The HyperTexts

Michael R. Burch Epigrams and Quotes

This page contains epigrams, epitaphs, quotes, quips, jokes, puns, parodies, haiku, limericks and wordplay penned by Michael R. Burch along with a number of epitaphs, elegies, translations, interpretations and paraphrases ...



Brief Encounters: Prose Epigrams

• Elevate your words, not their volume. Rain grows flowers, not thunder.—Rumi, translation by Michael R. Burch
No wind is favorable to the man who lacks direction.—Seneca the Younger, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Little sparks may ignite great Infernos.—Dante, translation by Michael R. Burch
• You can crop all the flowers but you cannot detain spring.—Pablo Neruda, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Warmthless beauty attracts but does not engage us; it floats like hookless bait.—Capito, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
• Love distills the eyes’ desires, love bewitches the heart with its grace.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• The danger is not aiming too high and missing, but aiming too low and hitting the mark.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
• He who follows will never surpass.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Nothing enables authority like silence.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch
• My objective is not to side with the majority, but to avoid the ranks of the insane.—Marcus Aurelius, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Time is sufficient for anyone who uses it wisely.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Blinding ignorance misleads us. Myopic mortals, open your eyes!—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch
• It is easier to oppose evil from the beginning than at the end.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Fools call wisdom foolishness.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• A man may attempt to burnish pure gold, but who can think to improve on his mother?—Mahatma Gandhi, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Truths are more likely discovered by one man than by nations.René Descartes, translation by Michael R. Burch
• To live without philosophizing is to close one's eyes and never attempt to open them.René Descartes, translation by Michael R. Burch
• One true friend is worth ten thousand kin.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Not to speak one’s mind is slavery.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• I would rather die standing than kneel, a slave.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Fresh tears are wasted on old griefs.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch 
• Heaven and hell seem unreasonable to me: the actions of men do not deserve such extremes.—Jorge Luis Borges, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Reality is neither probable nor likely.—Jorge Luis Borges, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Improve yourself by others' writings, attaining freely what they purchased at great expense.—Socrates, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Improve yourself by other men's writings, attaining less painfully what they gained through great difficulty.—Socrates, translation by Michael R. Burch
Experience is the best teacher but a hard taskmaster.—Michael R. Burch
• Hypocrisy may deceive the most perceptive adult, but the dullest child recognizes and is revolted by it, however ingeniously disguised.—Leo Tolstoy, translation by Michael R. Burch
• 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



Translations of Poetic Epigrams


An unbending tree
breaks easily.
—Lao Tzu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Once fanaticism has gangrened brains
the incurable malady invariably remains.
—Voltaire, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love is a canvas created by nature
and completed by imagination.
—Voltaire, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A question that sometimes drives me hazy:
am I or are the others crazy?
—Albert Einstein, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Booksellers laud authors for novel editions
as pimps praise their whores for exotic positions.
—Thomas Campion, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To know what we do know,
and to know what we don't,
is true knowledge.
—Confucius, sometimes incorrectly attributed to Nicolaus Copernicus, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Where our senses fail,
reason must prevail.
—Galileo Galilei, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

While nothing can save us from death,
still love can redeem each breath.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

There are more Pablo Neruda translations later on this page ...

Everyone chases the way happiness feels,
unaware how it nips at their heels.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The world of learning takes a crazy turn
when teachers are taught to think and discern!
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hungry man, reach for the book:
it's a hook,
a harpoon.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Epitaphs, Elegies and Eulogies

Elegy for a little girl, lost
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

. . . qui laetificat juventutem meam . . .
She was the joy of my youth,
and now she is gone.
. . . requiescat in pace . . .
May she rest in peace.
. . . amen . . .
Amen.

I was touched by this Latin prayer, which I discovered in a novel I read as a teenager, around age 16 or 17, and chose to incorporate into a poem. From what I now understand, “ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam” means “to the God who gives joy to my youth,” but I am sticking with my original interpretation: a lament for a little girl at her funeral. The phrase can be traced back to Saint Jerome's translation of Psalm 42 in the Vulgate Latin Bible (circa 385 AD). I dedicated the poem to my mother, Christine Ena Burch, after her death, because she was always a little girl at heart, and pure of heart like a little girl.

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

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



The Chiasmus and Spoonerism

To avoid being a hack writer, hack away at your writing.—Michael R. Burch
To fall an inch short of infinity is to fall infinitely short.—Michael R. Burch

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


Love's full of cute paradoxes
and highly acute poxes.
—Michael R. Burch


When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
White Elk, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It’s time to impeach
the peach imp.
—Michael R. Burch

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

There is an extended chiasmus, "Old Panty Loons," at the bottom of this page.



Epigrams Proper & Improper

Apologies to Shakespeare

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

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.

Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

If we strip away all the accouterments of war,
perhaps we'll discover what the heart is for.

Childless
by Michael R. Burch

How can she bear her grief?
Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight
of one fallen star.

don’t forget ...
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

don’t forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.

I dedicated this poem to the love of my life, but you are welcome to dedicate it to the love of yours, if you like it. The opening lines were inspired by a famous love poem by e. e. cummings.

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
by Michael R. Burch

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
the bees rise
in a dizzy circle of two.
Oh, when I’m with you,
I feel like kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ too!

This is another poem I wrote for my wife, but you're welcome to share it with that special someone, if you like it.

Styx
by Michael R. Burch

Black waters,
deep and dark and still . . .
all men have passed this way,
or will.

Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

after Richard Thomas Moore

Abbesses'
recesses
are not for excesses!

Here and Hereafter

by Michael R. Burch

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

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

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

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.

Stormfront
by Michael R. Burch

Our distance is frightening:
a distance like the abyss between heaven and earth
interrupted by bizarre and terrible lightning.

Incompatibles
by Michael R. Burch

Reason’s treason!
cries the Heart.

Love’s insane,
replies the Brain.

Intimations
by Michael R. Burch

Show me your most intimate items of apparel;
begin with the hem of your quicksilver slip ...

Imperfect Perfection
by Michael R. Burch

You’re too perfect for words—
a problem for a poet.

Expert Advice
by Michael R. Burch

Your breasts are perfect for your lithe, slender body.
Please stop making false comparisons your hobby!

The Reason for the Rain
by Michael R. Burch

The day’s eyes were blue
until you appeared
and they wept at your beauty.

The Reason for the Rain (II)
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was blue
until you appeared
and it wept at your beauty.

Liquid Assets
by Michael R. Burch

And so I have loved you,
and so I have lost,
accrued disappointment, ledgered its cost,
debited wisdom, credited pain . . .
My assets remaining are liquid again.

Civility
by Michael R. Burch

Civility
is the ability
to disagree
agreeably.

