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Jim Burke

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Brantford, ON, CA

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The Brotherhood

by

Jim Burke

You are our teacher, our mentor, our confessor
Unfairly tainted o'er the sins of the few
Yet your brotherhood may never recover
From the misdeeds that the miscreant do.

You! And you know who you are!
We, the laity, indict you
But what use of feathers and tar
When our lives are split in two?

You walk among us, enjoying our trust
And callously cripple our beliefs
Devouring our young with your lust
Some name you pederast and thief.

Oh! You deceiver!
You defiler of the innocent!
You destroyer!
You rapacious beast!
You hypocrite!
You priest!


The Grim Reaper

by

Jim Burke

I sense near me, a presence
Wherefore, there should be none
Fearfully, mine eyes they probe
Seeking out the Terrible One

My name, it speaks
To my errant soul
Its visage grim
'neath hooded cowl

It bids me touch
That dreadful hem
My time, I know
Is - now!

A deft flick
With murderous blade
My earthly bonds
It severs

And mesmerized by
Those vast black orbs
My soul, it sucks from me
- and bids me look back, never!

An ending, no beginnings
As my spiritual shell
It sends to Hell
I regret, there's no more innings!


Two Special Boys

by

Jim Burke

Cast out from Heaven
Sowing hatred and discord,
The Dark Angel paused
Amid the creatures of the Lord,

...err descending into Hell.

With thund'rous voice the Angel spoke,
His eyes were piercing black,
About him fire and brimstone roiled,
And Daemons capered at his back.

"Be there one tormented?
Or a heart so bereft?
Is there a spirit so demented,
Who'd place his soul at risk?"

Of the creatures gathered there,
Only one would take the call.
He, the most favoured of God,
With free-will, his the farthest fall.

With malignant glee, Satan smiled,
Upon the face of Man,
At one so easily beguiled,
Yet so material to his plan.

"For those who will embrace the Dark,
I pledge that each foul act,
And every cruel deed you do,
Puts a seal upon our pact."

"And when your line
Has run its course,
And you're beyond the pale
With no remorse,

Then in my realm you will abide,
Along with Jeff and Jack,
(For those two special boys, you see,
- Cerberus brings their slippers,)
Near lads like these you shall reside,

The Dalmer and the Ripper."


Arnie Get Your Gun, Eh?

by

Jim Burke

There's talk all around
That old Patch is in town
And I've heard people say
He's charter N.R.A.

He's here to recruit
More fuel for the fire
Since the souls in Beruit
Now sing in his choir.

Oh, America's in line
And production is fine
So it's time to expand,
To open new markets
- to bleed a new land.

'cus it's hard to imagine
The devastation that's wrought
From the barrel of a gun
That one has just bought.

So the guy in the next lane
Is giving some jive?
Remind him his manners
Flash your .45

If he continues his folly
There's a thing you can do
Disabuse him, by golly!
Fire off a round or two.

When he crashes and burns
It's nothing to you
You were only emphasizing
- YOUR - point of view...


Bomber MacVeigh

by

Jim Burke

Two men will pass this way to-day
One is good, and noble, and industrious
While the other broods only upon
The vile, the wretched, and the spurious.

Each trods a similar road
On the march toward his majority
One, will hold high office
The other, mass destruction his priority.

Then comes a fork in the road
Exactly where, no one can say
Yet each chooses the path he will take
And somehow, - one lost his way.

Now both men have formed their intent
Each, in pursuit of his quest
The one, to serve his neighbour
And the other, pain and sorrow his bequest.

Too late! The die is cast!
Though the signs were marked plain enough
The first would endure great hardship
While the other didn't have the right stuff.

As the sands of time run their course
An unknown scribe pens his final verse
The good man is remembered warmly
While the other provokes only a curse.

When history alludes to the Georgia man
It notes his Presidential way
As for the Oklah felon -
HE's reviled...as Bomber MacVeigh.


Buttercups

by

Jim Burke

Tis a flower
A dainty thing
Measuring life
By fleeting hour

With final bow
Its petals wilt
Its lustre fades
Lying fallow

Wintering snow
Pillows the land
Cold western wind
Through acres blow

Til once again
Bonny shoots peak
Through melting snow
And warm spring rain

To my delight
In abundance
Do they unfold
Burgeoning life

Oh! Sweeping fields
Do greet mine eye
A vast array
As laughter peels

Across the cut
Lassies dancing!
Laddies prancing!
Mid the Buttercup.


What Do The Animals Do?

by

Jim Burke

Cats squabble
Bee bumble
Squirrels skitter
Otter tumble

Cows bawl
Sheep bleat
Horses neigh
Parrots repeat

Lions roar
Tigers rumble
Eagles soar
Aardvarks fumble

Panthers stalk
Snakes slither
Mockingbirds mock
Hummingbirds shiver

Penguins waddle
Minnows puddle
Bears growl
Hyenas howl


Whales sound
Elephants trumpet-ate
Dogs bound
Men compensate.


