The HyperTexts

"Will There Be Starlight"
by Michael R. Burch

Form, Theme, Analysis and Meaning, Tone, Diction and Literary Devices



This is a poem that I wrote in my teens and later dedicated to my wife Beth because she reminded me of the poem's mysterious enchantress  . . .

Will There Be Starlight
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
damask
and lilac
and sweet-scented heathers?

And will she find flowers,
or will she find thorns
guarding the petals
of roses unborn?

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
seashells
and mussels
and albatross feathers?

And will she find treasure
or will she find pain
at the end of this rainbow
of moonlight on rain?

If I remember correctly, I wrote the first version of this poem toward the end of my senior year in high school, around age 18, then forgot about it until I met my future wife Beth and she reminded me of the poem’s mysterious enchantress. I dedicated the poem to her on September 21, 1991, the same day I wrote "Seasons, for Beth." Since then "Will There Be Starlight" has been published by The Chained Muse, Famous Poets and Poems, Grassroots Poetry, Inspirational Stories, Jenion, Poetry Webring, Starlight Archives, TALESetc, The Word (UK) and Writ in Water. A composer has also informed me that he intends to set the lyrics to music. And there should also be a spoken-word version performed by David B. Gosselin on YouTube someday soon.

Form, Theme, Analysis and Meaning: "Will There Be Starlight" is a lyric poem about the search for beauty and happiness in an often-dark world that can be very difficult to navigate at times. The poem's main themes are the faint illumination we sometimes have during periods of our search, and our uncertainty about what we will discover in the end. The first line came to me as a question: "Will there be starlight?" The rest of the poem is my attempt to answer that question: When? Tonight. What is being sought by starlight? Things that are lovely and mysterious. Things that can delight us and make us happy. What will be the end result of the search? Treasure, pain or perhaps a nebulous rainbow. A rainbow formed by moonlight on rain would be diaphanous and might represent no firm conclusion. Perhaps at the end of our search we will know no more than when we started. I think of the poem as a poetic fairytale. And I would describe the poetic form employed as being like "stepping stones" — the poem's format encourages the reader to examine each item/symbol individually, rather than reading them in a rush.

Tone: The poem's tone might be described as hopeful but wistful, leaning toward melancholy.

Diction: The poem's language is soft, gentle and a bit dreamy.

Literary Devices: The poem's primary literary devices are imagery and metaphor, with each image being a metaphor for something lovely and mysterious but also transient and elusive. The sounds of the words are meant to help convey impressions and feelings of hope and doubt, of potential happiness and sadness, of things of worth that can prove insubstantial. The poem also employs the poetic devices of meter and rhyme. Another poetic device is alliteration, predominately the soft "s" sounds.

Bio: Michael R. Burch is an American poet who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth, their son Jeremy, and three outrageously spoiled puppies. His poems, epigrams, translations, essays, articles, reviews, short stories and letters have appeared more than 6,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, The Hindu, BBC Radio 3, CNN.com, Daily Kos, The Washington Post, Light Quarterly, The Lyric, Measure, Writer's Digest—The Year's Best Writing, The Best of the Eclectic Muse, Unlikely Stories and hundreds of other literary journals, websites and blogs. Mike Burch is also the founder and editor-in-chief of The HyperTexts, a former columnist for the Nashville City Paper and, according to Google's rankings, a relevant online publisher of poems about the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Trail of Tears, Darfur, Haiti, Gaza and the Palestinian Nakba. He has two published books, Violets for Beth (White Violet Press, 2012) and O, Terrible Angel (Ancient Cypress Press, 2013). A third book, Auschwitz Rose, is still in the chute but long delayed. Burch's poetry has been translated into fourteen languages and set to music by nine composers. His poem "First They Came for the Muslims" has been adopted by Amnesty International for its Words That Burn anthology, a free online resource for students and educators. Burch has also served as editor of International Poetry and Translations for the literary journal Better Than Starbucks.

For an expanded bio, circum vitae and career timeline of the poet, please click here: Michael R. Burch Expanded Bio.

Related Pages: "Davenport Tomorrow" Analysis, "Epitaph" Analysis, "Neglect" Analysis, "Passionate One" Analysis, "Something" Analysis, "Self Reflection" Analysis, "Will There Be Starlight" Analysis

The HyperTexts