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Roberta Burton

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The Poetry of Roberta Burton
Big Bend Poets chapter, Florida State Poets Association


“I survived you by enough,
and only by enough,
to contemplate from afar.”

The gray zone,
that zone where
deep within lies
the hazardous area of the psyche.

I won’t travel there.
My survival is at stake.
The pain is too deep
to heal

Six years later,
I’ve entered the red zone,
that hazardous area of the psyche
where psyche-ache is born.

I’m willing
feel the pain that comes
with experiencing
the passion.

I am present.
~~~Roberta L. Burton, 25 August 1997

The fog rolls in

The fog rolls in.
As it reaches me in its thickness,

It chills my soul..

Desolate feelings of loneliness,
And, man’s inhumanity to man

Students gunned down on campus,
Body bags on the evening news,

Cause me to cry out in anguish.

What caused
This complete alienation
Within me?

Oil spills in San Francisco Bay?
My powerlessness and
The Vietnam War?

Why is there
No one to
Touch me?

Why are there no warm arms
To comfort me?
What have I done to cause this
Desolation within me?

Fog horns sound
In the night.
A sense of loneliness
Grows within me

Until I am cold --
The coldness of

A dog appears.
I reach out
To touch it.

I feel its warmth.
It warms my soul.

I have been
Unable to reach out,
Unable to touch,
To feel the warmth of compassion.
~~~Roberta L. Aldrich-Burton, 1973, 2009

Broken Dreams

Powdery white specks
Floating gently upward like
Dust motes. Broken dreams.

~~~Roberta Burton, 10 May 2009

I Am a Woman

When I was sixteen, I fell in love . . .
I became a woman.
When I was twenty, I married . . .
I became a woman.
When I was twenty-seven, I gave birth . . .
I became a woman.
When I was thirty, I stepped into an alien world . . .
I was on my way to becoming a woman.
I laid my ghosts . . .
Trophy wife times two,
One philanderer, one alcoholic.
My choices. Lessons learned.
Found peace in myself,
In my world . . .
Perhaps, now . . .
I am a woman.
My friend, my soulmate,
Connection with Spirit.
Cancer. Death. Grief.
Spiritual transformation . . .
I am a woman.
~~~Roberta L. Aldrich-Burton, August 1973, February 2009

Creative Thought

I am your inner voice of
Creative Thought. You

are mindlessness. Empty,
You have a chance to grow. Meditate
upon the navel.

fill emptiness. You stalk
ideas. Intuition is here.

Mindlessness, mindfulness
you can overflow. I am


Self-deception and denial
Do conceal.. A diamond bracelet,
Presented amidst
Marital squalor.

Self-honesty will reveal
The blind eye
Turned outward. Acquire

Your own identity. Envision
The you. First, you must
Inquire within.


Sophistry and evasion relent, you must
accept inadequacies,
Fear . . . Pride . . . Self-centeredness.
Breathe transcendence. Truth

In the recesses of your mind,
lay an extraordinary painting
and . . . this poem.
~~~Roberta L. Burton, 1985

Roberta Burton

"The fog rolls in"

ROBERTA started writing fiction and poetry following graduation from Florida State University in 2003 with a doctorate in marriage and family therapy. She took her first writing class at FSU OLLI with Mary Jane Ryals, the Big Bend Poet Laureate. Roberta has been hooked ever since. She is a voracious reader and also has interests in watercolor, martial arts healing, and alternative health medicine.

Roberta began writing in grade school with letters to her cousin. She took two years of creative writing in high school, but in college wrote only non-fiction. Since then, she has continued to write poetry whenever she feels the need to express her feelings. Currently, Roberta is working on a novel with poetry written for relaxation. “Writing is not a choice," she says; "I must write.”

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