The HyperTexts

Poems about Icarus, Flying and Flights of Fancy
by Michael R. Burch



These are original poems about Icarus, Flying and Flights of Fancy written by the poet Michael R. Burch.



Southern Icarus
by Michael R. Burch

Windborne, lover of heights,
unspooled from the truck’s wildly lurching embrace,
you climb, skittish kite . . .

What do you know of the world’s despair,
gliding in vast          solitariness           there,
so that all that remains is to

fall?

Only a little longer the wind invests its sighs;
you
stall,
spread-eagled, as the canvas snaps

and flaps
its white rebellious wings,
and all

the houses watch with baffled eyes.



Flight 93
by Michael R. Burch

I held the switch in trembling fingers, asked
why existence felt so small, so purposeless,
like a minnow wriggling feebly in my grasp ...

vibrations of huge engines thrummed my arms
as, glistening with sweat, I nudged the switch
to OFF ... I heard the klaxon-shrill alarms

like vultures’ shriekings ... earthward, in a stall ...
we floated ... earthward ... wings outstretched, aghast
like Icarus ... as through the void we fell ...

till nothing was so beautiful, so blue ...
so vivid as that moment ... and I held
an image of your face, and dreamed I flew

into your arms. The earth rushed up. I knew
such comfort, in that moment, loving you.

Originally published by The Lyric



I AM
by Michael R. Burch

I am not one of ten billion—I—
sunblackened Icarus, chary fly,
staring at God with a quizzical eye.

I am not one of ten billion, I.

I am not one life has left unsquashed—
scarred as Ulysses, goddess-debauched,
pale glowworm agleam with a tale of panache.

I am not one life has left unsquashed.

I am not one without spots of disease,
laugh lines and tan lines and thick-callused knees
from begging and praying and girls sighing “Please!”

I am not one without spots of disease.

I am not one of ten billion—I—
scion of Daedalus, blackwinged fly
staring at God with a sedulous eye.

I am not one of ten billion, I
AM!

This is another heretical poem. It sort of reverses my childhood poem "Am I."



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

Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
,upon awaking,

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being—to glide
heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.

*

O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

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

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle ...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!,

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

*

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

for the Night has Wings
gentler than Moonbeams—

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

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.

*

Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

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

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.

*

Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

*

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought—

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

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

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

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

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.



Free Fall (II)
by Michael R. Burch

I have no earthly remembrance of you, as if
we were never of earth, but merely white clouds adrift,
swirling together through Himalayan serene altitudes—
no more man and woman than exhaled breath—unable to fall
back to solid existence, despite the air’s sparseness: all
our being borne up, because of our lightness,
toward the sun’s unendurable brightness . . .

But since I touched you, fire consumes each wing!

We who are unable to fly, stall
contemplating disaster. Despair like an anchor, like an iron ball,
heavier than ballast, sinks on its thick-looped chain
toward the earth, and soon thereafter there will be sufficient pain
to recall existence, to make the coming darkness everlasting.



Fledglings
by Michael R. Burch

With her small eyes, pale and unforgiving,
she taught me—December is not for those
unweaned of love, the chirping nestlings
who bicker for worms with dramatic throats

still pinkly exposed, who have not yet learned
the first harsh lesson of survival: to devour
their weaker siblings in the high-leafed ferned
fortress and impregnable bower

from which men must fly like improbable dreams
to become poets. They have yet to learn that,
before they can soar starward, like fanciful archaic machines,
they must first assimilate the latest technology, or

lose all in the sudden realization of gravity,
following Icarus’s, sun-unwinged, singed trajectory.



The Higher Atmospheres
by Michael R. Burch

Whatever we became climbed on the thought
of Love itself; we floated on plumed wings
ten thousand miles above the breasted earth
that had vexed us to such Distance; now all things
seem small and pale, a girdle’s handsbreadth girth ...

I break upon the rocks; I break; I fling
my human form about; I writhe; I writhe.
Invention is not Mastery, nor wings
Salvation. Here the Vulture cruelly chides
and plunges at my eyes, and coos and sings ...

Oh, some will call the sun my doom, but Love
melts callow wax the higher atmospheres
leave brittle. I flew high: not high enough
to melt such frozen resins ... thus, Her jeers.



Notes toward an Icarian philosophy of life ...
by Michael R. Burch

If the mind’s and the heart’s quests were ever satisfied,
what would remain, as the goals of life?

If there was only light, with no occluding matter,
if there were only sunny mid-afternoons but no mysterious midnights,
what would become of the dreams of men?

What becomes of man’s vision, apart from terrestrial shadows?

And what of man’s character, formed
in the seething crucible of life and death,
hammered out on the anvil of Fate, by Will?

What becomes of man’s aims in the end,
when the hammer’s anthems at last are stilled?

If man should confront his terrible Creator,
capture him, hogtie him, hold his horny feet to the fire,
roast him on the spit as yet another blasphemous heretic
whose faith is suspect, derelict ...
torture a confession from him,
get him to admit, “I did it! ...

what then?

Once man has taken revenge
on the Frankenstein who created him
and has justly crucified the One True Monster, the Creator ...

what then?

Or, if revenge is not possible,
if the appearance of matter was merely a random accident,
or a group illusion (and thus a conspiracy, perhaps of dunces, us among them),
or if the Creator lies eternally beyond the reach of justice ...

what then?

