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Michael R. Burch Epigrams and Quotes

This page contains epigrams, quotes, quips, puns, haiku and limericks penned by Michael R. Burch ...

Prose Epigrams

Raise your words, not their volume. Rain grows flowers, not thunder.—Rumi, translation by Michael R. Burch

Little sparks may ignite great flames.Dante, translation by Michael R. Burch

Improve yourself by other men's writings, thus attaining more easily what they gained through great difficulty.—Socrates, translation by Michael R. Burch

Once fanaticism has gangrened brains the malady is usually incurable.—Voltaire, translation by Michael R. Burch

We can't change the past, but we can learn from it.—Michael R. Burch

Love is exquisite torture.—Michael R. Burch (written after reading "It's Only My Heart" by Mirza Ghalib)

When I was being bullied, I had to learn not to judge myself by the opinions of intolerant morons. Then I felt much better.—Michael R. Burch

Apologies to Shakespeare

a tweet
by any other name
would be as fleet!
@mikerburch

Autumn Conundrum

It's not that every leaf must finally fall,
it's just that we can never catch them all.
—Michael R. Burch

Nun Fun Undone

Abbesses'
recesses
are not for excesses!
—Michael R. Burch

Here and Hereafter


Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter ...
wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter.
—Michael R. Burch

Love

Love is either wholly folly,
or fully holy.
Michael R. Burch

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.
—Michael R. Burch

Why I Left the Religious Right

He's got Jesus's name on a wallet insert
and "Hell is for Queers" on the back of his shirt
and he upholds the Law,
for grace has a flaw:
the Church must have someone to drag through the dirt.
—Michael R. Burch

Athenian Epitaphs

Here he lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.
—Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon

Blame not the gale, or the inhospitable sea-gulf, or friends’ tardiness,
mariner! Just man’s foolhardiness.
—Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

Passerby,
tell the Spartans we lie
here, dead at their word,
obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Now that I am dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones.
Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that nurtured me, that held me;
I take rest at your breast.
—Michael R. Burch, after Erycius

Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks.

Sappho, fragment 130

loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May the gods prolong the night
  —yes, let it last forever!—
as long as you sleep in my sight.

Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A short transparent frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!

Haiku and Tanka

The butterfly
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I'd leap into the torrent!

― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Our life here on earth:
to what shall we compare it?
It is not like a rowboat
departing at daybreak,
leaving no trace of us in its wake?
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Deepening autumn:
my neighbor,
how does he continue? ...
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

One apple, alone
In the abandoned orchard
reddens for winter
― Patrick Blanche, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Come, investigate loneliness!
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated ...
― Buson Yosa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Let us arrange
these lovely flowers in the bowl
since there's no rice
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
― Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Wild geese pass
leaving the emptiness of heaven
revealed
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Limericks

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
proved E equals MC squared.
And so mass decreases
as activity ceases.
Not my mass, my ass declared!
—Michael R. Burch

There once was a leopardess, Dot,
who indignantly answered: "I’ll not!
The gents are impressed
with the way that I’m dressed.
I wouldn’t change even one spot."
—Michael R. Burch

There once was a dromedary
who befriended a crafty canary.
Budgie said, "You can’t sing,
but now, here’s the thing—
just think of the tunes you can carry!"
—Michael R. Burch
 
Dear Ed: I don’t understand why
you will publish this other guy—
when I’m brilliant, devoted,
one hell of a poet!
Yet you publish Anonymous. Fie!

Fie! A pox on your head if you favor
this poet who’s dubious, unsavor
y, inconsistent in texts,
no address (I checked!):
since he’s plagiarized Unknown, I’ll wager!
—"The Better Man" by Michael R. Burch

The English are very hospitable,
but tea-less, alas, they grow pitiable ...
or pitiless, rather,
and quite in a lather!
O bother, they're more than formidable.
—"Of Tetley’s and V-2's," or, "Why Not to Bomb the Brits" by Michael R. Burch

There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
"When again, gentle bride?"
"Nevermore!" bright-eyed Raven replied.
—Michael R. Burch

Hawking, who makes my head spin,
says time may flow backward. I grin,
imagining the surprise
in my mothers’ eyes
when I head for the womb once again!
—Michael R. Burch

Hawking’s "Brief History of Time"
is such a relief! How sublime
that time, in reverse,
may un-write this verse
and un-spend my last thin dime!
—Michael R. Burch

Baked Alaskan

There is a strange yokel so flirty
she makes whores seem icons of purity.
With all her winkin' and blinkin'
Palin seems to be "thinkin'"—
"Ah culd save th' free world 'cause ah'm purty!"
Michael R. Burch

Going Rogue in Rouge

It'll be hard to polish that apple
enough to make her seem palatable.
Though she's sweeter than Snapple
how can my mind grapple
with stupidity so nearly infallible?

