Two Sonnets

by Jeffrey Burghauser (January 2020)

Irinaland Over the Balkans, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 1971




And the adolescent rested with his date

On a boulder in the bosom of the dark,

Sylvan valley: she, attempting to create

A romantic mood, and he, sapric as peat,

Sobbing, hyperventilating over stark-

Seeming sounds: stark since engendered by a thing

As substantial as a heaving patriarch,

But attentive, full of cautious reckoning.


Or observe that toddlers know that every pitch

Of emotion has a music of its own,

Though they suffer difficulty telling which

Words may be those fitting to a given tone.


Hamlet didn’t gather the entire point:

It isn’t just the time that’s out of joint.



626 The Way to You, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 1966

Best Friend

for UDA



Smoking, windows opened, in your mother’s plum-

Colored Volvo, singing, and, at giddy rate,

Bending through the dampened forest sodium-

Vapor lanterns manage to domesticate.


What an odd phenomenon is the Best Friend

As beheld from full adulthood’s diocese.

Yes, I must still love you: while I comprehend

Retrospect’s unhealthy constitution, these

Recollections give me feelings that become

Like those sweet, oblique-to-thought, unsure-to-sense

Feelings upon finding you’ve transláted some

Foreign lullaby with eerie competence.


Friend, the sweetest grade of memory belongs

Not to perfect poems, but to trashy songs.


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Jeffrey Burghauser is a teacher in Columbus, OH. 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 collection, Real Poems, is available on Amazon and his website is

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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