Perhaps there’s nothing left but for man to perfect his character,
to fly as high as his wings will take him toward unreachable suns,
to gamble everything on some unfathomable dream, like Icarus,
then fall to earth, to perish, undone ...

or perhaps not, if the mystics are right
about the true nature of darkness and light.

Is there a source of knowledge beyond faith,
a revelation of heaven, of the Triumph of Love?

The Hebrew prophets seemed to think so,
and Paul, although he saw through a glass darkly,
and Julian of Norwich, who heard the voice of God say,
“All shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well ...”

Does hope spring eternal in the human breast,
or does it just blindly grope?



Icarus Bickerous
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Like Icarus, waxen wings melting,
white tail-feathers fall, bystanders pelting.

They look up amazed
and seem rather dazed—

was it heaven’s or hell’s furious smelting

that fashioned such vulturish wings?
And why are they singed?—

the higher you “rise,” the more halting?




 
Flight
by Michael R. Burch
 
Eagle, raven, blackbird, crow . . .
What you are I do not know.
Where you go I do not care.
I’m unconcerned whose meal you bear.
But as you mount the sunlit sky,
I only wish that I could fly.
I only wish that I could fly.
 
Robin, hawk or whippoorwill . . .
Should men care that you hunger still?
I do not wish to see your home.
I do not wonder where you roam.
But as you scale the sky's bright stairs,
I only wish that I were there.
I only wish that I were there.
 
Sparrow, lark or chickadee . . .
Your markings I disdain to see.
Where you fly concerns me not.
I scarcely give your flight a thought.
But as you wheel and arc and dive,
I, too, would feel so much alive.
I, too, would feel so much alive.
 
This is a poem that I believe I wrote as a high school sophomore. But it could have been written a bit later. I seem to remember the original poem being influenced by William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl."
 


Flying
by Michael R. Burch
 
I shall rise
and try the bloody wings of thought
ten thousand times
before I fly ...
 
and then I'll sleep
and waste ten thousand nights
before I dream;
but when at last ...
 
I soar the distant heights of undreamt skies
where never hawks nor eagles dared to go,
as I laugh among the meteors flashing by
somewhere beyond the bluest earth-bound seas ...
 
if I'm not told
I’m just a man,
then I shall know
just what I am.
 
This is one of my early poems, written around age 16-17. According to my notes, I may have revised the poem later, in 1978, but if so the changes were minor because the poem remains very close to the original.



 
Stage Craft-y
by Michael R. Burch
 
There once was a dromedary
who befriended a crafty canary.
Budgie said, "You can’t sing,
but now, here’s the thing―
just think of the tunes you can carry!"



 
Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch
 
There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
"When again, gentle bride?"
"Nevermore!" bright-eyed Raven replied.



 
Less Heroic Couplets: Murder Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch
 
“Murder 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 in Potcake Chapbook #7
 
NOTE: In an attempt to demonstrate that not all couplets are heroic, I have created a series of poems called “Less Heroic Couplets.” I believe even poets should abide by truth-in-advertising laws! ― MRB



 
Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch
 
Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!
 
Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



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



 
Delicacy
by Michael R. Burch
 
for all good mothers
 
Your love is as delicate
as a butterfly cleaning its wings,
as soft as the predicate
the hummingbird sings
to itself, gently murmuring―
“Fly! Fly! Fly!”
Your love is the string
soaring kites untie.



 
Lone Wild Goose
by Du Fu (712-770)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
The abandoned goose refuses food and drink;
he cries querulously for his companions.
 
Who feels kinship for that strange wraith
as he vanishes eerily into the heavens?
 
You watch it as it disappears;
its plaintive calls cut through you.
 
The indignant crows ignore you both:
the bickering, bantering multitudes.
 
Du Fu (712-770) is also known as Tu Fu. The first poem is addressed to the poet's wife, who had fled war with their children. Ch'ang-an is an ironic pun because it means "Long-peace."



 
The Red Cockatoo
by Po Chu-I (772-846)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
A marvelous gift from Annam―
a red cockatoo,
bright as peach blossom,
fluent in men's language.
 
So they did what they always do
to the erudite and eloquent:
they created a thick-barred cage
and shut it up.
 
Po Chu-I (772-846) is best known today for his ballads and satirical poems. Po Chu-I believed poetry should be accessible to commoners and is noted for his simple diction and natural style. His name has been rendered various ways in English: Po Chu-I, Po Chü-i, Bo Juyi and Bai Juyi.



 
The Migrant Songbird
Li Qingzhao aka Li Ching-chao (c. 1084-1155)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
The migrant songbird on the nearby yew
brings tears to my eyes with her melodious trills;
this fresh downpour reminds me of similar spills:
another spring gone, and still no word from you ...



 
Lines from Laolao Ting Pavilion
by Li Bai (701-762)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
The spring breeze knows partings are bitter;
The willow twig knows it will never be green again.



 
The Day after the Rain
Lin Huiyin (1904-1955)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
I love the day after the rain
and the meadow's green expanses!
My heart endlessly rises with wind,
gusts with wind ...
away the new-mown grasses and the fallen leaves ...
away the clouds like smoke ...
vanishing like smoke ...



