These are War poems and Anti-War poems, including a hymn for fallen soldiers and poems I wrote about 911 and its aftermath.
by Michael R. Burch
Hiroshima shadows ... mother and child ...
Oh, when will our hearts ever be beguiled
to end mindless war ... to seek peace,
to our common mortality?
Like generations that have fallen before,
you fell on distant shores
from the guns of war,
My earthly soul pauses everyday,
and I come this way
to honor always the gallant in repose,
Clutched in my hand are black roses,
black roses for the youth,
the eternal youth.
shipmates seal team six died on Afghan sand my psyche bleeds
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.
The Widow: A War Song
And southward gaze for me,
Beyond the day, across the night,
And say — What dost thou see?"
" I see the clouds of battle lower,
Our hosts flock forth to slay! ...
The Widow, in her Palace bower,
Stood listening, old and gray.
" Oh, Watchman, is it well with those
Who 'neath my banners stand,
Whose swords are drawn to smite my foes
In yonder far-off Land?"
" Lady, their camps are red with blood,
Their kinsmen's and their own ...
As pale as Death the Widow stood,
The fight is o'er, the day is done,
And thro' the clouds o'erhead
The fingers of the setting sun
Are pointing down blood-red, —
Beneath, on the white battlefield,
Lie strewn the drifts of dead.
No breath, no stir; but everywhere
The cold Frost crawleth slow,
And Frank and Teuton side by side
Lie stiffening in the snow, —
While piteously each marble face
Cleams in the ruby glow.
No sound; but yonder midst the dead
There stands one steed snow-white,
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
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,
Translation of Petrarch's Rima, Sonnet 134
I FIND no peace, and all my war is done;
I fear and hope; I burn and freeze like ice;
I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise;
And nought I have, and all the world I seize on;
That looseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison
And holdeth me not, yet can I 'scape nowise;
Nor letteth me live nor die at my device, [by my own choice]
And yet of death it giveth none occasion.
Withouten eyen, I see; and without tongue I plain; [lament]
I desire to perish, and yet I ask health;