These are poems about fall, falls and falling, whether in love or literally ...
by Michael R. Burch
These cloudless nights, the sky becomes a wheel
where suns revolve around an axle star ...
Look there, and choose. Decide which moon is yours.
Sink Lethe-ward, held only by a heel.
These are my modern English translations of poems by Hafez aka Hafiz.
The heart is the thousand-stringed lyre
Tuned to the chords of Love.
—Hafez, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
"Listen" is a prophetic poem I wrote around age 17 or 18, then revised and completed around 20 years later.
by Michael R. Burch
also published as Immanuel A. Michael
Listen to me now and heed my voice;
I am a madman, alone, screaming in the wilderness,
but listen now.
Listen to me now, and if I say
that black is black, and white is white, and in between lies gray,
I have no choice.
Does a madman choose his words? They come to him,
the moon’s illuminations, intimations of the wind,
and he must speak.
Have you tasted the bitterness of tears of despair?
Have you watched the sun sink through such pale, balmless air
that your soul sought its shell like a crab on a beach,
then scuttled inside to be safe, out of reach?
Might I lift you tonight from earth’s wreckage and damage
on these waves gently rising to pay the moon homage?
Or better, perhaps, let me say that I, too,
have dreamed of infinity . . . windswept and blue.
Howling at the Moon
On a moonlit late night
I sat in a bar
Drinking drams of demented, fermented dream dew
Just an unhinged lunatic
Dreaming of howling at the full moon
Watching the world walk by
Looking at all the fine-looking babes
Walking by the street
Thinking wild, erotic thoughts
Of endless wild libertine passions
When into the bar
Walked the most beautiful women
In the Universe
So wild, so free
So wonderfully alive
The moon shone bright that night
Beautiful and full.
I can still picture it.
It was magical the way the light danced.
It swallowed every star in the sky
In its majestic glow.
Tonight, however, the moon is gone.
I don’t know where it went.
I wish it would come back
To light up the darkness like it once did
But wherever it’s gone, I hope it’s happier there.
Upon the darkened prairie
a Comanche Moon shines,
rising from the horizon
and a swath of yellow pines.
Rousted from the tall grass
where buffaloes once roamed--
rabbits, ferrets and bobwhites
from the safety of their homes.
The ground doth tremble
and the earth doth quake.
Advancing shadows from the forest
disrupt the peaceful state.
Grasshoppers fly from their perch.
Wolf packs bound out of sight.
Something deadly stalks the prairie
shedding blood on the moon this night.
Troth with the Dead
The moon is broken in twain, and half a moon
Before me lies on the still, pale floor of the sky;
The other half of the broken coin of troth
Is buried away in the dark, where the still dead lie.
They buried her half in the grave when they laid her away;
I had pushed it gently in among the thick of her hair
Where it gathered towards the plait, on that very last day;
And like a moon in secret it is shining there.
My half shines in the sky, for a general sign
Of the troth with the dead I pledged myself to keep;
Tz'u No. 11
To the tune of "Lamentation"
It was far into the night when, intoxicated,
I took off my ornaments;
The plum flower withered in my hair.
Recovered from tipsiness,
the lingering smell of wine
broke my fond dream
before my dreaming soul could find
my way home.
All is quiet.
The moon lingers,
And the emerald screen hangs low.
I caress the withered flower,
Fondle the fragrant petals,
Trying to bring back the lost time.
Tz'u No. 1
To the tune "Courtyard Filled with Fragrance"
Fragrant grass beside the pond
green shade over the hall
a clear cold comes through
the window curtains
crescent moon beyond the golden bars
and a flute sounds
as if someone were coming
but alone on my mat with a cup
gazing sadly into nothingness
I want to call back
the blackberry flowers
that have fallen
though pear blossoms remain
for in that distant year
I came to love their fresh fragrance
scenting my sleeve