Tagged: verse

From my window this morning…


Guest (Uninvited)

passing my upstairs window eight-forty a.m.
balancing a brimming mug of strong over-sugared
coffee surprised & perplexed by the doe in my backyard
calmly nibbling the exposed tips of raspberry
bushes lacking the timid mien one expects
from a creature who like the unfortunate
Odysseus has wandered far from home
wrecking itself upon my snowy shore oblivious
of any hostile scrutiny the resident sorcerer
determined to protect his secluded realm already
brooding up a terrible remedy to cure this thoughtless
trespass restore his enchanted solitude


March 4, 2013

Twitter verse

Yes, I am on Twitter.  It’s easy, it’s fast…what the heck.  I’ve even managed to accumulate a few “followers” (love that).

And I try to make it worth their while by occasionally posting some pithy quotes, words of wisdom or original doggerel.

It’s a challenge to fit that 140-character limit but it also helps focus the mind and creates a very worthwhile writing exercise. Here are a couple of my recent efforts:


Winter subsides, withdraws
receding and uncovering
a shivering bareness
raised gooseflesh, a slow blush
spreading to every horizon

That Noir Moment

does it matter how far you fall
once you’ve fallen?
one small step or giant leap
a precipice or merely a pause


this typical paucity
as I try to compel the right words
communicating abject faith
simultaneously making my case for clemency

Short poem to start the day

This morning I was sitting at my desk and happened to glance out the window, at the ungainly maple tree in our backyard that is always in need of trimming back.

Last night we had a substantial amount of rain.  The air rich with a variety of living scents, pouring into my home office, filling the room.  All at once, I started scribbling…


shining leaves
dripping morning light
brushed by the wind
stubbornly resisting
its relentless entreaties

“National Poetry Month (II)”: Another new poem

One more bit o’ verse in honor of “National Poetry Month”:


21st Century Blessing


To a future effulgent:

tall trees and new flowers;

give us our daily bread

and save us from the blight


Thine and thy kingdom

withheld from us ’til death;

keep them close, our sons and daughters

and protect us from the blight


Have faith in the miraculous

harbingers of grace;

conjure us sweet loaves and fishes

and save us from the blight


© Copyright, 2011  Cliff Burns (All Rights Reserved)

It’s “National Poetry Month”

…and so, what the heck, two more recent poems:


The Human Genome Project


They decoded us, then

trademarked the parts.

In green, tended tanks,

suspended in nourishing brine.

Eyes, ears.  Kidneys.  Small, bobbing cocks:

replacements for factory fittings

ersatz and not nearly as smart.


By Order of the President


Find the reagent

break the spell


There’s still an outside chance

in your secret lab


Pls. advise on yr. progress

time is over and out.


© 2011 Cliff Burns (All Rights Reserved)

Three depressing poems to celebrate the arrival of Spring

I think the title of this post pretty much sums it up.

And so:



I sing praises of December

the Reaper—

smothering snows,

breath-stealing cold,

Waster of life and limb!


Calling crows announce

the death toll overnight:

That which walks a frozen land,

passed by and left its mark.


When they put it like that

the emphasis/

the angle/

the slant/

you can sort of see what they’re saying

and know something ain’t right.




unnamed sources

muddying the water

casting heedless stones.


A bloodless coup, flawlessly executed—

save for a shriek from the machinery,

something living caught in the works.


Future Present

Waking one day to discover,

tomorrow has arrived at last.


No time for procrastination,

the wolf is at the door.


Start with the weakest among you,

knowing they won’t be missed.


Count the seconds,

down to seconds,

mere seconds,

until it is done.

The air they breathe, the food they eat,

so many hungry mouths…


For the sake of your children’s children,

necessity absolves you of blame.


Only recall we were each complicit,

feeding and tending the flames.


Count the seconds,

down to seconds,

mere seconds,

until it is done.

© Copyright, 2011  Cliff Burns (All Rights Reserved)

Poem for Sherron

A little ditty I wrote—almost like a gesture sketch—as I watched my wife catching the rays in Jasper National Park, one day after our 20th anniversary:

Pyramid Lake,

Jasper National Park

(July 29, 2010; 3:15 p.m.)

Cupped in a bowl

of rust-colored fingers

sun-glazed and cedar-breathed

becalmed by a lake

that can’t make up its mind

if it’s blue or green…

And there’s you, at the end of the dock,

slow-rocked by the intrauterine tide

skin pinkening

in the magnified light

despite my frequent reminders,

the way I fret over

your unchangeable ways.