Multiplication, Tabled
or Procreation Inflation

by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

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

honeybee
by michael r. burch

love was a little treble thing—
prone to sing
and sometimes to sting

honeydew, honeydont
by michael r. burch

I sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle!

Dry Hump
by Michael R. Burch

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once,
but joy's a wan illusion to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.

Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It's true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the bon voyage is hard
and the objections loud.

Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

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

Meal Deal
by Michael R. Burch

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



Less Heroic Couplets: Murder Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch

“Murder most foul!”
cried the mouse to the owl.

“Friend, I’m no sinner;
you’re merely my dinner.

As you fall on my sword,
consult the Lord.”

the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.

Please note that the wise old owl exonerated William Blake's tyger and placed the blame where it is properly due, with the Creator of owls and tygers.

Less Heroic Couplets: Sweet Tarts
by Michael R. Burch

Love, beautiful but fatal to many bewildered hearts,
commands us to be faithful, then tempts us with sweets and tarts.
(If I were younger, I might mention
you’re such a temptation.)

NOTE: In an attempt to demonstrate that not all couplets are heroic, I have created a series of poems called “Less Heroic Couplets.” I believe even poets should abide by truth-in-advertising laws! — Michael R. Burch

Less Heroic Couplets: Marketing 101
by Michael R. Burch

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

Less Heroic Couplets: Miss Bliss
by Michael R. Burch

Domestic “bliss”?
Best to swing and miss!

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.

Less Heroic Couplets: Mate Check
by Michael R. Burch

Love is an ache hearts willingly secure
then break the bank to cure.

Less Heroic Couplets: Questionable Credentials
by Michael R. Burch

Poet? Critic? Dilettante?
Do you know what’s good, or do you merely flaunt?

Published by Asses of Parnassus (the first poem in the April 2017 issue)

Less Heroic Couplets: Shreditors
by Michael R. Burch

Editors? Shreditors!
Those out-of-their-head-itors!
They offer—how dare they?—
to test, measure, weigh
my pluperfect ART!
When does PUBLICATION start?

Less Heroic Couplets: People From Porlock
by Michael R. Burch

These people from Porlock are at it again—
I strive to create; they insist, “Be my friend!”

That last gabby vendor was a troublesome bloke—
thus my latest masterpiece just went up in smoke!

Less Heroic Couplets: Less than Impressed
by Michael R. Burch

for T. M., regarding certain dispensers of hot lukewarm stale air

Their volume’s impressive, it’s true ...
but somehow it all seems “much ado.”

Less Heroic Couplets: Dear Pleader
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Is our Dear Pleader, as he claims, heroic?
I prefer my presidents a bit more stoic.

Less Heroic Couplets: Then and Now
by Michael R. Burch

BEFORE: Thanks to Brexit, our lives will be plush! ...
AFTER: Crap, we’re going broke! What the hell is the rush?

Less Heroic Couplets: Relative Masses
by Michael R. Burch

Mr. Einstein was wrong about relative masses:
my kinfolk lose E while increasing their asses!

Less Heroic Couplets: Poetry I
by Michael R. Burch

Poetry is the heart’s caged rhythm,
the soul’s frantic tappings at the panes of mortality.

Less Heroic Couplets: Poetry II
by Michael R. Burch

Poetry is the trapped soul’s frantic tappings
at the panes of mortality.

Less Heroic Couplets: Seesaw
by Michael R. Burch

A poem is the mind teetering between fact and fiction,
momentarily elevated.

Less Heroic Couplets: Passions
by Michael R. Burch

Passions are the heart’s qualms, the soul’s squalls,
the brain’s storms.

Less Heroic Couplets: Gilded Silence
by Michael R. Burch

Golden silence reigned supreme
in my nightmare and her dream.



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

It is the nature of loveliness to vanish
as butterfly wings, batting against nothingness
seek transcendence ...

Originally published by Hibiscus (India)

Bed Head I
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

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

Bed Head II
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

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

Ars Brevis, Proofreading Longa
by Michael R. Burch

Poets may labor from sun to sun,
but their editor's work is never done.

Arse Brevis, Emendacio Longa
by Michael R. Burch

The Donald may tweet from sun to sun,
but his spellchecker’s work is never done.



Epigrams about Epigrams

Nod to the Master
by Michael R. Burch

If every witty thing that’s said were true,
Oscar Wilde, the world would worship You!

Brief Fling I
by Michael R. Burch

"Epigram"
means cram,
then scram.

Brief Fling II
by Michael R. Burch

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

Brief Fling III
by Michael R. Burch

No one gives a damn about my epigram?
And yet they’ll spend billions on Boy George and Wham!
Do they have any idea just how hard I cram?

The Whole of Wit
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

If brevity is the soul of wit
then brevity and levity
are the whole of it.

The Po' Biz Explained
by Michael R. Burch

Poets may labor from sun to sun,
but their editors' work is never done.

The editor’s work is never done.
The critic adjusts his cummerbund.

While the critic adjusts his cummerbund,
the audience exits to mingle and slum.

As the audience exits to mingle and slum,
the anthologist rules, a pale jury of one.



Parodies by Michael R. Burch

Me?
Whee!
(I stole this poem
From Muhammad Ali.)
Michael R. Burch

The poem above was written in response to the Quora question: “Can you write a poem titled “Me”?

Fahr an' Ice
by Michael R. Burch

From what I know of death, I'll side with those
who'd like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker),
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.

(Apologies to Robert Frost and Ogden Nash!)

Caveat Spender
by Michael R. Burch

It’s better not to speculate
"continually" on who is great.
Though relentless awe’s
a Célèbre Cause,
please reserve some time for the contemplation
of the perils of
Exaggeration.



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 for what they actually knew. Thus lesser thinkers may want to avoid the hubris of certainty. — Michael R. Burch



Athenian Epitaphs

Passerby,
Tell the Spartans we lie
Lifeless at Thermopylae:
Dead at their word,
Obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

They observed our fearful fetters, marched against encroaching darkness.
Now we gravely extol their excellence: Bravely, they died for us.
Michael R. Burch, after Mnasalcas

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

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

We who left behind the Aegean’s bellowings
Now sleep peacefully here on the mid-plains of Ecbatan:
Farewell, dear Athens, nigh to Euboea,
Farewell, dear sea!
Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Blame not the gale, nor the inhospitable sea-gulf, nor friends’ tardiness,
Mariner! Just man’s foolhardiness.
Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

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

Since I'm dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones.
Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that suckled me and reared me;
Once again I take rest at your breast.
Michael R. Burch, after Erycius

Stripped of her stripling, if asked, she’d confess:
“I am now less than nothingness.”
Michael R. Burch, after Diotimus

There are more Athenian Epitaphs later on this page.

Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

Sappho, fragment 130

loose translation/interpretation 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/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

Mnemosyne was stunned into astonishment when she heard honey-tongued Sappho,
wondering how mortal men merited a tenth Muse.
—Antipater of Sidon, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Haiku and Tanka Translations

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

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

― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation 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/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Original Haiku by Michael R. Burch

Dark-bosomed clouds
pregnant with heavy thunder ...
the water breaks
Michael R. Burch

She bathes in silver,
        afloat
on her reflections ...
Michael R. Burch

Night
and the stars
conspire against me
Michael R. Burch



The Unforgivable Sin: Rhyming Haiku by Michael R. Burch

Dry leaf flung awry:
bright butterfly,
goodbye!
Michael R. Burch

A snake in the grass
lies, hissing
Trespass!
Michael R. Burch

Honeysuckle
blesses my knuckle
with affectionate dew
Michael R. Burch

My nose nuzzles
honeysuckle’s
sweet nothings
Michael R. Burch

Late
   fall
all
the golden leaves turn black underfoot:
soot
Michael R. Burch

My mother’s eyes
acknowledging my imperfection:
dejection
Michael R. Burch



Iffy Coronavirus Haiku

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #1
by michael r. burch

plagued by the Plague
i plague the goldfish
with my verse

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #2
by michael r. burch

sunflowers
hang their heads
embarrassed by their coronas

I wrote this poem after having a sunflower arrangement delivered to my mother, who is in an assisted living center and can’t have visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. I have been informed the poem breaks haiku rules about personification, etc.

homework: yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #3
by michael r. burch

dim bulb overhead,
my silent companion:
still imitating the noonday sun?

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #4
by michael r. burch

Spring fling—
children string flowers
into their face masks

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #5
by michael r. burch

the Thought counts:
our lips and fingers
insulated by plexiglass ...

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #6
by michael r. burch

masks, masks
everywhere
and not a straw to drink ...

Dark Cloud, Silver Lining
by Michael R. Burch

Every corona has a silver lining:
I’m too far away to hear your whining,
and despite my stormy demeanor,
my hands have never been cleaner!

New World Order (last in a series and perhaps of a species)
by Michael R. Burch

The days of the dandelions dawn ...
soon man will be gone:
fertilizer.



Limericks

Ass-tronomical

by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
proved E equals MC squared.
Thus all mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my ass declared!

Dot Spotted

by 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."

Tote the Note
by 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!"

Clyde Lied, or, Honeymoon Not-So-Sweet
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.

The Trouble with Elephants: a Word to the Wise
by Michael R. Burch

An elephant never forgets
which is why they don’t make the best pets:
Jumbo may well out-live you,
but he’ll never forgive you,
no matter how sincere your regrets!

The Better Man
by 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!

A much-needed screed against licentious insects
by Michael R. Burch

after and apologies to Robert Schechter

Army ants? ARMY ants?
Yet so undisciplined to not wear pants?
How terribly rude
to wage war in the nude!
We moralists call them SMARMY ants!

Of Tetley's and V-2's
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

Honeymoon Not-So-Sweet
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.

Time In

by 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!

Time Out
by 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!

The Beat Goes On (and On and On and On ...)
by Michael R. Burch

Bored stiff by his board-stiff attempts
at “meter,” I crossly concluded
I’d use each iamb
in lieu of a lamb,
bedtimes when I’m under-quaaluded.

Originally published by Grand Little Things

Early Warning System
by Michael R. Burch

A hairy thick troglodyte, Mary,
squinched dingles excessively airy.
To her family’s deep shame,
their condo became
the first cave to employ a canary!

Low-T Hell
by Michael R. Burch

I’m living in low-T hell ...
My get-up has gone: Oh, swell!
I need to write checks
if I want to have sex,
and my love life depends on a gel!

Baked Alaskan
by Michael R. Burch

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!"

Going Rogue in Rouge
by Michael R. Burch

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?


Pls refudiate
by Michael R. Burch

"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.

Eerie Dearie

by Michael R. Burch

A trembling young auditor, white
as a sheet, like a ghost in the night,
saw his dreams, his career
in a poof!, disappear,
and then, strangely Enronic, his wife.

NOTE: Fortune named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years, but the company went bankrupt and vanished after its accounting practices were determined to be fraudulent.



The Church Gets the Burch Rod

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

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

I have my doubts about your God and his “love”:
If one screams below, what the hell is “Above”?
—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

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


since GOD created u so gullible
how did u conclude HE's so lovable?
Michael R. Burch

Clodhoppers and Hopers
by Michael R. Burch

If you trust the Christian “god”
you’re—like Adumb—a clod.

• The best tonic for other people's bad ideas is to think for oneself.—Michael R. Burch
• Religion is the difficult process of choosing the least malevolent invisible friends.—Michael R. Burch
• Most Christians make their God seem like the Devil. Atheists and agnostics at least give him the "benefit of the doubt."—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
• If one screams below, what the hell is “Above”?—Michael R. Burch
• Religion is the dopiate of the sheeple.—Michael R. Burch
• In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.—Robert Frost
• In six words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on, until it doesn't.—Michael R. Burch
• An ideal that cannot be realized is, in the end, just wishful thinking.—Michael R. Burch
• Hell hath no fury like a fundamentalist whose God condemned him for having "impure thoughts."—Michael R. Burch
• The problem with bigots is that they know they're not bigots, just "better."—Michael R. Burch

Why I Left the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

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.

The Least of These ...

What you
do
to
the refugee
you
do
unto
Me!
Jesus Christ, translation/paraphrase by Michael R. Burch

Hell has been hellishly overdone!
Why blame such horrors on God's only Son
when Jehovah and his prophets never mentioned it once?
Michael R. Burch

(Bible scholars agree: the word "hell" has been removed from the Old Testaments of the more accurate modern Bible translations. And the few New Testament verses that mention "hell" are obvious mistranslations.)

Not Elves, Exactly
by Michael R. Burch

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.

Why I Left the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

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.

Double Cross
by Michael R. Burch

Come to the cross;
contemplate all loss
and how little was gained
by those who remained
uncrucified.

Farewell to Faith I
by Michael R. Burch

What we want is relief
from life’s grief and despair:
what we want’s not “belief”
but just not to be there.

Farewell to Faith II
by Michael R. Burch

Confronted by the awesome thought of death,
to never suffer, and be free of grief,
we wonder: What’s the use of drawing breath?
Why seek relief
from the bible’s Thief,
who ripped off Eve then offered her a leaf?




