecting the seed, my amnesia is now worse, I can't remember her smirk, I can't remember the weighted anvils of bereavement, I can't remember the tree of disloyalty, I still can't remember the mountain.

My movement is heavy like concrete, my heart sits down at my feet, my mind is nowhere to be found, my spirit is fading on this ground.

I gather everyone from a nearby village to find her, it's impossible, they can't see her, she never existed, my amnesia was now delusional, the hopium mixed realities, nothing was real, there was nothing I could truly feel because everything was wrong, but I believe misery needs me and I yearned.

I say she's at the top, we have to throw her a rope,
they say it won't reach what isn't there,
I say we need a ladder to throw the rope, they say the ladder isn't safe that high.
  
I say everyone can hold the ladder while I climb perilously to the top, they say it will never work, but since they can see me, since they see a part of me is still real, everyone holds the ladder for me.
      
While I acend with my broken dignity, I acend with a fatigued heart, I acend to find what I believe, no matter how hard I try, I will be taking my destined decent.

The top of the ladder is shaky, I spent forever getting there, it's scary, the heights bring great fear over me, more than I've ever felt, but my knighthood makes me overcome anything.

I suppress, the seed is safe down below, I'm here to impress, I can see her now, only much less.

Her snake skin is peeling, the sun scorched blistering skin shows immense pain, witnessing this releases empathy, the caring knighthood in me naturally wanted to save her again.

So I wrap what's left of my discarded soul upon my broken fatigued heart and I use my trauma bonded mind as bait.

I throw her the rope,
she catches the rope,
I tell her to tie off the rope,
she ties a noose with the rope,
her neck is now wrapped with this rope.

If she falls I can't stop the tightening of the rope, if she falls I already know I'll jump for her and release from her neck this rope.

We jump together and I release the rope around her neck, I see the ground coming fast, but I love this snake, I'll die for this snake because I believe, false beauty inside is all I see.

I grab her and turn her away from the rushing ground, I fell once, I can take the fall again.

She is already hurt, immense pain, she will not feel no more pain, because I'm not hurting for I'm with misery again, I believe I can take all the pain for her, the hopium was numbing everything I consumed.

I awoke to a distressed angel, flawed personality, beautiful nightmare, mirroring the devil, but what I saw was a veil over the snake eyes, what I saw was what I believed before.

What I had wasn't real, who I am is no longer there, for I had ambience amnesia, nothing around me fit, nothing around me was grounded, nothing around me was divine.

The eyes that gazed upon me were captivating, spriling, time froze and only she was moving, the feeling was there, a drug within me, the drug was her and I longed for the misery, I yearned for the pain to remember what was real, I needed the intermittent reinforcement, I wanted my all bets in investment back and I risked a short sale.

We faded into the black, into a new boat, she made this boat, she had plugs in  holes of the boat I couldn't see, I believed it was perfect, I didn't know what awaited was a life long anguish.

I still didn't know what was downstream is impossible, I didn't know this new River of Anguish has piranhas of triangulation, I didn't know the rapids were of oppression, I didn't know the rocks causing these rapids she already put in place, I didn't know it was so black around me in this place, I didn't know my seed would become two, I didn't know I would have to choose.

I didn't know true love was in front of me in my hands and not behind the veil, I thought it was her, all the villagers knew, but as I drew closer to the snake the darkness only grew and the seeds too.

The feeling of my lingering mortality reverberates, she built me a coffin and chained it to my ankles, with this immense weight, I carry it with me just in case.

We floated very fast down this River of Anguish, everything seemed fine to all others including me, the darkened skies covered the evil, the cold waters made my body numb, the seeds were held up high to be be safe from the tormenting waters.

As I held them up high, I didn't realize she was still holding the schraded butcher knife in the water, I didn't believe she would hurt me, I didn't conceive the possibility that knife I didn't see was there all along for me.

The waters of Anguish smothered me, the triangulating piranhas slowly nibbled on my feet in the water, the rapids of oppression kept me gazing in the water, the rocks of malice in the water tried to tip me over, but my balance was true and the seeds were safe from harm, but I am not safe, I'm dying inside.

I don't know why, but after every agonizing stab from this knife when I'm not looking, it hurts, but the numbing knife only helped me when it was pulled out, it has holes in the knife so she could pull it out without me knowing.

I always turned around and cleaned the knife covered in my blood, I always gave it back to her, but every wipe upon this blade made it grow, and every wipe made the label on the handle more clear.

I find out in the end this knife is called narcissistic rage, the brand of this knife is called gaslighting and my blood is the supply.

I didn't know any of this until it was too late to save myself, my reality wasn't real, my dreams are gone, my nightmare is all consuming and existent, my seeds are still safe, but I am not.

When I start to notice the knife exists, I forgive her, the conditioning made the skies darker, I wipe the blood off and give it back, the knife is now a sword, it's name is discard.

The waters are uneven, the piranhas of triangulation feel like strangulation, my clothes are still soaking wet with anguish, my hair is slimy and covered in Shame, my feet are cold and numb from the grief.

I can't understand why I'm here,
  I can't understand why I'm actually meant to be here.
  
Every turbulence has thrown me down, she pushes me over head first, as I try to lean up to breathe she has her foot on my neck in the cold numbing river, but this river does not affect her, this river is warmer than her, the warmth from anguish pleased her, the piranhas followed her commands to bite, she smirked as the rocks she placed crushed against my head.

She waited until I went limp every time, but she knew idealization CPR, her deceit was without compassion, her rage was without sympathy, but I had severe ambience abuse amnesia, I still couldn't remember the mountain, I am now trauma bonded from the stabs she's counting.

I only saw her veil, her gaze convinced me I placed these rocks here, her gaze made me ignore the stonewalls around me, her pure hatred was covered in false intentions, her illusion was my isolation.

As everything was becoming clearly dangerous, as everything went pitch black, I look back and see the light from the mountain glowing, I see there is something wrong where I'm at, I see the seeds are not growing, I start to see the pain all around me.

Non the wiser, I keep coming back from drowning, I keep falling for misery, I keep wiping my blood off the blade, I keep isolated, but now I feel there is something painfully wrong, the reason abates me but I feel it, it hurts, it's camouflaged by deceit, it's all in my head, my coffin is soon to be my bed.

I look to the shores, there are other villagers worried, they are waving frantically, they're pointing at a waterfall ahead, this waterfall is called Doom, this fall would be death, the sound is raging, the mouth all consuming.

I see the stream to the side that the villagers are pointing to, I see the calm waters awaiting our safety, but the boat will not fit.

Only me and the seeds are real, everything else around me is illusional, the trauma delusional, the possible harm to the seeds was not refutable, my love for misery was unsuitable.

I could see my life was in danger, I could see the stream nearby screaming safety, I knew the seeds needed me, now I can't stop shaking.

Without her knowing what I was doing, I turned my back towards her facing the water, I knew she was going to stab me over and over again until I turned around, I now see the hypnotic eyes behind the veil. Not turning around only enraged her, the blood on the knife was condesating.

  The safety of the stream for my seeds was a new found glory in my exodus.
  
I paddled with my small hands this large weighted boat towards the stream, her knife was venomous, the water was echoless, the air imparted dreadfulness, all of this was dimensionless, all of this was not real, unless I let it be, now I can see, now I can finally flee.

As I came closer to the stream the waterfall grew stronger, the pain larger, the sound louder, I knew we were closer to the end, I knew I needed to jump off with my seeds, but I know the torment will end.

I melted my enduring pain inside with molten lava heartache to mold anew, I compartmentalize because I have to choose.

I had a vision that if I jump, the seeds will be safe, the climb to the mountain can still happen, I knew I was right about how I felt all along, I realized the veil couldn't cover the true self, I now believed In me.

I now know the water air and land were not what she made me believe, I knew I didn't choose this path, I knew I could survive, I know the seeds are going to be safe now. I know because I manifested instead of throwing in the towel.

Once close enough I finally looked at her and smiled I love you, jumping into the river I could feel the bitter cold agonizing tormenting river smash me with bereavement and disillusion by dissociation, I felt the coma of trauma surround, for I am now trauma bound.

I hold my seeds up high, I kept them safe because they don't feel the water, they're starting to sprout already, no more decay.

As I climb out of the frigid waters and still dripping wet, the drops are red, my feeling is coming back, my back is full of knives, I'm scared but I survived.
Knowing the worst is over I look back to her, she is consuming the river because she was the source, everything dark folds in on itself because the light cannot touch here, for this black hole is collapsing in on itself, I cover the seeds to shield them of this exorcist, they're safe here because my love is relentless.

The tormenting pain makes it hard to stand tall, still going through bereavement of a false reality where I lost it all, the answers we're all lost in the waterfall
"" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" ”"" "" "" "”" "" ""
Sunny Johnson Sep 2011
On a great mountainside, a beautiful river ran, reaching all creatures across the great expanse. Glowing crystal and clear as the fresh alpine air, the water ran, as yet undiscovered and unmarred by civilization. It knew not of the impurities that other waters knew, free from the grasp of humanity and completely pure in it's design. Each spring as the snow melted, the river would charge through the forges and ravines, reshaping the ground in it's wake, changing the surface of the mountain in it's path. Stones would tumble and trees would crack under the raw power of it's force, as it gained in size and speed over the spring months. This spring however, it met upon a larger rock, seemingly a boulder. "Ha," thought the river, as it began growing rapidly, the melting snow empowering it as it crashed into the boulder, slightly changing course and returning to it's usual path. "I will be back soon." The river promised. As summer grew nearer and the sun seemed to burst from it's cloudy shield of winter, it began to show more steadily and with a greater heat than it had in springtime past. The blazing sun caused avalanches as it bore into the icy crust of the mountain top. The river suddenly felt something new, something changing, it was surely larger and more powerful than it had been in previous months, and as it charged down the mountain, it was sure of it's victory upon the great boulder. "Surely now this rock will not remain unmoved!" exclaimed the river as it flooded down the ravine, in search of the unchanging obstruction of mineral. The sun's rays had created an avalanche, dumping hundreds of tons of ice into the rushing river, melting the snow and creating a great roar as the river grew abruptly to 3 and 4 times it's previous size. As the river grew it felt a giant to all the objects on the mountain, proud and sure of it's eminent victory over the great boulder in it's way. As the water gained momentum and seeming to contain all of it's new fury in the roaring flood just for the great rock. A sleeping rock awoke suddenly to a roar and a crack as it heard many smaller boulders tumbling into the trees nearby, and the rumbling river rushing straight for him. "Aww, thought the old stone, yawning. "This will surely be interesting." As the rushing water advanced upon the rock, it had no idea what was to become of it's proud and boastful ways. Rushing water carrying all types and sizes of large rock and debris smashed into the great stone with all of it's might. The rock was unmoved. Little did the river know, this stone was rooted deep, a branch of mineral deposit coming from the very core of the mountain itself. The river had no chance. At the impact the water and debris scattered, and the river, suddenly defeated, splashed against the side of the rock and continued its usual path of the many years before. As it continued on, it felt something moving, carrying itself somewhere else, like someone or thing was pulling part of it away from itself, and it roared in agony, sending more boulders to crack into the trees nearby. Alive and kicking, and carrying it's own cry came a beautiful new stream caressing the side of a great stone in it's beginning, almost as if to thank it for it's place in giving birth to the new life. "You are welcome." Spoke the stone, supporting the stream in it's new path, as the water began to run fresh and new across the bare ground. The stream seemed to caress everything it came across, the roots of the plants and trees feeling thankful for a new source of water. Although the smallest seedlings would be lost in the stream, it was a good sacrifice to make for a source of that precious water so generously given to the side of the mountain with the large river. As the stream carried on, moving pine cones and pine needles aside, it brought new nourishment to all the life of the dry side of the mountain. As a small child just learning to walk, running to meet new people and see all the new things, experience the new life, the river ran. It glanced upon the tall oaks and the thinner pines and the smaller saplings. It rushed to meet the squirrel, carrying with it acorns fallen on the ground higher on the hill. It ran to bring uprooted fresh seedlings to the young deer. It brought with it fallen nuts and berries and left them near the bear's den. It brought freshly dropped dry twigs and branches to the wary ******, hunting for a new home. It brought with it pine needles and dropped them next to the trees with sparrows and blue birds hopping about for new materials to strengthen their nests. The stream ran free, bringing gifts to all it met with and inviting all to join it in it's path. The young of the forest gathered together, foxes and rabbits and badgers alike, to join the small stream in its journey down the mountain. Never carrying too much water as to uproot or change the surface of it's new found paradise, the stream was grateful to be a part of the dry side of the mountain, and that side of the mountain was never so dry. That side of the mountain never knew the fear of falling rocks or boulders. It never knew the fear of the flood of spring. It flourished with new life and greenery as it became privy to the little stream's side of the mountain to live happily without fear of flood or the dangers it brought. Each new day more bushes and saplings followed the little stream . The animals began to move from the great river's side of the mountain to the little stream's side. The river became lonely in it's wrathful wake, having only the rocks and logs it carried along as it's companion. Even the trees were scared to grow near it's threatening wrath. Loved by all and continually becoming the renown of the mountain, the little stream never knew such hardships. Such is why a little stream can be more changing than a great roaring river. To be feared by all or to be loved by all, is in the makings of every gaining current. The little stream never grew much larger than a dear's jump or a squirrel's leap. Except in the hearts of the lives around it. May we all be as little streams, not hungering to change the surface of our world, or to be feared. May we all live as the one who embraces all the forms we meet, being grateful for our own place among them. Then may we know what it is to live among many and loved by all. Then may we never know fear, or lose ourselves to a great boulder. May we change with the small movements of the ground beneath our feet, and carry with us gifts to all those we meet. May we be mightier in the heart than in the mind, leaving our hunger behind. May the little stream meet us too, and may we hear it's message clearly.
Shiv Pratap Pal May 2019
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This poem is self translated version of my Hindi language poem titled "किनारों का निश्छल प्रेम " published in anhadkriti (Dec. 2017) Can be read through the link ==>> https://bit.ly/2Ex69ip

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Only water streams of the river
meets in the Ocean
The banks of the river
never meets with each other
they always stand face to face
but do not come near

If one comes near sometimes
The other moves far and away
To maintain the Distance
It's not so, that they
do not want to meet

But if they will meet  
The river will not stay
That too will become a pond
Its water will also rot
Its continuous flow will stop

To maintain the existence
Of the free flowing river
For welfare of living beings
For quenching their thirst
Its very very important
the banks should never meet

The truth is that they are one
even if they are not able to meet
What is life? Life is love
What is love, it's Sacrifice
Without sacrifice, love is lifeless

The banks have completely understood
the essence and decided their destiny
that they shall never ever meet
For the welfare of the world
Its essential, important and mandatory

Banks are disciplined
By their own self-discipline
If the river also follows discipline
Inspired by the discipline of banks
Its beauty gradually increases
Peoples bow and pray to the river
With great respect and devotion

But whenever water streams of river
Encroaches the boundary of the banks
they are criticized and reprimanded
As it betrays the love
betrays the sacrifice
betrays the benevolence of the banks

by completely forgetting and
tarnishing the efforts of banks
And Take away with them
Hundreds of homes
And finally earn disrespect

Well, the existence of the edges
is also because of the water stream
If the edges meet with each other
They will lose their own identity

So, this subtle concept needs to be
Understood clearly and deeply
'Devotion persists only uptill the
desires remain un-fulfilled'
If one is able to see the God

and gets his desire fulfilled, then
the devotee ceases to be a devotee
his devotion disappears immediately
and he often gets angry with God

So the Banks of river
always pray to god
'Our love should remain forever
But like parallel lines
We should never meet each other

Because of us the river must exist
Water streams must stay forever
And remain as a medium
for communicating our love
towards each other'

Such guileless love of the banks
Where else on earth can be seen?
God also salutes their true love
I wish their love should remain alive


It's not always like -
that the shores never meet
Yes, two banks of same river
Do not meet with each other
But a bank of a river
Sometimes manages to meet
with the bank of another river

Because in such case there is
absolutely no fear of
the water streams getting stagnant
The water stream of two rivers
joins with each other
and is called 'confluence'
Its importance increases
Its respect also increases

If one bank of first river meets
another bank of second river
then the second bank of the first river
never minds at all
and never ever gets sad
Its love remains constant as it was

unconditional and unbiased
Moment moment every moment
Second second every second
Let's bow before such
True and unconditional love
Hundred and Thousand Times
True Love Everywhere. Lets Feel It
Mark Wanless Nov 2017
"The River"

