Poems About Poets Poem by Michael Burch

Poems About Poets



Poems about Poets and Poems for Poets and Poems 'after' other Poets


Caveat Spender
by Michael R. Burch

for Stephen Spender

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



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



The Better Man
by Michael R. Burch
 
Dear Ed: I don't understand why
you will publish this other guy—
when I'm brilliant, devoted,
one hell of a poet!
Yet you publish Anonymous. Fie!

Fie! A pox on your head if you favor
this poet who's dubious, unsavor
y, inconsistent in texts,
no address (I checked!) :
since he's plagiarized Unknown, I'll wager!



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

for Edgar Allan Poe

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty...

what do we know of love,
or duty?

Published by Swathe of Light and The HyperTexts



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.

Originally published by LIGHT



The Forge
by Michael R. Burch

for Seamus Heaney

To at last be indestructible, a poem
must first glow, almost flammable, upon
a thing inert, as gray, as dull as stone,

then bend this way and that, and slowly cool
at arm's-length, something irreducible
drawn out with caution, toughened in a pool

of water so contrary just a hiss
escapes it—water instantly a mist.
It writhes, a thing of senseless shapelessness...

And then the driven hammer falls and falls.
The horses prick their ears in nearby stalls.
A soldier on his cot leans back and smiles.

A sound of ancient import, with the ring
of honest labor, sings of fashioning.

Published by The Chariton Review, The Eclectic Muse, English Poetry, Inspirational Stories, Trinacria, Poetry Life & Times and Famous Poets and Poems

This is a sonnet about forging sonnets. The gray 'anvil' is the human brain. The fiery 'glow' is the poetic imagination. The cooling and shaping are the process of revision. The hammer is the poet's pen, producing order out of chaos.



Gallant Knight
by Michael R. Burch

for Alfred Dorn and Anita Dorn

Till you rest with your beautiful Anita,
rouse yourself, Poet; rouse and write.
The world is not ready for your departure,
Gallant Knight.

Teach us to sing in the ringing cathedrals
of your Verse, as you outduel the Night.
Give us new eyes to see Love's bright Vision
robed in Light.

Teach us to pray, that the true Word may conquer,
that the slaves may be freed, the blind have Sight.
Write the word LOVE with a burning finger.
I shall recite.

O, bless us again with your chivalrous pen,
Gallant Knight!

It was my honor to have been able to publish the poetry of Dr. Alfred Dorn and his wife Anita Dorn.



The People Loved What They Had Loved Before
by Michael R. Burch

We did not worship at the shrine of tears;
we knew not to believe, not to confess.
And so, ahemming victors, to false cheers,
we wrote off love, we gave a stern address
to bards whose methods irked us, greats of yore.
*And the people loved what they had loved before*.

We did not build stone monuments to stand
six hundred years and grow more strong and arch
like bridges from the people to the Land
beyond their reach. Instead, we played a march,
pale Neros, sparking flames from door to door.
*And the people loved what they had loved before*.

We could not pipe of cheer, or even woe.
We played a minor air of Ire (in E) .
The sheep chose to ignore us, even though,
long destitute, we plied our songs for free.
We wrote, rewrote and warbled one same score.
*And the people loved what they had loved before*.

At last outlandish wailing, we confess,
ensued, because no listeners were left.
We built a shrine to tears: our goddess less
divine than man, and, like us, long bereft.
We stooped to love too late, too Learned to whore.
*And the people loved what they had loved before*.


Mnemosyne was stunned into astonishment when she heard honey-tongued Sappho, wondering how mortal men merited a tenth Muse.
—Antipater of Sidon, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



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



Abide
by Michael R. Burch

after Philip Larkin's 'Aubade'

It is hard to understand or accept mortality—
such an alien concept: not to be.
Perhaps unsettling enough to spawn religion,
or to scare mutant fish out of a primordial sea
boiling like goopy green soup in a kettle.

Perhaps a man should exhibit more mettle
than to admit such fear, denying Nirvana exists
simply because we are stuck here in such a fine fettle.

And so we abide... even in life, staring out across that dark brink.
And if the thought of death makes your questioning heart sink,
it is best not to drink (or, drinking, certainly not to think) .

Originally published by Light



Confetti for Ferlinghetti
by Michael R. Burch

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
is the only poet whose name rhymes with 'spaghetti'
and, while not being quite as rich as J. Paul Getty,
he still deserves some confetti
for selling a million books while being a modern Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his rhyming namesake, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was both poet and painter.