Redefinitions

Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.—Michael R. Burch
Religion: the ties that blind.—Michael R. Burch
Death: This dream of nothingness we so fear is salvation clear.—Michael R. Burch 
Trickle down economics: an especially pungent golden shower.—Michael R. Burch
Baseball: lots of spittin’ mixed with some hittin’.—Michael R. Burch
Love: a temporary insanity curable by marriage.—Michael R. Burch

There are more redefinitions later on this page.



Poetic Definitions

Sex Hex
by Michael R. Burch

after Richard Thomas Moore

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

Love
by Michael R. Burch

Love is either wholly folly,
or fully holy.

Death
by Michael R. Burch

Death is the ultimate finality
and banality
of reality.



Epigrams for Poets and Epigrams about Poets

Confetti for Ferlinghetti
by Michael R. Burch

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
is the only poet whose name rhymes with “spaghetti”
and, while not being quite as rich as J. Paul Getty,
he still deserves some confetti
for selling a million books while being a modern Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

NOTE: Both Ferlinghetti and Rossetti were painter-poets.

US Verse, after Auden
by Michael R. Burch

“Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.”


Verse has small value in our Unisphere,
nor is it fit for windy revelation.
It cannot legislate less taxing fears;
it cannot make us, several, a nation.
Enumerator of our sins and dreams,
it pens its cryptic numbers, and it sings,
a little quaintly, of the ways of love.
(It seems of little use for lesser things.)

NOTE: The Unisphere mentioned is a large stainless steel representation of the earth; it was commissioned to celebrate the beginning of the space age for the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Why the Kid Gloves Came Off
by Michael R. Burch

for Lemuel Ibbotson

It's hard to be a man of taste
in such a waste:
hence the lambaste.

Fahr an' Ice
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Robert Frost and Ogden Nash

From what I know of death, I'll side with those
who'd like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker),
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.

Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It's true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the bon voyage is hard
and the objections loud.

Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Laura Riding Jackson

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

Bittersight
by Michael R. Burch

for Abu al-Ala Al-Ma'arri

To be plagued with sight
in the Land of the Blind,
—to know birth is death
and that Death is kind—
is to be flogged like Eve
(stripped, sentenced and fined)
because evil is “good”
as some “god” has defined.

A Passing Observation about Thinking Outside the Box
by Michael R. Burch

William Blake had no public, and yet he’s still read.
His critics are dead.

Blake Take
by Michael R. Burch

we became ashamed of our bodies;
we became ashamed of sweet sex;
we became ashamed of the LORD
with each terrible CURSE and HEX;
we became ashamed of the planet
(it’s such a slovenly hovel);
and we came to see, in the end,
that we really agreed with the devil.

tyger, lamb, free love, etc.
by michael r. burch

for and after william blake

the tiger’s a ferocious slayer.
he has no say in it.
hence, ur Creator’s a shit.

the lamb led to the slaughter
extends her neck to the block and bit.
she has no say in it.

so don’t be a nitwit:
drink, carouse and revel!
why obey the Devil?



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

Delicacy
by Michael R. Burch

Your love is as delicate
as a butterfly cleaning its wings,
as soft as the predicate the hummingbird sings
to itself, gently murmuring—
“Fly! Fly! Fly!”
Your love is the string
soaring kites untie.

Medusa
by Michael R. Burch

Friends, beware
of her iniquitous hair—
long, ravenblack & melancholy.

Many suitors drowned there—
lost, unaware
of the length & extent of their folly.

The Greatest of These ...
by Michael R. Burch

The hands that held me tremble.
The arms that lifted
                              fall.

Angelic flesh, now parchment,
is held together with gauze.

But her undimmed eyes still embrace me;
there infinity can be found.

I can almost believe such love
will reach me, underground.

Sumer is icumen in
a modern English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing achu!
Groweth sed
And bloweth hed
And buyeth med?
Cuccu!

Piecemeal
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 demise as no biggie.)

Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.

Playmates
by Michael R. Burch

When you were my playmate and I was yours,
we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and the sorrows and cares of our indentured days
were uncomprehended . . . far, far away . . .
for the temptations and trials we had yet to face
were lost in the shadows of an unventured maze.

These are the opening lines of the second poem I remember writing, around age 13 or 14.



MICHELANGELO TRANSLATIONS

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564) was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet. He and his fellow Florentine, Leonardo da Vinci, were rivals for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man. Michelangelo is considered by many to be the greatest artist of all time.

I saw the angel in the marble and freed him.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
I hewed away the coarse walls imprisoning the lovely apparition.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
Each stone contains a statue; it is the sculptor's task to release it.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

The danger is not aiming too high and missing, but aiming too low and hitting the mark.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
Our greatness is bounded only by our horizons.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

Trifles create perfection, yet perfection is no trifle.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
Genius is infinitely patient, and infinitely painstaking.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
If you knew how hard I worked, you wouldn't call it "genius."—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

Be at peace, for God did not create us to abandon us.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
I live and love by God's peculiar light.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
My soul's staircase to heaven is earth's loveliness.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
God grant that I always desire more than my capabilities.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch

I have never found salvation in nature; rather I love cities.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
He who follows will never surpass.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
Beauty is what lies beneath superfluities.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
I criticize via creation, not by fault-finding.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch



Rumi Translations

Birdsong
by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Birdsong relieves
my deepest griefs:
now I'm just as ecstatic as they,
but with nothing to say!
Please universe,
rehearse
your poetry
through me!

Beyond
by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Don’t demand union:
there’s a closer closeness, beyond.
The instant love descends to rest in me,
many beings become One.
In a single grain of wheat ten thousand sheaves germinate.
Within the needle’s eye innumerable stars radiate.

The Field
by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Far beyond sermons of right and wrong there’s a sunlit field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lazes in such lush grass
the world is too full for discussion.

Two Insomnias (I)
by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I’m with you, we’re up all night;
when we're apart, I’m unable to sleep.
Thank God for both insomnias
and their inspiration.

Two Insomnias (II)
by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I’m with you, we’re up all night.
When we part, I’m unable to sleep.
I’m grateful for both insomnias
and the difference maker.

I choose to love you in silence
by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I choose to love you in silence
where there is no rejection;

to possess you in loneliness
where you are mine alone;

to adore you from a distance
which diminishes pain;

to kiss you in the wind
stealthier than my lips;

to embrace you in my dreams
where you are limitless ...

I Prefer
by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I prefer to love you in silence,
for in silence there is no rejection.

I prefer to possess you in loneliness,
for in loneliness you are mine alone.

I prefer to adore you from a distance,
because distance diminishes pain.

I prefer to kiss you in the wind,
because the wind is subtler than my lips.

I prefer to embrace you in my dreams,
because in my dreams you are limitless.

