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  • By Stewart Burke

The Cricket Sings of an Absent Lover


The cricket sings of an absent lover’s

approach, each footfall tolled in harmony. 

One must be caged for the luck of others.

  

The cricket’s tune says wet clouds will hover;

bow-and-fiddle his file-and-scraper be,

the cricket sings of an absent lover.

 

The man of the house, his wife, his mother

cheer when chirps convey a rain of specie:

One must be caged for the luck of others.

 

When days lengthen, couples shake their covers

as crickets strike up a brisker melody.

The cricket sings of an absent lover,

 

though secretly not that of another,

but of his mate who mourns him silently.

One must be caged for the luck of others

 

who savor the sound of his monody, 

their pleasure his lasting indignity.

The cricket sings of an absent lover.

One must be caged for the luck of others.


Stewart Burke lives in Arlington, VA. Retired from one of those ABC agencies, beyond writing poetry he enjoys traveling abroad and studying and teaching martial arts with his wonderful daughter. He most delights in reading in translation the classical poetry of the Near East, the Subcontinent, China, and Japan. Burke particularly savors the works in translation of Li Qingzhao, Shmuel ha-Nagid, and Hafiz. William Empson and Theodore Wratislaw are two of his favorite English-language poets.

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