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The Pain of Love

The Pain of Love by Michael R. Burch for T. M. The pain of love is this: the parting after the kiss; the train steaming from the station whistling abnegation; each interstate’s bleak white bar that vanishes under your car; every hour and flower and friend that cannot be saved in the end; dear things of immeasurable cost ... now all irretrievably lost. Note: The title “The Pain of Love” was suggested by an interview with Little Richard, then eighty years old, in Rolling Stone. He said someone should create a song called “The Pain of Love.” I have always found the departure platforms of railway stations and the vanishing broken white bars of highway dividing lines depressing. ### Styx by Michael R. Burch Black waters, deep and dark and still . . . all men have passed this way, or will. I wrote the poem above as a teenager in high school. The lines started out as part of a longer poem, but I thought these were the two best lines and decided to let them stand alone on the principle that "discretion is the better part of valor." ### Departed by Michael R. Burch Already, I miss you, though your parting kiss is still warm on my lips. Now the floor is not strewn with your stockings and slips and the dishes are all stacked away. You left me today ... and each word left unspoken now whispers regrets. ### Dawn by Michael R. Burch for Beth, Laura, and all good mothers Bring your peculiar strength to the strange nightmarish fray: wrap up your cherished ones in the golden light of day. Amen Originally published by The Lyric ### Disconcerted by Michael R. Burch Meg, my sweet, fresh as a daisy, when I’m with you my heart beats like crazy & my future gets hazy ... ### The Children of Gaza songs VI-IX VI. In the Shelter Mother: Hush my darling, please don’t cry. The bombs will stop dropping, by and by. Hush, I'll sing you a lullaby… Child: Mama, I know that I’m safe in your arms. Your sweet love protects me from all harms, but still I fear the sirens’ alarms! Mother: Hush now my darling, don’t say a word. My love will protect you, whatever you heard. Hush now… Child: But what about pappa, you loved him too. Mother: My love will protect you. My love will protect you! Child: I know that you love me, but pappa is gone! Mother: Your pappa’s in heaven, where nothing goes wrong. Come, rest at my breast and I’ll sing you a song. Child: But pappa was strong, and now he’s not here. Mother: He’s where he must be, and yet ever-near. Now we both must be strong; there's nothing to fear. Child: The bombs are still falling! Will this night never end? Mother: The deep darkness hides us; the night is our friend. Hush, I'll sing you a lullaby. Child: Yes, mama, I'm sure you are right. We will be safe under cover of night. [spoken] But what is that sound? [screamed] Mama! I am fri(ghtened)….! VII. Frail Envelope of Flesh Frail envelope of flesh, lying 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 five artless years… Now your mother's lips seal up your lips from the Deluge of her tears… VIII. Among the Angels Child: There is peace where I am now, I reside in a heavenly land that rests safe in the palm of a loving Being’s hand; where the butterfly finds shelter and the white dove glides to rest in the bright and shining sands of those shores all men call Blessed. Mother: My darling, how I long to touch your face, to see your smile, to hear your laughter’s grace. Great Allah, hear my plea. Return my child to me. Child: My darling mother, here beyond the stars where I now live, I see and feel your tears, but here is peace and joy, and no more pain. Here is where I will remain. Mother: My darling, do not leave me here alone! Come back to me! Why did you turn to stone? Great Allah, hear my plea. Please send my child back to me... Child: Dear mother, to your wonderful love I bow. But I can't return... I am among the Angels now. Do not worry about me. Here is where I long to be. Mother: My darling, it is as if I hear your voice consoling me. Oh, can this be your choice? Great Allah, hear my plea. Impart wisdom to me. Child: Dear mother, I was born of your great love, a gentle spirit... I died a slaughtered dove, that I might bring this message from the stars: it is time to end earth’s wars. Remember?in both Bible and Koran how many times each precious word is used? “Mercy. Compassion. Justice.” Let each man, each woman live by the Law that rules both below and above: reject all hate and embrace Love. IX. Epilogue: I have a dream I have a dream... that one day all the world will see me as I am: a small child, lonely and afraid, a small child, lonely and afraid. Look at me... I am flesh... I laugh, I bleed, I cry. Look at me; I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me and my mother how I deserve to die. I only ask to live in a world where things are fair; I only ask for love in a world where people share, I only ask for love in a world where people share. Oh, I have a dream... that one day all the world will see me as I am: a small child, lonely and afraid, a small child, lonely and afraid.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

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Date: 1/8/2020 6:19:00 AM
You've touched a soft spot with this one, Michael. Sad goodbyes are hard to bear. I just had one at an airport. How keen of you to recognize things most people never think about...such as highway lines. I'm always sad and left to wonder who owned the single shoe, seemingly abandoned on the side of a road.
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Michael Burch
Date: 1/8/2020 12:10:00 PM
I think poets are sensitive to such things, then the question becomes how to communicate one's feelings. I feel the same way about single shoes, so we may be long-lost twins!