Poetry by Michael R Burch
THE HEDGEROW ROSE I lead you here to pluck this florid rose still tethered to its post, a dreary mass propped up to stiff attention, winsome-thorned (what hand was ever daunted less to touch such flame, in blatant disregard of all but atavistic beauty)? Does this rose not symbolise our love? But as I place its emblem to your breast, how can this poem, long centuries deflowered, not debase all art, if merely genuine, but not “original”? Love, how can reused words though frailer than all petals, bent by air to lovelier contortions, still persist, defying even gravity? For here beat Monarch’s wings: they rise on emptiness! MINGLED AIR for Beth Ephemeral as breath, still words consume the substance of our hearts; the very air that fuels us is subsumed; sometimes the hair that veils your eyes is lifted and the room seems hackles-raised: a spring all tension wound upon a word. At night I feel the care evaporate—a vapour everywhere more enervate than sighs: a mournful sound grown blissful. In the silences between I hear your heart, forget to breathe, and glow somehow. And though the words subside, we know the hearth light and the comfort embers gleam upon our dreaming consciousness. We share so much so common: sighs, breath, mingled air. ROUNDS Solitude surrounds me though nearby laughter sounds; around me mingle men who think to drink their demons down, in rounds. Now agony still hounds me though elsewhere mirth abounds; hidebound I stand and try to think, not sink still further down, spellbound. Their ecstasy astounds me, though drunkenness compounds resounding laughter into joy; alloy such glee with beer and see bliss found.
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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