The Celtic Cross at Isle Grosse

The Celtic Cross at Île Grosse
by Michael R. Burch

“I actually visited the island and walked across those mass graves [of 30,000 Irish men, women and children], and I played a little tune on me whistle. I found it very peaceful, and there was relief there.” – Paddy Maloney of The Chieftains

There was relief there,
and release,
on Île Grosse
in the spreading gorse
and the cry of the wild geese . . .

Heretical Poems II

These are heretical poems about Christian concepts such as heaven, hell and salvation. In the past I have published such poems under the heading "Heresy Hearsay." 

 

Less Heroic Couplets: Funding Fundamentals
by Michael R. Burch

“I found out that I was a Christian for revenue only and I could not bear the thought of that, it was so ignoble.” — Mark Twain

Two Women

I know two women, and one is chaste
And cold as the snows on a winters waste,
Stainless ever I act and thought
(As a man, born dumb, in speech errs not) .
But she has malice toward her kind,
A cruel tongue and a jealous mind.
Void of pity and full of greed,
She judges the world by her narrow creed;
A brewer of quarrels, a breeder of hate,
Yet she holds the key to ‘Society’s’ Gate.

The other woman, with heart of flame,
Went mad for a love that marred her name:
And out of the grave of her murdered faith


Two Sonnets

I

Just as I wonder at the twofold screen
Of twisted innocence that you would plait
For eyes that uncourageously await
The coming of a kingdom that has been,
So do I wonder what God’s love can mean
To you that all so strangely estimate
The purpose and the consequent estate
Of one short shuddering step to the Unseen.

No, I have not your backward faith to shrink
Lone-faring from the doorway of God’s home
To find Him in the names of buried men;
Nor your ingenious recreance to think


True Being

True Being


Rich hour! is not thy gift a radiant thing?
The truth here blazoned in this marble and gold,
Here writ in this refulgence manifold,
Hath sunned my groped redemption: lo, I fling--
How lightly!--off ungraced desire; I cling
To that faith firm this splendour hath retold:
My spirit, towered, doth its sheer track behold,
And shakes the dust of chaos from its wing.
Life that is death, riches named with a lie,
This fane would, that the sum of both employs,


Transfiguration

Mysterious death! who in a single hour
Life's gold can so refine
And by thy art divine
Change mortal weakness to immortal power!

Bending beneath the weight of eighty years
Spent with the noble strife
of a victorious life
We watched her fading heavenward, through our tears.

But ere the sense of loss our hearts had wrung
A miracle was wrought;
And swift as happy thought
She lived again -- brave, beautiful, and young.

Age, pain, and sorrow dropped the veils they wore


Tom the Lunatic

Sang old Tom the lunatic
That sleeps under the canopy:
'What change has put my thoughts astray
And eyes that had so keen a sight?
What has turned to smoking wick
Nature's pure unchanging light?

'Huddon and Duddon and Daniel O'Leary.
Holy Joe, the beggar-man,
Wenching, drinking, still remain
Or sing a penance on the road;
Something made these eyeballs weary
That blinked and saw them in a shroud.

'Whatever stands in field or flood,
Bird, beast, fish or man,
Mare or stallion, cock or hen,


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