The river flows on
The current is strong
I go through the rapids and eddies
Always moving forward

I have tried swimming upstream
Frustrated and exhausted
I gave up
And the river carried me on

I swim very badly alone
I must have the help of the others
The others in the river with me
I thought this made me weak
I tried for a long time to swim alone
It was very hard and frightening
Sometimes I almost drowned
I had to ask for help
Or die
The ones close to me kept me afloat
Even though I did not like them much
They scared me
They scared me almost as much as drowning
Almost
I asked them where the land was
The land where I could stop
And rest
They said there was only the river
This frightened me also
No place to rest
Ever
Always the river
Always the rapids and eddies
Always moving forward
I knew I could not do it
They told me they could not do it either
That when they were tired
Or frightened
They asked the others to hold them
To keep them afloat
So they could rest
I had never tried this
I thought they would just let me drown
I thought I must learn to swim alone
I was wrong
The others have told me a story
About another river
A river we go to after we die
They say it is very beautiful
Calm and peaceful
With a very strong person
Who holds up everyone who gets tired
I like to think about it sometimes
It makes me happy
Yet I hope
That we can still help each other
When we want to
For that is a very wonderful thing
There are many people in the river
Some are very selfish
And laugh when I ask for help
They are very good swimmers
Very strong and determined
But the river is very strong too
And there is no land to rest on
Ever
And sooner or later
They too must ask for help
Or die
I hope they ask for help
For the river is very beautiful
But I never saw this before
I was always to tired
Trying to swim alone
There are many others in the river
Many are like me
We are very weak swimmers
And we sometimes forget things
So we get together often
To help each other stay afloat
To help each other rest
And to help each other
Remember things
And it is very nice
Sometimes
Even with much help
Someone drowns
But this is the way of the river
It hurts
For we will miss them
But many of us believe the story
About the other river
With the person who is very strong
And helps us all to rest
So
The river flows on
The current is strong
We go through the rapids and eddies
Always moving forward
And we help each other to rest
And may it always be so.
RAJ NANDY Aug 2015
Dear Readers, President Theodore Roosevelt wanted
to save this marvelous Natural Wonder for posterity! So
the Grand Canyon National Park was set up in 1919. In
1979 it was declared as World Heritage Site! With the
portion “Sun rises and sets over the Grand Canyon”, -
I have concluded this poem. Kindly take your time to read,
no need to comment in a hurry please ! Thanks, -Raj

CONCLUDING THE GRAND CANYON
STORY IN VERSE – RAJ NANDY

INTRODUCTION
Literature about great natural features include
two personal types of writing;
Description of things observed, and impressions
of what is known and seen!
The story of the Grand Canyon takes us back
to the Pre-Cambrian Age,
When violent forces were unleashed from within
the Earth, during its formative stage;
When mighty forces of erosion began to sculpture
her undulating landscapes!
Therefore, I begin with a quote about Erosion,
From the great poet Alfred Lord Tennyson; -
“The hills are shadows and they flow,
From form to form, and nothing stands.
They pass like clouds, the solid lands.
Like clouds they shape themselves and go!”

TO RECAPITULATE PART ONE:
In Part One we have seen, how movement of
earth’s tectonic plates unleashed violent forces
from within!
It formed mountains and lakes, shaping our
landscapes, which now appear so peaceful,
grand, and serene!
Over millions of years the forces of erosion in
the form of wind, rain, sun and snow,
Sculptured earth’s evolving features creating
majestic, panoramic vistas as we know!
Geologists now opine, that the Grand Canyon
was carved out by the Colorado River, -
cutting through ‘layers of Geological time’!

THE COLORADO RIVER CARVED THE CANYON:
In the state of Colorado, from the high country,
Where snow and ice lasts well beyond the dawning
days of Spring;
There the majestic peaks of the Rockies form the
perennial fountain head from which springs, -
One of the great rivers of the world the Colorado;
Which travels 1400 miles through seven States
reaching the Californian Gulf west of Mexico!
Now during prehistoric days, the pristine Colorado
had flowed almost along the same path as today!
But after the magical rise of the Colorado Plateau
some five million years ago, (Refer Part One)
It had blocked the river’s path making it flow
south-east into the Gulf of Mexico!
Few Geologists now opine, that this diverted river
had formed the pre-historic Lake Bidahochi,
Which later drained out to form the Little Colorado
River, which today we get see!
But the cut-off western portion of the river (named
Hualapai Drainage) continued to eat away through
the Plateau’s southern portion,
Through a gradual process known as ’Headwater
Erosion’!
For the river flowing at a steeper gradient along
the ‘Grand Staircase’ of the Plateau, carried
stones, rocks and debris,
Which formed the cutting tools, deepening the
Canyon over countless centuries!
When the softer sedimentary layers of the Plateau
below the top rocky layers gave away, - it resulted
in several rock falls!
While flash floods and erosion continued to breach
the sides of the canyon walls!
Thus over millions of years the width of the Canyon
gradually increased;
While the gushing and untamed Colorado River
chiseled through the depths of those Cyclopean walls, -
running deep!
Now the ancient Lake Bidahochi which had breached its
banks, had captured our pristine Colorado;
And their combined power increased the volume of
water and river’s chiseling power, with its rapid flow!

ENDANGERED COLORADO RIVER :
It is unfortunate that today, the Colorado no longer
reach the mighty Pacific as in the olden days!
With the progress of civilization and the spawning
of big cities,
Like Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles;
And to cater for the agricultural farmlands and the
Industries,
Many dams got built to divert its water and to
generate electricity!
Thus over a century of overuse and abuse of this
precious natural resource,
Gradually choked up the great Colorado, as it
became a mere trickle at the end of its course!
Ecologists now debate, while USA has launched
‘Save the Colorado River Project’!
Let us now cheer up by getting back to our
Grand Canyon’s scenic beauty,
Before concluding this wondrous Canyon Story!

SUN RISES AND SETS OVER GRAND CANYON!
To see the sunrise from Mather, Yaki, or the
Hopi Point, - located on the Southern Rim,
Becomes a life time experience, better than any
surreal dream!
First a glimmer then a glow, when a faint blue-white
sheen begins to show!
As the sun gradually sprinkles its light, streaks of
crimson red spreads across the eastern sky!
Soon orange and yellow shafts of light, light up the
Canyon walls up high!
Squirrels scurry out of sight, and birds twitter in
the sky!
The Hummingbird hovers like a helicopter, and
Big Horn sheep are also seen;
The Hummingbird which can even fly backwards,
enlivens this early morning scene!
The sun now rising in its resplendent glory,
showers the canyon with its kaleidoscopic beams;
With streaks of yellow, gold and red, it chases out
lurking shadows from within!
Like a curtain lifting before their eyes, the tourists
view this panoramic sight!
As the Grand Canyon awakens to greet the day,
With cameras madly clicking away!
The great ancestors of the Hopi tribe, Hopi
meaning both peaceful and wise;
Had inhabited these areas some eight thousand
years hence!
Their scooped out granaries and tools found inside
Canyon walls, - have an ancient story to tell !
The Spaniards were the first Europeans to reach,
in search for gold which they never found!
But for the Hopis the Canyon remains, as their
sacred Holy ground!
When those Spaniards saw the Colorado way
down below, from the Canyon’s upper rim’s side;
They said that this thin blue streaked River, was
barely five feet wide! (In mid-16th century)
The average width of the Canyon is around 10 miles;
While the River at its narrowest point is 600 yards
wide!
The Condor the largest American bird, catching an
upward draft circles up high;
Like an uncrowned monarch he surveys his kingdom
below, nothing escapes his watchful eyes!
Temperature at the Canyon’s floor is 20 degrees
higher, when compared to its outer rim;
Supports an ecosystem of plants and animals,
With the river as chief nourisher of all things!
Evergreen pines and furs grow along the cooler
areas of the Canyon’s outer rim;
While cactus species are found on its arid floor,
Their exotic flowers bloom during Summer and Spring!
The Northern Rim a thousand feet higher, offers many
spectacular sites!
But the Southern Rim remains open throughout the
year, while the Northern closes during Winter time.
From the Hopi Point west of the Canyon, the visitors
enjoy the beauty of the silent, sinking sun;
When the sky gets diffused with vermillion red, as
darkening shadows engulf those Canyon walls!
The mighty Canyon with its Cyclopean walls,
perhaps the playground of the Titans from eons past;
Shaped by some mythical Vulcan, shall remain till
this World continues to last!

CONCLUDING THE GRAND CANYON STORY:
I conclude my Grand Canyon Story by quoting a
poem I had once read;
Written by an Anonymous author, whose name
I had failed to get!
“BUILT WITH PATIENCE OF ENDLESS TIME,
YEARS ERODE AND SHAPES DEFINE.
LAYERS YIELD THEIR COUNTLESS AGE,
EYES CAN SEE BUT CANNOT GAUGE!
STAND AGAPE WITH AWE INSPIRED,
IMAGE READS OF LIFE TRANSPIRED.
CLIFFS REACH OUT TO TOUCH THE SKY,
PATHS LEAD DOWN WHERE RIVER LYE.
COLORS, SHAPES AND SHADOWS MELD,
HERE, A PLACE FOREVER HELD.
WALK AWAY YET NEVER PART,
BODY LEAVES BUT NOT THE HEART!”
- Anonymous
……………………………………………………………
ALL COPYRIGHTS WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY
OF NEW DELHI, E-MAIL: rajnandy21@yahoo.in
KINDLY READ PART ONE OF THIS STORY IF YOU HAD MISSED OUT!
THANKS, -Raj Nandy
Shofi Ahmed Apr 2017
One in the know drops a line,
there was no A B C to spell,
yet it keeps spreading.
An animated lingua
wraps round the eyeline.
All those that get wind of it
arise and keep counting.
Without a beginning or an end,
For it has no 1 or 9,
not a mark nor a sign.
Speechless, breathless me,
turn to mine, the one,
superior turned-on mind.
And it appeared true,
true to that credible nature
that identifies indeed
the 'name' of the composer!

Meanwhile, a bird of time.
A giant spell takes no time,
eases off in a blink of eye.
I start to breathe,
begin to revive, again in my
native countryside:  
some clay-bumps on the river.
I can cry, smile, now I
can shed tears.
Rhyme on the river.
What's in a river?
'Lores of time immemorial,
an open heart on the move!'

Is there anyone out there
'tapped into the running cycle of water,
following the rhyme on the river'?
One in the know drops a line,
there was no A B C to spell,
yet it keeps spreading.
An animated lingua
wraps round the eyeline.
All those that get wind of it
arise and keep counting.
Without a beginning or an end,
For it has no 1 or 9,
not a mark nor a sign.
Speechless, breathless me,
turn to mine, the one,
superior turned-on mind.
And it appeared true,
true to that credible nature
that identifies indeed
the 'name' of the composer!

Meanwhile, a bird of time.
A giant spell takes no time,
eases off in a blink of eye.
I start to breathe,
begin to revive, again in my
native countryside:  
some clay-bumps on the river.
I can cry, smile, now I
can shed tears.
Rhyme on the river.
What's in a river?
'Lores of time immemorial,
an open heart on the move!'

Is there anyone out there
'tapped into the running cycle of water,
following the rhyme on the river'?

One in the know drops a line,
there was no A B C to spell,
yet it keeps spreading.
An animated lingua
wraps round the eyeline.
All those that get wind of it
arise and keep counting.
Without a beginning or an end,
For it has no 1 or 9,
not a mark nor a sign.
Speechless, breathless me,
turn to mine, the one,
superior turned-on mind.
And it appeared true,
true to that credible nature
that identifies indeed
the 'name' of the composer!

Meanwhile, a bird of time.
A giant spell takes no time,
eases off in a blink of eye.
I start to breathe,
begin to revive, again in my
native countryside:  
some clay-bumps on the river.
I can cry, smile, now I
can shed tears.
Rhyme on the river.
What's in a river?
'Lores of time immemorial,
an open heart on the move!'

Is there anyone out there
'tapped into the running cycle of water,
following the rhyme on the river'?
David W Clare Nov 2014
The chao phraya river song
by: David Wayne Clare

Down by the River (echo-ee, a Capella) Down by the River (echo-ee, a Capella)

Down By the River, don't dive in, them sharks are real-****-mean but, that's where you'll find me... along with buzzards, ******* and kumoi dope fiends...

Chorus
we love that ***** water ... oh oh oh Bangkok, Thailand; you're my home !

now...
oriental Asian Ladies, Thailand's **** Siam queens
I dig them slant-eyed ******,
them sticky cat-faced chicks on Soi 13!

(Miami Hotel)

cause they love that ***** water ...
oh oh oh Bangkok, Thailand; you're my home !

(Harmonica Solo)

You'll find me trashed one morning (smashed!)
Iced-down in China Town; all crying alone...

One day I'll never leave here (Lord!) Unless an Esan Girl might claim me for her own...
'cause I love that ***** water ... oh oh oh Bangkok, Thailand; you're my home !

Refrain

Chao Phraya River, Chao Phraya River... Chao Phraya River, Chao Phraya River...
Buddha!
Chao Phraya River, Chao Phraya River... Chao Phraya River, Chao Phraya River...

Oh, Bangkok, Thailand... you're my home!

(Sharp jumps from river with snied smile... big splash sound...)

(c) in perpetuity, David John Clare Clairvoyant Music BMI

Thailand...
Written in Bangkok by...
YouTube demos
David John Clare
2010

by david john clare of The chao phraya river song 
by david john clare of bangkok Thailand...
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Ali's Song
by Michael R. Burch

for Muhammad Ali

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

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

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

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

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

The poem above has been set to music in a YouTube video by Lillian Y. Wong.

You are free to copy the poem for noncommercial use, such as a school project, essay or report, or just because you like it and want to share, but please credit Michael R. Burch as the author.

NOTES: (1) Muhammad Ali said that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after experiencing racism in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Confirming his account, the medal was recovered by Robert Bradbury and his wife Pattie in 2014 during the Annual Ohio River Sweep. The Ali family paid $200,000 to regain possession of the medal. Ali later made a joke about the incident that caused him to toss his medal into the river. He said that he took his medal into a white downtown restaurant and ordered a cheeseburger. The waitress told him, "We don't serve negroes." Ali replied, "I don't eat them either. Just bring me a cheeseburger!" (2) When drafted during the Vietnam War, Ali refused induction, reputedly saying: "I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong; no Vietnamese ever called me a ******." (3) The notice mentioned in my poem is Ali's draft notice, which metaphorically gets tossed into the river along with his slave name. (4) The poem was originally published by the literary journal Black Medina. It has since been published by Other Voices International, Thanal Online, Freshet, Poems About and Poem List.



For Ali, Fighting Time
by Michael R. Burch

So now your speech is not as clear . . .
time took its toll each telling year . . .
and O how tragic that your art,
so brutal, broke your savage heart.

But we who cheered each blow that fell
within that ring of torrent hell
never dreamed to see you maimed,
bowed and bloodied, listless, tamed.

For you were not as other men
as we cheered and cursed you then;
no, you commanded dreams and time—
blackgold Adonis, bold, sublime.

And once your glory leapt like fire—
pure and potent. No desire
ever burned as fierce or bright.
Oh Ali, Ali . . . win this fight!



Me?
Whee!
(I stole this poem
From Muhammad Ali.)
—Michael R. Burch

The poem above was written in response to the Quora question: “Can you write a poem titled “Me”?



In My House
by Michael R. Burch

I was once the only caucasian in the software company I founded and managed. I had two fine young black programmers working for me, and they both had keys to my house. This poem looks back to the dark days of slavery and the Civil War it produced.

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



Poet to poet
by Michael R. Burch

This poem imagines a discussion between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke so poetically about his dream of equality, and a poet who speaks in parentheses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



Less Heroic Couplets: Miss Bliss
by Michael R. Burch

Domestic “bliss”?
Best to swing and miss!



Less Heroic Couplets: Then and Now
by Michael R. Burch

BEFORE: Thanks to Brexit, our lives will be plush! ...
AFTER: Crap, we’re going broke! What the hell is the rush?



Less Heroic Couplets: Dear Pleader
by Michael R. Burch

Is our Dear Pleader, as he claims, heroic?
I prefer my presidents a bit more stoic.



Less Heroic Couplets: Less than Impressed
by Michael R. Burch

for T. M., regarding certain dispensers of lukewarm air

Their volume’s impressive, it’s true ...
but somehow it all seems “much ado.”



Less Heroic Couplets: Poetry I
by Michael R. Burch

Poetry is the heart’s caged rhythm,
the soul’s frantic tappings at the panes of mortality.



