"Salat Days” is a poem I wrote about a barely edible weed called — take your pick — pokeweed, poke salad, poke sallet and poke salat. The poem “Salat Days” is followed by a prose version that might be called a short story, a personal essay or flash fiction or micro fiction.
by Michael R. Burch
Dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, Paul Ray Burch, Sr.
Translation From the Gull Language
'Twas grav'd on the Stone of Destiny,
In letters four, and letters three;
And ne'er did the King of the Gulls go by
But those awful letters scar'd his eye;
For he knew that a Prophet Voice had said
"As long as those words by man were read,
The ancient race of the Gulls should ne'er
One hour of peace or plenty share."
But years and years successive flew
And the letters still more legible grew, --
At top, a T, an H, an E,
And underneath, D. E. B. T.
Some thought them Hebrew, -- such as Jews,
I should like to rise and go
Where the golden apples grow;--
Where below another sky
Parrot islands anchored lie,
And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
Lonely Crusoes building boats;--
Where in sunshine reaching out
Eastern cities, miles about,
Are with mosque and minaret
Among sandy gardens set,
And the rich goods from near and far
Hang for sale in the bazaar;--
Where the Great Wall round China goes,
And on one side the desert blows,
And with the voice and bell and drum,
An Englishman was Thomas Paine
Who bled for liberty;
But while his fight was far from vain
He died in poverty:
Though some are of the sober thinking
'Twas due to drinking.
Yet this is what appeals to me:
Cobbet, a friend, loved him so well
He sailed across the surly sea
To raw and rigid New Rochelle:
With none to say: 'Take him not from us!'
He raped the grave of Thomas.
And in his library he set
These bones so woe-begone;
Tom May's Death
As one put drunk into the Packet-boat,
Tom May was hurry'd hence and did not know't.
But was amaz'd on the Elysian side,
And with an Eye uncertain, gazing wide,
Could not determine in what place he was,
For whence in Stevens ally Trees or Grass.
Nor where the Popes head, nor the Mitre lay,
Signs by which still he found and lost his way.
At last while doubtfully he all compares,
He saw near hand, as he imagin'd Ares.
Such did he seem for corpulence and port,
But 'twas a man much of another sort;
To the Virginian Voyage
YOU brave heroic minds
Worthy your country's name,
That honour still pursue;
Go and subdue!
Whilst loitering hinds
Lurk here at home with shame.
Britons, you stay too long:
Quickly aboard bestow you,
And with a merry gale
Swell your stretch'd sail
With vows as strong
As the winds that blow you.
Your course securely steer,
West and by south forth keep!
Rocks, lee-shores, nor shoals
When Eolus scowls
You need not fear;
To The Leaven'd Soil They Trod
TO the leaven'd soil they trod, calling, I sing, for the last;
(Not cities, nor man alone, nor war, nor the dead,
But forth from my tent emerging for good--loosing, untying the tent-
In the freshness, the forenoon air, in the far-stretching circuits
and vistas, again to peace restored,
To the fiery fields emanative, and the endless vistas beyond--to the
south and the north;
To the leaven'd soil of the general western world, to attest my
To The Genius Of Mr. John Hall. On His Exact Translation Of
Tis not from cheap thanks thinly to repay
Th' immortal grove of thy fair-order'd bay
Thou planted'st round my humble fane, that I
Stick on thy hearse this sprig of Elegie:
Nor that your soul so fast was link'd in me,
That now I've both, since't has forsaken thee:
That thus I stand a Swisse before thy gate,
And dare, for such another, time and fate.
Alas! our faiths made different essays,
Our Minds and Merits brake two several ways;
Justice commands I wake thy learned dust,
And truth, in whom all causes center must.
Written After Swimming from Sestos to Abydos
If, in the month of dark December,
Leander, who was nightly wont
(What maid will not the tale remember?)
To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont!
If, when the wintry tempest roar'd,
He sped to Hero, nothing loth,
And thus of old thy current pour'd,
Fair Venus! how I pity both!
For me, degenerate modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May,
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I've done a feat today.
But since he cross'd the rapid tide,
Wreck of the Schooner Samuel Crawford
'Twas in the year of 1886, and on the 29th of November,
Which the surviving crew of the "Samuel Crawford" will long remember,
She was bound to Baltimore with a cargo of pine lumber;
But, alas! the crew suffered greatly from cold and hunger.
'Twas on December 3rd when about ten miles south-west
Of Currituck light, and scudding at her best;
That a heavy gale struck her a merciless blow,
Which filled the hearts of the crew with fear and woe.
Then the merciless snow came down, hiding everything from view,