Category Archives: Epigrams

The Absurd Wit and Dubious Wisdom of a Madman

10 Epigrams by Paul Burgess
I. [“Deer Money”]
A conversation quickly makes it clear
That venison’s the meat that’s held most dear.
All people seem to talk about or know
Is how to hunt some bucks or get some doe.

II. [“An Ineffective M.O.”]
To kill with kindness murderers once tried
But found intended victims rarely died.

III. [“Epigram on an Anagram”]
A “poem” might become a mixed up “mope”
Composed by some absurdly gloomy dope.

IV. [When will you write a serious poem?”: an Epigrammatic Reply]
If writing serious and earnest rhymes,
I might be jailed for literary crimes.

V. [“Praying Mantis Mating”]
A praying mantis says, “The sex was great!”
The womantis nods before she grabs her plate.

VI. [“A Teacher’s Epitaph”]
They will appreciate me when I pass.
I know they’ll say, “He had a lot of class.”

VII. [“The Unconscious Liar”]
Don’t trust a snoring man who’s closed his eyes
Because it’s said of him, “Asleep he lies.”

VIII. [“Carpe Diem!”]
Some never feel alive, it’s often said,
Except when doing what might make them dead.

IV. [“Hobbes]
When influential monarchist Thomas Hobbes
Suggests that men in nature are like brutes,
The modern readers say, between their sobs,
“I guess some haven’t left behind their roots.”

X. [“Freud”]
The most insightful book by Sigmund Freud
Says less of mother-loving we’d avoid.
In Civ’lization and its Discontents,
There’s less of Oedipus and more of sense.

“Ann the Famous and John the Unknown”

imageBelow is a poetic recap of this epic tale of heroism and obscurity:
Ann the Famous, John the boy unknown—
The girl’s a perfect hero on a throne.
While John of ants and gravity has died,
The fame of Ann is trav’ling far and wide.

Paul Burgess

[The child’s handwritten story was first shared by storytimewithjohn.com:  http://storytimewithjohn.com/2014/05/31/ann-the-famous-and-john-the-unknown-part-ii/

I never expected to write anything inspired by a preteen in Korea…

“Translating Babies” and “Other Family Matters” by Paul Burgess

“Translating Babies”

A Pessimistic Translator:

When babies are born they will cry
A wail that I’d translate as “Why?”
“Oh, why am I here?
And where is a spear
To help me ensure that I die?”

An Optimistic Translator:

When babies are born they will smile
A grin that I’d translated as, “While…
“[While] my parents both toil,
I’m anointed with oil
And relaxing in comfort and style.”

“Ready for Children?”

Ready for a child?

If you think you’re prepared for a child,
Your mind has perhaps been beguiled.
In details exact,
Recall how you’d act
When driving your parents quite wild.

Ready for a kid?

You think you’re prepared for a kid,
But under your memory’s lid
Are tantrums you threw
As a terrible two
And the adolescent evil you did.

“A Husband Avoids Chores”

My reply when a man once did ask
To imbibe a few drops from my flask
Was, “There’s nothing to drink,
But the wife will now think
I’m too drunk to perform any task.

A special, thematic edition of *5 Limericks a Day [To Keep the Dr. Away]*

“*Civilization and its Discontents*

The most insightful book by Sigmund Freud
Says less of mother-loving we’d avoid.
In Civ’lization and its Discontents,
There’s less of Oedipus and more of sense.

–an epigram by Paul Burgess

“An Offer of Immortality”

A brief dialogue between a poet and his love–by Paul Burgess [In response to Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18”]*

“My dear, immortal’s what you’d surely be—
Preserved forever through these lines of verse.”

“To share Criseyde or Helen’s infamy?
What poets know as ‘fame’, I’d call a curse.”

*from Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18”

…in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

“Abuse of Power: an Epigrammatic Definition” by Paul Burgess

“Abuse of Power: an Epigrammatic Definition” [or “Might Should Not Become Right”–a cliche rendered in heroic couplets (2 lines of rhyming iambic pentameter)]

The epigram:

“Abuse of power” is to label “JUST”
Whatever satisfies one’s whims or lust.

“Jove and Arcadian Callisto” [Practical Morals from Mythology]

Further advice for surviving in the world of Classical Mythology, by Paul Burgess

If you’d prefer to not become a bear,
Do not let Jove remove your underwear.

[Callisto’s “crime” was having a child after being raped by Jove. For this crime, Hera turned the girl into a bear. A moral we see throughout the classics is: Do not let one of the Universe’s most powerful entities rape you…]