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  • By Michael R. Burch


Poetry, I found you

where at last they chained and bound you;

with devices all around you

to torture and confound you,

I found you—shivering, bare.

They had shorn your raven hair

and taken both your eyes

which, once cerulean as dawn’s skies,

had leapt with the sun to wild surmise

of what was waiting there.

Your back was bent with untold care

where savage brands had left cruel scars

as though the wounds of countless wars;

your bones were broken with the force

with which they’d lashed your flesh so fair.

You once were loveliest of all.

So many nights you held in thrall

a scrawny lad who heard your call

from where dawn’s milling showers fall—

pale meteors through sapphire air.

I learned the eagerness of youth

to temper for a lover’s touch;

I felt you, tremulant, reprove

each time I fumbled over-much.

Your merest word became my prayer.

You took me gently by the hand

and led my steps from child to man;

now I look back, remember when

you shone, and cannot understand

why now, tonight, you bear their brand.

I will take and cradle you in my arms,

remindful of the gentle charms

you showed me once, of yore;

and I will lead you from your cell tonight

back into that incandescent light

which flows out of the core

of a sun whose robes you wore.

And I will wash your feet with tears

for all those blissful years . . .

my love, whom I adore.

Michael R. Burch is the editor of The HyperTexts, on-line at, where he has published hundreds of poets over the past twenty years. His poetry has been translated into eleven languages and set to music by three composers. A five-time Pushcart nominee, his poems, translations and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, including Light Quarterly, The Lyric, Measure, Iambs & Trochees, Blue Unicorn, The Chariton Review, The Chimaera, Able Muse, Lucid Rhythms, Poem Today, Asses of Parnassus, Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing and The Best of the Eclectic Muse.

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