Wednesday, June 5, 2013


by Gideon Burton
inspired by Walt Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider" (below)

Not anything can measure it, not light
nor miles nor time nor words like "depth" or "height"
and I am, insect-like, a speck, so slight
so blank so mute so pale within the white
yet poised along the cusp of sound and sight
some primal part, down deep where neurons bite
where forces stir that blurred primeval night
with white-hot wonder, blazing through the fight
to see: the sea, the scene, each atom bright
from here from me somehow so wide despite
my jellied lenses, dulled by mortal rites
yet lasering through all till all ignites.
   Some filament is cast that cords the kite,
   I board the flight, I soar though sore in sight.

image: creative commons licensed by John Barton

A Noiseless Patient Spider 
by Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

No Love for Mustard

Mustard contest or fraternity dare?
The fact that you can't tell the difference
tells you everything
In the spirit of my other food sonnets, I have penned this one about my least favorite of the condiments, mustard. This one I wrote with some imagery help from Janessa, a well-read sixth-grader with equally disapproving tastebuds. If this poem pleases you, you might also enjoy the vituperation of another would-be food, white chocolate. Anyway, my apologies to all the mustard lovers out there. No, I take that back. I stand by the poem.

No Love for Mustard
by Gideon Burton

Let's just be honest: mustard is a slime,
a sour, gooey, beige-brown-yellow paste
ground up from foot-long garden slugs who dine
on maggot larvae and on cabbage waste.
That color --oh, so cheery. Neon fraud
disguising moldy pesto, eye of newt.
But go ahead and lather up your dog
or victim burger with that poison stew--
that con of condiments, a pretzel's bane,
that choice of kings (if kings have gone insane),
that turdy must that does all food profane,
that musty turd, so wrong except in name.
   If heaven's food is fair, then oh, not this--
   the bug guts Satan smothers on his grits.

image: creative commons licensed by Swamibu (Flickr)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Write It

Write It
by Gideon Burton

Know this: if but an inky remnant scrawl
awakens memory, then wake. The wake
of thunders sunders, echoes, spreads and sprawls,
and you have heard and known it for your sake,

as though He tuned the atmosphere to breathe
your breathing. Rhythmed right, alive to light
too light to sink or wince or falling leave
the falling leaves their crimsons breaking bright.

So fight, so grasp two-fisted, whitely tight
what was to you so present thick with fire
with floods of rushing hushing stillness. Bite
the sugar-stinging bloody orange. Wire

and weld the ever wonder, page to ink,
to keep untamed, alive in all you think.

composed 12-9-12

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Another Weekend Drinking With the Sinners

Another Weekend Drinking With the Sinners
by Gideon Burton

Another weekend drinking with the sinners,
the wine like water freely freely passed around.
We regulars are here, plus some beginners.
We sometimes laugh, or drink without a sound.

Hung over from another weary week,
we're drinking to remember, not forget.
To fix what's broken, get up on our feet,
it's easier together, dry or wet.

In time you get to know the others' troubles,
at least you read the reasons why they come.
It's hard to razor smooth the bumpy stubble,
but harder still to walk away or run.

A piece of bread, a friend to hold the cup,
a reason to look down, and then look up.

Composed 8-19-2012. Revised 2-24-2013
Image: creative commons licensed, More Good Foundation