In Memoriam

These poems by Michael R Burch are dedicated to his mother, Christine Ena Hurt (1936-2020)

 Mother’s Smile
 (for my mother, Christine Ena Burch)
 There never was a fonder smile
 than mother’s smile, no softer touch
 than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
 and know she loves you more than “much.”
 So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
 Though tender words, these do not speak
 of love at all, nor how we fall
 and mother’s there, nor how we reach
 from nightmares in the ticking night
 and she is there to hold us tight.
 There never was a stronger back
 than father’s back, that held our weight
 and lifted us, when we were small,
 and bore us till we reached the gate,
 then held our hands that first bright mile
 till we could run, and did, and flew.
 But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
 will leap and follow after you!

 Deliver Us ...
 (for my mother, Christine Ena Burch)
 The night is dark and scary—
 under your bed, or upon it.
 That blazing light might be a star ...
 or maybe the Final Comet. 
 But two things are sure: your mother’s love
 and your puppy’s kisses, doggonit!

 Such Tenderness
  (for all good mothers)
 There was, in your touch, such tenderness—as
 only the dove on her mildest day has,
 when she shelters downed fledglings beneath a warm wing
 and coos to them softly, unable to sing.
 What songs long forgotten occur to you now—
 a babe at each breast? What terrible vow
 ripped from your throat like the thunder that day
 can never hold severing lightnings at bay?
 Time taught you tenderness—time, oh, and love.
 But love in the end is seldom enough ...
 and time?—insufficient to life’s brief task.
 I can only admire, unable to ask—
 what is the source, whence comes the desire
 of a woman to love as no God may require?
 The Poet's Condition
(for my mother, Christine Ena Burch)
 The poet's condition
 (bother tradition)
 is whining contrition.
 Supposedly sage,
 his editor knows
 his brain's in his toes
 though he would suppose
 to soon be the rage.
 His readers are sure
 his work's premature
 or merely manure,
 insipidly trite.
 His mother alone
 will answer the phone
 (perhaps with a moan)
 to hear him recite.

(for my mother, Christine Ena Burch, and 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.   

 Final Lullaby
 (for my mother, Christine Ena Burch)
 Sleep peacefully—for now your suffering’s over.
 Sleep peacefully—immune to all distress,
 like pebbles unaware of raging waves.
 Sleep peacefully—like fields of fragrant clover
 unmoved by any motion of the wind.
 Sleep peacefully—like clouds untouched by earthquakes.
 Sleep peacefully—like stars that never blink
 and have no thoughts at all, nor need to think.
 Sleep peacefully—in your eternal vault,
 immaculate, past perfect, without fault.

First published in The Hypertexts 


Michael R. Burch has over 6,000 publications, including poems that have gone viral. His poems have been translated into fourteen languages and set to music by eleven composers. He also edits The HyperTexts (online at



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