These are Christmas poems by Michael R. Burch. Some are darker Christmas poems and heretical Christmas poems.
The First Christmas
by Michael R. Burch
’Twas in a land so long ago . . .
the lambs lay blanketed in snow
and little children everywhere
sat and watched warm embers glow
and dreamed (of what, we do not know).
And THEN—a star appeared on high,
The brightest man had ever seen!
It made the children whisper low
in puzzled awe (what did it mean?).
It made the wooly lambkins cry.
with angel stars—
I find the way
the shadow lights—
which path to take?
in the early morn—
I follow the river path
vessel upon vessel—
I drink from the cup of life
poured in two directions—
I follow the path that leads to home
cup of life
drip by drip
sought from and found
from empty hopes
the one you see
and the one you don’t
Two Songs From a Play
I saw a staring virgin stand
Where holy Dionysus died,
And tear the heart out of his side.
And lay the heart upon her hand
And bear that beating heart away;
Of Magnus Annus at the spring,
As though God's death were but a play.
Another Troy must rise and set,
Another lineage feed the crow,
Another Argo's painted prow
Drive to a flashier bauble yet.
The Roman Empire stood appalled:
It dropped the reins of peace and war
When that fierce virgin and her Star
Two Blind Men
Two blind men met. Said one: "This earth
Has been a blackout from my birth.
Through darkness I have groped my way,
Forlorn, unknowing night from day.
But you - though War destroyed your sight,
Still have your memories of Light,
And to allay your present pain
Can live your golden youth again."
Then said the second: "Aye, it's true,
It must seem magical to you
To know the shape of things that are,
A women's lips, a rose, a star.
But therein lies the hell of it;
Better my eyes had never lit
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Then is the vengeful hour not far withdrawn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,
The stars were wild that summer evening
As on the low lake shore stood you and I
And every time I caught your flashing eye
Or heard your voice discourse on anything
It seemed a star went burning down the sky.
I looked into your heart that dying summer
And found your silent woman's heart grown wild
Whereupon you turned to me and smiled
Saying you felt afraid but that you were
Weary of being mute and undefiled
I spoke to you that last winter morning
Two Poems from the War
Oh, not the loss of the accomplished thing!
Not dumb farewells, nor long relinquishment
Of beauty had, and golden summer spent,
And savage glory of the fluttering
Torn banners of the rain, and frosty ring
Of moon-white winters, and the imminent
Long-lunging seas, and glowing students bent
To race on some smooth beach the gull's wing:
Not these, nor all we've been, nor all we've loved,
The pitiful familiar names, had moved
Our hearts to weep for them; but oh, the star
The future is! Eternity's too wan
Two on the Terrace
Warm waves of lavish moonlight
The Capitol enfold,
As if a richer noon light
Bathed its white walls with gold.
The great bronze Freedom shining,
Her crest in ether shrining,
Peers eastward as divining
The new day from the old.
Mark the mild planet pouring
Her splendor o'er the ground;
See the white obelisk soaring
To pierce the blue profound.
Beneath the still heavens beaming,
The lighted town lies gleaming,
In guarded slumber dreaming-
A world without a sound.
Twixt the Wings of the Yard
Hear the loud swell of it, mighty pell mell of it,
Thousands of voices all blent into one:
See “hell for leather” now trooping together, now
Down the long slope of the range at a run,
Dust in the wake of ‘em: see the wild break of ‘em,
Spear-horned and curly, red, spotted and starred:
See the lads bringing ‘em, blocking ‘em, ringing ‘em.
Fetching ‘em up to the wings of the yard.
Mark that red leader now: what a fine bleeder now,
Twelve hundred at least if he weighs half a pound,
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,