The Idle Sisters

by

Jim Burke

The Straits of Madagascar
Are not for the novice sailor
Not Man-'o-War, East India Man
Or Nantucket Whaler

For lying silent below the foam
The Idle Sisters wait
Upon the foolish master
Who'd gamble his vessel's fate

Lo! Half a hundred ships or more
Have dared this brazen passage
Now most lay strewn like broken toys
Mute testimony to the Sister's message

A sleek xebec sails before the wind
Tacking daintily through the narrows
Her Privateer captain, a daring devil
From Cap'n Teach, a desperate trick he borrows

For he know the price of failure
Should this race they fail to win it
It's a drumhead court before the mast
And an airy trip from the hangman's gibbet

In hot pursuit, a mighty seventy-four
Hoves swiftly into view
Her blackened gunports opened wide
As flames from her bowchasers spew

Fluttering atop her main royals
With her sails all aback
Is the battle flag
Of the haughty Chief of Amorak

The xebec glides o'er the Sisters
With nary a foot to spare
As her crafty master gives the command
For the little ship to wear

Her slender bow bites deeper waters
Mid the horrified cries astern
The seventy-four, lumbering heavily in irons
Strikes the sisters, and the waters churn

Ripped from bow to midships
The roiling seas invade
Slowly the water drags her off the rocks
Sucking her down to a watery grave

The screams of the dying ship
Send chills through the pirate crew
If not for the skill of their captain
It'd be their wives and sweethearts
Filing into the mourners' pew

The sea is unrelenting
And the Sisters silently wait
For the next unwary traveler
To test his skill, or to meet his fate...


Lorna

by

Jim Burke

{I'll tell you truly, stranger}
That I can count on one finger
Of one single, solitary hand
The few I'd number as a friend

One gentle, giving soul
Who stood by me
Through thick and thin
No matter what I'd do

Oh, I'm a lucky so 'n so!
'cus I've got such a pard
Who's always been there for me
When life's travails got hard

And I recall the day
I swelled with pride
When she agreed
To become my lovely bride

This dear companion
This mate to me soul
Who travels with me
Along life's hard road.


Romance In A Cell

by

Jim Burke

The young man shivers
As he enters the cell
His blanket, change of underwear,
Shirt, pants, and toiletries
Stacked in his arms

The door clangs shut

His large cellmate
Regards him quietly
On the bottom bunk
Slowly curling a heavy weight
His muscles flexing smoothly
As the weight shifts

Neither speak for a long moment

Then a rumble emerges
From the giant's massive chest
"All we gotta decide is,
Who's gonna be the husband
And who's gonna be the wife"

The import of this
Makes the young man flinch
But, surprized at being given a choice,
The young man tries, "I-I-think
I'd like to be the husband"

A long silence
From the con on the bunk
Then, "Fine, why don't you
Put down your stuff
And come on over here
And suck your wife's dick."


Alone

by

Jim Burke

Alone, I stand
Before my Lord
Awaiting His final nod
Upon the way
I've lived my life
And how I've served my God

Fearfully, my mind
Casts back
Across that span of years
Recalling all the laughter
All the heartache,
Aye, and all the tears

Oh, there were things
I wish I'd done
And things I should have known
But now I must
Either stand...or fall
On life's choices I made, alone...


Pullin' ma Pudd

by

Jim Burke

My momma said, son
You keep that up, you'll go blind

My daddy said, son
You persist in that practice
Hair's gonna grow on your palm

Father Ryan said, boy
You don't stop that, you'll get the shakes

Just like old Mr. Battrum
Um...not that old Mr. Battrum
Ever did that! Mind you

It's been over forty years
I now wear glasses

There's a slight tremor
In ma strokin' arm

But *grin*
There's still no hair on ma palm

Too much friction there
I guess...


Tiger

by

Jim Burke

Tiger! I watch you,
pacing, in your cage,
How magnificant you are
in your smoldering rage!
If it were
within my power,
I'd set you free
this very hour.
Rather than view
your sad estate,
I would the very
Gods berate
on your behalf,
To let swing wide
the restraining gate,
And transport you
to your native plain,
Back to the wild
from whence you came


A Death On The Tundra

by

Jim Burke

(...A Prose Poem)

The big grey thudded through the light, billowing, snow maintaining a visual distance from the herd, his mate and her brother trailed behind and slightly to the left, keeping about forty yards from the rear-most animals

The two pups had taken up position on the far side of the migrating cariboo, they were almost full-grown now and would soon leave to strike out on their own; this was the last season they would hunt with the pack

The wolves had been shadowing this large migration for several weeks, noting the lame and the infirm animals who would eventually become stragglers from the main body. It was three days since their bellies were full from their last kill and they needed to feed to-night before the cold and the pace sapped the last of their strength,

The pack had marked the faltering progress of an old bull,
he'd received severe damage during the rutting season and had lost an eye, and sometimes he would veer off from the main herd in confusion, yet, he was still a formidible adversery

The alpha male had bided his time; he signalled his packmates to move in, the pack expertly cut the old warrior out from the rest of the herd as the leader swiftly took up position on the old bull's blind side, the leader measured the distance and silently leaped toward the exposed throat of his prey,

The leap was true, but instinct and this veteran of many battles, sensed the danger and dropped his head to meet the unseen challenge,

The big grey was thrown over the bull's shoulder, and landed heavily; his jaw broken, the pack, sensing the attack had failed, dropped back allowing the old bull to re-join the herd for yet another day

Whimpering quietly, each pack member nuzzled their fallen leader and assessed his injury, the grey exposed his throat to his mate and watched steadfastly as she approached...


The Generation Gap

by

Jim Burke

I am the Past
and Experience
is the only rudder
I can offer you

As you steer
your course
through the rocky
shoals of your future

You are the Present
a brash, yet flimsy
Skiff bent on
self destruction

And thus, it ever was
that Past spoke vainly
to Present, who rushed
impatiently to its fate