Other Poems by:

Michael R. Burch

Isolde's Song

Through our long years of dreaming to be one

we grew toward an enigmatic light

that gently warmed our tendrils. Was it sun?

We had no eyes to tell; we loved despite

the lack of all sensation-all but one:                                       

we felt the night's deep chill, the air so bright

at dawn we quivered limply, overcome.


To touch was all we knew, and how to bask.

We knew to touch; we grew to touch; we felt

spring's urgency, midsummer's heat, fall's lash,

wild winter's ice and thaw and fervent melt.

We felt returning light and could not ask

its meaning, or if something was withheld

more glorious. To touch seemed life's great task.


At last the petal of me learned: unfold.

And you were there, surrounding me. We touched.

The curious golden pollens! Ah, we touched,

and learned to cling and, finally, to hold.


[Nominated for the Pushcart Prize by The Raintown Review]

Water and Gold

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert

when every flower springs to life at once,

but joy is an illusion to the expert:

the Bedouin has learned how not to want.


You came to me as riches to a miser

when all is gold, or so his heart believes,

until he dies much thinner and much wiser,

his gleaming bones hauled off by chortling thieves.


You gave your heart too soon, too dear, too vastly;

I could not take it in; it was too much.

I pledged to meet your price, but promised rashly.

I died of thirst, of your bright Midas touch.


I dreamed you gave me water of your lips,

then sealed my tomb with golden hieroglyphs.


[Originally published by The Lyric]

Auschwitz Rose

There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar,

a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name.

The world forgot her,

                                   and is not the same.

I love her and would not forget desire,

but keep her memory exalted flame

to justify the thistles and the nettles.


On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles;

they sleep alike-diminutive and tall,

the innocent, the "surgeons."

                                               Sleeping, all.

Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals,

if accidents of coloration, gall

my heart no less. 

                            Amid thick weeds and muck

there grows a rose no man shall ever pluck

till he beds there, and bids the world "Good Luck."


[Originally published by Neovictorian/Cochlea]

The Effects of Memory

A black ringlet curls to lie

at the nape of her neck,

glistening with sweat

in the evaporate moonlight ...

This is what I remember


now that I cannot forget.


And tonight,                             

if I have forgotten her name,

I remember ...

rigid wire and white lace

half-impressed in her flesh,


our soft cries, like regret


... the enameled white clips

of her bra strap

still inscribe dimpled marks

that my kisses erase ...


now that I have forgotten her face.


[Originally published by Poetry Magazine]


See how her hair has thinned: it doesn't seem

like hair at all, but like the airy moult

of emus who outraced the wind and left

soft plumage in their wake. See how her eyes

are gentler now; see how each wrinkle laughs,

and deepens on itself, as though mirth took

some comfort there and burrowed deeply in,

outlasting winter. See how very thin

her features are-that time has made more spare,

so that each bone shows elegant and rare.


For loveliness remains in her grave eyes,

and courage in her still-delighted looks:

each face presented like a picture book's.

Bemused, she blows us undismayed goodbyes.


[Originally published by The Eclectic Muse]


Michael R. Burch's work has been translated into Farsi and Gjuha Shqipe 
and has appeared over 600 times in literary journals which include 
Bashgah and Mahmag (Iran), Kritya (India), Sonnetto Poesia (Canada), 
Numbat (Australia), Ancient Heart Magazine (England), Nutty Stories 
(South Africa), and Black Medina, The Chariton Review, Light Quarterly, 
Poet Lore, The Lyric, Voices for Africa and Verse (USA).

C)opyright 2007 Michael R. Burch- All Rights Reserved

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