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Prose Poems Something by Michael R. Burch 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, which finality swept into a corner, where it lies ... in dust and cobwebs and silence. It’s Hard Not To Be Optimistic by Michael R. Burch “DNA has cured deadly diseases and allowed labs to create animals with fantastic new features.” ? U.S. News & World Report It’s hard not to be optimistic when things are so wondrously futuristic: when DNA, our new Louie Pasteur, can effect an autonomous, miraculous cure, while labs churn out fluorescent monkeys who, with infinite typewriters, might soon outdo USN&WR’s flunkeys. Yes, it’s hard not to be optimistic when the world is so delightfully pluralistic: when Schrödinger’s cat is both dead and alive, and Hawking says time can run backwards. We thrive, befuddled drones, on someone else’s regurgitated nectar, while our cheers drown out poet-alarmists who might Hector the Achilles heel of pure science (common sense) and reporters who tap out supersillyous nonsense. The Trouble with Poets by Michael R. Burch This morning the neighborhood girls were helping their mothers with chores, but one odd little girl was out picking roses by herself, looking very small and lonely. Suddenly the odd one refused to pick roses anymore because she decided it might “hurt” them. Now she just sits beside the bushes, rocking gently back and forth, weeping and consoling them! Now she’s lost all interest in nature, which she finds “appalling.” She dresses in black “like Rilke” and says she prefers the “roses of the imagination”! She mumbles constantly about being “pricked in conscience” and being “pricked to death.” What on earth can she mean? Does she plan to have sex until she dies? For chrissake, now she’s locked herself in her room and refuses to come out until she has “conjured” the “perfect rose of the imagination”! We haven’t seen her for days. Her only communications are texts punctuated liberally with dashes. They appear to be badly-rhymed poems. She signs them “starving artist” in lower-case. What on earth can she mean? Is she anorexic, or bulimic, or is this just a phase she’ll outgrow? The Three Sisters and the Magical Pond by Michael R. Burch Every child has a secret name, which only their guardian angel knows. Fortunately, I am able to talk to angels, so I know the secret names of the Three Sisters who are the heroines of the story I am about to tell ... The secret names of the Three Sisters are Etheria, Sunflower and Bright Eyes. Etheria, because the eldest sister’s hair shines like an ethereal blonde halo. Sunflower, because the middle sister loves to plait bright flowers into her hair. Bright Eyes, because the youngest sister has flashing dark eyes that are sometimes full of mischief! This is the story of how the Three Sisters solved the Three Mysteries of the Magical Pond ... The first mystery of the Magical Pond was the mystery of the Great Heron. Why did the Great Heron seem so distant and aloof, never letting human beings or even other animals come close to it? This great mystery was solved by Etheria, who noticed that the Great Heron was so large it couldn’t fly away from danger quickly. So the Heron was not being aloof at all ... it was simply being cautious and protecting itself by keeping its distance from faster creatures. Things are not always as they appear! The second mystery was the mystery of the River Monster. What was the dreaded River Monster, and did it pose a danger to the three sisters and their loved ones? This great mystery was solved by Sunflower, who found the River Monster’s footprints in the mud after a spring rain. Sunflower bravely followed the footprints to a bank of the pond, looked down, and to her surprise found a giant snapping turtle gazing back at her! Thus the mystery was solved, and the River Monster was not dangerous to little girls or their family and friends, because it was far too slow to catch them. But it could be dangerous if anyone was foolish enough to try to pet it. Sometimes it is best to leave nature’s larger creatures alone, and not tempt fate, even when things are not always as they appear! The third mystery was the most perplexing of all. How was it possible that tiny little starlings kept chasing away much larger crows, hawks and eagles? What a conundrum! (A conundrum is a perplexing problem that is very difficult to solve, such as the riddle: “What walks on four legs in the morning, on two legs during the day, then on three legs at night?” Can you solve it? ... The answer is a human being, who crawls on four legs as a baby, then walks on two legs most of its life, but needs a walking cane in old age. This is the famous Riddle of the Sphinx.) Yes, what a conundrum! But fortunately Bright Eyes was able to solve the Riddle of the Starlings, because she noticed that the tiny birds were much more agile in the air, while the much larger hawks and eagles couldn’t change direction as easily. So, while it seemed the starlings were risking their lives to defend their nests, in reality they had the advantage! Once again, things are not always as they appear! Now, these are just three adventures of the Three Sisters, and there are many others. In fact, they will have a whole lifetime of adventures, and perhaps we can share in them from time to time. But if their mother reads them this story at bedtime, by the end of the story their eyes may be getting very sleepy, and they may soon have dreams of Giant Herons, and Giant Turtles, and Tiny Starlings chasing away Crows, Hawks and Eagles! Sweet dreams, Etheria, Sunflower and Bright Eyes!

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021




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