 
Untitled Translations
 
Cupid, if you incinerate my soul, touché!
For like you she has wings and can fly away!
―Meleager, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
 
As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
Come, butterfly,
it’s late
and we’ve a long way to go!
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’s hit the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
Ah butterfly,
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
―Chiyo-ni, 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
 
Dry leaf flung awry:
bright butterfly,
goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku
 
Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
 
a soaring kite flits
into the heart of the sun?
Butterfly & Chrysanthemum
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku
 
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
 
Lightning
shatters the darkness―
the night heron's shriek
―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
 
A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
Hush, cawing crows; what rackets you make!
Heaven's indignant messengers,
you remind me of wordsmiths!
―O no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch
 
Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
this mountain pass.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gull
in his high, lonely circuits, may tell.
―Glaucus, translation by Michael R. Burch
 
The eagle sees farther
from its greater height―
our ancestors’ wisdom
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku
 
A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 


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.



 
Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch
 
for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.
 
he now faces the Ultimate Sunset,
his body like the leaves that fray as they dry,
shedding their vital fluids (who knows why?)
till they’ve become even lighter than the covering sky,
ready to fly ...



 
Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch
 
for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.
 
I see the longing for departure gleam
in his still-keen eye,
and I understand his desire
to test this last wind, like those late autumn leaves
with nothing left to cling to ...



 
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



 
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



 
Kin
by Michael R. Burch
 
for Richard Moore
 
1.
Shrill gulls,
how like my thoughts
you, struggling, rise
to distant bliss―
the weightless blue of skies
that are not blue
in any atmosphere,
but closest here ...
 
2.
You seek an air
so clear,
so rarified
the effort leaves you famished;
earthly tides
soon call you back―
one long, descending glide ...
 
3.
Disgruntledly you grope dirt shores for orts
you pull like mucous ropes
from shells’ bright forts ...
You eye the teeming world
with nervous darts―
this way and that ...


Contentious, shrewd, you scan―
the sky, in hope,
the earth, distrusting man.



 
Songstress
by Michael R. Burch
 
Within its starkwhite ribcage, how the heart
must flutter wildly, O, and always sing
against the pressing darkness: all it knows
until at last it feels the numbing sting
of death. Then life's brief vision swiftly passes,
imposing night on one who clearly saw.
Death held your bright heart tightly, till its maw―
envenomed, fanged―could swallow, whole, your Awe.
And yet it was not death so much as you
who sealed your doom; you could not help but sing
and not be silenced. Here, behold your tomb's
white alabaster cage: pale, wretched thing!
But you'll not be imprisoned here, wise wren!
Your words soar free; rise, sing, fly, live again.
 
A poet like Nadia Anjuman can be likened to a caged bird, deprived of flight, who somehow finds it within herself to sing of love and beauty. But when the world finally robs her of both flight and song, what is left for her but to leave the world, thus bereaving the world of herself and her song?



 
Performing Art
by Michael R. Burch
 
Who teaches the wren
in its drab existence
to explode into song?
 
What parodies of irony
does the jay espouse
with its sharp-edged tongue?
 
What instinctual memories
lend stunning brightness
to the strange dreams
 
of the dull gray slug
―spinning its chrysalis,
gluing rough seams―
 
abiding in darkness
its transformation,
till, waving damp wings,
 
it applauds its performance?
I am done with irony.
Life itself sings.



 
Lean Harvests
by Michael R. Burch
 
for T.M.
 
the trees are shedding their leaves again:
another summer is over.
the Christians are praising their Maker again,
but not the disconsolate plover:
i hear him berate
the fate
of his mate;
he claims God is no body’s lover.
 
Published by The Rotary Dial and Angle



 
My Forty-Ninth Year
by Michael R. Burch
 
My forty-ninth year
and the dew remembers
how brightly it glistened
encrusting September, ...
one frozen September
when hawks ruled the sky
and death fell on wings
with a shrill, keening cry.
 
My forty-ninth year,
and still I recall
the weavings and windings
of childhood, of fall ...
of fall enigmatic,
resplendent, yet sere, ...
though vibrant the herald
of death drawing near.
 
My forty-ninth year
and now often I've thought on
the course of a lifetime,
the meaning of autumn,
the cycle of autumn
with winter to come,
of aging and death
and rebirth ... on and on.
 
Originally published by Romantics Quarterly as “My Twenty-Ninth Year”



 
Myth
by Michael R. Burch
 
Here the recalcitrant wind
sighs with grievance and remorse
over fields of wayward gorse
and thistle-throttled lanes.
 
And she is the myth of the scythed wheat
hewn and sighing, complete,
waiting, lain in a low sheaf―
full of faith, full of grief.
 
Here the immaculate dawn
requires belief of the leafed earth
and she is the myth of the mown grain―
golden and humble in all its weary worth.






What Works
by Michael R. Burch
 
for David Gosselin
 
What works―
hewn stone;
the blush the iris shows the sun;
the lilac’s pale-remembered bloom.
 
The frenzied fly: mad-lively, gay,
as seconds tick his time away,
his sentence―one brief day in May,
a period. And then decay.
 
A frenzied rhyme’s mad tip-toed time,
a ballad’s languid as the sea,
seek, striving―immortality.
 
When gloss peels off, what works will shine.
When polish fades, what works will gleam.
When intellectual prattle pales,
the dying buzzing in the hive
of tedious incessant bees,
what works will soar and wheel and dive
and milk all honey, leap and thrive,
 
and teach the pallid poem to seethe.




 
Desdemona
by Michael R. Burch
 
Though you possessed the moon and stars,
you are bound to fate and wed to chance.
Your lips deny they crave a kiss;
your feet deny they ache to dance.
Your heart imagines wild romance.
 
Though you cupped fire in your hands
and molded incandescent forms,
you are barren now, and―spent of flame―
the ashes that remain are borne
toward the sun upon a storm.
 
