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Song-Poems

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SONG-POEMS

These are poems that were written as songs, or that could easily become songs if someone were to set them to music (hint! hint!) …


Ave Maria
by Michael R. Burch

Ave Maria,
Maiden mild,
listen to my earnest prayer.
Listen, O, and be beguiled.
Ave Maria.

Ave Maria,
Maiden mild,
be Mother now to every child
beset by earth's thorned briars wild.
Ave Maria.

Ave Maria,
Maiden mild,
embrace us with your Love and Grace.
Let us look upon your Face.
Ave Maria.

Ave Maria,
Maiden mild,
please attend to our earnest call—
When will Love be All in All?
Ave Maria.

Copyright © 2020 by Michael R. Burch



Faithless Lover
by Michael R. Burch

Well I met you darlin' on a night like this;
the stars were fallin' as I stole a kiss.

And I fell in love that very night,
as the moon above blessed us with its light.

But the moon was false, and your heart was, too.
Oh, I never dreamed you would be untrue.

'Cause you're a faithless lover, with a heart of stone.
One day you'll discover yourself all alone.

Well, we found a preacher and we said some words.
I should have noticed yours were well-rehearsed.

When I looked above, I saw the pale moon frown;
the sky burst open; I began to drown.

'Cause you're a faithless lover, with a heart of stone.
One day you'll discover yourself all alone.

Now, since that day, how you've run around.
You've been with every boy in town.

Well, I learned my lesson, and I learned it well:
how one night aflame left me cold as hell,
till my heart grew hard in its icy shell.

Now, I'm a faithless lover with a heart of stone.
I seek faceless lovers who leave with the dawn.

Copyright © 1991 by Michael R. Burch



Unlikely Mike
by Michael R. Burch

I married someone else's fantasy;
she admired me despite my mutilations.

I loved her for her heart's sake, and for mine.
I hid my face and changed its connotations.

And in the dark I danced—slight, Chaplinesque—
a metaphor myself. How could they know,
the undiscerning ones, that in the glow
of spotlights, sometimes love becomes burlesque?

Disfigured to my soul, I could not lose
or choose or name myself; I came to be
another of life's odd dichotomies,
like Dickey's Sheep Boy, Pan, or David Cruse:
as pale, as enigmatic. White, or black?
My color was a song, a changing track.

Copyright © 2001 by Michael R. Burch

Published by Bewildering Stories and selected as one of four short poems for the Review of issues 885-895



Through the fields of solitude
by Hermann Allmers
set to music by Johannes Brahms
translation by David B. Gosselin with Michael R. Burch

Peacefully, I rest in the tall green grass
For a long time only gazing as I lie,
Caught in the endless hymn of crickets,
And encircled by a wonderful blue sky.

And the lovely white clouds floating across
The depths of the heavens are like silky lace;
I feel as though my soul has long since fled,
Softly drifting with them through eternal space.

This poem was set to music by the German composer Johannes Brahms in what has been called its "the most sublime incarnation." A celebrated recording of the song was made in 1958 by the baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with Jörg Demus accompanying him on the piano.



The Pain of Love
by Michael R. Burch

for T. M.

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

the train steaming from the station
whistling abnegation;

every highways' broken white bar
that vanishes under your car;

each hour and flower and friend
that cannot be saved in the end;

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

Copyright © 2013 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts

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." I've written the lyrics, now can someone provide the music?



Will There Be Starlight
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2001 by Michael R. Burch
Published by The Word (UK) , The Chained Muse, Famous Poets and Poems, Grassroots Poetry, The HyperTexts, Inspirational Stories, Jenion, Starlight Archives, TALESetc, Writ in Water, Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Webring



Indestructible, for Johnny Cash
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2006 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by Strong Verse



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 very 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.



Earthbound
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 floating and crazily-dancing spirit horse 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.

I believe I wrote this poem as a college sophomore, age 19 or 20. I did not know about the vision and naming of Crazy Horse at the time. But when I learned about the vision that gave Crazy Horse his name, it seemed to explain my poem and I changed the second line from 'and yet I would fly' to 'and yet I now fly.' I believe that is the only revision I ever made to this poem.

