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 dawn’s skies,
had leapt with the sun to wild surmise
of what was waiting there.
Your back was bent with untold care
where savage brands had left cruel scars
as though the wounds of countless wars;
your bones were broken with the force
with which they’d 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 my steps 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 and cradle you in my arms,
remindful of the gentle charms
you showed me once, of yore;
and I will lead you from your cell tonight
back into that incandescent 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.