You, who demanded more, have less,
your heart within its cells of sighs
held fast by chains of misery,
confined till death for peddling lies―
imprisonment your sense denies.
 
You, who collected hearts like leaves
and pressed each once within your book,
forgot. None―winsome, bright or rare―
not one was worth a second look.
My heart, as others, you forsook.
 
But I, though I loved you from afar
through silent dawns, and gathered rue
from gardens where your footsteps left
cold paths among the asters, knew―
each moonless night the nettles grew
 
and strangled hope, where love dies too.
 
Published by Penny Dreadful, Carnelian, Romantics Quarterly, Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Life & Times



 
Transplant
by Michael R. Burch
 
You float, unearthly angel, clad in flesh
as strange to us who briefly knew your flame
as laughter to disease. And yet you laugh.
Behind your smile, the sun forfeits its claim
to earth, and floats forever now the same―
light captured at its moment of least height.
 
You laugh here always, welcoming the night,
and, just a photograph, still you can claim
bright rapture: like an angel, not of flesh―
but something more, made less. Your humanness
this moment of release becomes a name
and something else―a radiance, a strange
brief presence near our hearts. How can we stand
and chain you here to this nocturnal land
of burgeoning gray shadows? Fly, begone.
I give you back your soul, forfeit all claim
to radiance, and welcome grief’s dark night
that crushes all the laughter from us. Light
in someone Else’s hand, and sing at ease
some song of brightsome mirth through dawn-lit trees
to welcome morning’s sun. O daughter! these
are eyes too weak for laughter; for love’s sight,
I welcome darkness, overcome with light.




 
Rilke Translations
 
Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
We cannot know the beheaded god
nor his eyes' forfeited visions. But still
the figure's trunk glows with the strange vitality
of a lamp lit from within, while his composed will
emanates dynamism. Otherwise
the firmly muscled abdomen could not beguile us,
nor the centering loins make us smile
at the thought of their generative animus.
Otherwise the stone might seem deficient,
unworthy of the broad shoulders, of the groin
projecting procreation's triangular spearhead upwards,
unworthy of the living impulse blazing wildly within
like an inchoate star―demanding our belief.
You must change your life.



 
Herbsttag ("Autumn Day")
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
Lord, it is time. Let the immense summer go.
Lay your long shadows over the sundials
and over the meadows, let the free winds blow.
Command the late fruits to fatten and shine;
O, grant them another Mediterranean hour!
Urge them to completion, and with power
convey final sweetness to the heavy wine.
Who has no house now, never will build one.
Who's alone now, shall continue alone;
he'll wake, read, write long letters to friends,
and pace the tree-lined pathways up and down,
restlessly, as autumn leaves drift and descend.
 
Originally published by Measure



 
The Panther
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
His weary vision's so overwhelmed by iron bars,
his exhausted eyes see only blank Oblivion.
His world is not our world. It has no stars.
No light. Ten thousand bars. Nothing beyond.
Lithe, swinging with a rhythmic easy stride,
he circles, his small orbit tightening,
an electron losing power. Paralyzed,
soon regal Will stands stunned, an abject thing.
Only at times the pupils' curtains rise
silently, and then an image enters,
descends through arrested shoulders, plunges, centers
somewhere within his empty heart, and dies.



 
Come, You
by Ranier Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
This was Rilke's last poem, written ten days before his death. He died open-eyed in the arms of his doctor on December 29,1926, in the Valmont Sanatorium, of leukemia and its complications. I had a friend who died of leukemia and he was burning up with fever in the end. I believe that is what Rilke was describing here: he was literally burning alive.
 
Come, you―the last one I acknowledge; return―
incurable pain searing this physical mesh.
As I burned in the spirit once, so now I burn
with you; meanwhile, you consume my flesh.
 
This wood that long resisted your embrace
now nourishes you; I surrender to your fury
as my gentleness mutates to hellish rage―
uncaged, wild, primal, mindless, outré.
 
Completely free, no longer future's pawn,
I clambered up this crazy pyre of pain,
certain I'd never return―my heart's reserves gone―
to become death's nameless victim, purged by flame.
 
Now all I ever was must be denied.
I left my memories of my past elsewhere.
That life―my former life―remains outside.
Inside, I'm lost. Nobody knows me here.



 
Love Song
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
How can I withhold my soul so that it doesn't touch yours?
How can I lift mine gently to higher things, alone?
Oh, I would gladly find something lost in the dark
in that inert space that fails to resonate until you vibrate.
There everything that moves us, draws us together like a bow
enticing two taut strings to sing together with a simultaneous voice.
Whose instrument are we becoming together?
Whose, the hands that excite us?
Ah, sweet song!



 
The Beggar's Song
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
 
I live outside your gates,
exposed to the rain, exposed to the sun;
sometimes I'll cradle my right ear
in my right palm;
then when I speak my voice sounds strange,
alien...
 
I'm unsure whose voice I'm hearing:
mine or yours.
I implore a trifle;
the poets cry for more.
 
Sometimes I cover both eyes
and my face disappears;
there it lies heavy in my hands
looking peaceful, instead,
so that no one would ever think
I have no place to lay my head.



 
Ivy
by Michael R. Burch
 
“Van trepando en mi viejo dolor como las yedras.” ― Pablo Neruda
“They climb on my old suffering like ivy.”
 
Ivy winds around these sagging structures
from the flagstones
to the eave heights,
and, clinging, holds intact
what cannot be saved of their loose entrails.
 
