"Finally to Burn" is a poem about the Fall and Resurrection of Icarus, with the assistance of Tom o’Bedlam.
Finally to Burn
by Michael R. Burch
Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand
and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands
where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting
and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting
and all I remember
is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking
one’s Being—to drift
heroically beyond thought,
forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.
The friends we had, the friends we left
Along the siren streets
A signal past, a thousand thefts
In red light, white light beats
Oh, where can I rest in this hidden town
As wind comes whistling through
In light and dark, as it rains down,
A dancer flails there too
Somewhere she dwells, the chastised nun,
A remnant work of whim
Perhaps it’s one or maybe none
She waits and waits for him
The courtyard halls where beauty haunts
In bellows of burial bells
At night it sleeps its lot of want
The General went fore, a prisoner of war,
Enchained at the enemy’s behest;
But now he’s back, the dust is slack,
With wine I greet my guest.
We sing in verse of skies and birds,
Forbidding a barrack word;
With spring before, we leave the war
And howls of night unheard.
But peaceful strolls leave generals no role:
The King alone we know;
To climb up high you weary your thighs,
But gaze at your sword and go.
Afar I row a little boat,
An island of song and show;
Ashore I leave a nighttime note
Of footsteps laid below.
For now it drizzles mist ahead,
Mixed in with dark night green;
I walk a path where willows tread,
A painted river scene.
I open the door and see a room
Of skirts in red and plum;
With girls a-sway and arms abloom,
The beating of a drum.
I watch until my bottle goes,
The noise will leave us soon;
Outside a child unfolds a rose,
Her soul beneath moon.
Today no toll in work or soul
As spring is green with ease;
In Central Park I make my mark
To see the cherry trees.
A bird lets out its welcome shout
Beneath the building glass;
The wind lets bare a woman’s hair
In lovely, flowing mass.
I know the moon will come out soon,
For now the sun’s on track;
I gaze at bluffs with cherry puffs,
Unwilling to go back.
By chance I saw her at the corner
Of Fifth and Forty-Eight;
The crowd moved past, we talked at last,
And smiled as on a date.
We planned to meet again sometime
Or talk at any rate,
But the number she gave I failed to save,
As charm’s a poor cousin to fate.
A Ballad Called the Haymarket Hectors
I sing a woeful ditty
Of a wound that long will smart-a,
Giv'n, the more's the pity,
In the realm of Magna Charta.
Youth, youth, should'st better be slain by thy foes
Than live to be hanged for cutting a nose.
Our good King Charles the Second,
Too flippant of treasure and moisture,
Stooped from the queen infecund
To a wench of orange and oyster.
Consulting his cazzo, he found it expedient
To engender Don Johns on Nell the comedian.
The lecherous vainglory
When a sinner feels his need,
When he sees in every action
Nothing in God's court to plead.
When a sinner, judgment knowing,
Wants a Saviour who can save,
Then, from human efforts going,
For free mercy will he crave.
Christ will prove the true attraction,
He will save the sinner lost!
Law demanded its full action,
But the Saviour met the cost.
Wondrous mercy now outshining,
Shows redemption's work is done,
And no more in death repining,
As Joseph Was a-Walking
He heard an angel sing:
"This night shall be born
Our heavenly king.
"He neither shall be born
In housen nor in hall,
Nor in the place of Paradise,
But in an ox's stall.
"He neither shall be clothed
In purple nor in pall,
But all in fair linen,
As were babies all.
"He neither shall be rocked
In silver nor in gold,
But in a wooden cradle
That rocks on the mould.
"He neither shall be christened
In white wine or red,
But with fair spring water,
Reiver's Wedding, The: a Fragment
O, will ye hear a mirthful bourd?
Or will ye hear how a gallant lord
Was wedded to a gay ladye?
" Ca' out the kye," quo' the village herd,
As he stood on the knowe,
" Ca' this ane 's nine and that ane 's ten,
And bauld Lord William's cow."
" Ah! by my sooth," quoth William then,
" And stands it that way now,
When knave and churl have nine and ten,
That the lord has but his cow?
" I swear by the light of the Michaelmas moon,
And the might of Mary high,