Untitled Rumi Epigrams

I am not this hair,
nor this thin sheathe of skin;
I am the Soul that abides within.
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We come whirling from nothingness, scattering stardust.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Why should I brood, with every petal of my being blossoming?—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Why should I brood when every petal of my being is blossoming?—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Elevate your words, not their volume. Rain grows flowers, not thunder.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Bare rock is barren. Be compost, so wildflowers spring up everywhere.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
I want to sing as the birds sing, heedless of who hears or heckles.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation 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

Your heart’s an immense ocean. Go discover yourself in its depths.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
The only prevailing beauty is the heart’s.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is love: to fly toward a mysterious sky,
to cause ten thousand veils to fall.
First, to stop clinging to life,
then to step out, without feet ...
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What you seek also pursues you.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Love renders reason senseless.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Love is the bridge between your Heart and Infinity.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Your task is not to build love, but to bring down all the barriers you built against it.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let yourself be guided by the strange magnetism of what you truly love:
It will not lead you astray.
The lion is most majestic when stalking prey.
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon shines most bright
when it embraces the night.
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon shines brightest
when the night is darkest.
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon is brightest when it embraces the night.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
If your heart is light, it will light your way home.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Are you still in the dark that your light lights the worlds?—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Why do you remain prisoner when the door's ajar?—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Why do you remain prisoner when the door's wide open?—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
As you begin to follow the Way, the Way appears.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Come, come, fellow traveler. Wanderer, worshiper, itinerant: it makes no difference. Ours is no caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken ten thousand vows. Come yet again, come, come.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch 

Forget security!
Live by the perilous sea.
Destroy your reputation, however glorious.
Become notorious.
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Don’t be satisfied with stories of others’ accomplishments. Create your own legend.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I was so drunk my lips got lost requesting a kiss.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Eyes identify love. Feet pursue.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Everything beautiful was made for the beholder.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
The essence of the rose abides not in the perfume but the thorns.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Ignite yourself, then seek those able to fan your flames.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
When will you begin the long trek toward reconciliation with yourself?—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
There is eloquence in silence. Stop weaving and the pattern is perfected.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
The universe lies within you, not without. Look within: everything you desire, you already are.—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You must understand
“one” and “two”
because one and one make two.
But you
must also understand
“and.”
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Martial Translations

You ask me why I've sent you no new verses?
There might be reverses.
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You ask me to recite my poems to you?
I know how you'll "recite" them, if I do.
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You ask me why I choose to live elsewhere?
You're not there.
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You ask me why I love fresh country air?
You're not befouling it there.
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You never wrote a poem, 
yet criticize mine?
Stop abusing me or write something fine
of your own!
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

He starts everything but finishes nothing;
thus I suspect there's no end to his fucking.
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You dine in great magnificence
while offering guests a pittance.
Sextus, did you invite
friends to dinner tonight
to impress us with your enormous appetite?
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You alone own prime land, dandy!
Gold, money, the finest porcelainyou alone!
The best wines of the most famous vintages—you alone!
Discrimination, taste and wityou alone!
You have it allwho can deny that you alone are set for life?
But everyone has had your wife
she is never alone!
—Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Pablo Neruda Translations


You can crop all the flowers but you cannot detain spring.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation by Michael R. Burch


Every Day You Play (Excerpt)
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Every day you play with Infinity’s rays.
Exquisite visitor, you arrive with the flowers and the water!
You are vastly more than this immaculate head I clasp lovingly
like a cornucopia, every day, with ecstatic hands ...

As if you were set on fire from within,
the moon whitens your skin.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The Book of Questions
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is the rose nude
or is that just how she dresses?

Why do trees conceal
their spectacular roots?

Who hears the confession
of the getaway car?

Is there anything sadder
than a train standing motionless in the rain?

Please understand that when I awaken weeping
it's because I dreamed I was a lost child
searching the leaf-heaps for your hands in the darkness.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by
Michael R. Burch

Love Sonnet XI
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
I stalk the streets, silent and starving.
Bread does not satisfy me; dawn does not divert me
from my relentless pursuit of your fluid spoor.

While nothing can save us from death,
still love can redeem each breath.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I do not love you like coral or topaz,
or the blazing hearth’s incandescent white flame;
I love you as obscure things are embraced in the dark ...
secretly, in shadows, unrevealed & unnamed.

I'm no longer in love with her, that's certain ...
yet perhaps I love her still.
Love is so short, forgetting so long!
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by
Michael R. Burch

Tonight I will write the saddest lines
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I will write the saddest lines.
I will write, for example, “The night is less bright
and a few stars shiver in the distance
as I remember her unwarranted light ...”



Leonardo da Vinci Translations

Once we have flown, we will forever walk the earth with our eyes turned heavenward, for there we were and will always long to return.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The great achievers rarely relaxed and let things happen to them. They set out and kick-started whatever happened.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing enables authority like silence.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch

The greatest deceptions spring from men’s own opinions.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch

There are three classes of people: Those who see by themselves. Those who see only when they are shown. Those who refuse to see.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Blinding ignorance misleads us. Myopic mortals, open your eyes!—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is easier to oppose evil from the beginning than at the end.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch

Small minds continue to shrink, but those whose hearts are firm and whose consciences endorse their conduct, will persevere until death.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowledge is not enough; we must apply ourselves. Wanting and being willing are insufficient; we must act.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Time is sufficient for anyone who uses it wisely.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Where the spirit does not aid and abet the hand there is no art.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Necessity is the mistress of mother nature's inventions.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nature has no effect without cause, no invention without necessity.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Did Leonardo da Vinci anticipate Darwin with his comments about Nature and necessity being the mistress of her inventions? Yes, and his studies of comparative anatomy, including the intestines, led da Vinci to say explicitly that "apes, monkeys and the like" are not merely related to humans but are "almost of the same species." He was, indeed, a man ahead of his time, by at least 350 years.

Excerpts from “Paragone of Poetry and Painting” and Other Writings
by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1500
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sculpture requires light, received from above,
while a painting contains its own light and shade.

Painting is the more beautiful, the more imaginative, the more copious,
while sculpture is merely the more durable.

Painting encompasses infinite possibilities
which sculpture cannot command.

But you, O Painter, unless you can make your figures move,
are like an orator who can’t bring his words to life!

While as soon as the Poet abandons nature, he ceases to resemble the Painter;
for if the Poet abandons the natural figure for flowery and flattering speech,
he becomes an orator and is thus neither Poet nor Painter.

Painting is poetry seen but not heard,
while poetry is painting heard but not seen.

And if the Poet calls painting dumb poetry,
the Painter may call poetry blind painting.