Through long, blustery nights of dripping condensation,
cured in the humidors of innumerable forgotten summers,
waxy, unguent,
palely, indifferently fragrant, it climbs,
pausing at last to see
the alien sparkle of dew
beading delicate sparrowgrass.
 
Coarse saw grass, thin skunk grass, clumped mildewed yellow gorse
grow all around, and here remorse, things past,
watch ivy climb and bend,
and, in the end, we ask
if grief is worth the gaps it leaps to mend.
 
Keywords/Tags: past, memory, memories, remembrance, regret, regrets, time, loss, age, aging, grief



 
Joy in the Morning
by Michael R. Burch
 
for my grandparents George Edwin Hurt and Christine Ena Hurt
 
There will be joy in the morning
for now this long twilight is over
and their separation has ended.
For fourteen years, he had not seen her
whom he first befriended,
then courted and married.
Let there be joy, and no mourning,
for now in his arms she is carried
over a threshold vastly sweeter.
He never lost her; she only tarried
until he was able to meet her.
 
Keywords/Tags: George Edwin Hurt Christine Ena Spouse reunited heaven joy together forever



 
Prodigal
by Michael R. Burch
 
This poem is dedicated to Kevin Longinotti, who died four days short of graduation from Vanderbilt University, the victim of a tornado that struck Nashville on April 16, 1998.
 
You have graduated now,
to a higher plane
and your heart’s tenacity
teaches us not to go gently
though death intrudes.
 
For eighteen days
―jarring interludes
of respite and pain―
with life only faintly clinging,
like a cashmere snow,
testing the capacity
of the blood banks
with the unstaunched flow
of your severed veins,
in the collapsing declivity,
in the sanguine haze
where Death broods,
you struggled defiantly.
 
A city mourns its adopted son,
flown to the highest ranks
while each heart complains
at the harsh validity
of God’s ways.
 
On ponderous wings
the white clouds move
with your captured breath,
though just days before
they spawned the maelstrom’s
hellish rift.
 
Throw off this mortal coil,
this envelope of flesh,
this brief sheath
of inarticulate grief
and transient joy.
 
Forget the winds
which test belief,
which bear the parchment leaf
down life’s last sun-lit path.
 
We applaud your spirit, O Prodigal,
O Valiant One,
in its percussive flight into the sun,
winging on the heart’s last madrigal.



 
Breakings
by Michael R. Burch
 
I did it out of pity.
I did it out of love.
I did it not to break the heart of a tender, wounded dove.
 
But gods without compassion
ordained: Frail things must break!
Now what can I do for her shattered psyche’s sake?
 
I did it not to push.
I did it not to shove.
I did it to assist the flight of indiscriminate Love.
 
But gods, all mad as hatters,
who legislate in all such matters,
ordained that everything irreplaceable shatters.



 
The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch
 
I never meant to love you
when I held you in my arms
promising you sagely
wise, noncommittal charms.
 
And I never meant to need you
when I touched your tender lips
with kisses that intrigued my own―
such kisses I had never known,
nor a heartbeat in my fingertips!




 
An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch
 
The sky was as hushed as the breath of a bee
and the world was bathed in shades of palest gold
when I awoke.
 
She came to me with the sound of falling leaves
and the scent of new-mown grass;
I held out my arms to her and she passed
 
into oblivion ...
 
This is one of my early poems, written around age 16 and published in my high school literary journal, The Lantern.


 


Second Sight (II)
by Michael R. Burch
 
Newborns see best at a distance of 8 to 14 inches.
 
Wiser than we know, the newborn screams,
red-faced from breath, and wonders what life means
this close to death, amid the arctic glare
of warmthless lights above.
Beware! Beware!―
encrypted signals, codes? Or ciphers, noughts?
 
Interpretless, almost, as his own thoughts―
the brilliant lights, the brilliant lights exist.
Intruding faces ogle, gape, insist―
this madness, this soft-hissing breath, makes sense.
Why can he not float on, in dark suspense,
and dream of life? Why did they rip him out?
 
He frowns at them―small gnomish frowns, all doubt―
and with an ancient mien, O sorrowful!,
re-closes eyes that saw in darkness null
ecstatic sights, exceeding beautiful.



 
Incommunicado
by Michael R. Burch
 
All I need to know of life I learned
in the slap of a moment,
as my outward eye turned
toward a gauntlet of overhanging lights
which coldly burned, hissing―
 
"There is no way back! . . ."
 
As the ironic bright blood
trickled down my face,
I watched strange albino creatures twisting
my flesh into tight knots of separation
all the while tediously insisting―
 
“He's doing just fine!"



 
Letdown
by Michael R. Burch
 
Life has not lived up to its first bright vision―
the light overhead fluorescing, revealing
no blessing―bestowing its glaring assessments
impersonally (and no doubt carefully metered).
 
That first hard
 
SLAP
 
demanded my attention. Defiantly rigid,
I screamed at their backs as they, laughingly,
 
ripped
 
my mother’s pale flesh from my unripened shell,
snapped it in two like a pea pod, then dropped
it somewhere―in a dustbin or a furnace, perhaps.
 
And that was my clue
 
that some deadly, perplexing, unknowable task
lay, inexplicable, ahead in the white arctic maze
of unopenable doors, in the antiseptic gloom . . .
 
Keywords/Tags: birth, umbilical cord, harsh, overhead, florescent, light, slap, maze, gloom, earth, life, death



 
Recursion
by Michael R. Burch
 
In a dream I saw boys lying
under banners gaily flying
and I heard their mothers sighing
from some dark distant shore.
 
