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Auschwitz Rose

Auschwitz Rose by Michael R. Burch 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 still love her and extend this sacred fire to keep her memory exalted flame, unmolested by the thistles and the nettles. On Auschwitz how 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 lies a rose man’s crackling lightning struck; the only Rose I ever longed to pluck. Soon I’ll bed there and bid the world “Good Luck.” Death Fugue by Paul Celan loose translation by Michael R. Burch Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come dusk; we drink you come midday, come morning, come night; we drink you and drink you. We’re digging a grave like a hole in the sky; there’s sufficient room to lie there. The man of the house plays with vipers; he writes in the Teutonic darkness, “Your golden hair Margarete...” He composes by starlight, whistles hounds to stand by, whistles Jews to dig graves, where together they’ll lie. He commands us to strike up bright tunes for the dance! Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come dusk; we drink you come dawn, come midday, come night; we drink you and drink you. The man of the house plays with serpents; he writes... he writes as the night falls, “Your golden hair Margarete... Your ashen hair Shulamith...” We are digging dark graves where there’s more room, on high. His screams, “Hey you, dig there!” and “Hey you, sing and dance!” He grabs his black nightstick, his eyes pallid blue, screaming, “Hey you?dig deeper! You others?sing, dance!” Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come dusk; we drink you come midday, come morning, come night; we drink you and drink you. The man of the house writes, “Your golden hair Margarete... Your ashen hair Shulamith...” as he cultivates snakes. He screams, “Play Death more sweetly! Death’s the master of Germany!” He cries, “Scrape those dark strings, soon like black smoke you’ll rise to your graves in the skies; there’s sufficient room for Jews there!” Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come midnight; we drink you come midday; Death’s the master of Germany! We drink you come dusk; we drink you and drink you... He’s a master of Death, his pale eyes deathly blue. He fires leaden slugs, his aim level and true. He writes as the night falls, “Your golden hair Margarete...” He unleashes his hounds, grants us graves in the skies. He plays with his serpents; Death’s the master of Germany... “Your golden hair Margarete... your ashen hair Shulamith...” O, Little Root of a Dream by Paul Celan loose translation by Michael R. Burch O, little root of a dream you enmire me here; I’m undermined by blood? made invisible, death's possession. Touch the curve of my face, that there may yet be an earthly language of ardor, that someone else’s eyes may somehow still see me, though I’m blind, here where you deny me voice. You Were My Death by Paul Celan loose translation by Michael R. Burch You were my death; I could hold you when everything abandoned me? even breath. Veiled by Michael R. Burch She has belief without comprehension and in her crutchwork shack she is much like us . . . tamping the bread into edible forms, regarding her children at play with something akin to relief . . . ignoring the towers ablaze in the distance because they are not revelations but things of glass, easily shattered . . . and if you were to ask her, she might say: sometimes God visits his wrath upon an impious nation for its leaders’ sins, and we might agree: seeing her mutilations. War is Obsolete by Michael R. Burch Trump’s war is on children and their mothers. "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." - Gandhi War is obsolete; even the strange machinery of dread weeps for the child in the street who cannot lift her head to reprimand the Man who failed to countermand her soft defeat. But war is obsolete; even the cold robotic drone that flies far overhead has sense enough to moan and shudder at her plight (only men bereft of Light with hearts indurate stone embrace war’s Siberian night.) For war is obsolete; man’s tribal “gods,” long dead, have fled his awakening sight while the true Sun, overhead, has pity on her plight. O sweet, precipitate Light!? embrace her, reject the night that leaves gentle fledglings dead. For each brute ancestor lies with his totems and his “gods” in the slavehold of premature night that awaited him in his tomb; while Love, the ancestral womb, still longs to give birth to the Light. So which child shall we murder tonight, or which Ares condemn to the gloom? Child of 9-11 by Michael R. Burch a poem for Christina-Taylor Green, who was born on September 11, 2001 and who died at age nine, shot to death ... Child of 9-11, beloved, I bring this lily, lay it down here at your feet, and eiderdown, and all soft things, for your gentle spirit. I bring this psalm ? I hope you hear it. Much love I bring ? I lay it down here by your form, which is not you, but what you left this shell-shocked world to help us learn what we must do to save another child like you. Child of 9-11, I know you are not here, but watch, afar from distant stars, where angels rue the evil things some mortals do. I also watch; I also rue. And so I make this pledge and vow: though I may weep, I will not rest nor will my pen fail heaven's test till guns and wars and hate are banned from every shore, from every land. Child of 9-11, I grieve your tender life, cut short ... bereaved, what can I do, but pledge my life to saving lives like yours? Belief in your sweet worth has led me here ... I give my all: my pen, this tear, this lily and this eiderdown, and all soft things my heart can bear; I bring them to your final bier, and leave them with my promise, here.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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