Less Heroic Couplets: Poetry II
by Michael R. Burch

Poetry is the trapped soul’s frantic tappings
at the panes of mortality.



Less Heroic Couplets: Seesaw
by Michael R. Burch

A poem is the mind teetering between fact and fiction,
momentarily elevated.



Less Heroic Couplets: Passions
by Michael R. Burch

Passions are the heart’s qualms,
the soul’s squalls, the brain’s storms.



Keywords/Tags: Muhammad Ali, boxing, violence, The Greatest, race, racism, racist, discrimination, black, slave name, Vietnam War, Olympics, gold medal, God, Muslim, Islam, Islamic, tribute, mrbali, mrbrace, mrbsport, mrbsports, mrbsong
lilah raethe Jun 2012
A lonesome girl,
She'd lost hope.
She'd lost sight of herself.

She was taking a year
Off college
For "re-evaluation".
Her parents weren't too happy,
And were often mean to her.
They thought of her only as a
Messy, undetermined child.

She was walking through the
Woods one day,
And came upon a river.
She'd never seen, or
Heard about this river,
But it was the most beautiful river she'd ever seen.

She returned here
Every day on her walks,
Trying to work out her life.
This river was her safe place.
Her place to come to think,
To discover, to
Learn about her own self.

The river calmed her.
It helped her get through to the
Next day, the next step.
The river soothed her,
With it's smooth currents and
Slow, rhythmic ripples.
The river helped to heal her.

On a particularly bad day,
She stormed out of her house,
Wanting never to return.
She felt as if the people there
Wouldn't miss her at all.

She angrily walked the path to the river,
Wanting nothing more
Than to feel better.

She sat on her
Familiar patch of grass,
And looked hard at the river.
On most days, that
Would be enough.

But on that day,
It wasn't.
She was still as mad as ever.
Slowly she stood up
And walked closer and closer
To the rivers edge.

Her feet inched in the surprisingly
Warm water,
But still, nothing was happening.
It wasn't enough to
Relieve her on this day.

So she stepped in further,
Fully clothed,
Into this river.

She dove in.
At once the water consumed her.
It warmed her from the
Outside in,
And cured her of her anger.

It calmed her like it'd never
Calmed her before.
She was in bliss.
She never wanted to
Leave the water.

This girl, in this river,
Felt warm like never before.
She felt peaceful,
And hopeful. Things she
Hadn't felt
In a long time.

As she silently wished she'd
Never have to part the river,
She looked down at her body.
She gave out a small gasp;
Her fingertips, as if
Dissolving, were falling off
In little sparkling droplets of water.

As the drips
That were her fingers
Met the body
That was the river,
She felt love in her heart.
She felt as if there was
No where else she was supposed to be.
She felt safe.

She was home.

She slowly watched the
Rest of her fall into the river,
Until she became a part of it
Herself.
She was fully one with the river.

Now she flows with the currents,
And makes the ripples,
That once did so much for her.
What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
From the deep cool bed of the river:
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
Ere he brought it out of the river.

High on the shore sat the great god Pan,
While turbidly flowed the river;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
To prove it fresh from the river.

He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
(How tall it stood in the river!)
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing
In holes, as he sat by the river.

“This is the way,” laughed the great god Pan,
(Laughed while he sat by the river)
“The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed.”
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain—
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river.
Michael Allen Apr 2013
the old river
paint
timeless wrinkles on mothers face

muddy river
meet
the clear flow of your young brother

fresh river water
cleanse
the ***** innocence in a clean bacterial mouth

river of innocence
tell
an old story to clean sheets yellowed

river of youth
run
bubbling eyes afraid of the cold bed
run
mother waits with her own river tale dry
run

the buddhist river
exist
dharma is the great nonexistent universe

brooklyn ferry
hold
a river of souls above rough water

river of one thought
be
ancestral water bathing all without time

oh river water
roll
where no soul can feel your roll
roll
eyes of your grandchildren are dreaming
roll
beautiful nothing is the flux of life
roll

the old river tells the youngest stories
the river babe of snow tells the oldest
of mountains unable to stop growing with arthritic slopes
the stories are the same
   old
   young
   flux
the story goes like this:
Michael R Burch May 2020
Epigrams by Michael R. Burch



Conformists of a feather
flock together.
—Michael R. Burch

(Winner of the National Poetry Month Couplet Competition)



My objective is not to side with the majority, but to avoid the ranks of the insane.—Marcus Aurelius, translation by Michael R. Burch



Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Published by Romantics Quarterly, Poetry Super Highway, Poets for Humanity, Daily Kos, Katutura English, Genocide Awareness, Darfur Awareness Shabbat, Viewing Genocide in Sudan, Better Than Starbucks, Art Villa, Setu, Angle, AZquotes, QuoteMaster; also translated into Czech, Indonesian, Romanian and Turkish)



Childless
by Michael R. Burch

How can she bear her grief?
Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight
of one fallen star.



Stormfront
by Michael R. Burch

Our distance is frightening:
a distance like the abyss between heaven and earth
interrupted by bizarre and terrible lightning.



Laughter's Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.

(Originally published by Angelwing)



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea, this poem has been translated into Russian, Macedonian, Turkish and Romanian)



Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea, this poem has been translated into Russian, Arabic, Turkish and Macedonian)



*** Hex
by Michael R. Burch

Love's full of cute paradoxes
(and highly acute poxes) .

(Published by ***** of Parnassus and Lighten Up)



Styx
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Published by The Raintown Review and Blue Unicorn; also translated into Romanian and published by Petru Dimofte. This is one of my early poems, written as a teenager. I believe it was my first epigram.)



Fahr an' Ice
by Michael R. Burch

(apologies to Robert Frost and Ogden Nash)

From what I know of death, I'll side with those
who'd like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker) ,
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!
Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



Multiplication, Tabled
or Procreation Inflation
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

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



The Whole of Wit
by Michael R. Burch

If brevity is the soul of wit
then brevity and levity
are the whole of it.

(Published by Shot Glass Journal)



Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses'
recesses
are not for excesses!

(Published by Brief Poems)



Saving Graces, for the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Published by Shot Glass Journal and Poem Today)



Skalded
by Michael R. Burch

Fierce ancient skalds summoned verse from their guts;
today's genteel poets prefer modern ruts.



Not Elves, Exactly
by Michael R. Burch

Something there is that likes a wall,
that likes it spiked and likes it tall,
that likes its pikes' sharp rows of teeth
and doesn't mind its victims' grief
(wherever they come from, far or wide)
as long as they fall on the other side.



Self-ish
by Michael R. Burch

Let's not pretend we "understand" other elves
as long as we remain mysteries to ourselves.



Piecemeal
by Michael R. Burch

And so it begins—the ending.
The narrowing veins, the soft tissues rending.
Your final solution is pending.
(A pale Piggy-Wiggy
will discount your demise as no biggie.)



Liquid Assets
by Michael R. Burch

And so I have loved you, and so I have lost,
accrued disappointment, ledgered its cost,
debited wisdom, credited pain...
My assets remaining are liquid again.



**** Brevis, Emendacio Longa
by Michael R. Burch

The Donald may tweet from sun to sun,
but his spellchecker’s work is never done.



Brief Fling
by Michael R. Burch

Epigram
means cram,
then scram!



To write an epigram, cram.
If you lack wit, scram!
—Michael R. Burch



Fleet Tweet: Apologies to Shakespeare
by Michael R. Burch

A tweet
by any other name
would be as fleet.

@mikerburch (Michael R. Burch)



Fleet Tweet II: Further Apologies to Shakespeare
by Michael R. Burch

Remember, doggonit,
heroic verse crowns the Shakespearean sonnet!
So if you intend to write a couplet,
please do it on the doublet!

@mikerburch (Michael R. Burch)



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



Civility
is the ability
to disagree
agreeably.
—Michael R. Burch



****** Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch

“****** most foul!”
cried the mouse to the owl.

“Friend, I’m no sinner;
you’re merely my dinner!”
the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.

(Published by Lighten Up Online and Potcake Chapbooks)



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

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

(Originally published by Grand Little Things)



Midnight Stairclimber
by Michael R. Burch

Procreation
is at first great sweaty recreation,
then—long, long after the *** dies—
the source of endless exercise.

(Published by Angelwing and Brief Poems)



Love has the value
of gold, if it's true;
if not, of rue.
—Michael R. Burch



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



Nonsense Verse for a Nonsensical White House Resident
by Michael R. Burch

Roses are red,
Daffodils are yellow,
But not half as daffy
As that taffy-colored fellow!



There's no need to rant about Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The cruelty of "civilization" suffices:
our ordinary vices.
—Michael R. Burch



Sumer is icumen in
a modern English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

(this update of an ancient classic is dedicated to everyone who suffers with hay fever and other allergies)

Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing achu!
Groweth sed
And bloweth hed
And buyeth med?
Cuccu!

Originally published by Lighten Up Online (as Kim Cherub)

NOTE: I kept the medieval spellings of “sumer” (summer), “lhude” (loud), “sed” (seed) and “hed” (head). I then slipped in the modern slang term “med” for medication. The first line means something like “Summer’s a-comin’ in!” In the original poem the cuckoo bird was considered to be a harbinger of spring, but here “cuccu” simply means “crazy!”



Redefinitions

Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.—Michael R. Burch

Religion: the ties that blind.—Michael R. Burch

Baseball: lots of spittin' mixed with some hittin'.—Michael R. Burch

Love: a temporary insanity curable by marriage.—Michael R. Burch

Insuresurrection: The dead are always with us, and yet they are naught! —Michael R. Burch

Trickle down economics: an especially pungent *******.—Michael R. Burch



Translations

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!

Raise your words, not their volume.
Rain grows flowers, not thunder.
—Rumi, translation 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.
—Hafiz loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An unbending tree
breaks easily.
—Lao Tzu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Little sparks ignite great Infernos.—Dante, translation by Michael R. Burch

Love distills the eyes’ desires, love bewitches the heart with its grace.―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

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

Booksellers laud authors for novel editions
as pimps praise their ****** for exotic positions.
—Thomas Campion, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No wind is favorable to the man who lacks direction.
—Seneca the Younger, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hypocrisy may deceive the most perceptive adult, but the dullest child recognizes and is revolted by it, however ingeniously disguised.
—Leo Tolstoy translation by Michael R. Burch

Just as I select a ship when it's time to travel,
or a house when it's time to change residences,
even so I will choose when it's time to depart from life.
—Seneca, speaking about the right to euthanasia in the first century AD, translation by Michael R. Burch

Improve yourself through others' writings, thus attaining more easily what they acquired through great difficulty.
—Socrates, translation by Michael R. Burch

Fools call wisdom foolishness.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

One true friend is worth ten thousand kin.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

Not to speak one’s mind is slavery.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

I would rather die standing than kneel, a slave.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

Fresh tears are wasted on old griefs.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch



Native American Proverb
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Before you judge
a man for his sins
be sure to trudge
many moons in his moccasins.



Native American Proverb
by Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues.



Native American Proverb
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us walk respectfully here
among earth's creatures, great and small,
remembering, our footsteps light,
that one wise God created all.



The Least of These...

What you
do
to
the refugee
you
do
unto
Me!
—Jesus Christ, translation/paraphrase by Michael R. Burch



The Church Gets the Burch Rod

How can the Bible be "infallible" when from Genesis to Revelation slavery is commanded and condoned, but never condemned? —Michael R. Burch

If God
is good
half the Bible
is libel.
—Michael R. Burch

I have my doubts about your God and his "love":
If one screams below, what the hell is "Above"?
—Michael R. Burch

If God has the cattle on a thousand hills,
why does he need my tithes to pay his bills?
—Michael R. Burch

The best tonic for other people's bad ideas is to think for oneself.—Michael R. Burch

Hell hath no fury like a fundamentalist whose God condemned him for having "impure thoughts."—Michael R. Burch

Religion is the difficult process of choosing the least malevolent invisible friends.—Michael R. Burch

Religion is the ****** of the people.—Karl Marx
Religion is the dopiate of the sheeple.—Michael R. Burch

An ideal that cannot be realized is, in the end, just wishful thinking.—Michael R. Burch

God and his "profits" could never agree
on any gospel acceptable to an intelligent flea.
—Michael R. Burch

To fall an inch short of infinity is to fall infinitely short.—Michael R. Burch

Most Christians make God seem like the Devil. Atheists and agnostics at least give him the "benefit of the doubt."—Michael R. Burch

Hell has been hellishly overdone.
Why blame such horrors on God's only Son
when Jehovah and his prophets never mentioned it once?
—Michael R. Burch

(Bible scholars agree: the word "hell" has been removed from the Old Testaments of the more accurate modern Bible translations. And the few New Testament verses that mention "hell" are obvious mistranslations.)



Clodhoppers
by Michael R. Burch

If you trust the Christian "god"
you're—like Adumb—a clod.




If every witty thing that's said were true,
Oscar Wilde, the world would worship You!
—Michael R. Burch



Questionable Credentials
by Michael R. Burch

Poet? Critic? Dilettante?
Do you know what's good, or do you merely flaunt?

(Published by ***** of Parnassus, the first poem in the April 2017 issue)



*******
by Michael R. Burch

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



Lines in Favor of Female Muses
by Michael R. Burch

I guess ***** of Parnassus are okay...
But those Lasses of Parnassus? My! Olé!

(Published by ***** of Parnassus)



Meal Deal
by Michael R. Burch

Love is a splendid ideal
(at least till it costs us a meal) .



Long Division
by Michael R. Burch as Kim Cherub

All things become one
Through death's long division
And perfect precision.



i o u
by mrb

i might have said it
but i didn't

u might have noticed
but u wouldn't

we might have been us
but we couldn't

u might respond
but probably shouldn't




Mate Check
by Michael R. Burch

Love is an ache hearts willingly secure
then break the bank to cure.



Incompatibles
by Michael R. Burch

Reason's treason!
cries the Heart.

Love's insane,
replies the Brain.

(Originally published by Light)



Death is the ultimate finality
of reality.
—Michael R. Burch



Stage Fright
by Michael R. Burch

To be or not to be?
In the end Hamlet
opted for naught.



Grave Oversight
by Michael R. Burch

The dead are always with us,
and yet they are naught!



Feathered Fiends
by Michael R. Burch

Fascists of a feather
flock together.



Why the Kid Gloves Came Off
by Michael R. Burch

for Lemuel Ibbotson

It's hard to be a man of taste
in such a waste:
hence the lambaste.



Housman was right...
by Michael R. Burch

It's true that life's not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It's just the bon voyage is hard
and the objections loud.



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

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



Descent
by Michael R. Burch

I have listened to the rain all this morning
and it has a certain gravity,
as if it knows its destination,
perhaps even its particular destiny.
I do not believe mine is to be uplifted,
although I, too, may be flung precipitously
and from a great height.



Reading between the lines
by Michael R. Burch

Who could have read so much, as we?
Having the time, but not the inclination,
TV has become our philosophy,
sheer boredom, our recreation.



Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

Salzburg.
Seeing Mozart's baby grand piano.
Standing in the presence of sheer incalculable genius.
Grabbing my childish pen to write a poem & challenge the Immortals.
Next stop, the catacombs!



Imperfect Perfection
by Michael R. Burch

You're too perfect for words—
a problem for a poet.



Expert Advice
by Michael R. Burch

Your ******* are perfect for your lithe, slender body.
Please stop making false comparisons your hobby!



Thirty
by Michael R. Burch

Thirty crept upon me slowly
with feline caution and a slowly-twitching tail;
patiently she waited for the winds to shift;
now, claws unsheathed, she lies seething to assail
her helpless prey.



Biblical Knowledge or "Knowing Coming and Going"
by Michael R. Burch

The wisest man the world has ever seen
had fourscore concubines and threescore queens?
This gives us pause, and so we venture hence—
he "knew" them, wisely, in the wider sense.



Snap Shots
by Michael R. Burch

Our daughters must be celibate,
die virgins. We triangulate
their early paths to heaven (for
the martyrs they'll soon conjugate) .

We like to hook a little tail.
We hope there's decent *** in jail.
Don't fool with us; our bombs are smart!
(We'll send the plans, ASAP, e-mail.)

The soul is all that matters; why
hoard gold if it offends the eye?
A pension plan? Don't make us laugh!
We have your plan for sainthood. (Die.)



I sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle.
—Michael R. Burch



The Editor

A poet may work from sun to sun,
but his editor's work is never done.

The Critic

The editor's work is never done.
The critic adjusts his cummerbund.

The Audience

While the critic adjusts his cummerbund,
the audience exits to mingle and slum.

