Year: 
2021

These are epigrams about life, death, love, society, politics, the coronavirus pandemic and religion. 

 

Less Heroic Couplets: Fine Feathered Fiends I
by Michael R. Burch

Conformists of a feather
flock together.

Winner of the National Poetry Month Couplet Competition

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Fine Feathered Fiends II
by Michael R. Burch

Fascists of a feather
flock together.

Published by: CNN Political Ticker, TheHill.com, DailyKos (article), Republique (headline), Reddit Political Humor, Humane Conservatives Unite Blog, Free Republic, BigCityLib Blogspot, Los Angeles Times (on the LAT Facebook page), Haaretz.com (Israel), Crikey.com (Australia), Rabble (Canada), HeadTopics.com (UK), Democracy for Thailand, IncendiaryNews.com, Mediate.com, Cleveland.com (as the headline of a letter to the editor), DakotaFreePress.com, Golem

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Word to the Unwise
by Michael R. Burch

I wanted to be good as gold,
but being good, as I’ve been told,
requires something, discipline,
I simply have no interest in!

***

Those who write well get to be heard above the herd. — Michael R. Burch

***

Multiplication, Tabled
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right: a “novel” solution to the coronavirus pandemic

“Be fruitful and multiply”—
great advice, for a fruitfly!
But for women and men,
simple Simons, say, “WHEN!”

Originally published by Poem Today

***

Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Moore

Abbesses’
recesses
are not for excesses!

Published by Brief Poems and Poem Today

***

Woeful Waffles
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

I think it’s woeful
and should be unlawful
to eat those awful
tofu
waffles!

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Bed Head
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Moore

1.
“Early to bed, early to rise”
makes a man wish some men weren’t so wise
(or at least had the decency to tell pleasing lies).

2.
“Early to bed, early to rise”
makes a man wish
wise old Ben told sweet lies.

***

Saving Graces
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter
(wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter).

Published by Shot Glass Journal, Poem Today, Brief Poems, Tennessee Poetry Society, Canucks Corner (Canada), AZquotes, IdleHearts), Inspiring Quotes and Quotemaster

***

Laughter’s Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.

Published by: Setu (India) and Angelwing

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Sex Hex
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

Love’s full of cute paradoxes
(and highly acute poxes).

Published by Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online and Poem Today

***

Stage Fright
by Michael R. Burch

To be or not to be?
In the end Hamlet
opted for naught.

***

Golden Rue
by Michael R. Burch

Love has the value
of gold, if it’s true;
if not, of rue.

***

Not Elves, Exactly
by Michael R. Burch

after Robert Frost's "Mending Wall"

Something there is that likes a wall,
that likes it spiked and likes it tall,

that likes its pikes’ sharp rows of teeth
and doesn’t mind its victims’ grief

(wherever they come from, far or wide)
as long as they fall on the other side.

Many people misunderstand the most famous phrase in Robert Frost’s acclaimed poem “Mending Wall.” In the poem Frost’s neighbor quotes his father’s adage that “Good fences make good neighbors” as they work together to repair an unnecessary wall on the border of their properties. Talk about a misunderstanding: this phrase has even been used by politicians to justify apartheid walls and similar barriers! But Frost did not share his neighbor’s belief and compared him to a stone-armed savage who moved in primitive darkness and could not go beyond his father’s saying. Frost’s own belief about such walls was expressed in the poem: “Before I built a wall I'd ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out / And to whom I was like to give offense.” At the end of the poem, Frost considers teasing his neighbor with the idea that mischievous elves are responsible for the wall falling down, but decides to hold his peace. My title questions who builds such walls: “Not Elves, Exactly” but something much darker and more ominous.

***

NOVELTIES
by Thomas Campion
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Booksellers laud authors for novel editions
as pimps praise their whores for exotic positions.

***

Skalded
by Michael R. Burch

Fierce ancient skalds summoned verse from their guts;
today’s genteel poets prefer modern ruts.

***

Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

after Laura Riding Jackson

All things become one
Through death’s long division
And perfect precision.

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Meal Deal
by Michael R. Burch

Love is a splendid ideal ...
at least till it costs us a meal.

***

Love distills the eyes’ desires, love bewitches the heart with its grace.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

***

Vice Grip
by Michael R. Burch

There’s no need to rant about Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The cruelty of “civilization” suffices:
our ordinary vices.

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Self-ish
by Michael R. Burch

Let’s not pretend we “understand” other elves
As long as we remain mysteries to ourselves.

***

Piecemeal, a Coronavirus poem
by Michael R. Burch

And so it begins—the ending.
The narrowing veins, the soft tissues rending.
Your final solution is pending.
(A pale Piggy-Wiggy
will discount your death as no biggie.)

Published by Heartfelt Death Poems

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.

***

Truths are more likely discovered by one man than by nations. – Rene Descartes, translation by Michael R. Burch

***

Your heart’s candle is ready to be kindled.
Your soul’s void is waiting to be filled.
You can feel it, can’t you?
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

***

Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

It’s not that every leaf must finally fall,
it’s just that we can never catch them all.

Published by Borderless Journal

***

A poet births words,
brings them into the world like a midwife,
then wet-nurses them from infancy to adolescence.
— Michael R. Burch

***

Tea Party Madness
by Michael R. Burch

for Connor Kelly

Since we agree,
let’s have a nice tea
with our bats in the belfry.

***

The Not-So-Heroic Stoic, or, A la Cartesian

i think,
therefore i question
if, who and what i am.
—michael r. burch

i think,
therefore i guess
who the hell i am
on this hellish quest.
—michael r. burch

i think,
therefore i postulate:
Fate
ain’t so great.
—michael r. burch

i think,
therefore i am
confused
and unenthused.
—michael r. burch

i think,
therefore i am
not a fan
of THE MAN.
—michael r. burch

i think,
therefore i am
puzzled
addled
frazzled
befuddled.
—michael r. burch

i thunk
THEREFORE
i am sunk
...
like a frog
in a bog,
KERPLUNK!
—michael r. burch

***

The greatest philosophers are better known for their questions, doubts and mistakes than what they actually knew. Thus lesser thinkers may want to avoid the hubris of certainty in a universe that seems designed not to reveal its ultimate secrets. — Michael R. Burch

***

Cover Girl
by Michael R. Burch

Cunning
at sunning
and dunning,
the stunning
young woman’s in the running
to be found nude on the cover
of some patronizing lover.

In this case the cover is a bed cover, where the enterprising young mistress is about to be covered herself.

***

Updated Advice to Amorous Bachelors

At six-thirty,
feeling flirty,
I put on the hurdy-gurdy ...
But Ms. Purdy,
all alert-y,
kicked me where I’m sore and hurty.

The moral of my story?
To avoid a fate as gory,
flirt with gals a bit more whore-y!

***

First Base Freeze
by Michael R. Burch

I find your love unappealing
(no, make that appalling)
because you prefer kissing
then stalling.

***

Less Heroic Couplets: Marketing 101
by Michael R. Burch

Building her brand, she disrobes,
naked, except for her earlobes.

***

Brief Fling
by Michael R. Burch

“Epigram”
means cram,
then scram!

***

I hate Love! Why does that gargantuan God dart my heart, rather than wild beasts? What can a God think to gain by inflaming a man? What trophies can he hope to win with my head?
—Alcaeus of Messene (circa 200 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

***

You astound me;
your name on my lips
remains unpronounceable
—Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: life, death, love, society, politics, coronavirus pandemic, religion, Trump, Piggy-Wiggy

 

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