Year: 
2021

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.

Huntress
by Michael R. Burch

after Baudelaire

Lynx-eyed, cat-like and cruel, you creep
across a crevice dropping deep
into a dark and doomed domain.
Your claws are sheathed. You smile, insane.
Rain falls upon your path, and pain
pours down. Your paws are pierced. You pause
and heed the oft-lamented laws
which bid you not begin again
till night returns. You wail like wind,
the sighing of a soul for sin,
and give up hunting for a heart.
Till sunset falls again, depart,
though hate and hunger urge you—On!
Heed, hearts, your hope—the break of dawn.

Published by The HyperTexts, Dracula and His Kin and Sonnetto Poesia (Canada)

Keywords/Tags: Baudelaire, cat, catlike, cruel, creep, creeping, claws, paws, talons, huntress, heart, prey, hate, hunger, alliteration, sonnet

***

hey pete!
by michael r. burch

for Pete Rose

hey pete,
it's baseball season
and the sun ascends the sky,
encouraging a schoolboy’s dreams
of winter whizzing by;
go out, go out and catch it,
put it in a jar,
set it on a shelf
and then
you'll be a Superstar.

Pete Rose was my favorite baseball player as a boy; this poem is not a slam at him, but rather ironic commentary on the term “superstar.”

Keywords/Tags: Pete Rose, baseball, season, star, superstar, sun, sky, schoolboy, dreams, winter, spring, summer, Cincinnati Reds, Big Red Machine, Elite Eight, Charlie Hustle, Hit King

***

Impotent
by Michael R. Burch

Tonight my pen
is barren
of passion, spent of poetry.

I hear your name
upon the rain
and yet it cannot comfort me.

I feel the pain
of dreams that wane,
of poems that falter, losing force.

I write again
words without end,
but I cannot control their course . . .

Tonight my pen
is sullen
and wants no more of poetry.

I hear your voice
as if a choice,
but how can I respond, or flee?

I feel a flame
I cannot name
that sends me searching for a word,

but there is none
not over-done,
unless it's one I never heard.

I believe this poem was written in my late teens or early twenties.

***

Ince St. Child
by Michael R. Burch

When she was a child
  in a dark forest of fear,
    imagination cast its strange light
      into secret places,
      scattering traces
    of illumination so bright,
  years later, they might suddenly reappear,
their light undefiled.

When she was young,
  the shafted light of her dreams
    shone on her uplifted face
      as she prayed;
      though she strayed
    into a night fallen like mildewed lace
  shrouding the forest of screams,
her faith led her home.

Now she is old
  and the light that was flame
    is a slow-dying ember . . .
      What she felt then
      she would explain;
    she would if she could only remember
  that forest of shame,
faith beaten like gold.

Published by Piedmont Literary Review, Songs of Innocence, Romantics Quarterly and Poetry Life & Times. This is an unusual poem that I wrote in my late teens, and it took me some time to figure out who the elderly woman was. She was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, hence the title I eventually chose. Keywords/Tags: early, early poem, early poems, juvenilia, child, childhood, abuse, fear, night, faith, prayer, screams, shame, beaten

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