The Anthologist

As the audience exits to mingle and slum,
the anthologist rules, a pale jury of one.



Athenian Epitaphs

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

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

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

We who left behind the Aegean’s bellowings
Now sleep peacefully here on the mid-plains of Ecbatan:
Farewell, dear Athens, nigh to Euboea,
Farewell, dear sea!
Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Passerby,
Tell the Spartans we lie
Lifeless at Thermopylae:
Dead at their word,
Obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

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

They observed our fearful fetters, braved the overwhelming darkness.

Now we extol their excellence: bravely, they died for us.
Michael R. Burch, after Mnasalcas

Blame not the gale, nor the inhospitable sea-gulf, nor friends’ tardiness,
Mariner! Just man’s foolhardiness.
Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

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

These men earned a crown of imperishable glory,
Nor did the maelstrom of death obscure their story.
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Stranger, flee!
But may Fortune grant you all the prosperity
she denied me.
Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

Now that I am dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones.
Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that nurtured me, that held me;
I take rest at your breast.
Michael R. Burch, after Erycius

I am loyal to you master, even in the grave:
Just as you now are death’s slave.
Michael R. Burch, after Dioscorides

Stripped of her stripling, if asked, she’d confess:
“I am now less than nothingness.”
Michael R. Burch, after Diotimus

Dead as you are, though you lie still as stone,
huntress Lycas, my great Thessalonian hound,
the wild beasts still fear your white bones;
craggy Pelion remembers your valor,
splendid Ossa, the way you would bound
and bay at the moon for its whiteness,
bellowing as below we heard valleys resound.
And how brightly with joy you would canter and run
the strange lonely peaks of high Cithaeron!
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Having never earned a penny,
nor seen a bridal gown slip to the floor,
still I lie here with the love of many,
to be the love of yet one more.
Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

I lie by stark Icarian rocks
and only speak when the sea talks.
Please tell my dear father that I gave up the ghost
on the Aegean coast.
Michael R. Burch, after Theatetus

Everywhere the sea is the sea, the dead are the dead.
What difference to me—where I rest my head?
The sea knows I’m buried.
Michael R. Burch, after Antipater of Sidon

Constantina, inconstant one!
Once I thought your name beautiful
but I was a fool
and now you are more bitter to me than death!
You flee someone who loves you
with baited breath
to pursue someone who’s untrue.
But if you manage to make him love you,
tomorrow you'll flee him too!
Michael R. Burch, after Macedonius



Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

This poem is dedicated to my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt

Between the prophesies of morning
and twilight’s revelations of wonder,
the sky is ripped asunder.

The moon lurks in the clouds,
waiting, as if to plunder
the dusk of its lilac iridescence,

and in the bright-tentacled sunset
we imagine a presence
full of the fury of lost innocence.

What we find within strange whorls of drifting flame,
brief patterns mauling winds deform and maim,
we recognize at once, but cannot name.



The Greatest of These ...
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

The hands that held me tremble.
The arms that lifted
  fall.

Angelic flesh, now parchment,
is held together with gauze.

But her undimmed eyes still embrace me;
there infinity can be found.

I can almost believe such love
will reach me, underground.



Love Is Not Love
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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

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

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

all that it knows
is: O, because!



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



Ali’s Song
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Black Medina

Note: Cassius Clay, who converted to Islam and changed his “slave name” to Muhammad Ali, said that he threw his Olympic boxing gold medal into the Ohio River. Confirming his account, the medal was recovered by Robert Bradbury and his wife Pattie in 2014 during the Annual Ohio River Sweep, and the Ali family paid them $200,000 to regain possession of the medal. When drafted during the Vietnamese War, Ali refused to serve, reputedly saying: “I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong; no Vietnamese ever called me a ******.” The notice mentioned in my poem is Ali's draft notice, which metaphorically gets tossed into the river along with his slave name. I was told through the grapevine that this poem appeared in Farsi in an Iranian publication called Bashgah. ―Michael R. Burch



The Folly of Wisdom
by Michael R. Burch

She is wise in the way that children are wise,
looking at me with such knowing, grave eyes
I must bend down to her to understand.
But she only smiles, and takes my hand.

We are walking somewhere that her feet know to go,
so I smile, and I follow ...

And the years are dark creatures concealed in bright leaves
that flutter above us, and what she believes―
I can almost remember―goes something like this:
the prince is a horned toad, awaiting her kiss.

She wiggles and giggles, and all will be well
if only we find him! The woodpecker’s knell
as he hammers the coffin of some dying tree
that once was a fortress to someone like me

rings wildly above us. Some things that we know
we are meant to forget. Life is a bloodletting, maple-syrup-slow.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



Departed
by Michael R. Burch

Already, I miss you,
though your parting kiss is still warm on my lips.

Now the floor is not strewn with your stockings and slips
and the dishes are all stacked away.

You left me today ...
and each word left unspoken now whispers regrets.



Roses for a Lover, Idealized
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Ibykos Fragment 286, Circa 564 B.C.
loose translation/interpretation 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.



Deor's Lament (circa the 10th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Weland endured the agony of exile:
an indomitable smith wracked by grief.
He suffered countless sorrows;
indeed, such sorrows were his ***** companions
in that frozen island dungeon
where Nithad fettered him:
so many strong-but-supple sinew-bands
binding the better man.
That passed away; this also may.

Beadohild mourned her brothers' deaths,
bemoaning also her own sad state
once she discovered herself with child.
She knew nothing good could ever come of it.
That passed away; this also may.

We have heard the Geat's moans for Matilda,
his lovely lady, waxed limitless,
that his sorrowful love for her
robbed him of regretless sleep.
That passed away; this also may.

For thirty winters Theodric ruled
the Mæring stronghold with an iron hand;
many acknowledged his mastery and moaned.
That passed away; this also may.

We have heard too of Ermanaric's wolfish ways,
of how he cruelly ruled the Goths' realms.
That was a grim king! Many a warrior sat,
full of cares and maladies of the mind,
wishing constantly that his crown might be overthrown.
That passed away; this also may.

If a man sits long enough, sorrowful and anxious,
bereft of joy, his mind constantly darkening,
soon it seems to him that his troubles are limitless.
Then he must consider that the wise Lord
often moves through the earth
granting some men honor, glory and fame,
but others only shame and hardship.
This I can say for myself:
that for awhile I was the Heodeninga's scop,
dear to my lord. My name was Deor.
For many winters I held a fine office,
faithfully serving a just king. But now Heorrenda
a man skilful in songs, has received the estate
the protector of warriors had promised me.
That passed away; this also may.



Infatuate, or Sweet Centerless Sixteen
by Michael R. Burch

Inconsolable as “love” had left your heart,
you woke this morning eager to pursue
warm lips again, or something “really cool”
on which to press your lips and leave their mark.

As breath upon a windowpane at dawn
soon glows, a spreading halo full of sun,
your thought of love blinks wildly ... on and on ...
then fizzles at the center, and is gone.



The Toast
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by Contemporary Rhyme



Veiled
by Michael R. Burch

She has belief
without comprehension
and in her crutchwork shack
she is
much like us . . .

tamping the bread
into edible forms,
regarding her children
at play
with something akin to relief . . .

ignoring the towers ablaze
in the distance
because they are not revelations
but things of glass,
easily shattered . . .

and if you were to ask her,
she might say:
sometimes God visits his wrath
upon an impious nation
for its leaders’ sins,

and we might agree:
seeing her mutilations.

Published by Poetry Super Highway and Modern War Poems.



Twice
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Originally published by The Lyric



Prose Epigrams

We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it.—Michael R. Burch

When I was being bullied, I had to learn not to judge myself by the opinions of intolerant morons. Then I felt much better.—Michael R. Burch

How can we predict the future, when tomorrow is as uncertain as Trump's next tweet? —Michael R. Burch

Poetry moves the heart as well as the reason.—Michael R. Burch

Poetry is the art of finding the right word at the right time.—Michael R. Burch



The State of the Art (?)
by Michael R. Burch

Has rhyme lost all its reason
and rhythm, renascence?
Are sonnets out of season
and poems but poor pretense?

Are poets lacking fire,
their words too trite and forced?
What happened to desire?
Has passion been coerced?

Shall poetry fade slowly,
like Latin, to past tense?
Are the bards too high and holy,
or their readers merely dense?



Your e-Verse
by Michael R. Burch

—for the posters and posers on www.fillintheblank.com

I cannot understand a word you’ve said
(and this despite an adequate I.Q.);
it must be some exotic new haiku
combined with Latin suddenly undead.

It must be hieroglyphics mixed with Greek.
Have Pound and T. S. Eliot been cloned?
Perhaps you wrote it on the ***, so ******
you spelled it backwards, just to be oblique.

I think you’re very funny—so, “Yuk! Yuk!”
I know you must be kidding; didn’t we
write crap like this and call it “poetry,”
a form of verbal exercise, P.E.,
in kindergarten, when we ran “amuck?”

Oh, sorry, I forgot to “make it new.”
Perhaps I still can learn a thing or two
from someone tres original, like you.



Haiku Translations of the Oriental Masters

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

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

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

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

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

One apple, alone
in the abandoned orchard
reddens for winter
― Patrick Blanche, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The poem above is by a French poet; it illustrates how the poetry of Oriental masters like Basho has influenced poets around the world.

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

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

I remove my beautiful kimono:
its varied braids
surround and entwine my body
― Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This day of chrysanthemums
I shake and comb my wet hair,
as their petals shed rain
― Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This darkening autumn:
my neighbor,
how does he continue?
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like a heavy fragrance
snow-flakes settle:
lilies on the rocks
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

Will we meet again?
Here at your flowering grave:
two white butterflies
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

Too ill to travel,
now only my autumn dreams
survey these withering fields
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch; this has been called Basho's death poem

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

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

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

The Oldest Haiku

These are my translations of some of the oldest Japanese waka, which evolved into poetic forms such as tanka, renga and haiku over time. My translations are excerpts from the Kojiki (the "Record of Ancient Matters"), a book composed around 711-712 A.D. by the historian and poet Ō no Yasumaro. The Kojiki relates Japan’s mythological beginnings and the history of its imperial line. Like Virgil's Aeneid, the Kojiki seeks to legitimize rulers by recounting their roots. These are lines from one of the oldest Japanese poems, found in the oldest Japanese book:

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

Here's another excerpt, with a humorous twist, from the Kojiki:

Hush, cawing crows; what rackets you make!
Heaven's indignant messengers,
you remind me of wordsmiths!
― Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Here's another, this one a poem of love and longing:

Onyx, this gem-black night.
Downcast, I await your return
like the rising sun, unrivaled in splendor.
― Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

More Haiku by Various Poets

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

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

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

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

The pigeon's behavior
is beyond reproach,
but the mountain cuckoo's?
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

White plum blossoms―
though the hour grows late,
a glimpse of dawn
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch; this is believed to be Buson's death poem and he is said to have died before dawn

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

We cannot see the moon
and yet the waves still rise
― Shiki Masaoka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The first morning of autumn:
the mirror I investigate
reflects my father’s face
― Shiki Masaoka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Wild geese pass
leaving the emptiness of heaven
revealed
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Silently observing
the bottomless mountain lake:
water lilies
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Cranes
flapping ceaselessly
test the sky's upper limits
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Falling snowflakes'
glitter
tinsels the sea
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Blizzards here on earth,
blizzards of stars
in the sky
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Completely encircled
in emerald:
the glittering swamp!
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The new calendar!:
as if tomorrow
is assured...
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

Because morning glories
hold my well-bucket hostage
I go begging for water
― Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring
stirs the clouds
in the sky's teabowl
― Kikusha-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I saw
how the peony crumples
in the fire's embers
― Katoh Shuhson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It fills me with anger,
this moon; it fills me
and makes me whole
― Takeshita Shizunojo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

War
stood at the end of the hall
in the long shadows
― Watanabe Hakusen, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Because he is slow to wrath,
I tackle him, then wring his neck
in the long grass
― Shimazu Ryoh, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Pale mountain sky:
cherry petals play
as they tumble earthward
― Kusama Tokihiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The frozen moon,
the frozen lake:
two oval mirrors reflecting each other.
― Hashimoto Takako, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The bitter winter wind
ends here
with the frozen sea
― Ikenishi Gonsui, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, bitter winter wind,
why bellow so
when there's no leaves to fell?
― Natsume Sôseki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter waves
roil
their own shadows
― Tominaga Fûsei, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

No sky,
no land:
just snow eternally falling...
― Kajiwara Hashin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Along with spring leaves
my child's teeth
take root, blossom
― Nakamura Kusatao, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
a single chestnut leaf glides
on brilliant water
― Ryuin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

The snake slipped away
but his eyes, having held mine,
still stare in the grass
― Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Girls gather sprouts of rice:
reflections of the water flicker
on the backs of their hats
― Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Murmurs follow the hay cart
this blossoming summer day
― Ippekiro Nakatsuka (1887-1946), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The wet nurse
paused to consider a bucket of sea urchins
then walked away
― Ippekiro Nakatsuka (1887-1946), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May I be with my mother
wearing her summer kimono
by the morning window
― Ippekiro Nakatsuka (1887-1946), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The hands of a woman exist
to remove the insides of the spring cuttlefish
― Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon
hovering above the snow-capped mountains
rained down hailstones
― Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, dreamlike winter butterfly:
a puff of white snow
cresting mountains
― Kakio Tomizawa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring snow
cascades over fences
in white waves
― Suju Takano, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tanka and Waka translations:

If fields of autumn flowers
can shed their blossoms, shameless,
why can’t I also frolic here —
as fearless, and as blameless?
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Submit to you —
is that what you advise?
The way the ripples do
whenever ill winds arise?
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Watching wan moonlight
illuminate trees,
my heart also brims,
overflowing with autumn.
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I had thought to pluck
the flower of forgetfulness
only to find it
already blossoming in his heart.
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

That which men call "love" —
is it not merely the chain
preventing our escape
from this world of pain?
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Once-colorful flowers faded,
while in my drab cell
life’s impulse also abated
as the long rains fell.
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I set off at the shore
of the seaside of Tago,
where I saw the high, illuminated peak
of Fuji―white, aglow―
through flakes of drifting downy snow.
― Akahito Yamabe, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



ON LOOKING AT SCHILLER’S SKULL
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Here in this charnel-house full of bleaching bones,
like yesteryear’s
fading souvenirs,
I see the skulls arranged in strange ordered rows.

Who knows whose owners might have beheaded peers,
packed tightly here
despite once repellent hate?
Here weaponless, they stand, in this gentled state.

These arms and hands, they once were so delicate!
How articulately
they moved! Ah me!
What athletes once paced about on these padded feet?

Still there’s no hope of rest for you, lost souls!
Deprived of graves,
forced here like slaves
to occupy this overworld, unlamented ghouls!

Now who’s to know who loved one orb here detained?
Except for me;
reader, hear my plea:
I know the grandeur of the mind it contained!

Yes, and I know the impulse true love would stir
here, where I stand
in this alien land
surrounded by these husks, like a treasurer!

Even in this cold,
in this dust and mould
I am startled by an a strange, ancient reverie, …
as if this shrine to death could quicken me!

One shape out of the past keeps calling me
with its mystery!
Still retaining its former angelic grace!
And at that ecstatic sight, I am back at sea ...

Swept by that current to where immortals race.
O secret vessel, you
gave Life its truth.
It falls on me now to recall your expressive face.

I turn away, abashed here by what I see:
this mould was worth
more than all the earth.
Let me breathe fresh air and let my wild thoughts run free!

What is there better in this dark Life than he
who gives us a sense of man’s divinity,
of his place in the universe?
A man who’s both flesh and spirit—living verse!



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.



Farewell to Faith I
by Michael R. Burch

What we want is relief
from life’s grief and despair:
what we want’s not “belief”
but just not to be there.



Farewell to Faith II
by Michael R. Burch

Confronted by the awesome thought of death,
to never suffer, and be free of grief,
we wonder: "What’s the use of drawing breath?
Why seek relief
from the bible’s Thief,
who ripped off Eve then offered her a leaf?"



