These are early poems I write as a boy starting around age elven, then as a teenager in high school and during my first two years of college.
by Michael R. Burch
my cherished, in stars, arrives.....I recline in his
darkest of embrace
alone in the bush
where night is calling
within the open sky
as dark as the one I love
I wander in the sand
while cutting twigs in a path
the bells have echoed
somewhere in the night
this midnight soup
has broken up my dreams
a strand in circles
a ring that never ends
Awake, awake, ye Nations, now the Lord of Hosts goes by!
Sing ye His praise, O happy souls, who smile beneath the sky!
Join in the song, O martyr'd ones, where'er ye droop and die!
The Lord goes marching on!
'Mid tramp and clangour of the winds and clash of clouds that meet,
He passeth on His way and treads the Lost beneath His feet;
His legions are the winged Storms that follow fast and fleet
Their Master marching on!
From battlefield to battlefield He wends in royal array,
Two Songs Rewritten For The Tune's Sake
My Paistin Finn is my sole desire,
And I am shrunken to skin and bone,
For all my heart has had for its hire
Is what I can whistle alone and alone.
Tomorrow night I will break down the door.
What is the good of a man and he
Alone and alone, with a speckled shin?
I would that I drank with my love on my knee
Between two barrels at the inn.
To-morrow night I will break down the door.
Alone and alone nine nights I lay
Between two bushes under the rain;
Two Songs From a Play
I saw a staring virgin stand
Where holy Dionysus died,
And tear the heart out of his side.
And lay the heart upon her hand
And bear that beating heart away;
Of Magnus Annus at the spring,
As though God's death were but a play.
Another Troy must rise and set,
Another lineage feed the crow,
Another Argo's painted prow
Drive to a flashier bauble yet.
The Roman Empire stood appalled:
It dropped the reins of peace and war
When that fierce virgin and her Star
Two Blind Men
Two blind men met. Said one: "This earth
Has been a blackout from my birth.
Through darkness I have groped my way,
Forlorn, unknowing night from day.
But you - though War destroyed your sight,
Still have your memories of Light,
And to allay your present pain
Can live your golden youth again."
Then said the second: "Aye, it's true,
It must seem magical to you
To know the shape of things that are,
A women's lips, a rose, a star.
But therein lies the hell of it;
Better my eyes had never lit
(Suggested by the lives of Napoleon and Josephine.)
ONE night was full of rapture and delight-
Of reunited arms and swooning kisses,
And all the unnamed and unnumbered blisses
Which fond souls find in love of love at night.
Heart beat with heart, and each clung into each
With twining arms that did but loose their hold
To cling still closer; and fond glances told
These truths for which there is no uttered speech.
There was sweet laughter and endearing words,
Translated from Geibel
O say, thou wild, thou oft deceived heart,
What mean these noisy throbbings in my breast?
After thy long, unutterable woe
Wouldst thou not rest?
Fall'n from Life's tree the sweet rose-blossom lies,
And fragrant youth has fled. What made to seem
This earth as fair to thee as Paradise,
Was all a dream.
The blossom fell, the thorn was left to me;
Deep from the wound the blood-drops ever flow,
All that I have are yearnings, wild desires,
And wrath and woe.
There is a section in my library for death
and another for Irish history,
a few shelves for the poetry of China and Japan,
and in the center a row of imperturbable reference books,
the ones you can turn to anytime,
when the night is going wrong
or when the day is full of empty promise.
I have nothing against
the thin monograph, the odd query,
a note on the identity of Chekhov's dentist,
but what I prefer on days like these
is to get up from the couch,
pull down The History of the World,