For I saw their sons essaying
into fields―gleeful, braying―
their bright armaments displaying;
such manly oaths they swore!
 
From their playfields, boys returning
full of honor’s white-hot burning
and desire’s restless yearning
sired new kids for the corps.
 
In a dream I saw boys dying
under banners gaily lying
and I heard their mothers crying
from some dark distant shore.



 
Poet to poet
by Michael R. Burch
 
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



 
Beast 666
by Michael R. Burch
 
“... what rough beast ... slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”―W. B. Yeats
 
Brutality is a cross
wooden, blood-stained,
gas hissing, sibilant,
lungs gilled, deveined,
red flecks on a streaked glass pane,
jeers jubilant,
mocking.
 
Brutality is shocking―
tiny orifices torn,
impaled with hard lust,
the fetus unborn
tossed in a dust-
bin. The scarred skull shorn,
nails bloodied, tortured,
an old wound sutured
over, never healed.
 
Brutality, all its faces revealed,
is legion:
Death March, Trail of Tears, Inquisition . . .
always the same.
The Beast of the godless and of man’s “religion”
slouching toward Jerusalem:
horned, crowned, gibbering, drooling, insane.




 
Kindergarten
by Michael R. Burch
 
Will we be children as puzzled tomorrow―
our lessons still not learned?
Will we surrender over to sorrow?
How many times must our fingers be burned?
 
Will we be children sat in the corner,
paddled again and again?
How long must we linger, playing Jack Horner?
Will we ever learn, and when?
 
Will we be children wearing the dunce cap,
giggling and playing the fool,
re-learning our lessons forever and ever,
still failing the golden rule?



 
Photographs
by Michael R. Burch
 
Here are the effects of a life
and they might tell us a tale
(if only we had time to listen)
of how each imperiled tear would glisten,
remembered as brightness in her eyes,
and how each dawn’s dramatic skies
could never match such pale azure.
 
Like dreams of her, these ghosts endure
and they tell us a tale of impatient glory . . .
till a line appears―a trace of worry?―
or the wayward track of a wandering smile
which even now can charm, beguile?
 
We might find good cause to wonder
as we see her pause (to frown?, to ponder?):
what vexed her in her loveliness . . .
what weight, what crushing heaviness
turned her lustrous hair a frazzled gray,
and stole her youth before her day?
 
We might ask ourselves: did Time devour
the passion with the ravaged flower?
But here and there a smile will bloom
to light the leaden, shadowed gloom
that always seems to linger near . . .
 
And here we find a single tear:
its shimmers like translucent dew
and tells us Anguish touched her too,
and did not spare her for her hair
of copper, or her eyes so blue.
 
Published in Tucumcari Literary Review (the first poem in its issue)



 
Numbered
by Michael R. Burch
 
He desired an object to crave;
she came, and she altared his affection.
He asked her for something to save:
a memento for his collection.
 
But all that she had was her need;
what she needed, he knew not to give.
They compromised on a thing gone to seed
to complete the half lives they would live.
 
One in two, they were less than complete.
Two plus one, in their huge fractious home
left them two, the new one in the street,
then he, by himself, one, alone.
 
He awoke past his prime to new dawn
with superfluous dew all around,
in ten thousands bright beads on his lawn,
and he knew that, at last, he had found
 
a number of things he had missed:
things shining and bright, unencumbered
by their price, or their place on a list.
Then with joy and despair he remembered
 
and longed for the lips he had kissed
when his days were still evenly numbered.



 
Nucleotidings
by Michael R. Burch
 
“We will walk taller!” said Gupta,
sorta abrupta,
hand-in-hand with his mom,
eyeing the A-bomb.
 
“Who needs a mahatma
in the aftermath of NAFTA?
Now, that was a disaster,”
cried glib Punjab.
 
“After Y2k,
time will spin out of control anyway,”
flamed Vijay.
 
“My family is relatively heavy,
too big even for a pig-barn Chevy;
we need more space,”
spat What’s His Face.
 
“What does it matter,
dirge or mantra,”
sighed Serge.
 
“The world will wobble
in Hubble’s lens
till the tempest ends,”
wailed Mercedes.
 
“The world is going to hell in a bucket.
So fuck it and get outta my face!
We own this place!
Me and my friends got more guns than ISIS,
so what’s the crisis?”
cried Bubba Billy Joe Bob Puckett.



 
Shadowselves
by Michael R. Burch
 
In our hearts, knowing
fewer days―and milder―beckon,
how are we, now, to measure
that flame by which we reckon
the time we have remaining?
 
We are shadows
spawned by a blue spurt of candlelight.
Darkly, we watch ourselves flicker.
Where shall we go when the flame burns less bright?
When chill night steals our vigor?
 
Why are we less than ourselves? We are shadows.
Where is the fire of youth? We grow cold.
Why does our future loom dark? We are old.
Why do we shiver?
 
In our hearts, seeing
fewer days―and briefer―breaking,
now, even more, we treasure
the brittle leaf-like aching
that tells us we are living.



 
Pressure
by Michael R. Burch
 
Pressure is the plug of ice in the frozen hose,
the hiss of water within vinyl rigidly green and shining,
straining to writhe.
 
Pressure is the kettle’s lid ceaselessly tapping its tired dance,
the hot eye staring, its frantic issuance
unavailing.
 