Anyte Epigrams

Stranger, rest your weary legs beneath the elms;
hear how coolly the breeze murmurs through their branches;
then take a bracing draught from the mountain-fed fountain;
for this is welcome shade from the burning sun.
—Anyte, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Here I stand, Hermes, in the crossroads
by the windswept elms near the breezy beach,
providing rest to sunburned travelers,
and cold and brisk is my fountain’s abundance.
—Anyte, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sit here, quietly shaded by the luxuriant foliage,
and drink cool water from the sprightly spring,
so that your weary breast, panting with summer’s labors,
may take rest from the blazing sun.
—Anyte, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is the grove of Cypris,
for it is fair for her to look out over the land to the bright deep,
that she may make the sailors’ voyages happy,
as the sea trembles, observing her brilliant image.
—Anyte, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Nossis Epigrams

There is nothing sweeter than love.
All other delights are secondary.
Thus, I spit out even honey.
This is what Gnossis says:
Whom Aphrodite does not love,
Is bereft of her roses.
—Nossis, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Most revered Hera, the oft-descending from heaven,
behold your Lacinian shrine fragrant with incense
and receive the linen robe your noble child Nossis,
daughter of Theophilis and Cleocha, has woven for you.
—Nossis, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stranger, if you sail to Mitylene, my homeland of beautiful dances,
to indulge in the most exquisite graces of Sappho,
remember I also was loved by the Muses, who bore me and reared me there.
My name, never forget it!, is Nossis. Now go!
—Nossis, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pass me with ringing laughter, then award me
a friendly word: I am Rinthon, scion of Syracuse,
a small nightingale of the Muses; from their tragedies
I was able to pluck an ivy, unique, for my own use.
—Nossis, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Excerpts from “Distaff”
by Erinna
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

… the moon rising …
      … leaves falling …
           … waves lapping a windswept shore …

… and our childish games, Baucis, do you remember? ...

... Leaping from white horses,
running on reckless feet through the great courtyard.  
“You’re it!’ I cried, ‘You’re the Tortoise now!”
But when your turn came to pursue your pursuers,
you darted beyond the courtyard,
dashed out deep into the waves,
splashing far beyond us …

… My poor Baucis, these tears I now weep are your warm memorial,
these traces of embers still smoldering in my heart
for our silly amusements, now that you lie ash …

… Do you remember how, as girls,
we played at weddings with our dolls,
pretending to be brides in our innocent beds? ...

... How sometimes I was your mother,
allotting wool to the weaver-women,
calling for you to unreel the thread? ...

… Do you remember our terror of the monster Mormo
with her huge ears, her forever-flapping tongue,
her four slithering feet, her shape-shifting face? ...

... Until you mother called for us to help with the salted meat ...

... But when you mounted your husband’s bed,
dearest Baucis, you forgot your mothers’ warnings!
Aphrodite made your heart forgetful ...

... Desire becomes oblivion ...

... Now I lament your loss, my dearest friend.
I can’t bear to think of that dark crypt.
I can’t bring myself to leave the house.
I refuse to profane your corpse with my tearless eyes.
I refuse to cut my hair, but how can I mourn with my hair unbound?
I blush with shame at the thought of you! …

... But in this dark house, O my dearest Baucis,
My deep grief is ripping me apart.
Wretched Erinna! Only nineteen,
I moan like an ancient crone, eying this strange distaff ...

O *****! . . . O Hymenaeus! . . .
Alas, my poor Baucis!



On a Betrothed Girl
by Erinna
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I sing of Baucis the bride.
Observing her tear-stained crypt
say this to Death who dwells underground:
"Thou art envious, O Death!"

Her vivid monument tells passers-by
of the bitter misfortune of Baucis —
how her father-in-law burned the poor ******* a pyre
lit by bright torches meant to light her marriage train home.
While thou, O Hymenaeus, transformed her harmonious bridal song into a chorus of wailing dirges.

*****! O Hymenaeus!



Sophocles Epigrams

Not to have been born is best,
and blessed
beyond the ability of words to express.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It’s a hundred times better not be born;
but if we cannot avoid the light,
the path of least harm is swiftly to return
to death’s eternal night!
—Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Never to be born may be the biggest boon of all.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oblivion: What a blessing, to lie untouched by pain!
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The happiest life is one empty of thought.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Consider no man happy till he lies dead, free of pain at last.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What is worse than death? When death is desired but denied.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When a man endures nothing but endless miseries, what is the use of hanging on day after day,
edging closer and closer toward death? Anyone who warms his heart with the false glow of flickering hope is a wretch! The noble man should live with honor and die with honor. That's all that can be said.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Children anchor their mothers to life.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How terrible, to see the truth when the truth brings only pain to the seer!
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wisdom outweighs all the world's wealth.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fortune never favors the faint-hearted.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wait for evening to appreciate the day's splendor.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Homer Epigrams

For the gods have decreed that unfortunate mortals must suffer, while they themselves are sorrowless.
—Homer, Iliad 24.525-526, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

“It is best not to be born or, having been born, to pass on as swiftly as possible.”
—attributed to Homer (circa 800 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Ancient Roman Epigrams

Wall, I'm astonished that you haven't collapsed,
since you're holding up verses so prolapsed!
—Ancient Roman graffiti, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R Burch

There is nothing so pointless, so perfidious as human life! ... The ultimate bliss is not to be born; otherwise we should speedily slip back into the original Nothingness.
—Seneca, On Consolation to Marcia, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: elegy, eulogy, child, childhood, death, death of a friend, lament, lamentation, epitaph, grave, funeral, epigram, epigrams, short, brief, concise, aphorism, adage, proverb, quote, mrbepi, mrbepig, mrbepigram, mrbhaiku

Published as the collection "Epigrams"
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
When Pigs Fly
by Michael R. Burch

On the Trail of Tears,
my Cherokee brothers,
why hang your heads?
Why shame your mothers?
Laugh wildly instead!
We will soon be dead.

When we lie in our graves,
let the white-eyes take
the woodlands we loved
for the *** and the rake.
It is better to die
than to live out a lie
in so narrow a sty.

In October 1838 the Cherokees began to walk the "Trail of Tears." Most of them made the thousand mile journey west to Oklahoma on foot. An estimated 4,000 people, or a quarter of the tribe, died en route. The soldiers "escorting" the Cherokees at bayonet point refused permission for the dead to be buried, threatening to shoot anyone who disobeyed. So the living were forced to carry the corpses of the dead until camp was made for the night. Years after the Cherokees had been rounded up and driven down the Trail of Tears, John G. Burnett reflected on what he and his fellow soldiers had done, saying, "Schoolchildren of today do not know that we are living on lands that were taken from a helpless race at the bayonet point, to satisfy the white man's greed... ****** is ****** and somebody must answer, somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country... Somebody must explain the four thousand silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile." Keywords/Tags: Cherokee, Native American, Trail of Tears, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, ******, Evil, Death, March, Death March, Infanticide, Matricide, Racism, Racist, Discrimination, Violence, Fascism, White Supremacists, Horror, Terror, Terrorism, Greed, Gluttony, Avarice, Lust, ****, mrbpig, mrbpigs



Cherokee Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I walk life's trails
imperiled by the raging wind and rain,
grant, O Great Spirit,
that yet I may always
walk like a man.

This prayer makes me think of Native Americans walking the Trail of Tears with far more courage and dignity than their “civilized” abusers.



Native American Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Help us learn the lessons you have left us
in every leaf and rock.



Native American Travelers' Blessing
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us walk together here
among earth's creatures great and small,
remembering, our footsteps light,
that one wise God created all.



Sioux Vision Quest
by Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux, circa 1840-1877
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues.



Cherokee Travelers' Blessing I
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will extract the thorns from your feet.
For yet a little while, we will walk life's sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.

Published by Better Than Starbucks and Cherokee Native Americans



Cherokee Travelers' Blessing II
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Happily may you walk
in the paths of the Rainbow.
                  Oh,
and may it always be beautiful before you,
beautiful behind you,
beautiful below you,
beautiful above you,
and beautiful all around you
where in Perfection beauty is finished.

Published by Better Than Starbucks



Cherokee Travelers' Blessing III
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May Heaven’s warming winds blow gently there,
where you reside,
and may the Great Spirit bless all those you love,
this side of the farthest tide.
And wherever you go,
whether the journey is fast or slow,
may your moccasins leave many cunning footprints in the snow.
And when you look over your shoulder, may you always find the Rainbow.

Published by Better Than Starbucks



Warrior's Confession
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh my love, how fair you are—
far brighter than the fairest star!



Cherokee Proverb
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Before you judge
a man for his sins
be sure to trudge
many moons in his moccasins.



Cherokee Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I walk life's trails
imperiled by the raging wind and rain,
grant, O Great Spirit,
that yet I may always
walk like a man.

When I think of this prayer, I think of Native Americans walking the Trail of Tears.



The Receiving of the Flower
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us sing overflowing with joy
as we observe the Receiving of the Flower.
The lovely maidens beam;
their hearts leap in their *******.

Why?

Because they will soon yield their virginity to the men they love!



The Deflowering
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Remove your clothes;
let down your hair;
become as naked as the day you were born—

virgins!



Prelude to *******
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lay out your most beautiful clothes,
maidens!
The day of happiness has arrived!

Grab your combs, detangle your hair,
adorn your earlobes with gaudy pendants.
Dress in white as becomes maidens ...

Then go, give your lovers the happiness of your laughter!
And all the village will rejoice with you,
for the day of happiness has arrived!



The Flower-Strewn Pool
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You have arrived at last in the woods
where no one can see what you do
at the flower-strewn pool ...
Remove your clothes,
unbraid your hair,
become as you were
when you first arrived here
naked and shameless,
virgins, maidens!



Native American Proverbs

The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.
—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A woman’s highest calling is to help her man unite with the Source.
A man’s highest calling is to help his woman walk the earth unharmed.
—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
—White Elk, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Earthbound
an original poem by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Years after the Cherokees had been rounded up and driven down the Trail of Tears, John G. Burnett reflected on what he and his fellow soldiers had done, saying, "Schoolchildren of today do not know that we are living on lands that were taken from a helpless race at the bayonet point, to satisfy the white man's greed ... ****** is ****** and somebody must answer, somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country ... Somebody must explain the four thousand silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile."

In the same year, 1830, that Stonewall Jackson consigned Native Americans to the ash-heap of history, Georgia Governor George Gilmer said, "Treaties are expedients by which ignorant, intractable, and savage people are induced ... to yield up what civilized people have the right to possess." By "civilized" he apparently meant people willing to brutally dispossess and **** women and children in order to derive economic benefits for themselves.

These nights bring dreams of Cherokee shamans
whose names are bright verbs and impacted dark nouns,
whose memories are indictments of my pallid flesh . . .
and I hear, as from a great distance,
the cries tortured from their guileless lips, proclaiming
the nature of my mutation.
―Michael R. Burch, from "Mongrel Dreams" (my family is part Cherokee, English and Scottish)

After Jackson was re-elected with an overwhelming majority in 1832, he strenuously pursued his policy of removing Native Americans, even refusing to accept a Supreme Court ruling which invalidated Georgia's planned annexation of Cherokee land. But in the double-dealing logic of the white supremacists, they had to make the illegal resettlement of the Indians appear to be "legal," so a small group of Cherokees were persuaded to sign the "Treaty of New Echota," which swapped Cherokee land for land in the Oklahoma territory. The Cherokee ringleaders of this infamous plot were later assassinated as traitors. (****** was similarly obsessed with the "legalities" of the **** Holocaust; isn't it strange how mass murderers of women and children can seek to justify their crimes?)

Native Americans understood the "circle of life" better than their white oppressors ...

When we sit in the Circle of the People,
we must be responsible because all Creation is related
and the suffering of one is the suffering of all
and the joy of one is the joy of all
and whatever we do affects everything in the universe.
—"Lakota Instructions for Living" by White Buffalo Calf Woman, translated by Michael R. Burch



Veiled
by Michael R. Burch

She has belief
without comprehension
and in her crutchwork shack
she is
much like us . . .

tamping the bread
into edible forms,
regarding her children
at play
with something akin to relief . . .

ignoring the towers ablaze
in the distance
because they are not revelations
but things of glass,
easily shattered . . .

and if you were to ask her,
she might say:
sometimes God visits his wrath
upon an impious nation
for its leaders’ sins,

and we might agree:
seeing her mutilations.

Published by Poetry Super Highway and Modern War Poems.



Ali’s Song
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Black Medina

Note: Cassius Clay, who converted to Islam and changed his “slave name” to Muhammad Ali, said that he threw his Olympic boxing gold medal into the Ohio River. Confirming his account, the medal was recovered by Robert Bradbury and his wife Pattie in 2014 during the Annual Ohio River Sweep, and the Ali family paid them $200,000 to regain possession of the medal. When drafted during the Vietnamese War, Ali refused to serve, reputedly saying: “I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong; no Vietnamese ever called me a ******.” The notice mentioned in my poem is Ali's draft notice, which metaphorically gets tossed into the river along with his slave name. I was told through the grapevine that this poem appeared in Farsi in an Iranian publication called Bashgah. ―Michael R. Burch



evol-u-shun
by Michael R. Burch

does GOD adore the Tyger
while it’s ripping ur lamb apart?

does GOD applaud the Plague
while it’s eating u à la carte?

does GOD admire ur intelligence
while u pray that IT has a heart?

does GOD endorse the Bible
you blue-lighted at k-mart?



Enheduanna, the daughter of the famous King Saragon the Great of Akkad, is the first ancient writer whose name remains known today. She appears to be the first named poet in human history and the first known author of prayers and hymns. Enheduanna, who lived circa 2285-2250 BCE, is also one of the first women we know by name.

Lament to the Spirit of War
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

You hack down everything you see, War God!

Rising on fearsome wings
you rush to destroy the land,
descending like a raging storm,
howling like a hurricane,
screaming like a tempest,
thundering, raging, ranting, drumming,
whiplashing whirlwinds!

Men falter at your approaching footsteps.

Tortured dirges scream
on your lyre of despair.

Like a fiery Salamander you poison the land:
growling over the earth like thunder,
vegetation collapsing before you,
blood gushing down a mountainside.

Spirit of hatred, greed and vengeance!

******* of heaven and earth!

Your ferocious fire consumes our land.

Whipping your stallion
with furious commands,
you decide our fate.

You triumph over all human rites and prayers.

Who can explain your tirade,
why you go on so?



Temple Hymn 15
to the Gishbanda Temple of Ningishzida
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Most ancient and terrible shrine,
set deep in the mountain,
dark like a mother's womb...

Dark shrine,
like a mother's wounded breast,
blood-red and terrifying...

Though approaching through a safe-seeming field,
our hair stands on end as we near you!

Gishbanda,
like a neck-stock,
like a fine-eyed fish net,
like a foot-shackled prisoner's manacles...
your ramparts are massive,
like a trap!

But once we’re inside,
as the sun rises,
you yield widespread abundance!

Your prince
is the pure-handed priest of Inanna, heaven's Holy One,
Lord Ningishzida!

Oh, see how his thick, lustrous hair
cascades down his back!

Oh Gishbanda,
he has built this beautiful temple to house your radiance!
He has placed his throne upon your dais!



The Exaltation of Inanna: Opening Lines and Excerpts
by Enheduanna, the daughter of Sargon I of Akkad and the high priestess of the Goddess Inanna
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lady of all divine powers!
Lady of the resplendent light!
Righteous Lady adorned in heavenly radiance!

Beloved Lady of An and Uraš!
Hierodule of An, sun-adorned and bejeweled!
Heaven’s Mistress with the holy diadem,
Who loves the beautiful headdress befitting the office of her own high priestess!

Powerful Mistress, seizer of the seven divine powers!
My Heavenly Lady, guardian of the seven divine powers!
You have seized the seven divine powers!
You hold the divine powers in your hand!
You have gathered together the seven divine powers!
You have clasped the divine powers to your breast!

You have flooded the valleys with venom, like a viper;
all vegetation vanishes when you thunder like Iškur!
You have caused the mountains to flood the valleys!
When you roar like that, nothing on earth can withstand you!

Like a flood descending on floodplains, O Powerful One, you will teach foreigners to fear Inanna!

You have given wings to the storm, O Beloved of Enlil!
The storms do your bidding, blasting the unbelievers!

Foreign cities cower at the chaos You cause!
Entire countries cower in dread of Your deadly South Wind!
Men cower before you in their anguished implications,
raising their pitiful outcries,
weeping and wailing, beseeching Your benevolence with many wild lamentations!

But in the van of battle, everything falls before You, O Mighty Queen!

My Queen,
You are all-conquering, all-devouring!
You continue Your attacks like relentless storms!
You howl louder than the howling storms!
You thunder louder than Iškur!
You moan louder than the mournful winds!
Your feet never tire from trampling Your enemies!
You produce much wailing on the lyres of lamentations!

My Queen,
all the Anunna, the mightiest Gods,
fled before Your approach like fluttering bats!
They could not stand in Your awesome Presence
nor behold Your awesome Visage!

