Lyrical Fragments

by Jeffrey Burghauser (January 2024)

A Reading from Homer— Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1885


We so much love to love our love,
____To those of common mind,
A poëm is a poëm of
____The amatory kind.

A book of them is like a cold
____Facility whose bins
Accommodate sublimely old,
____Exotic specimens,

Each marvel filed side-by-side
____In pale, synthetic juice,
Preserved for some unspecified
____Experimental use.

Since granite needs no mortal heed
____For its survival, give
It nothing. Hatred cannot need
____A man’s preservative.

If there be Justice, soon you’ll see
____Your body and your brain

Repaid in simple misery
____That never ebbs again.


I’ve learned from Dante’s manifold
____Devotion to the She
How accurately to behold
____The force of chivalry,

Contriving, as it did, to churn
____A total worldview of
Erotic love. The world, we learn,
____Entwines its way through Love,

And Love must be to Chivalry
____What Hatred is, I fear,
To something that, against my plea,
____I shall discover here.

For each discrete disaster is
____A sympathetic string…
Pluck the troubles that are his;
____The whole of life shall sing.

When she was mistress of the grove,
____And I, a callow swain,
I tendered vows, and then, my love
____Returned the like again.


Untutored heathens love to write.
____The child slits his wrists.
The marble colonnades grow tight
____With insurrectionists.

Pulsáting Saracens behead
____The flabbergasted Jew.
Pandemic viruses are spread.
____My lover is untrue.

When she is missing from a tree-
____And vine-embowered lane,
A park, or my biography,
____The Desert comes again.


My body loosening its seals,
____I die amid my debts;
It feels as fretless rosewood feels
____To fingers used to frets.

Come wrap me in my winding-sheet.
____Amid the dire rain,
Conduct me sadly through the street
____That slowly floods again.


Table of Contents


Jeffrey Burghauser is a teacher in Columbus, Ohio. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo and the University of Leeds. He currently studies the five-string banjo with a focus on pre-WWII picking styles. A former artist-in-residence at the Arad Arts Project (Israel), his poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Fearsome Critters, Iceview, Lehrhaus, and New English Review. Jeffrey’s book-length collections are available on Amazon, and his website is

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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