Yet poor is the pupil who fails to surpass his master!
Shun those studies in which the work dies with the worker.

Because I find no subject especially useful or pleasing
and because those who preceded me appropriated every useful theme,
I will be like the beggar who comes late to the fair,
who must content himself with other buyers' rejects.
Thus, I will load my humble cart full of despised and rejected merchandise,
the refuse of so many other buyers,
and I will go about distributing it, not in the great cities,
but in the poorer towns,
selling at discounts whatever the wares I offer may be worth.

And what can I do when a woman plucks my heart?
Alas, how she plays me, and yet I must persist!

The Point
by Leonardo da Vinci
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Here forms, colors, the character of the entire universe, contract to a point,
and that point is miraculous, marvelous …
O marvelous, O miraculous, O stupendous Necessity!
By your elegant laws you compel every effect to be the direct result of its cause,
by the shortest path possible.
Such are your miracles!



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller Translations

#2 - Love Poetry

She says an epigram’s too terse
to reveal her tender heart in verse ...
but really, darling, ain’t the thrill
of a kiss much shorter still?
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#5 - Criticism

Why don’t I openly criticize the man? Because he’s a friend;
thus I reproach him in silence, as I do my own heart.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#11 - Holiness

What is holiest? This heart-felt love
binding spirits together, now and forever.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#12 - Love versus Desire

You love what you have, and desire what you lack
because a rich nature expands, while a poor one retracts.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#19 - Nymph and Satyr

As shy as the trembling doe your horn frightens from the woods,
she flees the huntsman, fainting, uncertain of love.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#20 - Desire

What stirs the virgin’s heaving breasts to sighs?
What causes your bold gaze to brim with tears?
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#23 - The Apex I

Everywhere women yield to men, but only at the apex
do the manliest men surrender to femininity.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#24 - The Apex II

What do we mean by the highest? The crystalline clarity of triumph
as it shines from the brow of a woman, from the brow of a goddess.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#25 -Human Life

Young sailors brave the sea beneath ten thousand sails
while old men drift ashore on any bark that avails.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#35 - Dead Ahead

What’s the hardest thing of all to do?
To see clearly with your own eyes what’s ahead of you.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#36 - Unexpected Consequence

Friends, before you utter the deepest, starkest truth, please pause,
because straight away people will blame you for its cause.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#41 - Earth vs. Heaven

By doing good, you nurture humanity;
but by creating beauty, you scatter the seeds of divinity.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Euripides Translations

• Love distills the eyes’ desires, love bewitches the heart with its grace.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Fools call wisdom foolishness.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• One true friend is worth ten thousand kin.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Not to speak one’s mind is slavery.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• I would rather die standing than kneel, a slave.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Fresh tears are wasted on old griefs.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch 

Euripides was pretty good, wasn't he? I try to translate him in as few words as possible, hoping to stay out of his way.—Michael R. Burch



Bertolt Brecht Translations

Everyone chases the way happiness feels,
unaware how it nips at their heels.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The world of learning takes a crazy turn
when teachers are taught to think and discern!
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unhappy, the land that lacks heroes.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hungry man, reach for the book:
it's a hook,
a harpoon.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because things are the way they are,
things can never stay as they were.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

War is like love; true ...
it finds a way through.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What happens to the hole
when the cheese is no longer whole?
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It's easier to rob by setting up a bank
than by threatening the poor clerk.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Do not fear death so much, or strife,
but rather fear the inadequate life.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Dante Translations

Little sparks may ignite great Infernos.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
She made my veins and even the pulses within them tremble.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Love commands me by determining my desires.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
In Beatrice I beheld the outer boundaries of blessedness.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Her sweetness left me intoxicated.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Follow your own path and let the bystanders gossip.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
The devil is not as dark as depicted.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
There is no greater sorrow than to recall how we delighted in our own wretchedness.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
As he, who with heaving lungs escaped the suffocating sea, turns to regard its perilous waters.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
O human race, born to soar heavenward, why do you quail at the least breath of wind?—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
O human race, born to soar heavenward, why do you nosedive in the mildest breeze?—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Midway through my life’s journey
I awoke to find myself lost in a trackless wood,
for I had strayed far from the straight path.
—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

INSCRIPTION ON THE GATE OF HELL
Before me nothing created existed, to fear.
Eternal I am, and eternal I endure.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

More Dante Translations by Michael R. Burch



Paraphrases

What you
do
to
the refugee
you
do
unto
Me!
—Jesus Christ, translation/paraphrase by Michael R. Burch



Miscellanea


Critical Mass
by Michael R. Burch

I have listened to the rain all this evening
and it has a certain gravity,
as if it knows its destination,
perhaps even its particular destiny.
I do not believe mine is to be uplifted,
although I, too, may be flung precipitously
and from a great height.

"Gravity" and "particular destiny" are puns, since rain droplets are seeded by minute particles of dust adrift in the atmosphere and they fall due to gravity when they reach "critical mass." The title is also a pun, since the poem is skeptical about heaven-lauding Masses, etc.

Reading between the lines
by Michael R. Burch

Who could have read so much, as we?
Having the time, but not the inclination,
TV has become our philosophy,
sheer boredom, our recreation.



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
• Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick; Donald Trump speaks loudly and carries a big shtick.—Michael R. Burch
• The GOP has become a confectionery where conspiracy theories are baked, then sold to the half-baked. — Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• Trump's supporters go on and on about the "deep state," but they are in a deep state of denial. — Michael R. Burch
• Hell hath no Fury like our furry Führer.—Michael R. Burch
Will the Bar Association bill and bar Bill Barr? Will Trump then declare Colludy Rudy Giuliani his new Detourney General? — Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• After Bill Barr is disbarred, will he end up behind barrs, or will he find employment as Trump's personal barrtender and anal barrometer? Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• How can we predict the future when tomorrow is as uncertain as Trump’s next tweet?—Michael R. Burch
• Sarah Palin is truly unique: she alone can make us appreciate Dubya's vastly superior intellect.—Michael R. Burch
• I believe God is using Michelle Bachmann to conclusively prove that human beings 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
Floriduh is the perfect state of residence for Trump. After all, Trump is florid in both face and speech, and he favors duh-mock-racey as his political system. Also, thanks to the warm Florida sun, the Great Trumpkin can now save tons of money on that ghastly orange pancake makeup. ― Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Trump’s real goals are obvious
and yet millions of Americans remain oblivious.
—Michael R. Burch



Two-Liners

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

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

Love should be more than the sum of its parts—
of its potions and pills and subterranean arts.
Michael R. Burch

I sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle.
Michael R. Burch



Three-Liners

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

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

Fleet Tweet: Apologies to Shakespeare
by Michael R. Burch

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

Fleet Tweet II: Further Apologies to Shakespeare
by Michael R. Burch

Remember, doggonit,
heroic verse crowns the Shakespearean sonnet!
So if you intend to write a couplet,
please do it on the doublet!
@mikerburch



The Complete Redefinitions


Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.—Michael R. Burch
Religion: the ties that blind.—Michael R. Burch
Skepticism: The murderer of Eve / cannot be believed.—Michael R. Burch
Death: This dream of nothingness we fear / is salvation clear.—Michael R. Burch 
Salvation: falling for allure—hook, line and stinker.—Michael R. Burch
Insuresurrection: The dead are always with us, and yet they are naught!—Michael R. Burch
Lust: a chemical affair.—Michael R. Burch
Love: a temporary insanity curable by marriage.—Michael R. Burch
Believer: A speck of dust / animated by lust / brief as a mayfly / and yet full of trust!—Michael R. Burch
Trickle down economics: an especially pungent golden shower.—Michael R. Burch
Canned political applause: clap track for the claptrap.—Michael R. Burch
A straight flush is a winning hand. A straight-faced flush is when you don't give it away.—Michael R. Burch
Marriage: a seldom-observed truce / during wars over money / and a red-faced papoose.—Michael R. Burch
Natural affection: Is “natural affection” affliction? / Is “love” nature’s sleight-of-hand trick / to get us to reproduce / whenever she feels the itch?—Michael R. Burch
Theologian: someone who wants life to “make sense” / by believing in a “god” immeasurably dense.—Michael R. Burch



Puns and Wordplay


• A tweet by any other name would be as fleet.—Michael R. Burch
• "Epigram" means cram, then scram.—Michael R. Burch
• For artists success can be a collection of artfully-dodged problems.—Michael R. Burch



More Prose Epigrams


• 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
• 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
• Intolerance is unsuccessful because one cannot argue successfully against success.—Michael R. Burch
• Justice may be blind, but does she have to be deaf too?—Michael R. Burch
• As a general rule of thumb, ignore naysayers unless you agree with their criticism.—Michael R. Burch
• Unsurprisingly, narrow minds have trouble grasping larger subjects.—Michael R. Burch
• The craziest fantasy of all is that human beings will ever act in their own and the planet's best interests.—Michael R. Burch
• Love is exquisite torture.—Michael R. Burch (written after reading "It's Only My Heart" by Mirza Ghalib)
• The last gasp of a gassed canary. — Michael R. Burch
• The raindrop that overflowed the river’s banks. — Michael R. Burch



Prose Epigrams about Poetry

• Poetry is the art of finding the right word at the right time.—Michael R. Burch
• If you want to be a poet, find the best way of saying things.—Michael R. Burch
• I will never grok picking a picky rule over a Poem!—Michael R. Burch
• Poetry moves the heart as well as the reason.—Michael R. Burch
• The best poems delight us into wisdom, or at least its consideration.—Michael R. Burch, paraphrasing Robert Frost and Horace
• Love and art are balancing acts, with a lot of self-inflicted wounds.—Michael R. Burch
• Poetry is the marriage of ideas and emotions, begetting music.—Michael R. Burch
• I take really good poetry as a challenge and try to avoid "genius envy."—Michael R. Burch
• Why am I scrolling through oceans of spam to make sure I don’t tweet the same poem twice? —Michael R. Burch
Irony of ironies! Could there be a less poetic term for a poem than “poem” — whether pronounced “pohm,” “po-um” or “poym”? And what the hell rhymes with “poetry” “knowitry? showitry?” —Michael R. Burch
• The most common cliché in contemporary poetry is: "Show, don't tell / no ideas but in things / fear abstractions." Unfortunately, someone forgot to inform Homer, Sappho, Dante, Shakespeare and Milton!—Michael R. Burch



Epitaphs


My Epitaph
by Michael R. Burch

Do not weep for me, when I am gone.
I lived, and ate my fill, and gorged on life.
You will not find beneath this glossy stone
the man who sowed and reaped and gathered days
like flowers, undismayed they would not keep.
Go lightly then, and leave me to my sleep.

Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

Walk with me now, among the transfixed dead
who kept life’s compact and who thus endure
harsh sentence here—among pink-petaled beds
and manicured green lawns. The sky’s azure,
pale blue once like their eyes, will gleam blood-red
at last when sunset staggers to the door
of each white mausoleum, to inquire—
What use, O things of erstwhile loveliness?

Dust (II)
by Michael R. Burch

We are dust
and to dust we must
return ...
but why, then,
life’s pointless sojourn?

Untitled

This dream of nothingness we so fear
is salvation clear.
Michael R. Burch

I have my doubts about your God and his “love”:
If one screams below, what the hell is “Above”?
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.

Styx
by Michael R. Burch

Black waters,
deep and dark and still . . .
all men have passed this way,
or will.

Here and Hereafter

by Michael R. Burch

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

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

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

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.

Fahr an' Ice
by Michael R. Burch

From what I know of death, I'll side with those
who'd like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker),
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.

Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It's true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the bon voyage is hard
and the objections loud.

Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

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

Grave Oversight I
by Michael R. Burch

The dead are always with us,
and yet they are naught!

Grave Oversight II
by Michael R. Burch

for Jim Dunlap, who winked and suggested “not”

The dead are either naught
or naughty, being so sought!

                The Locker      
         by Michael R. Burch

All the dull hollow clamor has died
       and what was contained,    
                   removed,              
                   reproved
         adulation or sentiment,
    left with the pungent darkness
as remembered as the sudden light.



More Athenian Epitaphs

Be ashamed, O mountains and seas: these were men of valorous breath.
Assume, like pale chattels, an ashen silence at death.
Michael R. Burch, after Parmenio

These men earned a crown of imperishable glory,
Nor did the maelstrom of death obscure their story.
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Stranger, flee!
But may Fortune grant you all the prosperity
she denied me.
Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

I am loyal to you master, even in the grave:
Just as you now are death’s slave.
Michael R. Burch, after Dioscorides

Having never earned a penny,
nor seen a bridal gown slip to the floor,
still I lie here with the love of many,
to be the love of yet one more.
Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

I lie by stark Icarian rocks
and only speak when the sea talks.
Please tell my dear father that I gave up the ghost
on the Aegean coast.
Michael R. Burch, after Theatetus

Everywhere the sea is the sea, the dead are the dead.
What difference to me—where I rest my head?
The sea knows I’m buried.
Michael R. Burch, after Antipater of Sidon

