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Michael R. Burch

The latest comments that Michael R. Burch has written.

Ramblings 561

I think many of us have felt this way in the year of the pandemic. As if life wasn't difficult enough before. This line in your poem reminds me of one of my favorite poems by A. E. Housman:

This life's nothing to want

In response to Housman's poem, I wrote one in which I quoted him:

Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It’s true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the "bon voyage" is hard
and the objections loud.

Thin Kin

I am familiar with the hubbub caused by Poe's tale of the unfortunate Valdemar, although I have not read the story myself. I would rather go quickly and quietly myself, preferably in my sleep!

The Harvest of Roses

I am always amazed when well-read, intelligent poets buy into nonsensical ideas. Yes, imagery can do wonderful things in the right hands, but "Hamlet" and "Paradise Lost" are full of equally wonderful abstract speech. One of my favorite poets, A. E. Housman, wrote some marvelous poems in which he said directly what he meant, with never an image or metaphor. Ditto for Sir Walter Raleigh in his great poem "The Lie."

During my brief stint at Eratosphere, formalist poets were parroting their main adversary, William Carlos Williams, by insisting on "show don't tell," "no ideas but in things," "fear abstractions," etc. Those are options, not rules, and Shakespeare would have laughed at the idea of avoiding abstract speech in his plays and sonnets.

Our conversations here made me think of this poem, which I wrote in my youth out of frustration with the demand for concrete imagery. In my naughty, rebellious way, I tried to come up with better images: a harvest of roses, the reaping of gossamer, flowers that are resplendently pale, etc.

a peom in supsport of a dsylexci peot

Ken, I like your poetry, you have a unique style, and I don't think you need to worry about what any critics might say. In any case, I am in your corner.

Geode I & II

Coo & Co. are always welcome to comment ... when they can keep their eyes open!

The first poem was one of my rare early free verse poems. But I like to think that it doesn't read like most modern prosaic free verse. I was trying to capture the energy, brilliance and brittleness of a geode, and relate it to love. An ambitious project for a young poet writing in an unfamiliar form, but I still like the poem years later.


I agree with the accolades. In fact, I would like to discuss the possibility of publishing this poem, and others of similar quality, via my literary journal, The HyperTexts. You would be in very good company with some of the best poets writing today. Please let me know if you're interested.


Chit Chat

Thanks Lawrence, I'm glad you enjoyed my little lark.


Our discussions of male poets who threaten women with worms made me think of this poem. For me this has a bit "heavier" feel than most of Poe's poetry. To be honest, I can't tell who influenced it. Perhaps Emily Bronte with "Wuthering Heights" and Mary Shelley with "Frankenstein"?

Chit Chat

We always want Coo & Co. to appreciate our poetry!

The poem is actually meant to be a chat session between a poet who "shouts" in ALL CAPS and can't be bothered with details like spelling and punctuation, and poet who speaks in lower case and writes out of love for words despite feeling alienated from the world and even from love itself. Like Wordsworth, he writes in tranquility, from remembrance of powerful passions.

Thus, the poem may be taken as commentary on the difference between people who claim to be POETS and the real deal.

The heart of the stone

I like this most unexpected poet!

I have written two poems about the parallels between human beings and geodes. One of the poems was one of my first publications with one of the bigger "name" journals at the time. I have found and posted the two Geode poems if anyone cares to read them. But in any case, I do like this poem and its poet! Sometimes we human poets become channels for nature and our fellow travelers.


Another interesting poem in your unique style.

One point: I'm surprised that someone with Dyslexia can spell Dyslexic. Should the nom de plume be something like Dsylexci?

Last Night As I Walked

You have very nice imagery here, and a unique take on the moon, which is not always that impressive, really.

The North Star Whispers to the Blacksmith's Son

In addition to being an undervalued poet, if I remember correctly it was Vachel Lindsay who discovered Langston Hughes and helped him became a known, rather than unknown, poet.

From His Coy Mistress

I have attempted two re-butt-als of Mr. Not-So-Marvellous:

Marvell-Less (I)
by Michael R. Burch

Mr. Marvell is ill-named? Inform us!
Alas, his crude writings deform us:
For when trying to bed
Chaste virgins, he led
Off with his iron balls ginormous!


Marvell-Less (II)
by Michael R. Burch

Andrew Marvell was far less than Marvellous;
indeed, he was cold, bold, unchivalrous:
for when trying to bed
chased/chaste virgins, he led
off with his iron balls ginormous!

When reading the poem, the reader can select “chased” or “chaste” or read them together, quickly.

From His Coy Mistress

A suit-able re-joint-der indeed (pardon the puns)!


