The Pain Of Love Poem by Michael Burch

The Pain Of Love

Rating: 5.0


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
that vanishes under your car;

every hour and flower and friend
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.' I have always found the departure platforms of railway stations and the vanishing broken white bars of highway dividing lines to be very depressing.



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 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.



Willy Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

for Tom Merrill

Isn't it silly, Willy Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn't it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn't it silly, Willy Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life's a pickle, dilly.
Isn't it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn't it silly, Willy Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you'll not act illy.
Isn't it silly, Willy Nilly?



What Would Santa Claus Say?
by Michael R. Burch

for Tom Merrill

What would Santa Claus say,
I wonder,
about Jesus returning
to kill and plunder?

For he'll likely return
on Christmas Day
to blow the bad
little boys away!

When He flashes like lightning
across the skies
and many a homosexual
dies,

when the harlots and heretics
are ripped asunder,
what will the Easter Bunny think,
I wonder?

Published by Lucid Rhythms, Poet's Corner and translated into Czech by Vaclav ZJ Pinkava



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

for tom merrill

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



I've got Jesus's face on a wallet insert
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

I've got Jesus's face on a wallet insert
and 'Hell is for Queers' on the back of my shirt.
And I uphold the Law,
for Grace has a Flaw:
the Church must have SOMEONE to drag through the dirt.

I've got ten thousand reasons why Hell must exist,
and YOU'RE at the top of my fast-swelling list!
You're nothing like me,
so God must agree
and slam down the Hammer with His Loving Fist!

For what are the chances that God has a plan
to save everyone: even Boy George and Wham! ?
Eternal fell torture
in Hell's pressure scorcher
will separate HOMO from Man.

I'm glad I'm redeemed, ecstatic you're not.
Did Christ die for sinners? Perish the thought!
The 'good news' is this:
soon MY vengeance is his! ,
for you're not the lost sheep I sought.



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.



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.)

Published by The Raintown Review, The Barefoot Muse and Poetry Life & Times

The Unisphere mentioned is a spherical stainless steel representation of the earth constructed for the 1964 New York World's Fair. It was commissioned to celebrate the beginning of the space age and dedicated to 'Man's Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe.' The lines quoted in the epigraph are from W. H. Auden's love poem 'Lullaby.'



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.



Maker, Fakir, Curer
by Michael R. Burch

A poem should be a wild, unearthly cry
against the thought of lying in the dark,
doomed—never having seen bright sparks leap high,
without a word for flame, none for the mark
an ember might emblaze on lesioned skin.

A poet is no crafty artisan—
the maker of some crock. He dreams of flame
he never touched, but—fakir's courtesan—
must dance obedience, once called by name.

Thin wand, divine! , this world is too the same—
all watery ooze and flesh. Let fire cure
and quickly harden here what can endure.

Published by The Lyric and New Lyre

The ancient English scops were considered to be makers: for instance, in William Dunbar's "Lament for the Makiris." But in some modern literary circles poets are considered to be fakers, with lies being as good as the truth where art is concerned. Hence, this poem puns on "fakirs" and dancing snakes. But according to Shakespeare the object is to leave something lasting, that will stand test of time. Hence, the idea of poems being cured in order to endure. The "thin wand" is the poet's pen, divining the elixir— the magical fountain of youth—that makes poems live forever. That is, of course, if he/she can pull it off, which is easier said than done.



You Never Listened
by Michael R. Burch

You never listened,
though each night the rain
wove its patterns again
and trembled and glistened...

You were not watching,
though each night the stars
shone, brightening the tears
in her eyes palely fetching...

You paid love no notice,
though she lay in my arms
as the stars rose in swarms
like a legion of poets,

as the lightning recited
its opus before us,
and the hills boomed the chorus,
all strangely delighted...



don't forget...
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

don't forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.

I dedicated this poem to the love of my life, but you are welcome to dedicate it to the love of yours, if you like it. The opening lines were inspired by a famous love poem by e. e. cummings. I went through a 'cummings phase' around age 15 and wrote a number of poems 'under the influence.'



