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Poems about Children IV
Poems about Children IV Salat Days by Michael R. Burch Dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, Paul Ray Burch, Sr. I remember how my grandfather used to pick poke salat ... though first, usually, he’d stretch back in the front porch swing, dangling his long thin legs, watching the sweat bees drone, talking about poke salat— how easy it was to find if you knew where to look for it ... standing in dew-damp clumps by the side of a road, shockingly green, straddling fence posts, overflowing small ditches, crowding out the less-hardy nettles. “Nobody knows that it’s there, lad, or that it’s fit tuh eat with some bacon drippin’s or lard.” “Don’t eat the berries. You see—the berry’s no good. And you’d hav’ta wash the leaves a good long time.” “I’d boil it twice, less’n I wus in a hurry. Lawd, it’s tough to eat, chile, if you boil it jest wonst.” He seldom was hurried; I can see him still ... silently mowing his yard at eighty-eight, stooped, but with a tall man’s angular gray grace. Sometimes he’d pause to watch me running across the yard, trampling his beans, dislodging the shoots of his tomato plants. He never grew flowers; I never laughed at his jokes about The Depression. Years later I found the proper name—“pokeweed”—while perusing a dictionary. Surprised, I asked why anyone would eat a weed. I still can hear his laconic reply ... “Well, chile, s’m’times them times wus hard.” Of Civilization and Disenchantment by Michael R. Burch Suddenly uncomfortable to stay at my grandfather’s house— actually his third new wife’s, in her daughter’s bedroom —one interminable summer with nothing to do, all the meals served cold, even beans and peas . . . Lacking the words to describe ah!, those pearl-luminous estuaries— strange omens, incoherent nights. Seeing the flares of the river barges illuminating Memphis, city of bluffs and dying splendors. Drifting toward Alexandria, Pharos, Rhakotis, Djoser’s fertile delta, lands at the beginning of a new time and “civilization.” Leaving behind sixty miles of unbroken cemetery, Alexander’s corpse floating seaward, bobbing, milkwhite, in a jar of honey. Memphis shall be waste and desolate, without an inhabitant. Or so the people dreamed, in chains. Boundless by Michael R. Burch for Jeremy Every day we whittle away at the essential solidity of him, and every day a new sharp feature emerges: a feature we’ll spend creative years: planing, smoothing, refining, trying to find some new Archaic Torso of Apollo, or Thinker . . . And if each new day a little of the boisterous air of youth is deflated in him, if the hours of small pleasures spent chasing daffodils in the outfield as the singles become doubles, become triples, become unconscionable errors, become victories lost, become lives wasted beyond all possible hope of repair . . . if what he was becomes increasingly vague—like a white balloon careening into clouds; like a child striding away aggressively toward manhood, hitching an impressive rucksack over sagging, sloping shoulders, shifting its vaudevillian burden back and forth, then pausing to look back at us with an almost comical longing . . . if what he wants is only to be held a little longer against a forgiving bosom; to chase after daffodils in the outfield regardless of scores; to sail away like a balloon on a firm string, always sure to return when the line tautens, till he looks down upon us from some removed height we cannot quite see, bursting into tears over us: what, then, of our aspirations for him, if he cannot breathe, cannot rise enough to contemplate the earth with his own vision, unencumbered, but never untethered, forsaken . . . cannot grow brightly, steadily, into himself—flying beyond us? Will There Be Starlight by Michael R. Burch Will there be starlight tonight while she gathers damask and lilac and sweet-scented heathers? And will she find flowers, or will she find thorns guarding the petals of roses unborn? Will there be starlight tonight while she gathers seashells and mussels and albatross feathers? And will she find treasure or will she find pain at the end of this rainbow of moonlight on rain? Originally published by Grassroots Poetry, Poetry Webring, TALESetc, The Word (UK) Limericks and Nonsense Verse There once was a leopardess, Dot, who indignantly answered: "I’ll not! The gents are impressed with the way that I’m dressed. I wouldn’t change even one spot." —Michael R. Burch There once was a dromedary who befriended a crafty canary. Budgie said, "You can’t sing, but now, here’s the thing— just think of the tunes you can carry!" —Michael R. Burch Generation Gap by Michael R. Burch A quahog clam, age 405, said, “Hey, it’s great to be alive!” I disagreed, not feeling nifty, babe though I am, just pushing fifty. Note: A quahog clam found off the coast of Ireland is the longest-lived animal on record, at an estimated age of 405 years. Lance-Lot by Michael R. Burch Preposterous bird! Inelegant! Absurd! Until the great & mighty heron brandishes his fearsome sword. Murder Most Fowl! by Michael R. Burch “Murder most foul!” cried the mouse to the owl. “Friend, I’m no sinner; you’re merely my dinner!” the wise owl replied as the tasty snack died. hey pete by Michael R. Burch for Pete Rose hey pete, it's baseball season and the sun ascends the sky, encouraging a schoolboy's dreams of winter whizzing by; go out, go out and catch it, put it in a jar, set it on a shelf and then you'll be a Superstar. When I was a boy, Pete Rose was my favorite baseball player; this poem is not a slam at him, but rather an ironic jab at the term "superstar." Epitaph for a Palestinian Child I lived as best I could, and then I died. Be careful where you step: the grave is wide. —Michael R. Burch Keywords/Tags: child, children, childhood, father son, dad, grandfather, grandson, grandchild, boy, baseball, schoolboy, youth, generation gap
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