These are original haiku written by Michael R. Burch, many of them under the influence of the Oriental masters of the form.
pregnant with heavy thunder ...
the water breaks
—Michael R. Burch
by Michael R. Burch
These are poems about Frost, Ice and Winter, plus poems I have written after Robert Frost.
Not Elves, Exactly
by Michael R. Burch
after Robert Frost's "Mending Wall"
Something there is that likes a wall,
that likes it spiked and likes it tall,
that likes its pikes’ sharp rows of teeth
and doesn’t mind its victims’ grief
(wherever they come from, far or wide)
as long as they fall on the other side.
This is my translation of one of the oldest rhyming poems in the English language: the Middle English poem "How Long the Night" which dates to the early 13th century and appears to predate Geoffrey Chaucer.
How Long the Night
anonymous Middle English poem, circa early 13th century AD
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
The December sun doesn't melt
they sparkle iridescent in
the downhill skiers'
fine snow powder,
and are priceless on
heavy laden tree branches.
So valuable are they
to Old Man Winter,
they adorn St. NIck's
long snowy beard,
and bejewel the
child Snow Queen's tiara.
sailing the covered land
that's drifting white
between the light
we lie in the snow
to sink beyond
the streamlets circle
they wrap us
in their ice-bound arms
and we are one
shining with the sun
It was a cool Winter.
There were a few people outside.
All at a sudden it became cooler.
Snow fell but not to slide.
That is a good picture.
Drops of snow flakes were falling.
This is nearly the end for sure.
You can seat and stay for hours watching.
along the harbor
where green sea goes gray
on an autumn day
as it’s turned half winter
now in the sun
and the pairs form
of cold light and mannequins
that mouth out with their frozen lips
of something yet to come
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?
Lord, what am I, that with unceasing care
Thou did'st seek after me, that Thou did'st wait
Wet with unhealthy dews before my gate,
And pass the gloomy nights of winter there?
Oh, strange delusion, that I did not greet
Thy blest approach, and oh, to heaven how lost
If my ingratitude's unkindly frost
Has chilled the bleeding wounds upon Thy feet.
How oft my guardian angel gently cried,
“Soul, from thy casement look, and thou shalt see
How He persists to knock and wait for thee!”
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