My New Poetry Chapbook!

Now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/
As the pressrun is determined by advance sales, reserving your copy between now and January 12, 2018 would make a huge difference! My book’s actual release date is March 9, 2018.

What they’re saying:

Lynne Burnett is astonishing. I cannot think of another poet who writes with more humanity. Wisdom is a word we seldom associate with poetry, but she reminds us that simply seeing the world the way it is can be a profoundly moral and life affirming act.  It’s what happens when compassion marries irony. The love child is this wondrous little book.” —D.G Geis, author Fire Sale (Tupelo Press/Leapfolio) and Mockumentary (Main Street Rag).

The poems inside Lynne Burnett’s chapbook live up to the collection title. Irresistible. Here is a poet demonstrating her considerable talents. There is much music and rhythm in these pages, and keen insight to the ebb and flow of relationships and heartbreak. I was particularly taken by the deft handling of the near miss in “Mute with Thanks.” And I was moved by the poignant stories in the title poem, “Irreplaceable” and “On Hearing That a Friend’s Husband Has Died in His Sleep.” Even the table of contents in this lovely book is a form of call and response. Her imagery and language resonated with me long after I finished reading. –Devi S. Laskar, Author of “Gas & Food, No Lodging” (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and “Anastasia Maps” (Finishing Line Press, 2018)

Lynne Burnett takes us deep into the world of what is, what isn’t and what might have been, of accidents and unplanned incidents “where we fall without falling,” and death rings “a bell that won’t stop singing of loss.” Love is coupled with death here, and life is “an unfinished dream.” Burnett pulls us into the flow of the inevitable, where we feel the unheard and hear the unmentioned in the in-between, with powerfully rendered, beautifully phrased and sonically perfect observations. Irresistible is just that – an irresistible, stunning debut. –Robert Okaji, author of From Every Moment a Second (Finishing Line Press, 2017)

Here is a sample poem from the book, with an audio recording:

GLASS SLIPPERS

Walking barefoot
across the dewy lawn,
the grass riotous with light
that began its journey toward her
over four billion years ago,
light that will burn five billion
years more after she’s gone,

like candle to candle lit
my pixie daughter’s a thirsty wick
for joy, sure any life glad to be
is all that matters,
and I want to tell her yes

while light is leading her heart
out its small window
of time, and blade by blade
from beaded grass her
own glass slippers made,
yes
before gravity weighs in.

Over the next couple of months I will continue to post samples.
Thank you to all who find my happy news “irresistible”!

 

Game Changer

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

Once, numbed and split apart
with all the casualness of a letter-opener
firm against the fat contents of a long-awaited envelope,
my body revealed a face,
the face of my son about to be born.
The doctor was startled to see his eyes,
already open, intent upon him,
eyes that spoke of other worlds,
of a reason for being, being here, being now,
his seven pounds a screaming missive from most high.

For ten years past, night after night,
he keeps his eyes open as long as he can,
thoughtful dots in the dark, for the day
could never extend itself enough to please him
nor to hold his magical masterly plans
and too, there are worries: of earthquakes,
a friendship gone wrong, a love that might
disappear unintentionally, like a mom
mowed down by a car or a dad who worked
too hard, a stammer that won’t, and more.

Eventually, my own body weary from the effort
of imposing a sleep he does not want,
I come to turn out his light and find
his eyes closed at last, limbs limp, seeming
grateful for the slow and slower breath, the
weight of them against the hockey stick
sheets like four pucks landed in their nets.
Sometimes the curtain lifts a little, letting in
the gasp and sigh of the world he’ll inherit,
and out skate his dreams.

This poem was first published in an earlier version
under the title “My Son, Unable To Sleep” in CV2 in 2001.

 

Face to Face

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Mist trails the moon’s departure,
tracing an absence through
the precisely ordered landscape
to the brim of the water, edging
toward the face in the river,
circles it and slips away.

Like the moon, and by its light,
my face is a silver coin tossed
into a dark well and wished on,

its frame of long hair
a rippling shadow of leaves
pointing the way to a peace
I can only imagine,

the eyes seeing beyond
the ghostly grandmother
willows and elms,
beyond the standing flesh of me,

the mouth – the missing line
of a poem. I want to kiss it.