Pressure is the bellow’s surge, the hard forged
metal shedding white heat, the beat of the clawed hammer
on cold anvil.
 
Pressure is a day’s work compressed into minutes,
frantic minute vessels constricted, straining and hissing,
unable to writhe,
 
the fingers drumming and tapping their tired dance,
eyes staring, cold and reptilian,
hooded and blind.
 
Pressure is the spirit sighing―reflective,
restrictive compression―an endless drumming―
the bellows’ echo before dying.
 
The cold eye―unblinking, staring.
The hot eye―sinking, uncaring.



 
Open Portal
by Michael R. Burch
 
“You already have zero privacy―get over it.”
Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems
 
While you’re at it―
don’t bother to wear clothes:
We all know what you’re concealing underneath.
 
Let the bathroom door swing open.
Let, O let Us peer in!
What you’re doing, We’ve determined, may be a sin!
 
When you visit your mother
and it’s time to brush your teeth,
it’s okay to openly spit.
 
And, while you’re at it,
go ahead―
take a long, noisy shit.
 
What the he|ll is your objection?
What on earth is all this fuss?
Just what is it, exactly, you would hide from US?



 
beMused
by Michael R. Burch
 
Perhaps at three
you'll come to tea,
to sip a cuppa here?
 
You'll just stop in
to drink dry gin?
I only have a beer.
 
To name the greats:
Pope, Dryden, mates?
The whole world knows their names.
 
Discuss the songs
of Emerson?
But these are children's games.
 
Give me rhythm
wild as Dylan!
Give me Bobbie Burns!
 
Give me Psalms,
or Hopkins’ poems,
Hart Crane’s, if he returns!
 
Or Langston railing!
Blake assailing!
Few others I desire.
 
Or go away,
yes, leave today:
your tepid poets tire.



 
The Century’s Wake
by Michael R. Burch
 
lines written at the close of the 20th century
 
Take me home. The party is over,
the century passed―no time for a lover.
And my heart grew heavy
as the fireworks hissed through the dark
over Central Park,
past high-towering spires to some backwoods levee,
 
hurtling banner-hung docks to the torchlit seas.
And my heart grew heavy;
I felt its disease―
its apathy,
wanting the bright, rhapsodic display
to last more than a single day.
 
If decay was its rite,
now it has learned to long
for something with more intensity,
more gaudy passion, more song―
like the huddled gay masses,
the wildly-cheering throng.
 
You ask me―
How can this be?
A little more flair,
or perhaps only a little more clarity.
I leave her tonight to the century’s wake;
she disappoints me.



 
Salve
by Michael R. Burch
 
for the victims and survivors of 9-11
 
The world is unsalvageable ...
 
but as we lie here
in bed
stricken to the heart by love
despite war’s
flickering images,
 
sometimes we still touch,
 
laughing, amazed,
that our flesh
does not despair
of love
as we do,
 
that our bodies are wise
 
in ways we refuse
to comprehend,
still insisting we eat,
drink ...
even multiply.
 
And so we touch ...
 
touch, and only imagine
ourselves immune:
two among billions
 
in this night of wished-on stars,
 
caresses,
kisses,
and condolences.
 
We are not lovers of irony,
 
we
who imagine ourselves
beyond the redemption
of tears
because we have salvaged
so few
for ourselves ...
 
and so we laugh
at our predicament,
fumbling for the ointment.



 
Stump
by Michael R. Burch
 
This used to be a poplar, oak or elm . . .
we forget the names of trees, but still its helm,
green-plumed, like some Greek warrior’s, nobly fringed,
with blossoms almond-white, but verdant-tinged,
this massive helm . . . this massive, nodding head
here contemplated life, and now is dead . . .
 
Perhaps it saw its future, furrow-browed,
and flung its limbs about, dejectedly.
Perhaps it only dreamed as, cloud by cloud,
the sun plod through the sky. Heroically,
perhaps it stood against the mindless plots
of concrete that replaced each flowered bed.
Perhaps it heard thick loggers draw odd lots
and could not flee, and so could only dread . . .
 
The last of all its kind? They left its stump
with timeworn strange inscriptions no one reads
(because a language lost is just a bump
impeding someone’s progress at mall speeds).
We leveled all such “speed bumps” long ago
just as our quainter cousins leveled trees.
Shall we, too, be consumed by what we know?
Once gods were merely warriors; august trees
were merely twigs, and man the least divine . . .
mere fables now, dust, compost, turpentine.



 
First Dance
by Michael R. Burch
 
for Sykes and Mary Harris
 
Beautiful ballerina―
so pert, pretty, poised and petite,
how lightly you dance for your waiting Beau
on those beautiful, elegant feet!
How palely he now awaits you, although
he’ll glow from the sparks when you meet!



 
Keep the Body Well
by Michael R. Burch
 
for William Sykes Harris III
 
Is the soul connected to the brain
by a slender silver thread,
so that when the thread is severed
we call the body “dead”
while the soul ― released from fear and pain ―
is finally able to rise
beyond earth’s binding gravity
to heaven’s welcoming skies?
 
If so ― no need to quail at death,
but keep the body well,
for when the body suffers
the soul experiences hell.



 
On Looking into Curious George’s Mirrors
by Michael R. Burch
 
for Maya McManmon, granddaughter of the poet Jim McManmon
 
Maya was made in the image of God;
may the reflections she sees in those curious mirrors
always echo back Love.
 