A Passing Observation about Thinking Outside the Box
by Michael R. Burch

William Blake had no public, and yet he's still read.
His critics are dead.



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.



Elemental
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Dylan Thomas

The poet delves earth's detritus—hard toil—
for raw-edged nouns, barbed verbs, vowels' lush bouquet;
each syllable his pen excretes—dense soil,
dark images impacted, rooted clay.

The poet sees the sea but feels its meaning—
the teeming brine, the mirrored oval flame
that leashes and excites its turgid surface...
then squanders years imagining love's the same.

Belatedly, he turns to what lies broken—
the scarred and furrowed plot he fiercely sifts,
among death's sicksweet dungs and composts seeking
one element whose scorching flame uplifts.



At Wilfred Owen's Grave
by Michael R. Burch

A week before the Armistice, you died.
They did not keep your heart like Livingstone's,
then plant your bones near Shakespeare's. So you lie
between two privates, sacrificed like Christ
to politics, your poetry unknown
except for that brief flurry's: thirteen months
with Gaukroger beside you in the trench,
dismembered, as you babbled, as the stench
of gangrene filled your nostrils, till you clenched
your broken heart together and the fist
began to pulse with life, so close to death.

Or was it at Craiglockhart, in the care
of 'ergotherapists' that you sensed life
is only in the work, and made despair
a thing that Yeats despised, but also breath,
a mouthful's merest air, inspired less
than wrested from you, and which we confess
we only vaguely breathe: the troubled air
that even Sassoon failed to share, because
a man in pieces is not healed by gauze,
and breath's transparent, unless we believe
the words are true despite their lack of weight
and float to us like chlorine—scalding eyes,
and lungs, and hearts. Your words revealed the fate
of boys who retched up life here, gagged on lies.

Published by The Chariton Review, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, Rogue Scholars, Romantics Quarterly, Mindful of Poetry, Famous Poets and Poems, Poetry Life & Times, and Other Voices International



US Verse, after Auden
by Michael R. Burch

'Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.'

Verse has small value in our Unisphere,
nor is it fit for windy revelation.
It cannot legislate less taxing fears;
it cannot make us, several, a nation.
Enumerator of our sins and dreams,
it pens its cryptic numbers, and it sings,
a little quaintly, of the ways of love.
(It seems of little use for lesser things.)

The Unisphere mentioned is a large stainless steel representation of the earth; it was commissioned to celebrate the beginning of the space age for the 1964 New York World's Fair.



Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

for Emily Dickinson

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



Nod to the Master
by Michael R. Burch

If every witty thing that's said were true,
Oscar Wilde, the world would worship You!



Goddess
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

'What will you conceive in me? '—
I asked her. But she
only smiled.

'Naked, I bore your child
when the wolf wind howled,
when the cold moon scowled...
naked, and gladly.'

'What will become of me? '—
I asked her, as she
absently stroked my hand.

Centuries later, I understand:
she whispered—'I Am.'

Published by Romantics Quarterly (the first poem in the first issue) , Penny Dreadful, Unlikely Stories, Underground Poets, Poetically Speaking, Poetry Life & Times and Little Brown Poetry



Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

The sea at night seems
an alembic of dreams—
the moans of the gulls,
the foghorns' bawlings.

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

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

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

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



The Harvest of Roses
by Michael R. Burch

for Harvey Stanbrough

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

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

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



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

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

Published by Songs of Innocence, Romantics Quarterly, Poetry Life & Times and The Chained Muse



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

for Richard Moore

1.
Shrill gull,
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.

Published by Triplopia. Able Muse and The HyperTexts



escape!
by michael r. burch

for anaïs vionet

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

Published by Andwerve, Bewildering Stories and The HyperTexts



The Heimlich Limerick
by Michael R. Burch

for Tom Merrill

The sanest of poets once wrote:
'Friend, why be a sheep or a goat?
Why follow the leader
or be a blind breeder? '
But almost no one took note.



The Pain of Love
by Michael R. Burch

for Tom Merrill

The pain of love is this:
the parting after the kiss;

the train steaming from the station
whistling abnegation;

each interstate's bleak white bar / every highways' broken white bar
that vanishes under your car;

every hour and flower and friend / each (with the second option above)
that cannot be saved in the end;

dear things of immeasurable cost...
now all irretrievably lost.

Note: The title 'The Pain of Love' was suggested by an interview with Little Richard, then eighty years old, in Rolling Stone. He said that someone should create a song called 'The Pain of Love.'