Copyright © 1978 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



Momentum! Momentum!
by Michael R. Burch

for the neo-Cons

Crossing the Rubicon, we come!
Momentum! Momentum! Furious hooves!
The Gauls we have slaughtered, no man disapproves.
War's hawks shrieking-strident, white doves stricken dumb.

Coo us no cooings of pale-breasted peace!
Momentum! Momentum! Imperious hooves!
The blood of barbarians brightens our greaves.
Pompey's head in a basket? We slumber at ease.

Seduce us again, great Bellona, dark queen!
Momentum! Momentum! Curious hooves
Now pound out strange questions, but what can they mean
As the great stallions rear and their riders careen?

Originally published by Bewildering Stories

NOTE: Bellona was the Roman goddess of war. The name 'Bellona' derives from the Latin word for 'war' (bellum) , and is linguistically related to the English word 'belligerent' (literally, 'war-waging') . In earlier times she was called Duellona, that name being derived from a more ancient word for 'battle.'



Just Yesterday
by Michael R. Burch

Yesterday
she went a-way
and now I don't know what to sa-ay,
'cause I loved her more than life
just yesterday.

[Descending notes: DUH Duh duh]

Yesterday
she held me tight
and our love lit up the night,
but then our flame was not as bright,
just yesterday.

[Descending notes: DUH Duh duh]

Yesterday
she left me a-lone
and now I don't know what I wa-ant...
I just listen to a song
called "Yesterday"...

[Descending notes: DUH Duh duh]

Yesterday, oh Yesterday,
Yesterday, oh Yesterday,
I loved her more than life
just yesterday.

[Descending notes: DUH Duh duh]

Copyright © 2020 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



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.

Copyright © 2019 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The Lyric



This Train
by Michael R. Burch

To be sung to the melody of 'This Train is Bound For Glory' up-tempo.

This train is goin' my way, this train.
This train is goin' my way, this train.
This train is goin' my way,
gonna take me back
to my baby,
This train is goin' my way, this train.

This train is flyin', flyin', flyin'.
This train is flyin', flyin', flyin'.
This train is flyin', flyin',
and my heart is cryin',
cryin'.
This train is flyin', flyin', flyin'.

This train is chuggin' on down the tracks now.
This train is chuggin' on down the tracks now.
This train's chuggin' down the tracks
and it's gonna have to
take me back now.
This train is chuggin' on down the tracks now.

This train is flyin', flyin', flyin'.
This train is flyin', flyin', flyin'.
This train is flyin', flyin',
and my heart is dyin',
dyin'.
This train is flyin', flyin', flyin'.

This train is goin' my way, this train.
This train is goin' my way, this train.
This train is goin' my way,
gonna take me back
to my baby,
This train is goin' my way, this train.

This train must run a little longer.
Oh, this train must run a little longer.
And although I did her wrong, her
love is only gettin' stronger.
This train must run a little longer.

Copyright © 2020 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



The Vision of the Overseer's Right Hand
by Michael R. Burch

"Dust to dust..."

I stumbled, aghast,
into a valley of dust and bone
where all men become,
at last, the same color...

There a skeletal figure
groped through blonde sand
for a rigid right hand
lost long, long ago...

A hand now more white
than he had wielded before.
But he paused there, unsure,
for he could not tell

without the whip's frenetic hiss
which savage white hand was his.

Copyright © 2001 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by Poetry Porch



When I Think of You, I Think of Love
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

When I think of you, I think of Love.
Oh, when I think of you, I think of Love
as magical as the moon and stars above.
And when I think of you, I think of Love.

When I think of you, I start to cry.
Yes, when I think of you, I start to cry.
And I think you know the reason why.
For when I think of you, I think of Love.

When I think of you, I start to smile.
Oh, when I think of you, I start to smile.
I think of you and, dreaming all the while,
when I think of you, I start to smile.

When I think of you, I have to laugh.
Yes, when I think of you, I have to laugh
because it's certain: you're my better half!
So when I think of you, I have to laugh.

I think of you as Eve, and at your feet
blooms everything that's equally as sweet,
as magical as the moon and stars above.
And when I think of you, I think of Love.

I think of you with babies at your breast,
and does and fawns that come at your behest,
as magical as the moon and starts above.
And when I think of you, I think of Love.

