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  • By Michael R. Burch

Fascination with Light


Death glides in on calico wings,

a breath of a moth

seeking a companionable light,


where it hovers, unsure,

sullen, shy or demure,

in the margins of night,


a soft blur.


With a frantic dry rattle

of alien wings,

it rises and thrums one long breathless staccato


and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.


And yet it returns

to the flame, its delight,

as long as it burns.


Michael R. Burch is the editor of The HyperTexts, on-line at www.thehypertexts.com, where he has published hundreds of poets over the past three decades. His poetry has been translated into fourteen languages, taught in high schools and colleges around the globe, incorporated into three plays and two operas, and set to music by seventeen composers. A five-time Pushcart nominee, his poems, translations and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, including The Lyric, New Lyre, Romantics Quarterly, The Chained Muse, LIGHT, Measure, Southwest Review, The Chariton Review, The Chimaera, Brief Poems, Poem Today, Asses of Parnassus, Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing and The Best of the Eclectic Muse.

6 Comments


ajsedia
Nov 07, 2022

One thing I most enjoy about Burch's poetry is the way he wraps everything up in a poignant and memorable ending -- like the conclusion of a good article. This is no exception. It highlights the inherent irony captured by the metaphor of the light-seeking moth as death.

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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
Nov 19, 2022
Replying to

Michael rarely, if ever, wastes a word. Having a gift is part of it, but working from line to line, choosing the right word each time, is the great achievement here. The conclusion only fits and is striking because all the careful work that has gone before. This is (as David says) 'a compelling poem'.

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David Gosselin
David Gosselin
Oct 04, 2022

This is a compelling poem. I feel like this is the kind of poem that can spark a very long conversation. For, it touches on things in such a way that I can't help but feel a thousand thoughts rushing to my mind.


I also think of Shelley's famous lines, "the desire of the moth for the star." I can't help but feel like today our culture has very much experienced a "switcheroo" whereby it's now become the desire of the moth for the "bug trap." We get burned, but where is the transcendence?


Just one among many thoughts that comes to mind as I read this very compelling poem for the fourth or fifth time.

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Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch
Sep 29, 2022

It's always an honor to be published by The Chained Muse, and comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
Sep 29, 2022

If you were aiming to give Emily Dickinson a run for it in terms of startling, vivid immediacy, you have done just that, Michael. This is a fine poem, with some really memorable lines - a thing I find lacking in so much so-called 'poetry' today.

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Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch
Sep 29, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Martin, I'm glad you liked my poem.

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