Hymn to an Art-o-matic Laundromat
by Michael R. Burch
after Richard Thomas Moore’s “Hymn to an Automatic Washer”
into the blue light
of another heaven
water melts anew
on the blue horizon
of another day
for morning prayers
the pages turn
to the wind
where all the blind
begin to see
among the red and blue—
once more I'm
back together again
sometimes dead as sin—
reborn for another day
Two swimmers wrestled on the spar
Two swimmers wrestled on the spar—
Until the morning sun—
When One—turned smiling to the land—
Oh God! the Other One!
The stray ships—passing—
Spied a face—
Upon the waters borne—
With eyes in death—still begging raised—
Translated from Geibel
O say, thou wild, thou oft deceived heart,
What mean these noisy throbbings in my breast?
After thy long, unutterable woe
Wouldst thou not rest?
Fall'n from Life's tree the sweet rose-blossom lies,
And fragrant youth has fled. What made to seem
This earth as fair to thee as Paradise,
Was all a dream.
The blossom fell, the thorn was left to me;
Deep from the wound the blood-drops ever flow,
All that I have are yearnings, wild desires,
And wrath and woe.
Too long and quickly have I lived to vow
The woe that stretches me shall never wane,
Too often seen the end of endless pain
To swear that peace no more shall cool my brow.
I know, I know- again the shriveled bough
Will burgeon sweetly in the gentle rain,
And these hard lands be quivering with grain-
I tell you only: it is Winter now.
What if I know, before the Summer goes
Where dwelt this bitter frenzy shall be rest?
What is it now, that June shall surely bring
New promise, with the swallow and the rose?
Two Tramps in Mud Time
Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.
Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
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
Twas One of Those Dreams
'TWAS one of those dreams, that by music are brought,
Like a bright summer haze, o'er the poet's warm thought --
When, lost in the future, his soul wanders on,
And all of this life, but its sweetness, is gone.
The wild notes he heard o'er the water were those
He had taught to sing Erin's dark bondage and woes,
And the breath of the bugle now wafted them o'er
From Dinis' green isle, to Glena's wooded shore.
He listen'd -- while, high o'er the eagle's rude nest,
The lingering sounds on their way loved to rest;
Mother, I do want to leave off my lessons now. I have been at my
book all the morning.
You say it is only twelve o'clock. Suppose it isn't any later;
can't you ever think it is afternoon when it is only twelve
I can easily imagine now that the sun has reached the edge of
that rice-field, and the old fisher-woman is gathering herbs for
her supper by the side of the pond.
I can just shut my eyes and think that the shadows are growing
darker under the madar tree, and the water in the pond looks shiny
Trying to Pray
This time, I have left my body behind me, crying
In its dark thorns.
There are good things in this world.
It is dusk.
It is the good darkness
Of women's hands that touch loaves.
The spirit of a tree begins to move.
I touch leaves.
I close my eyes and think of water.