Sad but True (I actually wrote this once, and I’m posting it)

This poem (or supposedly connected series of poems) dates from early in college for me (say 1971 or 1972).The title of today’s post doesn’t refer so much to the contents of this poem (or series of poems) as it does to the fact that it’s appearing here today. All I knew about poetry really back then was that a poet was supposed to be “deep” (I hope by that I meant profound) and therefore evidently sad. I’m not sure what I had to be sad about in those days. I was a college student with a decent scholarship. I lived at home; my meals and lodging were paid for. I didn’t have anywhere to go, so I didn’t need transportation, and when I did, there was my friend Kevin and his faithful truck. And I had other friends as well.

Seek and the web will provide: “Melancholy”

Maybe I thought my love life was in trouble. If I wrote this in the fall of ‘71, then I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time. If, however, this came out of the spring of ‘72—still my freshman year in college—my love life had changed for the better, several times over. (And like all my poems this one seems to be romantic, not in the sense of the nineteenth century greats, but whining about relationships—if I had relationships to whine about.) Either way, I was being serious.

What I do know is I thought I had to express “melancholy.” That was a favorite word amongst us young folks in Sigma Tau Delta, even though some professor—probably Ron Palumbo—struggled to make us aware of the bleakness and horror that word should express. We couldn’t get over how pretty it sounds: attractive especially to juvenile, adolescent minds. One friend even wrote a column in which “Melancholy sits beside me/And holds my hand”—a true story, no exaggeration. Back home appeared in Design magazine; at least either I or some editor had the wisdom not to publish what follows.

Obviously, I am not so wise today (or actually just desperate to have a post scheduled in advance). Here and there I like a phrase or two, but overall and in its details what follows is irredeemably puerile. So let’s have some fun laughing at my younger self…

Four Seasons of Night


There is no promise in my mind
that the sunsongs will awaken me tomorrow
or that I will be in this place to see you
sometime ever.

There is too much sunset in my heart
for any vows of duties for tomorrow
or to say that I will never go away from you
my lady.

There are visions in my spirit
which never augur good about tomorrow
or tell but fear of love’s skullmoon and you
my desire.

There is no hope within the marrow of my soul
that I will not cease to love you by tomorrow
or that I could forget your touching when I leave you
sometime never.


Where the road is,
into bright sunset,
crimson bloody,
stained with night,

where the road is,
will you hear my songs.

Listen to the wind scream
like a virgin,
broken, her first time,
now a birthing woman’s wail:
these fruits of my passion,
wreckage of love,
lost behind me,

Pursuing the wind’s dreams.

My hope lies beyond me,
in the west,
within the sunset,
nightverge brightening ruddy,
poem without end,
never awakening bliss,
leaving memories of faces
behind me, a long time gone.


Moonskull leering
past the night shades,
silver on the snow:

a fragment of the night
will leave my sleep,
recalling the past,
perplexing the future,

quest without roads,
horror and wonder,
alone among the corpses
of unknown stars.

And I know

Returning spring,
warm days of sunbright skies
and sunshine mirth
will never remember me
behind your unknown female thoughts,
beautiful, like a sunrise,
a freedom of light

Soft and fragrant woman.


Wake to see the sun rise,
golden-bloody, pink and orange,
clear in morning air,
behind me in the east,

above the mountains
that I crossed
to put between us
all the time.

Wake to see the sunrise,
fresh and bloody,
like a screaming baby
newborn on the earth,

strangely like a sunset
in the east,
above the mountains and my darkness,
behind me, a long time gone.


Aren’t I profound? Carrying the weight of the universe on my little teenaged soul. (I won’t even try to pretend that this is some “speaker” unconnected to me except in the breadth of my imagination. And where is that imagination, anyway? What’s here is thoroughly derivative.)

Well, once again it appears that Sunday is for embarrassment. But at least I got a post out of it. Let’s see what you get tomorrow…

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

One thought on “Sad but True (I actually wrote this once, and I’m posting it)

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