This is my modern English translation of a poem by the Palestinian poet Walid Khazindar.
This Distant Light
by Walid Khazindar
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
winter clings to the naked trees.
If only you would free
the bright sparrows
from your fingertips
and unleash a smile— that shy, tentative smile—
from the imprisoned anguish I see.
Sing! Can we not sing
as if we were warm, hand-in-hand,
sheltered by shade from a sweltering sun?
These are villanelles by Michael R. Burch.
Remembering Not to Call
by Michael R. Burch
a villanelle permitting mourning, for my mother, Christine Ena Burch
The hardest thing of all,
after telling her everything,
is remembering not to call.
Now the phone hanging on the wall
will never announce her ring:
the hardest thing of all
for children, however tall.