Poetry by Michael R Burch
Circe She spoke and her words were like a ringing echo dying or like smoke rising and drifting while the earth below is spinning. She awoke with a cry from a dream that had no ending, without hope or strength to rise, into hopelessness descending. And an ache in her heart toward that dream, retreating, left a wake of small waves in circles never completing. The Gardener’s Roses Mary Magdalene, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” I too have come to the cave; within: strange, half-glimpsed forms and ghostly paradigms of things. Here, nothing warms this lightening moment of the dawn, pale tendrils spreading east. And I, of all who followed Him, by far the least . . . The women take no note of me; I do not recognize the men in white, the gardener, these unfamiliar skies . . . Faint scent of roses, then—a touch! I turn, and I see: You. My Lord, why do You tarry here: Another waits, Whose love is true? Although My Father waits, and bliss; though angels call—ecstatic crew!— I gathered roses for a Friend. I waited here, for You. To Have Loved Helen, bright accompaniment, accouterment of war as sure as all the polished swords of princes groomed to lie in mausoleums all eternity ... The price of love is not so high as never to have loved once in the dark beyond foreseeing. Now, as dawn gleams pale upon small wind-fanned waves, amid white sails ... Now all that war entails becomes as small, as though receding. Paris in your arms was never yours, nor were you his at all. And should gods call in numberless strange voices, should you hear, still what would be the difference? Men must die to be remembered. Fame, the shrillest cry, leaves all the world dismembered. Hold him, lie, tell many pleasant tales of lips and thighs; enthrall him with your sweetness, till the pall and ash lie cold upon him. Is this all? You saw fear in his eyes, and now they dim with fear’s remembrance. Love, the fiercest cry, becomes gasped sighs in his once-gallant hymn of dreamed “salvation.” Still, you do not care because you have this moment, and no man can touch you as he can, and when he’s gone there will be other men to look upon your beauty, and have done. Smile—woebegone, pale, haggard. Will the tales paint this—your final portrait? Can the stars find any strange alignments, Zodiacs, to spell, or unspell, what held beauty lacks?
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 www.thehypertexts.com).
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