—Michael R. Burch

Pls refudiate

"Refudiate" this,
miffed, misunderstood Ms!—
Shakespeare, you're not
(more like Yoda, but hot).
Your grammar's atrocious;
Great Poets would know this.

You lack any plan
save to flatten Iran
like some cute Mini-Me
cloned from G. W. B.

Admit it, Ms. Palin!
Stop your winkin' and wailin'—
only "heroes" like Nero
fiddle sparks at Ground Zero.

—Michael R. Burch

The Church Gets the Burch Rod

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter ...
wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter.
—Michael R. Burch

If God has the cattle on a thousand hills,
why does he need my tithes to pay his bills?
—Michael R. Burch


If God
is good
half the Bible
is libel.
—Michael R. Burch

Conformists of a feather
flock together.
—Michael R. Burch


God and his "profits" could never agree
on any gospel acceptable to an intelligent flea.
Michael R. Burch

The best tonic for other people's bad ideas is to think for oneself.—Michael R. Burch
Hell hath no fury like a fundamentalist whose God condemned him for having "impure thoughts."—Michael R. Burch
Religion is the difficult process of choosing the least malevolent invisible friends.—Michael R. Burch
How can the Bible be "infallible" when from Genesis to Revelation slavery is commanded and condoned, but never condemned?—Michael R. Burch
Religion is the dopiate of the sheeple.—Michael R. Burch
An ideal that cannot be realized is, in the end, just wishful thinking.—Michael R. Burch
The problem with bigots is that they know they're not bigots, just "better."—Michael R. Burch
If one screams below, what the hell is “Above”?—Michael R. Burch
Most Christians make God seem like the Devil. Atheists and agnostics at least give him the "benefit of the doubt."—Michael R. Burch

Why I Left the Religious Right

He's got Jesus's name on a wallet insert
and "Hell is for Queers" on the back of his shirt
and he upholds the Law,
for grace has a flaw:
the Church must have someone to drag through the dirt.
—Michael R. Burch

The Whole of Wit

for Richard Moore

If brevity is the soul of wit
then brevity and levity
are the whole of it.
—Michael R. Burch

Miscellanea

Fascists of a feather
flock together.
Michael R. Burch

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

If every witty thing that’s said was true,
Oscar Wilde, the world would worship You!
—Michael R. Burch

"Epigram"
means cram,
then scram.
Michael R. Burch

To write an epigram, cram.
If you lack wit, scram!
Michael R. Burch

Redefinitions

Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.—Michael R. Burch
Religion: the ties that blind.—Michael R. Burch
Trickle down economics: an especially pungent golden shower.—Michael R. Burch

More Translations

Just as I select a ship when it's time to travel,
or a house when it's time to change residences,
even so I will choose when it's time to depart from life.
Seneca, speaking about the right to euthanasia in the first century AD, translation by Michael R. Burch

One-Liners

If the US consulted a competent headshrinker, it might boil down to nothing more than hot air and delusions.—Michael R. Burch

Thanks to politicians like George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump, we now have a
duh-mock-racy.—Michael R. Burch


Q: What do you call it when a Man-Baby takes over the American government?
A: Coup d'Tot.

Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick; Donald Trump speaks loudly and carries a big shtick.—Michael R. Burch

Sarah Palin is truly unique: she alone can make us appreciate Bush Junior's vastly superior intellect.—Michael R. Burch

I believe God is using Michelle Bachmann to conclusively prove that man did not evolve.—Michael R. Burch

Mitt Romney could suck the joy out of a lucky Irish rainbow, and the pot of gold at the end.—Michael R. Burch

A tweet by any other name would be as fleet.—Michael R. Burch

"Epigram" means cram, then scram.—Michael R. Burch

Poetry moves the heart as well as the reason.—Michael R. Burch

Poetry is the marriage of ideas and emotions, begetting music.—Michael R. Burch

The best epigrams delight us into wisdom.—Michael R. Burch




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

Michael R. Burch Related Pages: Early Poems, Rejection Slips, Epigrams and Quotes, Free Love Poems by Michael R. Burch, Romantic Poems by Michael R. Burch

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