Lean Harvests (II)
by Michael R. Burch

for Tom Merrill

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



The Wonder Boys
by Michael R. Burch

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

The stars were always there, too-bright cliches:
scintillant truths the jaded world outgrew
as baffled poets winged keyed kites—amazed,
in dream of shocks that suddenly came true...

but came almost as static—background noise,
a song out of the cosmos no one hears,
or cares to hear. The poets, starstruck boys,
lay tuned into their kite strings, saucer-eared.

They thought to feel the lightning's brilliant sparks
electrify their nerves, their brains; the smoke
of words poured from their overheated hearts.
The kite string, knotted, made a nifty rope...

You will not find them here; they blew away—
in tumbling flight beyond nights' stars. They clung
by fingertips to satellites. They strayed
too far to remain mortal. Elfin, young,

their words are with us still. Devout and fey,
they wink at us whenever skies are gray.

Originally published by The Lyric



The Princess and the Pauper
by Michael R. Burch

for Norman Kraeft in memory of his beloved wife June

Here was a woman bright, intent on life,
who did not flinch from Death, but caught his eye
and drew him, powerless, into her spell
of wanting her himself, so much the lie
that she was meant for him—obscene illusion! —
made him seem a monarch throned like God on high,
when he was less than nothing; when to die
meant many stultifying, pained embraces.

She shed her gown, undid the tangled laces
that tied her to the earth: then she was his.
Now all her erstwhile beauty he defaces
and yet she grows in hallowed loveliness—
her ghost beyond perfection—for to die
was to ascend. Now he begs, penniless.

Published by Katrina Anthology, The Lyric and Trinacria



Come Down
by Michael R. Burch

for Harold Bloom and the Ivory Towerists

Come down, O, come down
from your high mountain tower.
How coldly the wind blows,
how late this chill hour...

and I cannot wait
for a meteor shower
to show you the time
must be now, or not ever.

Come down, O, come down
from the high mountain heather
now brittle and brown
as fierce northern gales sever.

Come down, or your hearts will grow cold as the weather
when winter devours and spring returns never.

I dedicated this poem to Harold Bloom after reading his introduction to the Best American Poetry anthology he edited. Bloom seemed intent on claiming poetry as the province of the uber-reader (i.e., himself) , but I remember reading poems by Blake, Burns, Byron, cummings, Dickinson, Frost, Housman, Keats, Eliot, Pound, Shakespeare, Shelley, Whitman, Wordsworth, Yeats, et al, and grokking them as a boy, without any 'advanced' instruction from anyone.



At Cædmon's Grave

'Cædmon's Hymn, ' composed at the Monastery of Whitby (a North Yorkshire fishing village) , is one of the oldest known poems written in the English language, dating back to around 680 A.D. I wrote this poem after visiting Caedmon's grave at Whitby.

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

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

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

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

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

Published by The Lyric, Volume 80, Number 4



Orpheus
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


a poem in which i a-coos Coo & Co. of being unfairly lovable

Coo & Co. are unfairly lovable!
their poems are entirely too huggable!
for what hope have we po'-its,
we intellectual know-its,
or no-wits, when ours are so drubabble?

While not written in German, Italian, French, Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and hieroglyphics like T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land, ' but merely in less-than-the-Queen's-English, this poem may also require copious footnotes.

The 'unfairly lovable' poems I had in mind were, particularly, 'Learning Barn' and 'Grebe barcarolle, ' but also other adorable Coo & Co. poems reminiscent of Lear, Carroll, A. A. Milne, 'The House on Pooh Corner' and 'Yellow Submarine.'

The contraction 'po'-its' stands for 'poor its, ' as in destitute non-entities, which we other poets are in danger of becoming when compared to the adorability of Coo & Co. How can we possibly hope to compete?

The coinage 'drubabble' means 'someone in need of a drubbing for babbling on when they should be reading Coo & Co.' With which I must lapse into silence...

aka 'His Last Confession' by Michael R. Burch

(I have narrowed down the authorship of the the poems of Coo & Co. to either an Einsteinian colombine named Coo or a mysterious poetess who goes by the names F.F. Teague, Felicity Teague, Fliss Teague and FT.)



Millay Has Her Way with a Vassar Professor
by Michael R. Burch

After a night of hard drinking and spreading her legs,
Millay hits the dorm, where the Vassar don begs:
'Please act more chastely, more discretely, more seemly! '
(His name, let's assume, was, er... Percival Queemly.)