Amen



 
Maya’s Beddy-Bye Poem
by Michael R. Burch
 
for Maya McManmon, granddaughter of the poet Jim McManmon
 
With a hatful of stars
and a stylish umbrella
and her hand in her Papa’s
(that remarkable fella!)
and with Winnie the Pooh
and Eeyore in tow,
may she dance in the rain
cheek-to-cheek, toe-to-toe
till each number’s rehearsed ...
My, that last step’s a leap!―
the high flight into bed
when it’s past time to sleep!
 
Note: “Hatful of Stars” is a lovely song and image by Cyndi Lauper.



 
Chip Off the Block
by Michael R. Burch
 
for Jeremy
 
In the fusion of poetry and drama,
Shakespeare rules! Jeremy’s a ham: a
chip off the block, like his father and mother.
Part poet? Part ham? Better run for cover!
Now he’s Benedick ― most comical of lovers!
 
NOTE: Jeremy’s father is a poet and his mother is an actress; hence the fusion, or confusion, as the case may be.



 
Whose Woods
by Michael R. Burch
 
Whose woods these are, I think I know.
Dick Cheney’s in the White House, though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his chip mills overflow.
 
My sterile horse must think it queer
To stop without a ’skeeter near
Beside this softly glowing “lake”
Of six-limbed frogs gone nuclear.
 
He gives his hairless tail a shake;
I fear he’s made his last mistake―
He took a sip of water blue
(Blue-slicked with oil and HazMat waste).
 
Get out your wallets; Dick’s not through―
Enron’s defunct, the bill comes due . . .
Which he will send to me, and you.
Which he will send to me, and you.



 
1-800-HOT-LINE
by Michael R. Burch
 
“I don’t believe in psychics,” he said, “so convince me.”
When you were a child, the earth was a joy,
the sun a bright plaything, the moon a lit toy.
Now life’s minor distractions irk, frazzle, annoy.
When the crooked finger beckons, scythe-talons destroy.
 
“You’ll have to do better than that, to convince me.”
As you grew older, bright things lost their meaning.
You invested your hours in commodities, leaning
to things easily fleeced, to the convenient gleaning.
I see a pittance of dirt―untended, demeaning.
 
“Everyone knows that!” he said, “so convince me.”
Your first and last wives traded in golden bands
for vacations from the abuses of your hands.
Where unwatered blooms litter a dark plot of land,
the two come together, waving fans.
 
“Everyone knows that. Convince me.”
As your father left you, you left those you brought
to the doorstep of life as an afterthought.
Two sons and a daughter tap shoes, undistraught.
Their tears are contrived, their condolences bought.
 
“Everyone knows that. CONVINCE me.”
A moment, an instant . . . a life flashes by,
a tunnel appears, but not to the sky.
There is brightness, such brightness it sears the eye.
When a life grows too dull, it seems better to die.
 
“I could have told you that!” he shrieked, “I think I’ll kill myself!”
 
Originally published by Penny Dreadful



 
Lines for My Ascension
by Michael R. Burch
 
I.
 
If I should die,
there will come a Doom,
and the sky will darken
to the deepest Gloom.
 
But if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.
 
II.
 
If I should die,
let no mortal say,
“Here was a man,
with feet of clay,
 
or a timid sparrow
God’s hand let fall.”
But watch the sky darken
to an eerie pall
 
and know that my Spirit,
unvanquished, broods,
and cares naught for graves,
prayers, coffins, or roods.
 
And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.
 
III.
 
If I should die,
let no man adore
his incompetent Maker:
Zeus, Jehovah, or Thor.
 
Think of Me as One
who never died―
the unvanquished Immortal
with the unriven side.
 
And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.
 
IV.
 
And if I should “die,”
though the clouds grow dark
as fierce lightnings rend
this bleak asteroid, stark ...
 
If you look above,
you will see a bright Sign―
the sun with the moon
in its arms, Divine.
 
So divine, if you can,
my bright meaning, and know―
my Spirit is mine.
I will go where I go.
 
And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.



Bio: Michael R. Burch is an American poet who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth, their son Jeremy, and three outrageously spoiled puppies. His poems, epigrams, translations, essays, articles, reviews, short stories and letters have appeared more than 6,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, The Hindu, BBC Radio 3, CNN.com, Daily Kos, The Washington Post, Light Quarterly, The Lyric, Measure, Writer's Digest—The Year's Best Writing, The Best of the Eclectic Muse, Unlikely Stories and hundreds of other literary journals, websites and blogs. Mike Burch is also the founder and editor-in-chief of The HyperTexts, a former columnist for the Nashville City Paper and, according to Google's rankings, a relevant online publisher of poems about the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Trail of Tears, Darfur, Haiti, Gaza and the Palestinian Nakba. He has two published books, Violets for Beth (White Violet Press, 2012) and O, Terrible Angel (Ancient Cypress Press, 2013). A third book, Auschwitz Rose, is still in the chute but long delayed. Burch's poetry has been translated into fourteen languages and set to music by nine composers. His poem "First They Came for the Muslims" has been adopted by Amnesty International for its Words That Burn anthology, a free online resource for students and educators. Burch has also served as editor of International Poetry and Translations for the literary journal Better Than Starbucks.

For an expanded bio, circum vitae and career timeline of the poet, please click here: Michael R. Burch Expanded Bio.

Related Pages: "Davenport Tomorrow" Analysis, "Epitaph" Analysis, "Neglect" Analysis, "Passionate One" Analysis, "Something" Analysis, "Self Reflection" Analysis, "Will There Be Starlight" Analysis

The HyperTexts