Poetry Translation: Michael R. Burch

Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch’s poems, translations, essays, articles and letters have appeared in TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, Amnesty International’s Words That Burn, Writer’s Digest–The Year’s Best Writing and hundreds of literary journals. His poems have been translated into eleven languages and set to music by the composers Mark Buller, Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com and serves as the international poetry editor for Better Than Starbucks.

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing I

translation by Michael R. Burch

I will extract the thorns from your feet.
For a little while, we will walk life's sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing II

translation by Michael R. Burch

Happily may you walk
in the paths of the Rainbow.
and may it always be beautiful before you,
beautiful behind you,
beautiful below you,
beautiful above you,
and beautiful all around you
where in Perfection beauty is finished.

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing III

loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May Heaven’s warming winds blow gently there,
where you reside, 
and may the Great Spirit bless all those you care for,
this side of the farther tide.
And when you go,
whether the journey is fast or slow,
may your moccasins leave many cunning footprints in the snow.
And when you look over your shoulder, may you always find the Rainbow.

Sioux Vision Quest

A man must pursue his Vision 
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues. 
—Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877), translated by Michael R. Burch

Native American Proverbs

loose translations by Michael R. Burch

The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. 
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
—White Elk

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