Category Archives: Poetry




Kenneth Burchfiel

Zur Ehre Gottes


An der Asche

des alten Lebens

sitz ein Vogel, singen,


On the ashes

of the old life

sits a Bird, singing,



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Kenneth Burchfiel, fdHG


Walls of outhouses split crowds of black red white yellow, most blue

With Potomac-freezing cold. Undeterred,

They swarm around obelisks and monuments and televisions on stilts.

But nothing changed.

No room to cheer, but they try anyway

As politicians walk (and wheel) in and out of history.

Cellists, vice presidents, judges—the Jumbotrons do not see

The one/two/many millions fixated on the screens.

But nothing changed.

The applause turns to silence, the dream turns real

As Roberts leads an oath heard round the world

And 43 gives way to 44, 2001 to 2009.

But nothing changed.

Because the sky was blue at noon,

And I only had to look up and away today

To remember our true President’s term is eternal.



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A Certain kind of Salesman

A Certain kind of Salesman


Kenneth Burchfiel


A certain curtain caught my eye—the cheapest of the darker hues.

But then a certain curtain salesman ascertained I wanted to

Curtain my windows with a few

Of that certain curtain hue—so certain, yes,

He stood and said:

I’m a certain kind of curtain salesman—certainly, it’s rare;

The kind that cautions certain curtain buyers of the risk of wear

On curtains nearly sold for free—but, in actuality,

Will certainly split into three at certain opportunities.

I ascertained that he could name

A better curtain in the store—

And yes, he spoke of certain Corinth curtains costing dollars more,

And led me with a certain step to Corinth curtain styles galore.

A cirrus-quilted Corinth curtain certainly retained my gaze,

Yet certainly, the Corinth certain quilters had erred in such a way

That certain cirrus clouds looked more cumulus in form and shape;

And, tired with such certainty, I curtailed off my search for drapes.

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Pair o’ Prose Poems

Fire Safety Notice* for Poets


Kenneth Burchfiel

In the event of fire, stare at the flames in awe. Call your friends in Philosophy Club and ruminate with them over the fate of all things material. If you are in immediate danger, ponder the temporal nature of Earthly life and reflect on your childhood, when the cookie jar was within reach and you always beat your father at Connect Four.

If the fire is in your room: lock the door before the flames spread, thinking about how the mayor will declare you a hero tomorrow and plant a birch tree in your name. Realize how much you always hated the lyrics “It’s Getting Hot In Here.” Call your father; admit that he always was the better Connect Four player. Strain to finish this sentence before the fire consumes the paper.

If the fire is not in your room: do a fist pump, then experience uncontrollable guilt. Check your smoldering red doorknob for heat. Seal all doors and windows with your Robert Frost anthology. Head for the fire escape, you who always did exhibit cowardice at danger.

In either case, listen as your heart pulses frantically. Feel a drop of sweat roll down your forehead and sizzle on the ground. Watch the smoke crawl in from the other room while in the fetal position. Smell the smoke. It will remind you of the family fireplace on Christmas Eve. Compare yourself to a Yule Log. Commend yourself on your use of metaphor.

Do not panic, at any rate. Trained firefighters will soon arrive on the scene and access your room. They will ask why you have pen and paper out in a three-alarm blaze.

*This poem is structured on the “Fire Safety Notice” on the door of my room.


(This poem may seem to lack a meaning until one reads it without the “Filler.”)

I know you’re stressing over what Valentine’s day present to Get
don’t get worried sick. Just your offer to rent a van and drive us away
like to L.A. for next weekend is more than I could ever ask from
you Ever since dumb school started I know you don’t see much of me,
anymore. But really that just makes me want to go to Boston right now!

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It’s not the prettiest poem–literally–but I think the formatting helps out with the message. (See attached PDF)


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(See attached PDF)


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Second Day Poetry Sampler

Second Day Poetry Sampler


Kenneth Burchfiel




Rusty key whistles through the office air—


Splatters its impression onto the sheet—


Iron lever recoils—


Corroded finger races across the keyboard—


Space bar gives the page a break—


Can of polish vibrates to the rhythm—


All this for just one greeting—



Dramatic Situations #12-22

He was to obtain the vengeance we thirsted for.

Act off the enmity that coursed through us kinsmen’s blood.

Settle the rivalry that forced tremors in our blood-thirsting hearts.

But the son betrothed to vengeance committed adultery

and lapsed into a state of madness: mercy.

Stuck the sword into the dust, the imprudent little heir.

Committed that involuntary crime of love.

He would not slay a kinsman unrecognized,

No! He defied his clan for an ideal.

Sheathed a bloodless sword for a false kindred.


But my son claims it was all sacrificed for a passion.

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