Who can soothe Your infuriated heart?
Your baleful heart is beyond being soothed!

Uncontrollable Wild Cow, elder daughter of Sin,
O Majestic Queen, greater than An,
who has ever paid You enough homage?

O Life-Giving Goddess, possessor of all powers,
Inanna the Exalted!

Merciful, Live-Giving Mother!
Inanna, the Radiant of Heart!
I have exalted You in accordance with Your power!
I have bowed before You in my holy garb,
I the En, I Enheduanna!

Carrying my masab-basket, I once entered and uttered my joyous chants ...

But now I no longer dwell in Your sanctuary.
The sun rose and scorched me.
Night fell and the South Wind overwhelmed me.
My laughter was stilled and my honey-sweet voice grew strident.
My joy became dust.

O Sin, King of Heaven, how bitter my fate!

To An, I declared: An will deliver me!
I declared it to An: He will deliver me!

But now the kingship of heaven has been seized by Inanna,
at Whose feet the floodplains lie.

Inanna the Exalted,
who has made me tremble together with all Ur!

Stay Her anger, or let Her heart be soothed by my supplications!
I, Enheduanna will offer my supplications to Inanna,
my tears flowing like sweet intoxicants!
Yes, I will proffer my tears and my prayers to the Holy Inanna,
I will greet Her in peace ...

O My Queen, I have exalted You,
Who alone are worthy to be exalted!
O My Queen, Beloved of An,
I have laid out Your daises,
set fire to the coals,
conducted the rites,
prepared Your nuptial chamber.
Now may Your heart embrace me!

These are my innovations,
O Mighty Queen, that I made for You!
What I composed for You by the dark of night,
The cantor will chant by day.

Now Inanna’s heart has been restored,
and the day became favorable to Her.
Clothed in beauty, radiant with joy,
she carried herself like the elegant moonlight.

Now to the Noble Hierodule,
to the Wrecker of foreign lands
presented by An with the seven divine powers,
and to my Queen garbed in the radiance of heaven ...

O Inanna, praise!



The Exaltation of Inanna: Opening Lines, an Excerpt
Nin-me-šara by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Lady of all divine powers,
Lady of the all-resplendent light,
Righteous Lady clothed in heavenly radiance,
Beloved Lady of An and Uraš,
Mistress of heaven with the holy diadem,
Who loves the beautiful headdress befitting the office of her high priestess,
Powerful Mistress who has seized all seven divine powers,
My lady, you are the guardian of the seven divine powers!
You have seized the divine powers,
You hold the divine powers in your hand,
You have gathered up the divine powers,
You have clasped the divine powers to your breast!
Like a dragon you have spewed venom on foreign lands that know you not!
When you roar like Iškur at the earth, nothing can withstand you!
Like a flood descending on alien lands, O Powerful One of heaven and earth, you will teach them to fear Inanna!



Temple Hymn 7: an Excerpt
to the Kesh Temple of Ninhursag
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, high-situated Kesh,
form-shifting summit,
inspiring fear like a venomous viper!

O, Lady of the Mountains,
Ninhursag’s house was constructed on a terrifying site!

O, Kesh, like holy Aratta: your womb dark and deep,
your walls high-towering and imposing!

O, great lion of the wildlands stalking the high plains!...



Temple Hymn 17: an Excerpt
to the Badtibira Temple of Dumuzi
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, house of jeweled lapis illuminating the radiant bed
in the peace-inducing palace of our Lady of the Steppe!



Temple Hymn 22: an Excerpt
to the Sirara Temple of Nanshe
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, house, you wild cow!
Made to conjure signs of the Divine!
You arise, beautiful to behold,
bedecked for your Mistress!



Temple Hymn 26: an Excerpt
to the Zabalam Temple of Inanna
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O house illuminated by beams of bright light,
dressed in shimmering stone jewels,
awakening the world to awe!



Temple Hymn 42: an Excerpt
to the Eresh Temple of Nisaba
by Enheduanna
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, house of brilliant stars
bright with lapis stones,
you illuminate all lands!

...

The person who put this tablet together
is Enheduanna.
My king: something never created before,
did she not give birth to it?



Update of "A Litany in Time of Plague"
by Michael R. Burch

THE PLAGUE has come again
To darken lives of men
and women, girls and boys;
Death proves their bodies toys
Too frail to even cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Tycoons, what use is wealth?
You cannot buy good health!
Physicians cannot heal
Themselves, to Death must kneel.
Nuns’ prayers mount to the sky.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Beauty’s brightest flower?
Devoured in an hour.
Kings, Queens and Presidents
Are fearful residents
Of manors boarded high.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

We have no means to save
Our children from the grave.
Though cure-alls line our shelves,
We cannot save ourselves.
"Come, come!" the sad bells cry.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

NOTE: This poem is meant to capture the understandable fear and dismay the Plague caused in the Middle Ages, and which the coronavirus has caused in the 21st century. We are better equipped to deal with this modern plague, thanks to advances in science, medicine and sanitation. We do not have to succumb to fear, but it would be wise to have a healthy respect for the nasty bug and heed the advice of medical experts.--MRB



Regret
by Michael R. Burch

Regret,
a bitter
ache to bear . . .

once starlight
languished
in your hair . . .

a shining there
as brief
as rare.

Regret . . .
a pain
I chose to bear . . .

unleash
the torrent
of your hair . . .

and show me
once again―
how rare.

Published by The HyperTexts and The Chained Muse



The Stake
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by The Lyric



If
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Originally published by The HyperTexts



The Effects of Memory
by Michael R. Burch

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

now that I cannot forget.

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

our soft cries, like regret,

... the enameled white clips
of her bra strap
still inscribe dimpled marks
that my kisses erase ...

now that I have forgotten her face.



Villanelle: Because Her Heart Is Tender
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

She scrawled soft words in soap: "Never Forget,"
Dove-white on her car's window, and the wren,
because her heart is tender, might regret
it called the sun to wake her. As I slept,
she heard lost names recounted, one by one.

She wrote in sidewalk chalk: "Never Forget,"
and kept her heart's own counsel. No rain swept
away those words, no tear leaves them undone.

Because her heart is tender with regret,
bruised by razed towers' glass and steel and stone
that shatter on and on and on and on,
she stitches in wet linen: "NEVER FORGET,"
and listens to her heart's emphatic song.

The wren might tilt its head and sing along
because its heart once understood regret
when fledglings fell beyond, beyond, beyond ...
its reach, and still the boot-heeled world strode on.

She writes in adamant: "NEVER FORGET"
because her heart is tender with regret.



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.



Turkish Poetry Translations

Attilâ İlhan (1925-2005) was a Turkish poet, translator, novelist, screenwriter, editor, journalist, essayist, reviewer, socialist and intellectual.

Ben Sana Mecburum: “You are indispensable”
by Attila Ilhan
translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch

You are indispensable; how can you not know
that you’re like nails riveting my brain?
I see your eyes as ever-expanding dimensions.
You are indispensable; how can you not know
that I burn within, at the thought of you?

Trees prepare themselves for autumn;
can this city be our lost Istanbul?
Now clouds disintegrate in the darkness
as the street lights flicker
and the streets reek with rain.
You are indispensable, and yet you are absent ...

Love sometimes seems akin to terror:
a man tires suddenly at nightfall,
of living enslaved to the razor at his neck.
Sometimes he wrings his hands,
expunging other lives from his existence.
Sometimes whichever door he knocks
echoes back only heartache.

A screechy phonograph is playing in Fatih ...
a song about some Friday long ago.
I stop to listen from a vacant corner,
longing to bring you an untouched sky,
but time disintegrates in my hands.
Whatever I do, wherever I go,
you are indispensable, and yet you are absent ...

Are you the blue child of June?
Ah, no one knows you―no one knows!
Your deserted eyes are like distant freighters ...

Perhaps you are boarding in Yesilköy?
Are you drenched there, shivering with the rain
that leaves you blind, beset, broken,
with wind-disheveled hair?

Whenever I think of life
seated at the wolves’ table,
shameless, yet without soiling our hands ...
Yes, whenever I think of life,
I begin with your name, defying the silence,
and your secret tides surge within me
making this voyage inevitable.
You are indispensable; how can you not know?



Fragments
by Attila Ilhan
loose English translations/interpretations by Michael R. Burch

The night is a cloudy-feathered owl,
its quills like fine-spun glass.

It gazes out the window,
perched on my right shoulder,
its wings outspread and huge.

If the encroaching darkness seems devastating at first glance,
the sovereign of everything,
its reach infinite ...

Still somewhere within a kernel of light glows secretly
creating an enlightened forest of dialectics.

In September’s waning days one thinks wanly of the arrival of fall
like a ship appearing on the horizon with untrimmed, tattered sails;
for some unfathomable reason fall is the time to consider one’s own demise―
the body smothered by yellowed leaves like a corpse rotting in a ghoulish photograph ...

Bitter words
crack like whips
snapping across prison yards ...

Then there are words like pomegranate trees in bloom,
words like the sun igniting the sea beyond mountainous horizons,
flashing like mysterious knives ...

Such words are the burning roses of an infinite imagination;
they are born and they die with the flutterings of butterflies;
we carry those words in our hearts like pregnant shotguns until the day we expire,
martyred for the words we were prepared to die for ...

What I wrote and what you understood? Curious and curiouser!



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!



Sessiz Gemi (“Silent Ship”)

by Yahya Kemal Beyatli
loose translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch

for the refugees

The time to weigh anchor has come;
a ship departing harbor slips quietly out into the unknown,
cruising noiselessly, its occupants already ghosts.
No flourished handkerchiefs acknowledge their departure;
the landlocked mourners stand nurturing their grief,
scanning the bleak horizon, their eyes blurring ...
Poor souls! Desperate hearts! But this is hardly the last ship departing!
There is always more pain to unload in this sorrowful life!
The hesitations of lovers and their belovèds are futile,
for they cannot know where the vanished are bound.
Many hopes must be quenched by the distant waves,
since years must pass, and no one returns from this journey.



Full Moon
by Yahya Kemal Beyatli
loose translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch

You are so lovely
the full moon just might
delight
in your rising,
as curious
and bright,
to vanquish night.

But what can a mortal man do,
dear,
but hope?
I’ll ponder your mysteries
and (hmmmm) try to
cope.

We both know
you have every right to say no.



The Music of the Snow
by Yahya Kemal Beyatli
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This melody of a night lasting longer than a thousand years!
This music of the snow supposed to last for thousand years!

Sorrowful as the prayers of a secluded monastery,
It rises from a choir of a hundred voices!

As the *****’s harmonies resound profoundly,
I share the sufferings of Slavic grief.

My mind drifts far from this city, this era,
To the old records of Tanburi Cemil Bey.

Now I’m suddenly overjoyed as once again I hear,
With the ears of my heart, the purest sounds of Istanbul!

Thoughts of the snow and darkness depart me;
I keep them at bay all night with my dreams!

Translator’s notes: “Slavic grief” because Beyatli wrote this poem while in Warsaw, serving as Turkey’s ambassador to Poland, in 1927. Tanburi Cemil Bey was a Turkish composer.



Thinking of you
by Nazim Hikmet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Thinking of you is beautiful, hopeful―
like listening to the most beautiful songs
sung by the earth's most beautiful voices.
But hope is insufficient for me now;
I don't want to listen to songs.
I want to sing love into birth.



I love you
by Nazim Hikmet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love you―
like dipping bread into salt and eating;
like waking at night with a raging fever
and thirstily lapping up water, my mouth to the silver tap;
like unwrapping the unwieldy box the postman delivers,
unable to guess what's inside,
feeling fluttery, happy, doubtful.
I love you―
like flying over the sea the first time
as something stirs within me
while the sky softly darkens over Istanbul.
I love you―
as men thank God gratefully for life.



Sparrow
by Nazim Hikmet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Little sparrow,
perched on the clothesline,
do you regard me with pity?
Even so, I will watch you
soar away through the white spring leaves.



The Divan of the Lover

the oldest extant Turkish poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All the universe as one great sign is shown:
God revealed in his creative acts unknown.
Who sees or understands them, jinn or men?
Such works lie far beyond mere mortals’ ken.
Nor can man’s mind or reason reach that strand,
Nor mortal tongue name Him who rules that land.
Since He chose nothingness with life to vest,
who dares to trouble God with worms’ behests?
For eighteen thousand worlds, lain end to end,
Do not with Him one atom's worth transcend!



Fragment
by Prince Jem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Behold! The torrent, dashing against the rocks, flails wildly.
The entire vast realm of Space and Being oppresses my soul idly.
Through bitterness of grief and woe the sky has rent its morning robe.
Look! See how in its eastern palace, the sun is a ****** globe!
The clouds of heaven rain bright tears on the distant mountain peaks.
Oh, hear how the deeply wounded thunder slowly, mournfully speaks!



An Ecstasy of Fumbling
by Michael R. Burch

The poets believe
everything resolves to metaphor—
a distillation,
a vapor
beyond filtration,
though perhaps not quite as volatile as before.

The poets conceive
of death in the trenches
as the price of art,
not war,
fumbling with their masque-like
dissertations
to describe the Hollywood-like gore

as something beyond belief,
abstracting concrete bunkers to Achaemenid bas-relief.



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



The Leveler
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

I believe I wrote this poem around age 20, in 1978 or thereabouts. It has since been published in The Lyric, Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly and The Aurorean.



The Hippopotami
by Michael R. Burch

There’s no seeing eye to eye
with the awesomely huge Hippopotami:
on the bank, you’re much taller;
going under, you’re smaller
and assuredly destined to die!



The Echoless Green
by Michael R. Burch

for and after William Blake

At dawn, laughter rang
on the echoing green
as children at play
greeted the day.

At noon, smiles were seen
on the echoing green
as, children no more,
many fine vows they swore.

By twilight, their cries
had subsided to sighs.

Now night reigns supreme
on the echoless green.



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 "When Pigs Fly"
Jackie Mead Feb 2018
The Mouse with the house on the River Louse
Now has a family of 12 to feed
A husband and ten smaller mouths all reside with the Mouse in the house on the River Louse

One day the Mouse with the house on the River Louse went outdoors to explore with the intention to find something tasty and fine to feed them all

She walked to the edge of the grounds to the bank of the River Louse, where her friend the Frog, who didn't live in a house but lived on a log in the middle of a bog with his friend Bee, was waiting for his friend to serve her tea

The Frog and The Bee showed the Mouse with a House on the River Louse a table set fit for a Queen with fine China cups, saucers and plates and a tablecloth made of lace

The Mouse with a House on the River Louse was delighted and very excited as the Frog and The Bee said at half past three they would be joined for tea by a new neighbour Miss Molly

According to the Frog and Bee Miss Molly had just moved with her dog and cat, a dog named Mouse and Ferret the Cat

At half past three Miss Molly came to tea and brought with her muffins and cream
The Frog and The Bee brought scones and jam and the Mouse with the house on the River Louse brought some crackers and cheese

The children of the Mouse with a House on the River Louse joined their mother and Miss Molly, the Frog and The Bee the Cat named Ferret and the Dog named Mouse and quickly polished off the delicious tea

The children and the cat and dog all asked if they could play in the bog, the bog where the Frog lived in the middle on a log.

