“Excerpts from ‘Poetry'” 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 the skies,
had leapt at dawn to wild surmise

of what was waiting there.
Your back was bent with untold care
and savage beatings left cruel scars

as though the wounds of countless wars;
your bones were broken with the force
with which they 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 me then 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 you and cradle you in my arms,
remindful of the gentle charms
you showed me once, of yore;

and I will lead you out of your cell tonight
back into that overwhelming 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.