I think of you and find myself at peace.
I feed the ducks, the turtles and the geese,
all as magical as the moon and stars above,
and when I think of you, I think of Love.

I think of you as Love, a Love that heals...
the gentlest Dove that soars and flies and wheels
then looks down on the earth from high above.
And when I think of you, I think of Love.

Copyright © 2020 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



Hill Down the Road
by Michael R. Burch

I imagine this song being sung to an upbeat tune like "Afternoon Delight" with an emphasis on the last word in each line. The song would come out as a sort of breathless rush — one long, run-on sentence.

There's a hill down the road
where my babe and me would go
when the sun was sinking low
where the sparkling waters flow

and we'd sit there in the grass
and we'd watch the sunsets pass
and then I'd walk her home,
but we'd never walk too fast

and we'd sit there in the summer
when the sun was in the sky
and we'd talk of our tomorrows
and we'd watch the butterflies

and I loved her even then
although I was so young
and I'll love her till the time
that my time on earth is done

I wrote this poem as an aspiring songwriter, around age 14. But alas, I was too shy to show my compositions to anyone!

Copyright © 1974 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



Moon Lake
by Michael R. Burch

Starlit recorder of summer nights,
what magic spell bewitches you?
They say that all lovers love first in the dark...
Is it true?
Is it true?
Is it true?

Starry-eyed seer of all that appears
and all that has appeared—
What sights have you seen?
What dreams have you dreamed?
What rhetoric have you heard?

Is love an oration,
or is it a word?
Have you heard?
Have you heard?
Have you heard?

Copyright © 1976 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



Tomb Lake
by Michael R. Burch

Go down to the valley
where mockingbirds cry,
alone, ever lonely...
yes, go down to die.

And dream in your dying
you never shall wake.
Go down to the valley;
go down to Tomb Lake.

Tomb Lake is a cauldron
of souls such as yours —
mad souls without meaning,
frail souls without force.

Tomb Lake is a graveyard
reserved for the dead.
They lie in her shallows
and sleep in her bed.

I believe this poem and 'Moon Lake' were companion poems, written around my senior year in high school, in 1976.

Copyright © 1976 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



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

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

Copyright © 2013 by Michael R. Burch
Published by Measure, Setu (India) , Poet's Corner, Glass Facets of Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, Chanticleer, Poetry Brevet and Deviant Art



Sappho's Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

Hushed yet melodic, the hills and the valleys
sleep unaware of the nightingale's call
while the dew-laden lilies lie
listening,
glistening...
this is their night, the first night of fall.

Son, tonight, a woman awaits you;
she is more vibrant, more lovely than spring.
She'll meet you in moonlight,
soft and warm,
all alone...
then you'll know why the nightingale sings.

Just yesterday the stars were afire;
then how desire flashed through my veins!
But now I am older;
night has come,
I'm alone...
for you I will sing as the nightingale sings.

Copyright © 2020 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

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

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

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

Will wake together, by and by.

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

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

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

Know nothing but this lullaby.

Copyright © 2020 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts



Let me sing you a lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy (written from his mother's perspective)

Oh, let me sing you a lullaby
of a love that shall come to you by and by.

Oh, let me sing you a lullaby
of a love that shall come to you by and by.

Oh, my dear son, how you're growing up!
You're taller than me, now I'm looking up!

You're a long tall drink and I'm half a cup!
And so let me sing you this lullaby.

Oh, my sweet son, as I watch you grow,
there are so many things that I want you to know.

Most importantly this: that I love you so.
And so let me sing you this lullaby.

Soon a tender bud will thrust forth and grow
after the winter's long virgin snow;

and because there are things that you have to know...
Oh, let me sing you this lullaby.

Soon, in a green garden a new rose will bloom
and fill all the world with its wild perfume.

And though it's hard for me, I must give it room.
And so let me sing you this lullaby.

Copyright © 2020 by Michael R. Burch
Originally published by The HyperTexts

Keywords/Tags: song, songs, songs of life, lyric, lyrics, music, rock, love, lover, lovers
Friday, March 26, 2021
Topic(s) of this poem: song,songs,songs of life,lyric,lyrics,lyrical,music,love,lovers
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