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller

#2 - Love Poetry

She says an epigram's too terse
to reveal her tender heart in verse...
but really, darling, ain't the thrill
of a kiss much shorter still?
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#5 - Criticism

Why don't I openly criticize the man? Because he's a friend;
thus I reproach him in silence, as I do my own heart.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#11 - Holiness

What is holiest? This heart-felt love
binding spirits together, now and forever.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#12 - Love versus Desire

You love what you have, and desire what you lack
because a rich nature expands, while a poor one retracts.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#19 - Nymph and Satyr

As shy as the trembling doe your horn frightens from the woods,
she flees the huntsman, fainting, uncertain of love.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#20 - Desire

What stirs the virgin's heaving breasts to sighs?
What causes your bold gaze to brim with tears?
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#23 - The Apex I

Everywhere women yield to men, but only at the apex
do the manliest men surrender to femininity.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#24 - The Apex II

What do we mean by the highest? The crystalline clarity of triumph
as it shines from the brow of a woman, from the brow of a goddess.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#25 -Human Life

Young sailors brave the sea beneath ten thousand sails
while old men drift ashore on any bark that avails.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#35 - Dead Ahead

What's the hardest thing of all to do?
To see clearly with your own eyes what's ahead of you.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#36 - Unexpected Consequence

Friends, before you utter the deepest, starkest truth, please pause,
because straight away people will blame you for its cause.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#41 - Earth vs. Heaven

By doing good, you nurture humanity;
but by creating beauty, you scatter the seeds of divinity.
―from 'Xenia' by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Playmates
by Michael R. Burch

WHEN you were my playmate and I was yours,
we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and the sorrows and cares of our indentured days
were uncomprehended... far, far away...
for the temptations and trials we had yet to face
were lost in the shadows of an unventured maze.

Then simple pleasures were easy to find
and if they cost us a little, we didn't mind;
for even a penny in a pocket back then
was one penny too many, a penny to spend.

Then feelings were feelings and love was just love,
not a strange, complex mystery to be understood;
while 'sin' and 'damnation' meant little to us,
since forbidden cookies were our only lusts!

Then we never worried about what we had,
and we were both sure—what was good, what was bad.
And we sometimes quarreled, but we didn't hate;
we seldom gave thought to the uncertainties of fate.

Hell, we seldom thought about the next day,
when tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things couldn't last.

Still, we never worried about getting by,
and we didn't know that we were to die...
when we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and I was your playmate, and we were boys.

This is probably the poem that 'made' me, because my high school English teacher called it 'beautiful' and I took that to mean I was surely the Second Coming of Percy Bysshe Shelley! 'Playmates' is the second longish poem I remember writing; I believe I was around 13 or 14 at the time.



Playthings
by Michael R. Burch

a sequel to 'Playmates'

There was a time, as though a long-forgotten dream remembered,
when you and I were playmates and the days were long;
then we were pirates stealing plaits of daisies
from trembling maidens fearing men so strong...

Our world was like an unplucked Rose unfolding,
and you and I were busy, then, as bees;
the nectar that we drank, it made us giddy;
each petal within reach seemed ours to seize...

But you were more the doer, I the dreamer,
so I wrote poems and dreamed a noble cause;
while you were linking logs, I met old Merlin
and took a dizzy ride to faery Oz...

But then you put aside all 'silly' playthings;
with sunburned hands you built, from bricks and stone,
tall buildings, then a life, and then you married.
Now my fantasies, again, are all my own.

I believe 'Playthings' was written in my late teens, around 1977.



hey pete
by Michael R. Burch

for Pete Rose

hey pete,
it's baseball season
and the sun ascends the sky,
encouraging a schoolboy's dreams
of winter whizzing by;
go out, go out and catch it,
put it in a jar,
set it on a shelf
and then you'll be a Superstar.

This is another of my boyhood poems about play and playing. When I was a boy, Pete Rose was my favorite baseball player; this poem is not a slam at him, but rather an ironic jab at the term 'superstar.'



Have I been too long at the fair?
by Michael R. Burch

Have I been too long at the fair?
The summer has faded,
the leaves have turned brown;
the Ferris wheel teeters...
not up, yet not down.
Have I been too long at the fair?

