Native American Poems translated by Michael R. Burch.

 
“Native American Poems translated by Michael R. Burch.” Editor’s Note: These are loose translations and interpretations of Native American poems and poetic proverbs. Burch began translating Native American travelers’ blessings when his father declined dialysis and entered hospice.
 
Cherokee Travelers’ Blessing I
 
I will extract the thorns from your feet.
Yet a little longer, we will walk life’s sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.
 
***
 
Cherokee Travelers’ Blessing II
 
Happily may you walk
in the paths of the Rainbow.
Oh,
and may it always be beautiful before you,
beautiful behind you,
beautiful below you,
beautiful above you,
and beautiful all around you
where in Perfection beauty is finished.
 
Set to music by Patricia Falanga, a compiler of American music
 
***
 
Cherokee Travelers’ Blessing III
 
May Heaven’s warming winds blow gently there,
where you reside,
and may the Great Spirit bless all those you love,
this side of the farthest tide.
And wherever you go,
whether the journey is fast or slow,
may your moccasins leave many cunning footprints in the snow.
And when you look over your shoulder, may you always find the Rainbow.
 
***
 
Sioux Vision Quest
by Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877)
 
A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky’s deepest blues.
 
***
 
Cherokee Prayer
 
As I walk life’s trails
imperiled by the raging wind and rain,
grant, O Great Spirit,
that yet I may always
walk like a man.
 
This prayer makes me think of Native Americans walking the Trail of Tears with far more courage and dignity than their “civilized” abusers.(Michael R Burch)
 
***
 
Cherokee Proverb
 
Before you judge
a man for his sins
be sure to trudge
many moons in his moccasins.
 
Published by The Cherokee Native Americans and A Hundred Voices
 
***
 
Native American Proverbs
 
When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
–White Elk
 
The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.
–Native American saying
 
A woman’s highest calling is to help her man unite with the Source.
A man’s highest calling is to help his woman walk the earth unharmed.
–Native American saying
 
***
 
Speak less thunder, wield more lightning. — Apache proverb
 
The more we wonder, the more we understand. — Arapaho proverb
 
Beware the eloquence of the rattlesnake’s tail. — Navajo saying
 
The rattlesnake’s tail is eloquent. — Navajo saying
 
Adults talk, children whine. — Blackfoot proverb
 
Don’t be afraid to cry: it will lessen your sorrow. — Hopi proverb
 
One foot in the boat, one foot in the canoe, and you end up in the river. — Tuscarora proverb
 
Our enemy’s weakness increases our strength. — Cherokee proverb
 
We will be remembered tomorrow by the tracks we leave today. — Dakota proverb
 
The heart is our first teacher. — Cheyenne proverb
 
Dreams beget success. — Maricopa proverb
 
Knowledge interprets the past, wisdom foresees the future. — Lumbee proverb
 
The troublemaker’s way is thorny. — Umpqua proverb
 
***
 
What is life?
The flash of a firefly.
The breath of the winter buffalo.
The shadow scooting across the grass that vanishes with sunset.
—Blackfoot saying
 
***
 
 
Michael R. Burch is an American poet who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth and two incredibly spoiled puppies. He has over 6,000 publications, including poems that have gone viral. His poems, translations, essays, articles, letters, epigrams, jokes and puns have been published by TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, Writer’s Digest–The Year’s Best Writing and hundreds of literary journals. His poetry has been translated into 14 languages, taught in high schools and colleges, and set to music by 23 composers, including two potential operas if the money ever materializes. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com, has served as editor of international poetry and translations for Better Than Starbucks, is on the board of Borderless Journal, an international literary journal, and has judged a number of poetry contests over the years.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com More of his personal work can also be viewed at https://poetrylifeandtimes.com video & audio poems, translations etc.,

Translated Poems by Michael R Burch. (Basho,Sappho,Shugyo.)

(i.)

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
―for the children of Gaza

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.
 
Michael R Burch
 
(ii.)

Eros shakes my soul:
a wind on desolate mountains
leveling oaks.
 
Sappho, fragment 42, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

(iii.)

The butterfly 
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
 
 
Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

(iv.)

Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I’d leap into the torrent! 

 
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
 
 
Mike Burch Face Book_n
 
Michael R. Burch’s poems, translations, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, Writer’s Digest and hundreds of literary journals and websites. His poetry has been translated into Arabic, Czech, Farsi, Gjuha Shqipe, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Turkish and Vietnamese. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com.

*Translator’s note: I consult a wide range of sources before I do a translation, since I’m not an expert on other languages. For instance, before doing my translations of Basho and Sappho, I studied hundreds of translations and comments about their work by various experts.

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Free Fall. Poem. Sonnet by Michael R Burch



These cloudless nights, the sky becomes a wheel 
where suns revolve around an axle star …
Look there, and choose. Decide which moon is yours. 
Sink Lethe-ward, held only by a heel. 

Advantage. Disadvantage. Who can tell? 
To see is not to know, but you can feel 
the tug sometimes: the gravity, the shell 
as lustrous as damp pearl. You sink, you reel 

toward some draining revelation. Air: 
too thin to grasp, to breath. Such pressure. Gasp. 
The stars invert, electric, everywhere. 

And so we fall, down-tumbling through night’s fissure: 

two beings pale, intent to fall forever 
around each other—fumbling at love’s tether …
now separate, now distant, now together.

Originally published by Sonnet Scroll

 
 
Mike Burch Face Book_n
 
Michael R. Burch’s poems, translations, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, Writer’s Digest and hundreds of literary journals and websites. His poetry has been translated into Arabic, Czech, Farsi, Gjuha Shqipe, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Turkish and Vietnamese. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com.