EARLY POEMS XIX
by Michael R. Burch
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red ...
— Shakespeare, Sonnet 130
Seas that sparkle in the sun
without its light would have no beauty;
but the light within your eyes
is theirs alone; it owes no duty.
And that flame, not half as bright,
is meant for me, and brings delight.
Coral formed beneath the sea,
though scarlet-tendriled, cannot warm me;
while your lips, not half so red,
just touching mine, at once inflame me.
And the searing flames your lips arouse
fathomless oceans fail to douse.
Bright roses’ brief affairs, declared
when winter comes, will wither quickly.
Your cheeks, though paler when compared
with them?—more lasting, never prickly.
And your cheeks, so dear and warm,
far vaster treasures, need no thorns.
Originally published by Romantics Quarterly
I believe I wrote this poem as a college freshman; if not as a freshman, then definitely by my sophomore year. I composed my refutation in my head as I walked back to my dorm from an English class where I had read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130.” This was my first attempt at a sonnet, but I dispensed with the rules, as has always been my wont.
With my daughter, by a waterfall
by Michael R. Burch
By a fountain that slowly shed
its rainbows of water, I led
my youngest daughter.
And the rhythm of the waves
that casually lazed
made her sleepy as I rocked her.
By that fountain I finally felt
fulfillment of which I had dreamt
feeling May’s warm breezes pelt
petals upon me.
And I held her close in the crook of my arm
as she slept, breathing harmony.
By a river that brazenly rolled,
my daughter and I strolled
toward the setting sun,
and the cadence of the cold,
chattering waters that flowed
reminded us both of an ancient song,
so we sang it together as we walked along
?unsure of the words, but sure of our love?
as a waterfall sighed and the sun died above.
This poem was published by my college literary journal, Homespun, in 1977. I believe I wrote it the year before, around age 18.
Keywords/Tags: early, early poems, juvenilia, sun, red, lips, seas, light, flame, fire, oceans, roses, thorns, winter, cheeks, waterfall, daughter, rose, roses are red
Copyright © Michael Burch | Year Posted 2022