Spender Beware

Spender Beware

A Poem by Michael R. Burch

Spender Beware
by Michael R. Burch

It’s better not to speculate
"continually" on who is great.
Though relentless awe’s
a Célèbre Cause,
please reserve some time for the contemplation
of the perils of EXAGGERATION.

Stephen Spender in his best-known poem wrote: "I think continually of those who were truly great." This near-limerick, previously titled "Caveat Spender," suggests that Spender may have exaggerated the time he devoted to hero worship. Keywords/Tags: caveat, spender, buyer, beware, false, advertising, truly, great, think, continually, hero, worship, exaggeration, contemplation, awe, fawn, fawning



The Stake
by Michael R. Burch


Love, the heart bets,
if not without regrets,
will still prove, in the end,
worth the light we expend
mining the dark
for an exquisite heart.

Originally published by The Lyric



Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

This poem is dedicated to my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt

Between the prophesies of morning
and twilight’s revelations of wonder,
the sky is ripped asunder.

The moon lurks in the clouds,
waiting, as if to plunder
the dusk of its lilac iridescence,

and in the bright-tentacled sunset
we imagine a presence
full of the fury of lost innocence.

What we find within strange whorls of drifting flame,
brief patterns mauling winds deform and maim,
we recognize at once, but cannot name.



Stay With Me Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

Stay with me tonight;
be gentle with me as the leaves are gentle
falling to the earth.

And whisper, O my love,
how that every bright thing, though scattered afar,
retains yet its worth.

Stay with me tonight;
be as a petal long-awaited blooming in my hand.
Lift your face to mine

and touch me with your lips
till I feel the warm benevolence of your breath’s
heady fragrance like wine.

That which we had
when pale and waning as the dying moon at dawn,
outshone the sun.

And so lead me back tonight
through bright waterfalls of light
to where we shine as one.

Originally published by The Lyric



Sumer is icumen in
a modern English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

(this update of an ancient classic is dedicated to everyone who suffers with hay fever and other allergies)

Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing achu!
Groweth sed
And bloweth hed
And buyeth med?
Cuccu!

Originally published by Lighten Up Online (as Kim Cherub)

NOTE: I kept the medieval spellings of “sumer” (summer), “lhude” (loud), “sed” (seed) and “hed” (head). I then slipped in the modern slang term “med” for medication. The first line means something like “Summer’s a-comin’ in!” In the original poem the cuckoo bird was considered to be a harbinger of spring, but here “cuccu” simply means “crazy!”



Solicitation
by Michael R. Burch


He comes to me out of the shadows, acknowledging
my presence with a tip of his hat, always the gentleman,
and his eyes are on my eyes like a snake’s on a bird’s
quizzical, mesmerizing.

He c***s his head as though something he heard intrigues him
(although I hear nothing) and he smiles, amusing himself at my expense;
his words are full of desire and loathing, and although I hear,
he says nothing that I understand.

The moon shinesmaniacal, queeras he takes my hand and whispers

Our time has come ... and so we stroll together along the docks
where the sea sends things that wriggle and crawl
scurrying under rocks and boards.

Moonlight in great floods washes his pale face as he stares unseeing
into my eyes. He sighs, and the sound crawls slithering down my spine,
and my blood seems to pause at his touch as he caresses my face.
He unfastens my dress till the white lace shows, and my neck is bared.

His teeth are long, yellow and hard. His face is bearded and haggard.
A wolf howls in the distance. There are no wolves in New York. I gasp.
My blood is a trickle his wet tongue embraces. My heart races madly.
He likes it like that.

Published by Dowton Abbey, Aesthetically Pleasing Vampires, Into the Unknown, Since Halloween is Coming, and Poetry Life & Times



Songstress
by Michael R. Burch

for Nadia Anjuman


Within its starkwhite ribcage, how the heart
must flutter wildly, O, and always sing
against the pressing darkness: all it knows
until at last it feels the numbing sting
of death. Then life's brief vision swiftly passes,
imposing night on one who clearly saw.
Death held your bright heart tightly, till its maw
envenomed, fangedcould swallow, whole, your Awe.

And yet it was not death so much as you
who sealed your doom; you could not help but sing
and not be silenced. Here, behold your tomb's
white alabaster cage: pale, wretched thing!
But you'll not be imprisoned here, wise wren!
Your words soar free; rise, sing, fly, live again.

A poet like Nadia Anjuman can be likened to a caged bird, deprived of flight, who somehow finds it within herself to sing of love and beauty. But when the world robs her of both flight and song, what is left for her but to leave, bereaving it and us of herself and her song?



The State of the Art (?)
by Michael R. Burch

Has rhyme lost all its reason
and rhythm, renascence?
Are sonnets out of season
and poems but poor pretense?

Are poets lacking fire,
their words too trite and forced?
What happened to desire?
Has passion been coerced?

Must poetry fade slowly,
like Latin, to past tense?
Are the bards too high and holy,
or their readers merely dense?

Originally published by Tucumcari Literary Review



Published as the collection "Spender Beware"

© 2020 Michael R. Burch


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Added on March 23, 2020
Last Updated on August 10, 2020
Tags: caveat, spender, buyer, beware, false, advertising, truly, great, think, continually, hero, worship, exaggeration, contemplation, awe, fawn, fawning