Poetry by Michael R Burch
SUN POEM I have suffused myself in poetry as a lizard basks, soaking up sun, scales nakedly glinting; its glorious light he understands—when it comes, it comes. A flood of light leaches down to his bones, his feral eye blinks—bold, curious, bright. Now night and soon winter lie brooding, damp, chilling; here shadows foretell the great darkness ahead. Yet he stretches in rapture, his hot blood thrilling, simple yet fierce on his hard stone bed, his tongue flicking rhythms, the sun—throbbing, spilling. POPPY (“It is lonely to be born.” – Dannie Abse (1923-2014)“The Second Coming”) It is lonely to be born between the intimate ears of corn . . . the sunlit, flooded, shellshocked rows. The scarecrow flutters, listens, knows . . . Pale butterflies in staggering flight ascend the gauntlet winds and light before the scything harvester. The winsome buds of cornflowers prepare themselves to be airborne, and it is lonely to be shorn, decapitate, of eager life so early in love’s blinding maze of silks and tassels, goldened days when life’s renewed, gone underground. Sad confidante of worm and mound, how little stands to be regained of what is left. A tiny cleft now marks your birth, your reddening among the amber waves. O, sing! Another waits to be reborn among bent thistle, down and thorn. A hoofprint’s cleft, a ram’s curved horn curled inward, turned against the heart, a spoor like infamy. Depart. You came too late, the signs are clear: whose world this is, now watches, near. There is no opiate for the heart.
Michael R. Burch’s poems have been published by hundreds of literary journals, taught in high schools and colleges, translated into fourteen languages, incorporated into three plays and two operas, and set to music by seventeen composers.
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