This is one of my earliest poems, written around age 15.



Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

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

This is a poem I wrote about a vacation my family took to Salzburg when I was a boy, age 11 or perhaps a bit older. But I wrote the poem much later in life: around 50 years later!



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 little dream-poem appeared in my high school literary journal, the Lantern. I believe I wrote it around age 16.



Smoke
by Michael R. Burch

The hazy, smoke-filled skies of summer I remember well;
farewell was on my mind, and the thoughts that I can't tell
rang bells within (the din was in) my mind, and I can't say
if what we had was good or bad, or where it is today.
The endless days of summer's haze I still recall today;
she spoke and smoky skies stood still as summer slipped away...

This poem appeared in my high school journal, the Lantern, in 1976. I wrote it around age 14.



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.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem toward the end of my senior year of high school, around age 18, under the influence or the 'sprung rhythm' of Dylan Thomas.



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

There was a moment
without the sound of trumpets or a shining light,
but with only silence and darkness and a cool mist
felt more than seen.
I was eighteen,
my heart pounding wildly within me like a fist.
Expectation hung like a cry in the night,
and your eyes shone like the corona of a comet.

There was an instant...
without words, but with a deeper communion,
as clothing first, then inhibitions fell;
liquidly our lips met
—feverish, wet—
forgotten, the tales of heaven and hell,
in the immediacy of our fumbling union...
when the rest of the world became distant.

Then the only light was the moon on the rise,
and the only sound, the communion of sighs.

I believe I wrote this around age 18, as the poem itself says.



Infinity
by Michael R. Burch

Have you tasted the bitterness of tears of despair?
Have you watched the sun sink through such pale, balmless air
that your heart sought its shell like a crab on a beach,
then scuttled inside to be safe, out of reach?

Might I lift you tonight from earth's wreckage and damage
on these waves gently rising to pay the moon homage?
Or better, perhaps, let me say that I, too,
have dreamed of infinity... windswept and blue.

This is one of the first poems that made me feel like a 'real' poet. I remember reading the poem and asking myself, 'Did I really write that? ' I believe I wrote it around age 18.



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?

If I remember correctly, I wrote the first version of this poem toward the end of my senior year in high school, around age 18.



The Leveler
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Childhood's End
by Michael R. Burch

How well I remember
those fiery Septembers:
dry leaves, dying embers of summers aflame
lay trampled before me
and fluttered, imploring
the bright, dancing rain to descend once again.

Now often I've thought on
the meaning of autumn,
how the moons those pale mornings enchanted dark clouds
while robins repeated
gay songs they had heeded
so wisely when winters before they'd flown south.

And still, in remembrance,
I've conjured a semblance
of childhood and how the world seemed to me then;
but early this morning,
when, rising and yawning,
my lips brushed your breasts... I celebrated its end.

I believe I wrote this poem in my early twenties.


Keywords/Tags: pain, love, parting, loss, death, death of a friend, skeptic, skepticism, atheist, agnostic, creation, poet, poetry, poetic expression, sorrow

Thursday, August 22, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: loss,death,poet,parting,poetic expression,poetry,skepticism,sorrow,time,creation
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Bernard F. Asuncion 23 August 2019

We often have to sacrifice to prove our love. A great piece...10++++

1 0 Reply
Michael Burch 23 August 2019

Thanks, I'm glad you like it. You have a very poetic name.

0 0 Reply
Sandra Feldman 23 August 2019

One of the greatest poems written in and of this steamy locomotive ambience and romance, is " El Tren Expresso " by the great Spanish poet, Ramon de Campoamor, on you tube. Nicely done.

1 0 Reply
Sandra Feldman 23 August 2019

Michael, I tried finding an English version of the poem, but no luck. Its a very long poem divided into 3 " cantos" or poetic songs, like some of the ancient Greek literature. The 3 Spanish recited versions on " you tube" are beautiful, but that won't help. Sorry.

0 0 Reply
Michael Burch 23 August 2019

Thanks, I'll check out the poem. Is there a good English translation?

0 0 Reply
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