How Long the Night

Anonymous Old English Lyric, circa early 13th century AD
Loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts
with the mild pheasants’ song …
but now I feel the northern wind’s blast—
its severe weather strong.
Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!
And I, because of my momentous wrong,
now grieve, mourn and fast.

Originally published by Measure

 

Autumn Day

By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translation by Michael R. Burch

Lord, it is time. Let the immense summer go.
Lay your long shadows over the sundials
and over the meadows, let the free winds blow.
Command the late fruits to fatten and shine;
O, grant them another Mediterranean hour!
Urge them to completion, and with power
convey final sweetness to the heavy wine.
Who has no house now, never will build one.
Who’s alone now, shall continue alone;
he’ll wake, read, write long letters to friends,
and pace the tree-lined pathways up and down,
restlessly, as autumn leaves drift and descend.

Originally published by Measure

 

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly

 

Michael R. Burch’s poetry has been translated into Arabic, Czech, Farsi, Gjuha Shqipe, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Turkish and Vietnamese. His poems, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 1,700 times in publications around the globe, including TIME, USA Today, The Hindu, Kritya, Gostinaya, Light, The Lyric, Measure, Unlikely Stories and Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing. He also edits and publishes www.thehypertexts.com.

Featured Image: “Night: Seaport by Moonlight,” 1771, by Joseph Vernet

 

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6 Responses

      • Michael R. Burch

        “Grok” is a term from one of my favorite novels, Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” The main character is a human being who was raised on Mars by a more enlightened race after the rest of his colony perished. He returns to Earth and has a very hard time understanding why human beings act as they do. When he understands something deeply and profoundly, he uses the Martian term “grok.”

  1. Michael R. Burch

    “Grok” is a term from one of my favorite novels, Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” The main character is a human being who was raised on Mars by a more enlightened race after the rest of his colony perished. He returns to Earth and has a very hard time understanding why human beings act as they do. When he understands something deeply and profoundly, he uses the Martian term “grok.”

    Reply

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