Mid-morning along the winding coastal road,
snout pressed to the pavement: a large raccoon.
No swerving – I stop and pick it up
with an old towel from the trunk of the car.
It is heavy, striped fur soft, still warm,
little hands so like mine.
Carefully I lay the body in a ditch
thick with the honeyed leaves of autumn
for I, too, want to die untrampled.
Turning to go, I see a family
of eyes intently watching
from the light-soaked foliage
on the other side of the road,
eyes that look directly into mine.
Like any good mother, she led the way,
taking the unstoppable car’s blow,
last night’s quiet masked bandit,
locked out of our world, shuffling
empty-handed back into hers,
heaped love that padded by, unrevered,
whose conversation with this earth
is now done, opening wide
the mouths of her young.
Below this whale song of waves: the fin-happy,
sounding through all the dumb canyons
of the sea, coloured crayon-bright in the dark
flooded basement of the earth, shadow-drifted
across aqueous meadows prismed with light,
blending with gray rock and white sand,
knobby coral and long swishy green,
ferned and prickled, smoothed and elongated,
troubled hard, dense, small
but here, and free—
the mute-mouthed, mandibled hungry
and the hunted—to a grotto-chased,
honorable death. Or those given eyes
to see the dangling hook, the silver
door swinging shut before it’s too late.
Those at least, weapons in the hand.
Not a cavernous ground zero.
But this water knows, in its reach, how
my bikini got its name. Makes me think
of dreams I barely had, so quickly did they
sink from sight, but whose notes floated
long after, as if there was something
I could yet retrieve. In a tidal lullabye
of voices I cannot hear, the many mouths
of the sea open and close, open and close
lips I cannot read.
Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Like to read more? Pre-orders (upon which the print run is based) end soon – January 12th! May this new year be as exciting for you as it is for me!
“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:
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,
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”!
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
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
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,
This first appeared in North Shore Magazine and is included in my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.