Two Poems by William C. Burns, Jr.


Drinking the River Lethe

If you could have asked
Is it raining
   in some future place
Or will I suffer
   the slings and arrows . . .
And got your answer

If you could lift your hands
Against the Sea
Turning back the tide
   turning back time

If you could
Spin the sky backward
   rearranging the clouds
Without a second thought

If you knew a guy
Who could remove this tattoo
Wipe away this memory

Would you


For The Pleasure of Her Company

She comes down the passage
     pulling her coat closer
     around her
As though it's colder
     in here
Than out there
     in the storm
I wipe my nose on my sleeve

She explains all the details
     producing charts and graphs
     timetables and photographs
She makes me
     recite it all
So I won't forget
I nod, knowing what I'm about

She makes such a scene
     of discretely sliding the cash
     from her concealed pocket
She smiles now
     and turns
I don't want her money
But it's the only way
     I get to see her





William C. Burns, Jr. tells us he "was born in Washington DC, circa the early Fifties, which puts him on the trailing edge of the beautiful generation (remember the Hippies? OK for those of you too young to remember, how bout Shaggy from Scooby Doo?).

"Raised in West Virginia in and around the rolling hills and glens of Charleston.

"Moved to South Carolina in 1984 with his wife and three children.

"Lots of degrees (mostly Celsius, some Fahrenheit, some Kelvin) in areas such as electrical engineering, biomedical engineering and education.

"Keeps the hounds of starvation at bay by teaching engineering and technology courses at various colleges."

Poems Copyright 2000  William C. Burns, Jr.

Return to Page One