This is an elegy that I dedicated to my mother, Christine Ena Burch, after her death from Covid pneumonia.
Elegy for a little girl, lost
by Michael R. Burch
. . . qui laetificat juventutem meam . . .
She was the joy of my youth,
and now she is gone.
. . . requiescat in pace . . .
May she rest in peace.
. . . amen . . .
These are epigrams by Michael R. Burch and his translations of epigrams by other poets ...
Love is either wholly folly,
or fully holy.
—Michael R. Burch
God's ultimate masterpiece is a mother's heart.
—St. Therese of Lisieux, loose translation/interpretation/paraphrase by Michael R. Burch
This is how you remind me of who I really am:
Your smile in times of terror and pain
- reminds that that your spirit and mine are stronger than we have ever given ourselves credit for.
In a strange town in a far land
They met amid a throng;
They stared, they could not understand
How life was sudden song.
As brown eyes looked in eyes of grey
Just for a moment's space,
Twin spirits met with sweet dismay
In that strange place.
And then the mob that swept them near
Reft them away again;
Two hearts in all the world most dear
Knew puzzlement and pain.
They barely brushed in passing by,
A wildered girl and boy,
In the fair morning of his life,
When his pure heart lay in his breast,
Panting, with all that wild unrest
To plunge into the great world's strife
That fills young hearts with mad desire,
He saw a sunset. Red and gold
The burning billows surged and rolled,
And upward tossed their caps of fire.
He looked. And as he looked the sight
Sent from his soul through breast and brain
Such intense joy, it hurt like pain.
His heart seemed bursting with delight.
So near the Unknown seemed, so close
Two Wishes XI
In the silence of the night Death descended from God toward the earth. He hovered above a city and pierced the dwellings with his eyes. He say the spirits floating on wings of dreams, and the people who were surrendered to the Slumber.
When the moon fell below the horizon and the city became black, Death walked silently among the houses -- careful to touch nothing -- until he reached a palace. He entered through the bolted gates undisturbed, and stood by the rich man's bed; and as Death touched his forehead, the sleeper's eyes opened, showing great fright.
Why am I full of joy although
It drizzles on the links?
Why am I buying Veuve Cliquot,
And setting up the drinks?
Why stand I like a prince amid
My pals and envy none?
Ye gods of golf! Today I did
A Hole in One.
I drove my ball to heaven high,
It over-topped the hill;
I tried to guess how it would lie,
If on the fairway still.
I climbed the rise, so sure I'd hit
It straight towards the green:
I looked and looked,--no trace of it
Was to be seen.
Trees Against The Sky
Pines against the sky,
Pluming the purple hill;
Pines . . . and I wonder why,
Heart, you quicken and thrill?
Wistful heart of a boy,
Fill with a strange sweet joy,
Lifting to Heaven nigh -
Pines against the sky.
Palms against the sky,
Failing the hot, hard blue;
Stark on the beach I lie,
Dreaming horizons new;
Heart of my youth elate,
Scorning a humdrum fate,
Keyed to adventure high -
Palms against the sky.
Oaks against the sky,
Ramparts of leaves high-hurled,
Lord, my soul with pleasure springs
When Jesu's name I hear:
And when God the Spirit brings
The word of promise near:
Beauties too, in holiness,
Still delighted I perceive;
Nor have words that can express
The joys Thy precepts give.
Clothed in sanctity and grace,
How sweet it is to see
Those who love Thee as they pass,
Or when they wait on Thee.
Pleasant too to sit and tell
What we owe to love Divine;
Till our bosoms grateful swell,
And eyes begin to shine.
True and False Comforts
O God, whose favorable eye,
The sin-sick soul revives,
Holy and heavenly is the joy
Thy shining presence gives.
Not such as hypocrites suppose,
Who with a graceless heart
Taste not of Thee, but drink a dose,
Prepared by Satan's art.
Intoxicating joys are theirs,
Who while they boast their light,
And seem to soar above the stars,
Are plunging into night.
Lull'd in a soft and fatal sleep,
They sin and yet rejoice;
Were they indeed the Saviour's sheep,