New poem, 8/8/14. Gaza, the Ukraine and a great deal more…

Gaza, the Ukraine and a great deal more…  

Children burning in Gaza –
their cries are entering me.
The lies that are leading us to horror upon horror –
like black rats they come creeping into my soul.

I accept them. I bear them.
But what can I do with them?
Alone I am helpless
but I am not alone.

I offer them to another.
“Take them,” I say to Him.
“Take them in the name
of the suffering earth.

“Take them from one
who himself cannot help
except through recognition

“that the pain in himself
and the evil in himself

“are the pain of the world,
the evil of the world,

“that he simply passes on
to You who bears all.”

8/8/14, Kirchschlag, near Linz


I’ve been hearing that some people can’t sign up to receive poems on my website because the pop-up won’t open. Go to and a little sign saying FOLLOW should be there in the bottom right hand corner. If you do not see this and you would like to receive the odd poem, send me an email and I’ll put you on. It will not be a lot – irregular intervals as always.

And two days after the send-out – another – because I want to do something against this madness of going to war with Syria. Please pass it on…

The Drummers of War
Syria 2013

Who are the ones
who are beating the drums
of war?

Not they whose sons
will soon die alone,
not the widows who mourn
or the children who scream,
not the nurse who carries
the amputated limb,
or the lovers parted
with their amputated dreams.

These are never the ones
who beat on the drums
of war.

But the wolves in suits,
the sellers of arms,
the peddlers of lies
for whoever will pay,
those who strut the world-stage,
those who slink in the shadows,
who smile and smile
though their souls stink to hell…

They are the ones
who beat on the drums
of war!

Michael Hedley Burton
August 2013


After a night

After a night spent facing phantoms
he lies down
to listen to the birds.

Sweet sounds resounding
in the aftermath of battle
and distress.

Nature knows not what it means
to be a human being, forced to wear
the liberator’s chains.

He learns to face the darkness in himself.
Can he help others?
Or will his efforts make their darkness worse?
3/6/13, Chengdu

Everyone crumbles differently

Everyone crumbles differently.
They come up to the barrier
and most of who they are stops working at the gate.
They cannot cross because they are not whole.
They limp back – sadder, older, emptier than they were
the night before.

And we are all arriving at the barrier.
In the morning sometimes you can sense what happened.
You were there last night.
I wonder: Did you crumble?
Or did you wake up with an inexplicable and hungry zest
and new reserves of light?

Unless you come prepared, two thirds of who you are
cannot get through. But it is possible to prepare
and ride the evolutionary wave across the barrier.
Then, from that place for which your heart desires,
you’ll bring back substance from your sojourn there
and inexplicable light and fire and zest.
14/8/13, Balmain East