Get Your Premium Membership


Cleansings by Michael R. Burch Walk here among the walking specters. Learn inhuman patience. Flesh can only cleave to bone this tightly if their hearts believe that God is good, and never mind the Urn. A lentil and a bean might plump their skin with mothers’ bounteous, soft-dimpled fat (and call it “health”), might quickly build again the muscles of dead menfolk. Dream, like that, and call it courage. Cry, and be deceived, and so endure. Or burn, made wholly pure. One’s prayer is answered, “god” thus unbelieved. No holy pyre this—death’s hissing chamber. Two thousand years ago—a starlit manger, weird Herod’s cries for vengeance on the meek, the children slaughtered. Fear, when angels speak, the prophesies of man. Do what you "can," not what you must, or should. They call you “good,” dead eyes devoid of tears; how shall they speak except in blankness? Fear, then, how they weep. Escape the gentle clutching stickfolk. Creep away in shame to retch and flush away your vomit from their ashes. Learn to pray. ### Epitaph for a Child of Gaza by Michael R. Burch I lived as best I could, and then I died. Be careful where you step: the grave is wide. ### Frail Envelope of Flesh by Michael R. Burch for Gaza Frail envelope of flesh, lying cold on the surgeon’s table with anguished eyes like your mother’s eyes and a heartbeat weak, unstable ... Frail crucible of dust, brief flower come to this? your tiny hand in your mother’s hand for a last bewildered kiss ... Brief mayfly of a child, to live two artless years! Now your mother’s lips seal up your lips from the Deluge of her tears ... ### For a Child of Gaza, with Butterflies by Michael R. Burch Where does the butterfly go when lightning rails when thunder howls when hailstones scream while winter scowls and nights compound dark frosts with snow? Where does the butterfly go? Where does the rose hide its bloom when night descends oblique and chill beyond the capacity of moonlight to fill? When the only relief's a banked fire's glow, where does the butterfly go? And where shall the spirit flee when life is harsh, too harsh to face, and hope is lost without a trace? Oh, when the light of life runs low, where does the butterfly go? ### I Pray Tonight by Michael R. Burch for Gaza I pray tonight the starry Light might surround you. I pray by day that, come what may, no dark thing confound you. I pray ere tomorrow an end to your sorrow. May angels' white chorales sing, and astound you. ### Something by Michael R. Burch for Gaza Something inescapable is lost? lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight, vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars immeasurable and void. Something uncapturable is gone? gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn, scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass and remembrance. Something unforgettable is past? blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less, and finality has swept into a corner where it lies in dust and cobwebs and silence. ### Mother’s Smile by Michael R. Burch for Gaza There never was a fonder smile than mother’s smile, no softer touch than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile and know she loves you more than “much.” So more than “much,” much more than “all.” Though tender words, these do not speak of love at all, nor how we fall and mother’s there, nor how we reach from nightmares in the ticking night and she is there to hold us tight. There never was a stronger back than father’s back, that held our weight and lifted us, when we were small, and bore us till we reached the gate, then held our hands that first bright mile till we could run, and did, and flew. But, oh, a mother’s tender smile will leap and follow after you! ### Such Tenderness by Michael R. Burch for Gaza There was, in your touch, such tenderness?as only the dove on her mildest day has, when she shelters downed fledglings beneath a warm wing and coos to them softly, unable to sing. What songs long forgotten occur to you now? a babe at each breast? What terrible vow ripped from your throat like the thunder that day can never hold severing lightnings at bay? Time taught you tenderness?time, oh, and love. But love in the end is seldom enough ... and time??insufficient to life’s brief task. I can only admire, unable to ask? what is the source, whence comes the desire of a woman to love as no God may require? ### who, US? by Michael R. Burch jesus was born a palestinian child where there’s no Room for the meek and the mild ... and in bethlehem still to this day, lambs are born to cries of “no Room!” and Puritanical scorn ... under Herod, Trump, Bibi their fates are the same? the slouching Beast mauls them and WE have no shame: “who’s to blame?” ### My nightmare ... I had a dream of Jesus! Mama, his eyes were so kind! But behind him I saw a billion Christians hissing "You're nothing!," so blind. ### I, too, have a dream ... I, too, have a dream ... that one day Jews and Christians will see me as I am: a small child, lonely and afraid, staring down the barrels of their big bazookas, knowing I did nothing to deserve their enmity. ### Suffer the Little Children by Michael R. Burch I saw the carnage . . . saw girls' dreaming heads blown to red atoms, and their dreams with them . . . saw babies liquefied in burning beds as, horrified, I heard their murderers’ phlegm . . . I saw my mother stitch my shroud’s black hem, for in that moment I was one of them . . . I saw our Father’s eyes grow hard and bleak to see frail roses severed at the stem . . . How could I fail to speak? ### Autumn Conundrum It's not that every leaf must finally fall, it's just that we can never catch them all. ### Piercing the Shell If we strip away all the accouterments of war, perhaps we'll discover what the heart is for. ### Epitaph for a Palestine child I lived as best I could, and then I died. Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

Post Comments

Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.

Please Login to post a comment

A comment has not been posted for this poem. Encourage a poet by being the first to comment.