'Expel me! Expel me! '—She flashes her eyes.
'Oh! Please! No! I couldn't! That wouldn't be wise,
for a great banished Shelley would tarnish my name...
Eek! My game will be lame if I can't milque your fame! '

'Continue to live here—carouse as you please! '
the beleaguered don sighs as he sags to his knees.
Millay grinds her crotch half an inch from his nose:
'I can live in your hellhole, strange man, I suppose...
but the price is your firstborn, whom I'll sacrifice to Moloch.'
(Which explains what became of pale Percy's son, Enoch.)

Originally published by Lucid Rhythms



Downdraft
by Michael R. Burch

for Dylan Thomas

We feel rather than understand what he meant
as he reveals a shattered firmament
which before him never existed.

Here, there are no images gnarled and twisted
out of too many words,
but only flocks of white birds

wheeling and flying.

Here, as Time spins, reeling and dying,
the voice of a last gull
or perhaps some spirit no longer whole,

echoes its lonely madrigal
and we feel its strange pull
on the astonished soul.

O My Prodigal!

The vents of the sky, ripped asunder,
echo this wild, primal thunder—
now dying into undulations of vanishing wings...

and this voice which in haggard bleak rapture still somehow downward sings.



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.


Tea Party Madness

for Connor Kelly

Since we agree,
let's have a nice tea
with our bats in the belfry.



Nightfall
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

Only the long dolor of dusk delights me now,
as I await death.
The rain has ruined the unborn corn,
and the wasting breath
of autumn has cruelly, savagely shorn
each ear of its radiant health.
As the golden sun dims, so the dying land seems to relinquish its vanishing wealth.

Only a few erratic, trembling stalks still continue to stand,
half upright,
and even these the winds have continually robbed of their once-plentiful,
golden birthright.
I think of you and I sigh, forlorn, on edge
with the rapidly encroaching night.
Ten thousand stillborn lilies lie limp, mixed with roses, unable to ignite.

Whatever became of the magical kernel, golden within
at the winter solstice?
What of its promised kingdom, Amen! , meant to rise again
from this balmless poultice,
this strange bottomland where one Scarecrow commands
dark legions of ravens and mice?
And what of the Giant whose bellows demand our negligible lives, his black vice?

I find one bright grain here aglitter with rain, full of promise and purpose
and drive.
Through lightning and hail and nightfalls and pale, cold sunless moons
it will strive
to rise up from its 'place' on a network of lace, to the glory
of being alive.
Why does it bother, I wonder, my brother? O, am I unwise to believe?
But Jack had his beanstalk
and you had your poems
and the sun seems intent to ascend
and so I also must climb
to the end of my time,
however the story
may unwind
and
end.

This poem was written around a month after Kevin's death.



beMused
by Michael R. Burch

Perhaps at three
you'll come to tea,
to have a cuppa here?

You'll just stop in
to sip 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 rhythms
wild as Dylan's!
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.



I Learned Too Late
by Michael R. Burch

'Show, don't tell! '

I learned too late that poetry has rules,
although they may be rules for greater fools.

In any case, by dodging rules and schools,
I avoided useless duels.

I learned too late that sentiment is bad—
that Blake and Keats and Plath had all been had.

In any case, by following my heart,
I learned to walk apart.

I learned too late that 'telling' is a crime.
Did Shakespeare know? Is Milton doing time?

In any case, by telling, I admit:
I think such rules are s**t.



Discrimination
by Michael R. Burch

for lovers of traditional poetry

The meter I had sought to find, perplexed,
was ripped from books of 'verse' that read like prose.
I found it in sheet music, in long rows
of hologramic CDs, in sad wrecks
of long-forgotten volumes undisturbed
half-centuries by archivists, unscanned.
I read their fading numbers, frowned, perturbed—
why should such tattered artistry be banned?

I heard the sleigh bells' jingles, vampish ads,
the supermodels' babble, Seuss's books
extolled in major movies, blurbs for abs...
A few poor thinnish journals crammed in nooks
are all I've found this late to sell to those
who'd classify free verse 'expensive prose.'

Published by The Chariton Review, The Eclectic Muse (Canada) , Famous Poets and Poems, FreeXpression (Australia) , Famous Poets and Poems, Inspirational Stories, Poetry Life & Times and Trinacria (where it was nominated for the Pushcart Prize)



The Composition of Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

'I made it out of a mouthful of air.'—W. B. Yeats

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

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

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

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

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



Me?
by Michael R. Burch

Me?
Whee!
(I stole this poem
From Muhammad Ali.)



Brother Iran
by Michael R. Burch

for the poets of Iran

Brother Iran, I feel your pain.
I feel it as when the Turk fled Spain.
As the Jew fled, too, that constricting span,
I feel your pain, Brother Iran.