The Mouse with a House on the River Louse agreed and so did Miss Molly and the Frog and Bee

The children, the Cat and Dog all played happily in the middle of the bog

The children, the Cat and Dog found some sticks in the bottom of the bog and began to weave and make a raft, all they needed was a a Sail to catch the draft

One of the children squeeked with excitement  when they found a lily pad on the ground
Quickly the lily pad was hoisted atop and the raft completed and ready to sail in a hop

The children, Ferret the Cat and the Dog named Mouse were playing lovely outside the house, pushing the raft up and down as not a drop of wind was to be found
Then suddenly the wind changed direction and the northerly winds began to blow, they started really slow but the wind got faster and very strong
The children, Cat and Dog couldn't hold on for very long and suddenly they were being taken away from their safe play, being carried down stream and they all did scream

Just like that Dad came home and took out of his pocket a telephone
He called the coastguard to come quick, a raft had drifted and was headed for the slip, soon they would be in the ocean with the bigger ships

Aboard the raft 10 young mice, Ferret the Cat and a Dog named Mouse, all huddled together, to be less afraid, hoping someone would save the day

The coast guard turned up at the house and asked to speak to the Head Mouse
Mother and Father together they spoke, eager to save their children cut afloat on the boat

Then at half past four came a big roar the coastguards had saved the day, the raft had been caught and brought on board just before they got to the edge of the bay and sailed away to the bigger bay

The Mouse who had a House on the River Louse, Dad, Molly the Dolly and Frog and Bee all shouted ecstatically "Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers and sending the men who saved the day and rescued our children from the mouth of the bay"

The Mouse who had a house on the River Louse counted the heads, toes and noses of the children to confirm they were all safe and then said their goodbyes and ushered them all safely inside
The 6th and possibly final chapter of the Mouse with a House on the River Louse
Once again an epic read so thank you to anyone who takes the time to read it
Gayatri Jun 2013
She sat in the calm serenity of the riverside
yet her anticipation made her twitch
she couldn't understand the depth of the emotion
and the river flowed on and the river flowed on

It was a strange sort of excitement
that overwhelmed her from within
which made sitting in peace by the river
feel like running in a meadow, breathless,
but the river flowed on the river flowed on

The hope and happiness spread through her veins
a warm glowy reassurance like feeling
as her mind leapt and bound around at lovely possibilities
of what is and what was to come
but the river flowed on the river flowed on

She imagined herself so full of a music
that would play with the beat of her heart
and the notes would flow like the tears of happiness on her cheek
which was now as stark as the mist
but the river flowed on the river flowed on

And the lone white heart which longed for her one
beat its last ga-lump,
her lungs breathed the last breath, a soft kiss goodbye
and the river flowed on the river flowed on.................
Jackie Mead Mar 2018
The Mouse with the House on the River Louse and Miss Molly the Dolly who lived next door.
Called a meeting one day of all their friends, The Horse and Master who lived round the bend,  Frog who lived on a log in the middle of a bog and The Bee,The Elf with one ear and the Fly with one eye.
It was a Council meeting they did cry, to discuss, with a little fuss, how to maintain  the countryside far and wide.
It was decreed they would meet in the  grounds of Miss Molly's house at half past three, the house next door to the Mouse who had a House on the River Louse.
It was a council meeting they declared, to discuss a problem that had come to light.
A problem they did fear if nothing was done, would grow and grow and their children would not be able to play out in the woods all through the day and into the night.
The problem they had identified was plastic cups dropped to the side, plastic wrappers left on the floor and plastic bags caught up and swept away down river where the children did play.
Fish in the pond had begun to die, when they breathed through their gills and inhaled plastic ties.
Everywhere they began to look was covered in plastic far and wide, it was beginning to disfigure the countryside.
The Humans were trying to do their bit but it was taking time and this did not fit.
They must come up with a plan and start today if the countryside as they know it, we're to be saved.
The Horse and Master spoke up first, "We can serve drinks in glass cups for anyone with a thirst, we can put up posters and implore they purchase their drink at the countrystore".
"The money we take can be used to buy a machine to wash the cups for the next ones to sup".
The Mouse with a House on the River Louse and Miss Molly liked the idea and made a note to have a word with the owner of the countrystore and if necessary to beg and implore that they start with immediate effect.
The Frog who lived on a log in the middle of the bog and The Bee did confer and the Frog and Bee did then rise. "We would like to say" said the Frog and Bee "we would like to make some signs to put around and advise people to be plastic wise and not to litter it on the ground"
"The signs would be painted on paper of course and the Master and the Horse could help" "The signs would say"
"People who come by this way today, please be aware that we don't want your plastic left behind!"
"Please be friendly and take your plastic home, don't leave it on the ground for the Fish or our children to swallow and die, you wouldn't like it and nor do I"
"Please take your plastic home with you and we will welcome you again, our Human friend"
Again the Mouse with a House on the River Louse and Miss Molly the Dolly liked the idea and agreed that posters were in much need. They asked the Frog who lived on a log in the middle of the bog and The Bee to make a start and to ask the Horse and Master to also take part.
Finally the Elf with one Ear and The Fly with one eye wanting to do their bit, they looked at each other and did say, "We would like to make brightly coloured bins that can be seen from far and wide, encouraging people to dispose of their plastic in a bin, on the side they would say "littering the countryside is a sin"
The Fly with one eye said "the coloured bins would assist humans and their children to identify the bins from afar and when they dropped their litter inside a loud noise would play indicating to children and those who struggled to hear, like the Elf with only one ear, that they had found the bin and their litter went within and not on the ground"
The Mouse with a House on the River Louse and Miss Molly the Dolly agreed and said "we have all been very inventive and were all agreed on the following  main action points to start right away.
The list was made to save the day and it looked like this:
Action1 bring in glass cups
Action 2 Implore the countrystore to supply drinks to the passerby
Action 3 make posters of paper and paint put them up on tree trunks, fences and gates
Action 4 Make wooden bins painted bright for people to fill with all their might
The Mouse with a House on the River Louse and Miss Molly went off to the store, to request and implore they stocked glasses for the folk who liked a drink this would encourage them to stop and think.
The Frog who lived on a log in the middle of the bog and The Bee together with their friend the Horse and Master who lived around the River bend set about making posters with paper and paint
The Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear together made wooden bins covered in bright paints, which had a voice within when fed with litter did say 'thank you very much, have a nice day'

They all came together the very next day when Council met again and were very pleased with all that had be done, to keep the countryside spotless and still fun.
They agreed to take a week and then to resume again and discuss if the action points had been a success.
A few days later the friends decided to going swimming in the River Louse where the Mouse had a House and Miss Molly the Dolly lived next door.
The Mouse was pleased to see that all the children were swimming freely, they were not  tangled and tied by the river side with plastic ties.
It seems the glass cups, posters and bins had got the message across:

LITTERING THE COUNTRYSIDE IS A
SIN PUT YOUR ******* IN A BIN
It's a very long read and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this story. The use of Plastics is a hot topic at the moment here in the UK and I'm sure it's the same wherever you live, try buying anything that's not plastic wrapped for freshness.
David W Clare Feb 2015
The chao phraya river song
by david john clare

Down by the River (echo-ee, a Capella) Down by the River (echo-ee, a Capella)

1 Down By the River, don't dive in, them sharks are real-****-mean but, that's where you'll find me...

along with buzzards, ******* and kumoi dope fiends...

chorus 'cause we love that ***** water ... oh oh oh Bangkok, Thailand; you're our home !

2 now...Oriental Asian Ladies, Thailand's **** Siam queens

I dig them slant-eyed ******... Them
Sticky cat-faced chicks on Soi 13! 'cause they love that ***** water ...

oh oh oh Bangkok, Thailand; you're my home !

(Harmonica Solo)

3 You'll find me trashed one morning (smashed!)

Iced-down in China Town; all crying alone...

One day I'll never leave here (Lord!) Unless an Esan Girl might claim me for her own...

'cause I love that ***** water ... oh oh oh Bangkok, Thailand; you're our home !

Refrain

Chao Phraya River, Chao Phraya River... Chao Phraya River, Chao Phraya River...

Buddha!

Chao Phraya River, Chao Phraya River... Chao Phrya River, Chao Phraya River...

Oh, Bangkok you're my home!

(Big smiling shark jumps from river with switchblade knife in between teeth...)

fin

(c) in perpetuity, David John Clare Clairvoyant Music BMI

Thailand...
Siam song 21st century
Michael R Burch Sep 2020
Poems about Laughter, Giggles and Smiles



Here and Hereafter
by Michael R. Burch

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



Laughter’s Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.



Love Is Not Love
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

all that it knows
is: O, because!



The Folly of Wisdom
by Michael R. Burch

She is wise in the way that children are wise,
looking at me with such knowing, grave eyes
I must bend down to her to understand.
But she only smiles, and takes my hand.

We are walking somewhere that her feet know to go,
so I smile, and I follow ...

And the years are dark creatures concealed in bright leaves
that flutter above us, and what she believes―
I can almost remember―goes something like this:
the prince is a horned toad, awaiting her kiss.

She wiggles and giggles, and all will be well
if only we find him! The woodpecker’s knell
as he hammers the coffin of some dying tree
that once was a fortress to someone like me

rings wildly above us. Some things that we know
we are meant to forget. Life is a bloodletting, maple-syrup-slow.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Just Smile
by Michael R. Burch

We’d like to think some angel smiling down
will watch him as his arm bleeds in the yard,
ripped off by dogs, will guide his tipsy steps,
his doddering progress through the scarlet house
to tell his mommy "boo-boo!," only two.

We’d like to think his reconstructed face
will be as good as new, will often smile,
that baseball’s just as fun with just one arm,
that God is always Just, that girls will smile,
not frown down at his thousand livid scars,
that Life is always Just, that Love is Just.

We do not want to hear that he will shave
at six, to raze the leg hairs from his cheeks,
that lips aren’t easily fashioned, that his smile’s
lopsided, oafish, snaggle-toothed, that each
new operation costs a billion tears,
when tears are out of fashion. O, beseech
some poet with more skill with words than tears
to find some happy ending, to believe
that God is Just, that Love is Just, that these
are Parables we live, Life’s Mysteries ...

Or look inside his courage, as he ties
his shoelaces one-handed, as he throws
no-hitters on the first-place team, and goes
on dates, looks in the mirror undeceived
and smiling says, "It’s me I see. Just me."

He smiles, if life is Just, or lacking cures.
Your pity is the worst cut he endures.

Originally published by Lucid Rhythms



Laughter from Another Room
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wrote this poem either my first or second year in college, around age 18 to 19. It remains largely the same, with only minor changes.



Leaf Fall
by Michael R. Burch

Whatever winds encountered soon resolved
to swirling fragments, till chaotic heaps
of leaves lay pulsing by the backyard wall.
In lieu of rakes, our fingers sorted each
dry leaf into its place and built a high,
soft bastion against earth's gravitron―
a patchwork quilt, a trampoline, a bright
impediment to fling ourselves upon.

And nothing in our laughter as we fell
into those leaves was like the autumn's cry
of also falling. Nothing meant to die
could be so bright as we, so colorful―
clad in our plaids, oblivious to pain
we'd feel today, should we leaf-fall again.

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea


Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

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



See
by Michael R. Burch

See how her hair has thinned: it doesn't seem
like hair at all, but like the airy moult
of emus who outraced the wind and left
soft plumage in their wake. See how her eyes
are gentler now; see how each wrinkle laughs,
and deepens on itself, as though mirth took
some comfort there and burrowed deeply in,
outlasting winter. See how very thin
her features are―that time has made more spare,
so that each bone shows, elegant and rare.
For loveliness remains in her grave eyes,
and courage in her still-delighted looks:
each face presented like a picture book's.
Bemused, she blows us undismayed goodbyes.

Originally published by Writer's Digest's―The Year's Best Writing 2003



Ali’s Song
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Black Medina

Note: Cassius Clay, who converted to Islam and changed his “slave name” to Muhammad Ali, said that he threw his Olympic boxing gold medal into the Ohio River. Confirming his account, the medal was recovered by Robert Bradbury and his wife Pattie in 2014 during the Annual Ohio River Sweep, and the Ali family paid them $200,000 to regain possession of the medal. When drafted during the Vietnamese War, Ali refused to serve, reputedly saying: “I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong; no Vietnamese ever called me a ******.” The notice mentioned in my poem is Ali's draft notice, which metaphorically gets tossed into the river along with his slave name. I was told through the grapevine that this poem appeared in Farsi in an Iranian publication called Bashgah. ―Michael R. Burch


Love Sonnet XI
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
I stalk the streets, silent and starving.
Bread does not satisfy me; dawn does not divert me
from my relentless pursuit of your fluid spoor.

I long for your liquid laughter,
for your sunburned hands like savage harvests.
I lust for your fingernails' pale marbles.
I want to devour your ******* like almonds, whole.

I want to ingest the sunbeams singed by your beauty,
to eat the aquiline nose from your aloof face,
to lick your eyelashes' flickering shade.

I pursue you, snuffing the shadows,
seeking your heart's scorching heat
like a puma prowling the heights of Quitratue.



The Seashore Gathering
by Rabindranath Tagore
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

On the seashores of endless worlds, earth's children converge.
The infinite sky is motionless, the restless waters boisterous.
On the seashores of endless worlds earth's children gather to dance with joyous cries and pirouettes.
They build sand castles and play with hollow shells.
They weave boats out of withered leaves and laughingly float them out over the vast deep.
Earth's children play gaily on the seashores of endless worlds.
They do not know, yet, how to cast nets or swim.
Divers fish for pearls and merchants sail their ships, while earth's children skip, gather pebbles and scatter them again.
They are unaware of hidden treasures, nor do they know how to cast nets, yet.
The sea surges with laughter, smiling palely on the seashore.
Death-dealing waves sing the children meaningless songs, like a mother lullabying her baby's cradle.
The sea plays with the children, smiling palely on the seashore.
On the seashores of endless worlds earth's children meet.
Tempests roam pathless skies, ships lie wrecked in uncharted waters, death wanders abroad, and still the children play.
On the seashores of endless worlds there is a great gathering of earth's children.


My Feelings
by Dolqun Yasin, a Uyghur poet
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.



Ode to Anactoria
Sappho, fragment 31 (Lobel-Page 31 / Voigt 31)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


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


Ode to Anactoria
Sappho, fragment 31 (Lobel-Page 31 / Voigt 31)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

My heart races at the sound of your voice!
Your laughter?―bright water, dislodging pebbles

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

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

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

despite my poverty.



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 ...



Premonition
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I rather vividly remember writing this poem after an office party the year I co-oped with AT&T (at that time the largest company in the world, with presumably a lot of office parties). This would have been after my sophomore year in college, making me around 20 years old. The poem is “true” except that I was not the host because the party was at the house of one of the upper-level managers. Nor was I dating anyone seriously at the time.

Keywords/Tags: Laugh, Laughs, Laughter, Giggle, Giggles, Smile, Smiles, Humor, Light Verse, Friendship


Published as the selection “Poems about Laughter, Giggles and Smiles”
aldo kraas May 11
This morning
Me in this Misty River
All the happiness
I am feeling inside myself
Misty River
The mist is coming
From this Misty River
There are clouds
In the sky
And the mist
Is caused by the condensation
Of the heat mixed in the cold water
Misty River
I am in a fishing boat
That boat is moving slowly in this
Misty River
It is early in the morning
I am eating my breakfast in the fishing boat in the middle of this
Misty River
I hear the birds singing early in the morning
In this Misty River
There must be trees because the sound of the birds is coming from the branches
Misty River
So peaceful
It looks so different with the mist
No one is around but me
With my fishing boat
And the beautiful sound of the birds
It is so nice
To have a place to come to
Where I can
Hear the sound of the birds
And be left alone
With no one disturbing me
Misty River
That is my special place
And by afternoon
No clouds I will see
The birds are beautiful
Their song is just beautiful like Mother Nature intended it to be
If nobody else appreciates this Misty River
I do
Misty River
I will die for you
Misty River
I will shed my tears for you
I have been coming here for so long now
Misty River
Triston Wareing Jun 2016
Oh oh come friends. To the river we go

I don't know what situations led to us to come to this magical places.

And I don't know what led me to the i75 alone behind a steering wheel

Oh oh come friends to the river we go

I'm not good at phone calls

But curse my name if I wasn't driving and listen to you talk about your day to your friends mom through satellites.

Oh oh come friends. To the river we go

We have disconnected the call and I'm still thinking of the past days I've listened to you.

I'm stuck thinking what if this is a friends fling like with your friends and your friends friends.

And I think what if this is another excuse to love my self a little more

I think what if this an excuse to drown someone out

I think what if I hurt myself on another person

I think what if you

And I smile

That's all it took.

Was the mere thought of awkwardly reaching for you hand

And I smiled.

Oh oh come friends. to the river we go

There is a traffic jam and I am in the fast lane blaring don't fear the reaper

We are merging lanes

To the right and I am stuck in thought

We are merging lanes

And to the middle I am lighting a cigarette

We are merging

And to the right I am
BAM !

Oh oh come friends to the river we go.

There was no collusion

Just the sound of an 80 thousand dollar bmws horn

A sight I would have been jealous of before
But on this night I don't need a car to smile

On this night I don't need fancy things

On this night I just need you

Oh oh come friends. To the river we go.

I'm passing the sign for the Ronald Reagan highway

And 65 miles per hour has never felt so fast

I want to talk to you but I can hear your voice scolding me for looking at my phone while on the road.

But I smile
I can hear your voice
I can feel you there next to me
And I'm still happy at the mere thought of you


Oh oh come friends to the river we go  

With you I don't need luck
We can split a thousand poles
We can laugh at the thought of a Buddha belly
We can step on 4 leaf clovers
We can walk under ladders because your hand will be in mine and that is the only luck I need

Oh oh come friends to the river we go.

