Prose Poems

These are prose poems and experimental poems.

Prose Poem: The Trouble with Poets
by Michael R. Burch

This morning the neighborhood girls were helping their mothers with chores, but one odd little girl went out picking roses by herself, looking very small and lonely. Suddenly the odd one refused to pick roses anymore because it occurred to her that being plucked might “hurt” them. Now she just sits beside the bushes, rocking gently back and forth, weeping and consoling the vegetation!

Rabindranath Tagore translations

These are modern English translations of poems by the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), who has been called the "Bard of Bengal" and "the Bengali Shelley." In 1913 Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore was also a notable artist, musician and polymath.

The Seashore Gathering
by Rabindranath Tagore
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Paul Valéry translation of “Le cimetière marin” (“The graveyard by the sea”)

This is my modern English translation of Paul Valéry's poem “Le cimetière marin” (“The graveyard by the sea”). Valéry was buried in the seaside cemetery evoked in his best-known poem. From the vantage of the cemetery, the tombs seemed to “support” a sea-ceiling dotted with white sails. Valéry begins and ends his poem with this image ...

Excerpts from “Le cimetière marin” (“The graveyard by the sea”)
from Charmes ou poèmes (1922)
by Paul Valéry
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Poems about Dylan Thomas

These are poems about Dylan Thomas, as well as poems "for" and "after" Dylan Thomas. Dylan Thomas was one of my favorite poets from my early teens and has remained so over the years. I have written three poems ‘for’ him and one poem ‘after’ him …

Myth
by Michael R. Burch

after the sprung rhythm of Dylan Thomas

Here the recalcitrant wind
sighs with grievance and remorse
over fields of wayward gorse
and thistle-throttled lanes.

Infinity

for Beth

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.

MARSH SONG

These are poems about marshes, bogs, seas, tides, tidal waves and things that get bogged down, submerged, lost at sea, etc. 

Marsh Song
by Michael R. Burch

Here there is only the great sad song of the reeds
and the silent herons, wraithlike in the mist,
and a few drab sunken stones, unblessed
by the sunlight these late sixteen thousand years,
and the beaded dews that drench strange ferns, like tears
collected against an overwhelming sadness.

Translations Dante - Inferno, Canto XXVI

Florence, rejoice! For thou o'er land and sea
So spread'st thy pinions that the fame of thee
Hath reached no less into the depths of Hell.
So noble were the five I found to dwell
Therein -- thy sons -- whence shame accrues to me
And no great praise is thine; but if it be
That truth unveil in dreamings before dawn,
Then is the vengeful hour not far withdrawn
When Prato shall exult within her walls
To see thy suffering. Whate'er befalls,
Let it come soon, since come it must, for later,


Two Sons

I HAVE two sons, wife—
Two, and yet the same;
One his wild way runs, wife,
Bringing us to shame.
The one is bearded, sunburnt, grim, and fights across the sea,
The other is a little child who sits upon your knee.

One is fierce and cold, wife,
As the wayward deep;
Him no arms could hold, wife,
Him no breast could keep.
He has tried our hearts for many a year, not broken them; for he
Is still the sinless little one that sits upon your knee.


Two centuries

Two centuries' winter storms have lashed the changing sands of Falmouth's shore,
Deep-voiced, the winds, swift winged, wild, have echoed there the ocean's roar.
But though the north-east gale unleashed, rage-blind with power, relentless beat,
The sturdy light-house sheds its beam on waves churned white beneath the sleet.
And still when cold and fear are past, and fields are sweet with spring-time showers,
Mystic, the gray age-silent hills breathe out their souls in fair mayflowers.


Transformation

She waited in a rose-hued room;
A wanton-hearted creature she,
But beautiful and bright to see
As some great orchid just in bloom.
Upon wide cushions stretched at ease
She lolled in garments filmy fine,
Which but enhanced each rounded line;
A living picture, framed to please.

A bold electric eye of light
Leered through its ruddy screen of lace
And feasted on her form and face
As some wine-crimsoned roue might.

From wall and niche, nude nymph beguiled
Fair goddess of world-wide fame,


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