Brother Iran, I know you are noble!
I too fear Hiroshima and Chernobyl.
But though my heart shudders, I have a plan,
and I know you are noble, Brother Iran.

Brother Iran, I salute your Poets!
your Mathematicians! , all your great Wits!
O, come join the earth's great Caravan.
We'll include your Poets, Brother Iran.

Brother Iran, I love your Verse!
Come take my hand now, let's rehearse
the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
For I love your Verse, Brother Iran.

Bother Iran, civilization's Flower!
How high flew your spires in man's early hours!
Let us build them yet higher, for that's my plan,
civilization's first flower, Brother Iran.



What the Poet Sees
by Michael R. Burch

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



To Please The Poet
by Michael R. Burch

for poets who still write musical verse

To please the poet, words must dance—
staccato, brisk, a two-step:
so!
Or waltz in elegance to time
of music—mild,
adagio.

To please the poet, words must chance
emotion in catharsis—
flame.
Or splash into salt seas, descend
in sheets of silver-shining
rain.

To please the poet, words must prance
and gallop, gambol, revel,
rail.
Or muse upon a moment—mute,
obscure, unsure, imperfect,
pale.

To please the poet, words must sing,
or croak, wart-tongued, imagining.

Originally published by The Lyric



The danger is not aiming too high and missing, but aiming too low and hitting the mark.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

Trifles create perfection, yet perfection is no trifle.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

Genius is infinitely patient, and infinitely painstaking.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

If you knew how hard I worked, you wouldn't call it 'genius.'—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

He who follows will never surpass.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

Beauty is what lies beneath superfluities.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

I criticize via creation, not by fault-finding.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch



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

from 'songs of the sea snails'

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

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

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



a peom in supsport of a dsylexci peot
by michael r. burch, allso a peot
for ken d williams

pay no hede to the saynayers,
the asburd wordslayers,
the splayers and sprayers,
the heartless diecriers,
the liers!

what the hell due ur criticks no?
let them bellow below!

ur every peom has a good haert
and culd allso seerv as an ichart!

There are a number of puns, including ur (my term for original/ancient/first) , no/know, pay/due, the critic as both absurd and an as(s) -burd who is he(artless) , and the poet as the (seer) v of an (i) -chart for all. Here is an encoded version:

(pay) k(no) w hede to the say(nay) ers,
the as(s) bird word(s*) layers,
the s*(players) and s*(prayers) ,
the he(artless) (die) (cry) ers,
the (lie) rs!

what the hell (due) ur (cry) (ticks) k(no) w?
let them (be) l(low) below!

(ur) every peom has a good haert
and culd (all) so (seer) ve as an (i) chart!



Storied Lovers
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin and Janice Roberts

In your quest for the Beloved,
my brother, did you make
a near-fatal mistake?

*

Did you trust in the Enchantress,
La Belle Dame, as they say,
Sans Merci? Shall I pray
more kindly hands to gather you
to warmer breasts, and hold
your Spirit there, enfold
your heart in love's sweet blessedness?

*

No need! One Angel's fond caress
was your sweet haven here.
None ever held more dear,
you harbored with your Anchoress
whenever storms drew near.

*

Whatever storms drew near,
however great the Flood,
she held you, kind and good,
no imperious savage Empress,
but as earthly Angels should.

*

In your quest for the Beloved
did the road take some strange fork
where ecstatic feys cavort
that led you to her hermitage
and her hearth, safe from that wood.
(Did La Belle Dame's dark eyes hood?)

*

I am thankful for the marriage
two tender spirits shared.
When the raging waters glared
and the deadly bugles blared
like cruel Trumps of Doom, below
how strong death's undertow!

*

But true spirits never sink.
Though he swam through hell's fell stink
and a sea of putrid harms,
he swam back to your arms!

*

Life lived upon the brink
of death, man's human fate,
can yet such Love create
that the hosts above, spellbound,
fall silent. So confound
the heavens with your Love
and fly, O tender Dove! ,
to wherever hearts may rest
once having sweetly blessed
a heart like my dear brother's
and be both storied lovers.

Amen

I wrote this poem on New Year's Day, January 1,2009.



Alien Nation
by Michael R. Burch

for J. S. S., a 'Christian' poet

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

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

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

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

Keywords/Tags: poet, poets, famous poets, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, William Blake, A. E. Housman

Published as the collection 'Poems about Poets'

Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Topic(s) of this poem: poet,poets,famous poets,william blake,emily dickinson,edgar allan poe,robert frost
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