I am no Narcissus, but I cannot stop
looking at my shimmering other.
This liquid face has no age that matters,
no sex that specifically appeals.
It is a painter’s first brushstroke,
bold and horizonless.

I bend close and closer,
almost falling in.
More than my known face
I want that one –
a moon sailing
through rivering stars
on a bright path
home.

This poem was first published by the Pedestal Magazine and was
later included in my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.

 

Like Mona Lisa

Photo by Eric Terrade on Unsplash

How beautiful…….she sleeps,
gathering the early light
inward
like a sail filling with wind,
her face composing
its first smile
of the day:
little boat loaded
with last night’s dreams.

Like Mona Lisa,
whose fathomless eyes are a wake
from the little boat sailing
back and forth
from secret to secret
right in front of us, turning us
into a crowd of craning necks,
so much wanting
aboard.

Looking at a loved one sleeping was the impetus for this poem. It won second place in a contest by Pandora’s Collective and was published in 2012.

The Sleep Of Trees

Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

Raindrops sparkling in the sun’s slow rise,
sprinkled like stars across the dark green leaves,
sky still heavy with the sleep of trees…

shouldered aside by dripping roofs,
the world they wake to –
is it all that they dreamed?

Another poem from the North Shore Magazine vault.

 

Two Poems Up At Taos Journal Of Poetry & Art

More good news! My poems “Always, In Returning” and “In The Cathedral” are now up at the lovely Taos Journal of Poetry & Art, along with many other beauties from writers I’ve long admired. Please do scroll through this Issue 10 to see what I mean! Many thanks to editors Cathy Strisik and Veronica Golos!

You can read them here: http://www.taosjournalofpoetry.com/always-in-returning/ – “In the Cathedral” is on the next page.

 

 

“Clear Night Over Treadwell Bay” – Nominated for Best of the Net 2017

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

A couple of hundred miles up the coast
two weeks into a summer of cruising
we end our day of fishing with a movie.
But the shouting and shooting carve sharp
initials into the tree-deep silence here,
so I step outside, right onto the glittering
dance floor of an olive-black sky
on a clear, good night. My mind whirls,

words falling far away, then my fears,
then even the best of the best in me, all
dwarfed by this lavish sprinkling of stars:
confetti of the gods, tossed long ago upon
a lifted veil—marrying me now to the
faintest glimmer of worlds beyond ours.
I gaze, it seems forever, a moth burning
to remember a dream wings can’t forget.

I am thrilled to have this poem nominated for the Best of the Net 2017 Anthology by editor Cristina Norcross of the Blue Heron Review, where it appeared July 2016!

Your Turn

Photo by Tim Golder on Unsplash

She was lost and late and frantic
when she pulled over to ask me
for directions. And so close!
A block the other way lay her destination.
Discouraged, she had turned off too soon.

Sometimes it happens that way.
And sometimes the road simply ends
and you know you’ve missed
the turn. But when it’s late
in life, and it’s your turn that
you’ve avoided or can’t find,
when it’s your appointment
with fate you think you’ve missed,
or when the path you’re on turns
out to really be someone else’s, say,
who lives there, in that neighbourhood,
who could help you?

None better than the yardless dog
at your heels, growing wilder,
more wolflike by the second,
those nips of dissatisfaction
ripping your good pants,
the barks of disapproval
stilling the nice hand
that would have fed it,
the sickening plunge of your stomach
as you realize this is all wrong,
making you run now, run for the life
you meant to live.

This too first appeared in North Shore Magazine.

 

 

Sometimes, A Heron

Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

stands like a bearded yogi
in the willow-edged stream
that runs under the main road
an easy block from the sea,
waiting for his own kind
of traffic.

At that intersection
of necessity and desire,
it is no accident when
the still life breaks from
its green-daubed canvas
with the long, scissored plunge
of his beak, and swallows whole
and writhing, the little fish
that almost made it.

Sometimes, in the rivering
silence between two hearts,
I am stalked by
an elegant longing
and taken suddenly
by its gleaming need
to live.

And hope I do not
reach too slowly
into the sea-deep amber
light of its promise,
like these bare and slender
branches that have crept from
their tangled weep of shadows,
blossoms pending.

This first appeared in North Shore Magazine and is included in my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.