top of page
  • By Michael R. Burch

Safe Harbor

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts (1969-2008)

The sea at night seems

an alembic of dreams—

the moans of the gulls,

the foghorns’ bawlings.

A century late

to be melancholy,

I watch the last shrimp boat as it steams

to safe harbor again.

In the twilight she gleams

with a festive light,

done with her trawlings,

ready to sleep . . .

Deep, deep, in delight

glide the creatures of night,

elusive and bright

as the poet’s dreams.

Michael R. Burch is the editor of The HyperTexts, on-line at, 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.

4 Kommentare

05. Sept. 2022

Familiarity with Roberts's work supplies a whole additional level of meaning to this poem. While it is wonderfully crafted, with subtle use of rhyme and vivid imagery, what really gives the poem its poignance is the evocative sense of longing at the poet's loss and cherishing of what remains.

Gefällt mir

Cindy Erlandson
Cindy Erlandson
02. Aug. 2022

I love the sounds: the way the poem's rhythm sounds like gentle waves; "the moans of the gulls, the foghorn's bawlings"; and the creative rhyme scheme.

Gefällt mir

30. Juli 2022

What a beautiful elegy Michael! When I go - when I reach my 'safe harbour' - I hope someone with your gift will write something as profound as this for me. I especially like the second line where you describe the sea (or is it the place out of which poetry arises?) as 'an alembic of dreams'. Brilliant!

Gefällt mir
Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch
31. Juli 2022
Antwort an

Thanks Martin, I'm glad you like my poem. Yes, because the sea is the original source of life, I think it's an apt metaphor for the source of artistic creation.

Gefällt mir
bottom of page