Constantina, inconstant one!
Once I thought your name beautiful
but I was a fool
and now you are more bitter to me than death!
You flee someone who loves you
with baited breath
to pursue someone who’s untrue.
But if you manage to make him love you,
tomorrow you'll flee him too!
Michael R. Burch, after Macedonius

Dead as you are, though you lie still as stone,
huntress Lycas, my great Thessalonian hound,
the wild beasts still fear your white bones;
craggy Pelion remembers your valor,
splendid Ossa, the way you would bound
and bay at the moon for its whiteness,
bellowing as below we heard valleys resound.
And how brightly with joy you would canter and run
the strange lonely peaks of high Cithaeron!
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Yes, bring me Homer’s lyre, no doubt,
but first yank the bloodstained strings out!
—Anacreon, translation by Michael R. Burch

Here we find Anacreon,
an elderly lover of boys and wine.
His harp still sings in lonely Acheron
as he thinks of the lads he left behind ...
—Anacreontea, translation by Michael R. Burch



More Translations

She says an epigram’s too terse
to reveal her tender heart in verse ...
but really, darling, ain’t the thrill
of a kiss much shorter still?
―#2 from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Ironic Vacation

by Michael R. Burch

Salzburg.
Seeing Mozart’s baby grand piano.
Standing in the presence of sheer incalculable genius.
Grabbing my childish pen to write a poem & challenge the Immortals.
Next stop, the catacombs!

Biblical Knowledge or “Knowing Coming and Going”
by Michael R. Burch

The wisest man the world has ever seen
had fourscore concubines and threescore queens?
This gives us pause, and so we venture hence—
he “knew” them, wisely, in the wider sense.

Less Heroic Couplets: Midnight Stairclimber
by Michael R. Burch

Procreation
is at first great sweaty recreation,
then—long, long after the sex dies—
the source of endless exercise.

Snap Shots
by Michael R. Burch

Our daughters must be celibate,
die virgins. We triangulate
their early paths to heaven (for
the martyrs they’ll soon conjugate).

We like to hook a little tail.
We hope there’s decent ass in jail.
Don’t fool with us; our bombs are smart!
(We’ll send the plans, ASAP, e-mail.)

The soul is all that matters; why
hoard gold if it offends the eye?
A pension plan? Don’t make us laugh!
We have your plan for sainthood. (Die.)

NOTE: The second stanza is a punning reference to the Tailhook scandal, in which US Navy and Marine aviation officers were alleged to have sexually assaulted up to 83 women and seven men.

A poet is someone who thinks and feels in words,
who brings them into the world like a midwife
then nurtures them from adolescence to maturity.
Michael R. Burch



Doggerel

There's a bun in auntie's oven,
and soon you'll have a cousin!
Michael R. Burch

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!

a poem in which i a-coos Coo & Co. of being unfairly lovable

Coo & Co. are unfairly lovable!
their poems are entirely too huggable!
for what hope have we po’-its,
we intellectual know-its,
or no-wits, when ours are so drubabble?

While not written in German, Italian, French, Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and hieroglyphics like T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” but merely in less-than-the-Queen’s-English, this poem may also require copious footnotes. The “unfairly lovable” poems I had in mind were, particularly, “Learning Barn” and “Grebe barcarolle,” but also other adorable Coo & Co. poems reminiscent of Lear, Carroll, A. A. Milne, “The House on Pooh Corner” and “Yellow Submarine.” The contraction “po’-its” stands for “poor its,” as in destitute non-entities, which we other poets are in danger of becoming when compared to the adorability of Coo & Co. How can we possibly hope to compete? The coinage “drubabble” means “someone in need of a drubbing for babbling on when they should be reading Coo & Co.” With which I must lapse into silence ...

aka "His Last Confession" by Michael R. Burch

(We have narrowed down the authorship of the the poems of Coo & Co. to either an Einsteinian colombine named Coo or a mysterious poetess who goes by the names F.F. Teague, Felicity Teague, Fliss Teague and FT.)



Political Epigrams

Nonsense Verse for a Nonsensical White House Resident

Roses are red,
Daffodils are yellow,
But not half as daffy
As that taffy-colored fellow!
Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

The Hair Flap
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

The hair flap was truly a scare:
Trump’s bald as a billiard back there!
The whole nation laughed
At the state of his graft;
Now the man’s wigging out, so beware!

15 Seconds
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Our president’s sex life—atrocious!
His "briefings"—bizarre hocus-pocus!
Politics—a shell game!
My brief moment of fame
flashed by before Oprah could notice!

Not-So-Heroic Couplets
by Donald Trump
care of Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

To outfox the pox:
kill yourself first, with Clorox!

And since death is the goal,
mainline Lysol!

No vaccine? Just chug Mr. Clean!
Is a cure out of reach? Fumigate your lungs, with bleach!

To immunize your thorax,
destroy it with Borax!

To immunize your bride, drown her in Opti-cide!
To end all future gridlocks, gargle with Vaprox!

Now, quick, down the Drain-o
with old Insane-o NoBrain-o!

Donald Disgustus
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

It’ll be a cold day in hell
when I wish The Donald well:
was there ever a bigger liar
than President Pants-on-Fire?

Trump says he “loves” his supporters. How much does he “love” them? Apparently, to death because he plans to pack them together like sardines in the middle of a pandemic!—Michael R. Burch aka “the Loyal Opposition”



Light Verse

Less Heroic Couplets: Mini-Ode to Stamina
by Michael R. Burch

When you’ve given so much
that I can’t bear your touch,
then from a safe distance
let me admire your persistence.

Trump’s real goals are obvious
and yet millions of Americans remain oblivious.
—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.

First Base Freeze
by Michael R. Burch

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

Paradoxical Ode to Antinatalism
by Michael R. Burch

A stay on love
would end death’s hateful sway,
someday.

A stay on love
would thus be love,
I say.

Be true to love
and thus end death’s
fell sway!



Extended Chiasmus

Old Pantaloons, a Chiasmus
by Michael R. Burch

Old pantaloons are soft and white,
prudent days, imprudent nights
when fingers slip through drawers to feel
that which they long most to steal.

Old panty loons are soft and white,
prudent days, imprudent nights
when fingers slip through drawers to steal
that which they long most to feel.



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 5,600 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 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, a former editor of International Poetry and Translations for the literary journal Better Than Starbucks, and a translator of poems about the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Trail of Tears, 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 the composers Mark Buller, Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. 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.

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, Epitaphs, Romantic Poems, Sonnets, Light Verse, Parodies, Satires, Free Verse, Prose Poems, Free Love Poems by Michael R. Burch, Poetry by Michael R. Burch, Poems about EROS and CUPID, The Cosmological Constant: Limericks by Michael R. Burch, Antinatalist Poetry, Dante Translations by Michael R. Burch

The HyperTexts