At this I feel an anxious need ---- Perhaps consider "And thus ..."

This strikes me as a perfect retort:

your lines quite overwhelm with squirms.

My translations of "Sumer is icumen in"

I am always pleased to please Coo & Co.

I think it is a delightful poem, although the cuckoo was accused of crying "cuckold" and the poem might be a bit naughty, goat poots aside!

Sonnet: Fountainhead

Thanks, I'm glad you liked "Fountainhead."

BTW, I love the name "Lady Courtaire"!

My Timeline of Rhyme


First, everyone calls me Mike, so please feel free to save a few keystrokes.

If you liked anything I did, that makes me very happy. I have combined my love of history, trivia, and poetry into various timelines I have created over the last decade. The granddaddy of them all is my enormous English Poetry Timeline, which has become popular on the Internet as a reference for poets and scholars.

Good luck with your pub quiz. Now you have some real esoterica to confound the residents!

If you let me know when the first postcard poem was written, and by whom, I will be glad to add the info to my timelines. It may also interest you to know that I have translated four postcard poems by the great Holocaust poet Miklos Radnoti. They were the last poems he wrote, on a Nazi death march, and were discovered in his overcoat pocket by his wife, after she found his body in a mass grave. So sad, and such a tragic loss, both of a laudable human being and a great poet.

I have Scottish blood and Robert Burns one of my favorite poets. I have done "modernizations" of some of his Scots dialect poems, which have been taught in Russia, where Burns is very popular, and classes elsewhere.

We do seem to have a lot in common, because I am also a fan of doggerel, so how can I see yours?

I may flatter myself, but I think I have written some of the best heretical dogma -- stuff that would make a parson blush -- and which Burns might like, thinking of his Holy Willie.

In fact, I even "borrowed" the name Willie for this bit of doggerel:

Willy Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

for the Demiurge aka Yahweh/Jehovah

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life’s a pickle, dilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you’ll not act illy.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Published by The New Formalist, Poet’s Corner, The Road Not Taken, Charlie Hebdo Poetry



Sanity may be overrated, if the modern world is any indication of "sanity."

Some of the saints and prophets were considered to be mad, including Joan of Arc, John the Baptist, William Blake, et al. So perhaps I'm in good company.

YOU ARE AS YOU ARE (With Thanks To poetic pilgrim)

This one reminds me a bit of one of my favorite poets, ee cummings. He might have said:

as you were in your was

As there is no hunting tomorrow

A fine celebration of the end of hunting season. I'm sure our animal friends approve.


Or if he did, he would never leave, never graduate ...

My translation of “Ubi Sunt Qui Ante Nos Fuerunt?”

The "ubi sunt" or "where are they now" genre has a long tradition in poetry. This is one of my personal favorites. Thanks as always for taking the time to read and comment, to you both.

My translation of "Whan the turuf is thy tour"

I do find the elder poem the scarier of the two!

My Timeline of Rhyme

Thanks, o Tricky One!

I think it is fascinating stuff and am trying to trim down the size of my immense timeline, created over many years, as time permits!

My translation of "I Have Labored Sore"

I believe Sappho wrote some of her poems as prayers and charms, so there is a precedent. For instance ...

Hymn to Aphrodite
by Sappho
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Immortal Aphrodite, throned in splendor!
Wile-weaving daughter of Zeus, enchantress and beguiler!
I implore you, dread mistress, discipline me no longer
with such vigor!

But come to me once again in kindness,
heeding my prayers, as you did so graciously before;
O, come Divine One, descend once more
from heaven's golden dominions!

Then with your chariot yoked to love's
white consecrated doves,
their multitudinous pinions aflutter,
you came gliding from heaven's shining heights,
to this dark gutter.

Swiftly they came and vanished, leaving you,
O my Goddess, smiling, your face eternally beautiful,
asking me what unfathomable longing compelled me
to cry out.

Asking me what I sought in my bewildered desire.
Asking, "Who has harmed you, why are you so alarmed,
my poor Sappho? Whom should Persuasion
summon here?"

"Although today she flees love, soon she will pursue you;
spurning love's gifts, soon she shall give them;
tomorrow she will woo you,
however unwillingly!"

Come to me now, O most Holy Aphrodite!
Free me now from my heavy heartache and anguish!
Graciously grant me all I request!
Be once again my ally and protector!

"Hymn to Aphrodite" is the only poem by Sappho of Lesbos to survive in its entirety. The poem survived intact because it was quoted in full by Dionysus, a Roman orator, in his "On Literary Composition," published around 30 B.C.

