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Sonnet LXXXI-LXXXIX Day, and Night by Michael R. Burch The moon exposes pockmarked scars of craters; her visage, veiled by willows, palely looms. And we who rise each day to grind a living, dream each scented night of such perfumes as drew us to the window, to the moonlight, when all the earth was steeped in cobalt blue-- an eerie vase of achromatic flowers bled silver by pale starlight, losing hue. The night begins her waltz to waiting sunrise-- adagio, the music she now hears; and we who in the sunlight slave for succor, dreaming, seek communion with the spheres. And all around the night is in crescendo, and everywhere the stars’ bright legions form, and here we hear the sweet incriminations of lovers we had once to keep us warm. And also here we find, like bled carnations, red lips that whitened, kisses drawn to lies, that touched us once with fierce incantations and taught us love was prettier than wise. Love Sonnet LXVI by Pablo Neruda translation by Michael R. Burch I love you only because I love you; I am torn between loving and not loving you, between apathy and desire. My heart vacillates between ice and fire. I love you only because you’re the one I love; I hate you deeply, but hatred makes me implore you all the more so that in my inconstancy I do not see you, but love you blindly. Perhaps January’s frigid light will consume my heart with its cruel rays, robbing me of the key to contentment. In this tragic plot, I murder myself and I will die loveless because I love you, because I love you, my Love, in fire and in blood. Love Sonnet XI by Pablo Neruda translation by Michael R. Burch I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. I stalk the streets, silent and starving. Bread does not satisfy me; dawn does not divert me from my relentless pursuit of your fluid spoor. I long for your liquid laughter, for your sunburned hands like savage harvests. I lust for your fingernails' pale marbles. I want to devour your breasts like almonds, whole. I want to ingest the sunbeams singed by your beauty, to eat the aquiline nose from your aloof face, to lick your eyelashes' flickering shade. I pursue you, snuffing the shadows, seeking your heart's scorching heat like a puma prowling the heights of Quitratue. Love Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda translation by Michael R. Burch I do not love you like coral or topaz, or the blazing hearth’s incandescent white flame; I love you as obscure things are embraced in the dark... secretly, in shadows, unguessed & unnamed. I love you like shrubs that refuse to blossom while pregnant with the radiance of mysterious flowers; now, thanks to your love, an earthy fragrance lives dimly in my body’s odors. I love you without knowing--how, when, why or where; I love you forthrightly, without complications or care; I love you this way because I know no other. Here, where “I” no longer exists... so it seems... so close that your hand on my chest is my own, so close that your eyes close gently on my dreams. Sonnet XLV by Pablo Neruda translation by Michael R. Burch Don't wander far away, not even for a day, because-- how can I explain? A day is too long... and I’ll be waiting for you, like a man in an empty station where the trains all stand motionless. Don't leave me, my dear, not even for an hour, because-- then despair’s raindrops will all run blurrily together, and the smoke that drifts lazily in search of a home will descend hazily on me, suffocating my heart. Darling, may your lovely silhouette never dissolve in the surf; may your lashes never flutter at an indecipherable distance. Please don't leave me for a second, my dearest, because then you'll have gone far too far and I'll wander aimlessly, amazed, asking all the earth: Will she ever return? Will she spurn me, dying? Imperfect Sonnet by Michael R. Burch A word before the light is doused: the night is something wriggling through an unclean mind, as rats creep through a tenement. And loss is written cheaply with the moon’s cracked gloss like lipstick through the infinite, to show love’s pale yet sordid imprint on us. Go. We have not learned love yet, except to cleave. I saw the moon rise once... but to believe... was of another century... and now... I have the urge to love, but not the strength. Despair, once stretched out to its utmost length, lies couched in squalor, watching as the screen reveals "love's" damaged images: its dreams... and masturbating limply, screams and screams. Published by Sonnet Scroll Mayflies by Michael R. Burch These standing stones have stood the test of time but who are you and what are you and why? As brief as mist, as transient, as pale... Inconsequential mayfly! Perhaps the thought of love inspired hope? Do midges love? Do stars bend down to see? Do gods commend the kindnesses of ants to aphids? Does one eel impress the sea? Are mayflies missed by mountains? Do the stars regret the glowworm’s stellar mimicry the day it dies? Does not the world grind on as if it’s no great matter, not to be? Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose. And yet somehow you’re everything to me. 130 Refuted 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 their kindled 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, though wan, so dear and warm, far vaster treasures, need no thorns. Originally published by Romantics Quarterly

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

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