The sight of this river under me is almost as beautiful as you.
Sitting on the bank watching my new friends passionately Kiss while standing on the ruins of a smoldering burnt American flag with jemi Hendrix playing is almost as infinite as you
But nothing will make me happier then being with you.

Oh oh come friends. To the river we go
Manoshi Goswami May 2015
It’s my river,
Giving me the life
The sky is there on the other side,
Tears roll down from the sky
To my river
Feels the fathom
My river roars….
Bring tears like anything
The furious river breaks home,
Washes golden fields
Their dreams are shattered
……………
It’s the same river
This side is the heaven
We enjoy the beautifully setting sun
Searching out poems of life
Picnics, outing, retiring life,
Smiles, laughter and everything….
But
The sky on the other side,
It remains gloomy
May it be Majuli or Dhemaji
Dreams go away forever with the river
I cry for those dreams,
Curse my river
The same river…
That gives me life,
It’s my river still
And will always be!!
*Majuli*... The most famous river island in the River Brahmaputra, Assam
*Dhemaji* - A perrenially flood prone district of Assam
Tommy Johnson Apr 2014
Look in the mirror
Look at the clock
Look at the time
It never has stopped
It only goes forward
It's a one way walk
See how you have been growing
You ask yourself, "where have the days been going?"
Time can only progress
Yes, the river of life is always flowing

We lived cabins
And castles and caves
We came from Adam and eve
We evolved from apes
From Socrates and Homer
To Napoleon and Alexander the Great
The minds that desired knowing
And the enlightened ones glowing
People can only advance
Yes the river of life is always flowing

Revolutions and rebellions
Riots and revolts
Great discoveries
A key, a kite and a lightning bolt
Great writings and inventions
Innovations from inspiring jolts
Improvement was showing
To the future the world was going
Humanity only began to develop
Yes the river of life is always flowing

Religions and sciences
Economics and politics
Television and radio
Monarchies and dictatorships
Tanks and machine guns
Atomic bombs and battle ships
We went from arrow shooting and spear throwing
The muskets needed reloading
To nuclear weapons
Yes the river of life is always flowing

Exploring new lands
To find the world wasn't flat
To find silver and gold
And buried artifacts
To establish new territories
And expand the map
The searching ship kept rowing
As civilization went on growing
Accomplishments of the past
Yes the river of life is always flowing

Boats and rail roads
Fair trade and industry
World wide markets
Over land and sea
To keep out nations going
And stablize the economy
But now every country has money that they're owing
And the land that they're owning
Is has evolved
Yes the river of life is always flowing

Social reforms
Counter cultures fight
They protest strongly
For equal civil rights
The world's in constant change
Every day turns into night
Every opening has its closing
And then it comes back again
As long as there's someone hoping
Yes the river of life is always flowing

We put people into space
We have fought for equality
Created a world from nothing
And advanced technology
We've struggle to go to where we are
And continue to go strongly
The opportunities fate has been bestowing
We look forward to see what is ahead
The memories and mysteries the hourglass is holding
Yes the river of life is always flowing
“Give me of your bark, O Birch-Tree!
Of your yellow bark, O Birch-Tree!
Growing by the rushing river,
Tall and stately in the valley!
I a light canoe will build me,
Build a swift Cheemaun for sailing,
That shall float upon the river,
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn,
Like a yellow water-lily!

“Lay aside your cloak, O Birch-Tree!
Lay aside your white-skin wrapper,
For the Summer-time is coming,
And the sun is warm in heaven,
And you need no white-skin wrapper!”

Thus aloud cried Hiawatha
In the solitary forest,
By the rushing Taquamenaw,
When the birds were singing gayly,
In the Moon of Leaves were singing,
And the sun, from sleep awaking,
Started up and said, “Behold me!
Gheezis, the great Sun, behold me!”

And the tree with all its branches
Rustled in the breeze of morning,
Saying, with a sigh of patience,
“Take my cloak, O Hiawatha!”

With his knife the tree he girdled;
Just beneath its lowest branches,
Just above the roots, he cut it,
Till the sap came oozing outward:
Down the trunk, from top to bottom,
Sheer he cleft the bark asunder,
With a wooden wedge he raised it,
Stripped it from the trunk unbroken.

“Give me of your boughs, O Cedar!
Of your strong and pliant branches,
My canoe to make more steady,
Make more strong and firm beneath me!”

Through the summit of the Cedar
Went a sound, a cry of horror,
Went a murmur of resistance;
But it whispered, bending downward,
“Take my boughs, O Hiawatha!”

Down he hewed the boughs of cedar,
Shaped them straightway to a framework,
Like two bows he formed and shaped them,
Like two bended bows together.

“Give me of your roots, O Tamarack!
Of your fibrous roots, O Larch-Tree!
My canoe to bind together.
So to bind the ends together,
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!”

And the Larch, with all its fibres,
Shivered in the air of morning,
Touched his forehead with its tassels,
Said, with one long sigh of sorrow,
“Take them all, O Hiawatha!”

From the earth he tore the fibres,
Tore the tough roots of the Larch-Tree,
Closely sewed the bark together,
Bound it closely to the framework.

“Give me of your balm, O Fir-Tree!
Of your balsam and your resin,
So to close the seams together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!”

And the Fir-Tree, tall and sombre,
Sobbed through all its robes of darkness,
Rattled like a shore with pebbles,
Answered wailing, answered weeping,
“Take my balm, O Hiawatha!”

And he took the tears of balsam,
Took the resin of the Fir-Tree,
Smeared therewith each seam and fissure,
Made each crevice safe from water.

“Give me of your quills, O Hedgehog!
All your quills, O Kagh, the Hedgehog!
I will make a necklace of them,
Make a girdle for my beauty,
And two stars to deck her *****!”

From a hollow tree the Hedgehog
With his sleepy eyes looked at him,
Shot his shining quills, like arrows,
Saying, with a drowsy murmur,
Through the tangle of his whiskers,
“Take my quills, O Hiawatha!”

From the ground the quills he gathered,
All the little shining arrows,
Stained them red and blue and yellow,
With the juice of roots and berries;
Into his canoe he wrought them,
Round its waist a shining girdle,
Round its bow a gleaming necklace,
On its breast two stars resplendent.

Thus the Birch Canoe was builded
In the valley, by the river,
In the ***** of the forest;
And the forest’s life was in it,
All its mystery and its magic,
All the lightness of the birch-tree,
All the toughness of the cedar,
All the larch’s supple sinews;
And it floated on the river
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn,
Like a yellow water-lily.

Paddles none had Hiawatha,
Paddles none he had or needed,
For his thoughts as paddles served him,
And his wishes served to guide him;
Swift or slow at will he glided,
Veered to right or left at pleasure.

Then he called aloud to Kwasind,
To his friend, the strong man, Kwasind,
Saying, “Help me clear this river
Of its sunken logs and sand-bars.”

Straight into the river Kwasind
Plunged as if he were an otter,
Dived as if he were a ******,
Stood up to his waist in water,
To his arm-pits in the river,
Swam and shouted in the river,
Tugged at sunken logs and branches,
With his hands he scooped the sand-bars,
With his feet the ooze and tangle.

And thus sailed my Hiawatha
Down the rushing Taquamenaw,
Sailed through all its bends and windings,
Sailed through all its deeps and shallows,
While his friend, the strong man, Kwasind,
Swam the deeps, the shallows waded.

Up and down the river went they,
In and out among its islands,
Cleared its bed of root and sand-bar,
Dragged the dead trees from its channel,
Made its passage safe and certain
Made a pathway for the people,
From its springs among the mountains,
To the water of Pauwating,
To the bay of Taquamenaw.
Dan Jun 2016
There will come a time when you must go to the river
The only road that can take you there is the fastest lane you can find
Do not be surprised if the music drowns out your thoughts
Accept it
Because when you go to the river you must empty yourself of everything else

When you get to the river you can pray if you want to
Or meditate
Or contemplate universal truths
Or scream at the music that blares from the open doors of Kentucky clubs
All that matters is where you are
When you get to the river pile the rocks by the bank so no one can deny you of this experience
Hold the rocks in your hand and feel each and every crevice
The texture of the stone is a memorial for all who did not make it back from the waters
Remember that every river is one
All rivers are holy
The water hitting the shore is a hymn of death and life and all earthly eternity so listen closely and carefully
Then sing your hymns to the geese and the ghosts and the monsters in the river
Understand why you made this pilgrimage

Remember that eventually you must leave the river
Remember where their car is parked
Remember who you are
On the way home don't take the highway
The highway is only so you can get to the river as fast as possible
Home can wait
Remember the day before
Remember how Allen Ginsberg sent you his answer in the form towers of water that everyone but you could see and know in your heart there is no answer more fitting than that
You will eventually get back to your own car
You will drive to your house basking in violet light
Sing every word you remember from your childhood
Take the long way into town
Get as lost as you will allow yourself and never too lost to find your way back
Do not worry about that river
The river will be there when you are ready to return
David Jones Jul 2015
At the end of the world there is a river.
No fires, no roaring oblivion of
Devils and demons:
Just a river - but a swollen river,
A famished river, a hungry river
With a gluttonous appetite which
Can never be sated.

And it whispers:

     Feed me,
     Feed me,
     Feed me,
     Feed me.

The river flows and surges against
The banks of the world, rushing upon
Hidden tides, all swollen and huge
With mud and debris
And dirt and death.

And it whispers:

     Feed me,
     Feed me,
     Feed me
     Feed me.

And as it bursts its banks, its eager
For you and all the world, so hungry,
That ravenous river, and it hauls and
Tugs, wrenches and pushes against
The shore and out, across the fields
Through the cities, the towns,
And still that whisper

Comes calling:

     Feed me,
     Feed me,
     Feed me,
     Feed me.

And that caressing river sound is a
Hypnosis that speaks into your soul,
And you cannot move, will not move,
Because it is already inside you,
And at the end of the world you
Feed yourself to the river but it is not

Enough, and still



The whisper of:

     Feed me,
     Feed me,
     Feed me
     Feed me.

And as it laps against your ankles, creeps
Up, up, up - so hungry, so nearly satisfied,
You hear it's voice and know very
Well that you have heard it all your life,
That the river at the end of the world has
Always whispered, always spoken to you:
In the silence of the night, in your dreams,
Your memories, at dawn, at dusk

It whispered:

     Feed me,
     Feed me,
     Feed me
     Feed me.
Mateuš Conrad Apr 2017
it can be nothing but a deviation from modern
       concerns -
i was once in a pub, drinking a beer -
and this medical student turns to me and asks:
- if you could be a god, which one would you want to be?
        without resistance, without hesitance the reply?
- hades!
            of all venerated beings - his: the sole "phatom"
so feared that no palace of worship was
              erected; that's right: no temple in his name;
but just imagine my shock: a medical student
who supposed the existence of gods -
                    and yet in a society where there are these
diaper atheists... these biologists
                        and physicists - these proponents:
they really take the romance out of the universe -
              and here is this hippocratic oath adherent
and he's inclined to believe in the gods:
             for the sole purpose that he can manage
complicated tasks on the "microscopic" stage -
                                         in his niche -
                           while on the macro-plataeu
he's like:             well nothing explains nothing,
or the many other nothings.
                                  rare to see a plural form
                                                  of that singularity.
but of course: the mere thought contemplating the gods
is comforting - evidently we're not the people
to suggest or enforce a ritual to sacrifice one's time
with a duty of prayer -
                           walk into any monotheistic temple
and film the lunatics... sober lunatics: which is worse
than watching intoxicated lunatics dancing as if
they might be enthralled by the concept of prayer.
       just looking through the aeneid glossary -
can you even imagine if they will someday unearth
skeleton of centaurs? obviously you could only
unearth dinosaurs first, however much you push down
in geological terms: the older remains are unearthed
first, that's the tectonic dynamic: older comes first -
             in organic terms: skeletons are, after all: organic
materials... and centaurs might not be an ease
metaphor to stomach after some time -
                                       but what is the darwinistic
improbabilty of their existence, that once was, but now
isn't?         what is the darwinistic improbability?
             it's about time we force these questions,
since darwinism has lost all of its scientific sensibility
and has become level-tier with marxism in
       the battleground of culture - it has finally caught
up with marxism as a cultural impetus.
                         yet peering into the aeneid glossary
i had to invent at least one god, and one river of hades -
a. acheron - the river of grief
      b. cocytys - the river of wailing
  c. eridanus - a river leading into the underworld
d. gela - the river of laughter
   e. lethe - the river of forgetfulness
     f. styx - the river of hate
  g. ucalegon - the river of uncaring.

              what is indicated: i once had the idea to
compete with the styx - the river borrowed from german:
the zunge - or the river of tongues -
                        perhaps idle talk, the river of gossip -
or of those who drank from it: became prone to
the whisper of the god janus - the two faced god,
who, upon ushering his two tongue's into
      the drinker's mind: split the drinker's mind in half.
yet i find the concept of the river ucalegon
more befitting to this realm... named so after a trojan
warrior - still, the literal, simply: not caring;
                                          and do the dead care?
if the living can only muster a cult of the grave -
                   but not the cult of memory -
                                       no wonder so many pass into
the shades, through sheer neglect in organic remains
of their legacy.
     so of this god?
                              well, narcissus and his brother
                      solipssus -
but there is another, akin to the ancient diety of the latins,
namely quirinus (romulus deified?) - rooted
     by origin in quirus - meaning spear.
       i really can understand plagiarism on a polytheistic
scale, how zeus became jove, how kronos became saturn,
    how pilumnus has no greek equivalent -
   how hades became pluto -
                      that i can understand, a plagiarism
on a polytheistic scale... but what happens on a monotheistic
scale? tyranny against the mind!
                enforced labour for a mere sake of an argument,
what happened when the qu'ran was written.
                      and since we're on the topic:
słowianin - słowo
            and the horrid english slav( ) with a supposed
missing limb of                                e...
     again: know your mother and of that earth speak
the tongue - it is derived from, quiet simply word...
so we are wordsmiths first, keen workers? sure.
                         but wordsmiths first - in essence -
         and indeed, if there was the ancient italian god
           quirinus -
                           it would seem natural for the opposite
of a spear, akin to the maxim: the pen is mightier than
the sword...   ergo?
                                          quill...
      ­                              and the diety?
                                                          ­       Quilios.
           for a silesian peasant, that might translate
into regional idiom as -                        Piórkowiak:
patron of god of poets, with enough ***** to conjure
                         such explanations - that those in
the hippocratic community might appreciate, even they
can... but obviously, the cultural darwinists
                          have but one answer, and it's almost
       akin to the islamic dictatorial stance for defining
                              what culture is, and what culture isn't;
sensible? was it really about sense & sensibility?
                  maybe for jane austen is was... not here... not now!

p.s. Quilios, as combined from qui (who)
          but also borrowing from heliocentric -
                  or simply helios: sun -
                              writing illuminates: or, (he)
                                                           who illuminates.
Sophia Granada Oct 2013
I used to stand, a little girl,
In the face of the mighty River,
And try my luck against the current,
Till my thin frame would shiver.
The River was a muscled god
Of milky Grecian marble,
Who'd swallow up the flotsam,
While the safer songbirds warbled.
My mother told me "stay away,
The River, he is hungry,
He'll twist you round and break your bones
And take your sweet self from me."
And, from then on, I'd heed her word,
And steer clear of the River,
Or throw in sticks to harm it,
Vainly, watch them be devoured.
And sometimes, when the rain came down
For long days at a time,
The River would rise from his bed,
To drown all that was mine.
So he got many over on me,
And I, nothing on him.
The River was so sly, you see,
The Devil, just too slim.
And then I grew up proud
And beautiful, and moved away,
To a moneyed place in the northern states,
Where the River stayed away.
But I met a man just like that Body
Rolling, roiling, wild,
That took and drowned all I did have
And left me with a child.
And my mother took me in again,
And told me just the same,
To shun the River, guard myself,
A man's worse than his name.
I took to daring, once again,
That arctic current down,
I'd dip my toes in evening time,
And smooth my forehead's frown.
I'd talk to him, my belly swole,
Confide in the River wild,
I prayed to God in the water's hearing,
That I did not need the child.
The River told me he would help,
That I could use his ways,
For he wanted only sacrifice,
And I wanted not the blame.
So I waded in, the hands of water
Cupped beneath my thighs,
And the River's water turned blood red,
And my eyes rolled to the sky.
Now I live alone again.
Playing mother was not my lot.
The River took my baby in,
Because my arms could not.

— The End —