My translation of "A Lyke-Wake Dirge"

I like the idea of a chorus. From what I understand, some of the early poems with refrains were written to be sung in rounds.

Some of the great poets were songwriters, notably Shakespeare and Jonson, and there were also lutanists and other musicians like Sir Thomas Wyatt (one of my personal favorites), Thomas Campion and John Dowland (recorded by Sting), among others.

William Blake's "Jerusalem" was set to music and became one of my mother's favorite hymns. I don't think she knew that Blake called the biblical god Nobodaddy because no one would want him for a father!

Sonnet 13

A nice sonnet. My grandfather raised rabbits and even had a ferret he used to retrieve them from their holes. When I was a boy, I was horrified when he killed the lovely bunnies for food.

My translation of "Wulf and Eadwacer"

I am not offended by other poets' ideas, so Coo & Co. can speak freely.

My translation of "How Long the Night"

I liked Coo's Coo's re-interpretation of my transpertation.

My translation of “This World’s Joy”

Yes, please do give me a link.

I suppose we will have to add an "s" making it "The Music of the Spheres" ...

Trip 1 of 3

"Molly Malone" has long been one of my favorite songs.

Have you seen Nightbirde on this year's America's Got Talent? This poem made me think of her. I'm sure Coo & Co. would be fans of the lovely and immensely talented Nightbirde, and she has the most poetic name ever!

My translation of “This World’s Joy”

It would be a real honor if FT were to set one of my poems or translations to music!

We could call it the "Music of the Sphere"!

POETRY IS AS IT IS (Improvmants)

I especially like the line "That be the reaeds."

Some poets fall into both categories. I have had poems come to me whole, out of blue nothing, or in dreams. Other poems have taken decades to complete and some still seem to need of more "fine tuning."

Duet, or, The Heroic Hamster

i like ee's mini-me-alist method 2

My translations of Rilke

"Transpertation" is is, then!

My translations of Rilke

That is quite a mouthful to type, so perhaps "intertrans" or "transpertation?"

Duet, or, The Heroic Hamster

Thanks Coo & Co., I'm glad you liked my poetic "escape!"

In my youth, I became a fan of e. e. cummings and have quite a few poems where I use lower case except for words I want to emphasize. That method seemed perfect for a poem about a lilliputian!

Roses for a Lover, Idealized

Roses are red,
violets are PURPLE;
I heart your heart,
but I'm fearful to use fur-full!
(And what will PETA say
as they cart me away?)

Roses for a Lover, Idealized

Roses are red,
violets are PURPLE;
I heart your heart,
but what rhymes with purple?


Coo, I'm glad your company liked "escape!"

Fragment: A Tale Untold

I'm a newbie, so if these poems have been discussed in the past, I apologize in advance. These are some of my favorite shorter poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley:

Music When Soft Voices Die (To —)
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.


To the Moon
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,—
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?


The Fitful Alternations Of The Rain
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fitful alternations of the rain,
When the chill wind, languid as with pain
Of its own heavy moisture, here and there
Drives through the gray and beamless atmosphere.

Moppet's meteorite

I second the "nicely done" and will add a "very."

I find hints of Edward Lear and Winnie the Pooh. The really good stuff. I once wrote a poem about how a guinea pig proved that love is everlasting. We humans have a lot of catching up to do!

My translations of Renée Vivien

I do hope the coo-er of coos
will listen to her Muse!

When I read FT's erotic poems, I was immediately reminded of Renee Vivien's -- quite a compliment to them both!


I like "Adrift" and I suspect most poets have felt this way at times, if not most of the time. The closing lines made me think of a poem I have translated: the last poem of Rainer Maria Rilke,
"Komm, Du" (“Come, You”), which closes:

That life—my former life—remains outside.
Inside, I’m lost. Nobody knows me here.


Love the alliteration: the first line reminds me a bit of the great Gerard Manley Hopkins. And I like the "spirit" of your poem; the sound and suggestion suit the theme.

My translations of the fabulous Charles d’Orleans

Charles d'Orleans ranks high on my list of the world's most undervalued poets. I hope my translations help him reach a larger audience.

Sorry Mom, I didn't mean to become a Porn Poet!

Yes, pretty mild erotica. I was trying to be amusing!

Porn poems :>)

I like both poems, and these are certainly fine for The HyperTexts if FT cares to submit them.

The poems remind me a bit of Renee Vivien, a crossdressing British poet who wrote poems in French. I will post my translations of her poem in case you and others care to read them.

June Capers

This is a nicely written poem with a good spirit, a pleasure to read. My family has had up to seven canine members, now down to two thanks to Father Time.