Tag Archives: creativity


I see a paradox in form and rhyme:
A pattern, regular as night and day,
Will coax a phrase we’d never think to say.
Inspired by verse, we might compare a crime
To something sour—perhaps a slice of lime.
This act of making words a thing of play
Restores the color to what’s going gray
And lifts the spells of blindness cast by Time.
Convention, seeming like a chain with locks,
Releases brilliance that we never sought
By forcing us to free a fettered thought.
In form and rhyme, I see a paradox.


Mad Method

Like Byron, of whose work I’m quite a fan,
I often yield to whimsy of the mind
And stumble ‘round without a guiding plan,
While rarely knowing what I hope to find
Asleep in corners that I probe and scan.
[I don’t decide the way the threads unwind].
I’ve written things I’ve barely understood
And seen results that mix the bad and good.


My Muse is scared of going underground,
So she’ll not take me places too profound.
And, if she ventures deep into my soul,
She’ll tunnel through it like a digging mole
Who sniffs his way around because he’s blind
And never sees the things his nose will find.
Perhaps her fear that I’ll be trapped or hurt
Prevents my pen from prying ‘neath the dirt.
The times I’ve grabbed the map to Caves of Self,
She’s whispered, “Please return that to the shelf.”
I’ve wondered if she keeps my poems light
Because she deems my talents sadly slight
And hopes I’ll never have to fail and know
I’ve gone the deepest that I’ll ever go.


pt. II of “Victor Frankenstein in the Underworld”

Despite my prior bout of disbelief,
My strong desire to hear what Vic would say
And meet the heir of legend’s noblest thief
(Prometheus) inspired me to stay.
His face displayed a world of grief
That passing eras never would allay.
He started speaking at a frantic pace
And never looked directly at my face:

“What we’ve discovered is the slightest bur
That’s found inside the smallest garden plot.
I sought to gather elements and stir
Ingredients in Mother Nature’s pot.
I mixed these parts to see what might occur
And used ‘what is’ to bring about ‘what’s not’.
The epitaph I wanted on my slab
Was: ‘Victor made the planet Earth his lab’.

The words of Victor prompted me to think:
“The monster’s often saner than the master
Whose works might bring us to destruction’s brink.
The age of technological disaster,
In which a world might die inside a blink,
Is plagued by folk of Victor’s mold and plaster.
If born today, when atoms roughly smash,
His monster might’ve burned our world to ash.”

Although I saw he truly was contrite,
I thought, “His type is apt to mope and mourn
Once it’s extinguished life and vital light
(which is more easily destroyed than born).”
…But human pity for his woeful plight
Began to soften and replace my scorn.
Recalling what a gentle sage had taught,
I kept inside the harmful words I’d thought.



A sonnet by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess [I admit that this sonnet is odd by even my own bizarre standards]…

The sections orchestrated sound divine
…until the puzzle’s pieces are combined.
The ore came freely from the Muses’ mine
But now opposes being well-refined
To match its twin enough in tonal hue
For ears to think they make a handsome pair
(Instead of thinking, “Someone missed his cue
And played a measure not belonging there”).
Perhaps a demon doesn’t like me very well
And has decided it’s his evil mission
(Before returning to the fiery pits of Hell)
To see I never find a good transition.
In music, poetry, and also life,
It’s hard to make what’s sep’rate man and wife.

“Pop Star”

A song might take you to the House’s* stair.
Although you sound just like an ill raccoon,
You have no reason, darlings, to despair
Or practice scales and “Fly Me to the Moon.”
Undress your body ‘til it’s nearly bare,
Then dress your naked voice in auto-tune.
You’ll rise on ev’ry major music chart
By learning how to dress and play the part.

*The House of Fame


You’ll never have to write or learn a song–
Just know its lyrics and your dance routine.
Although your singing’s not exactly strong,
Producers’ magic can deceive a teen.
Who cares about a note delivered wrong
When bathing in a tub that’s full of green?
What better proves a product truly great
Than being sold at such a rapid rate?

With instruments you’ll need facility
…enough to pick one up and seem to play.
The peak of musical ability
Is holding instruments the proper way.
With youthful swagger plus agility,
You’ll soon devour a crowd of willing prey.
Just learn to walk the walk and dance the dance–
I guarantee you’ll wear the Diva Pants.

selected stanzas from The New House of Fame–By Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

“Form and Creativity”

“Form” –A Spenserian Stanza by Paul Burgess
One afternoon a man began to write
Some formal verse to see if form’s constraints
Would force his waking brain to bring to light
The visions that the brain while sleeping paints—
Those vivid dreams to which medieval saints
Still owe their lasting literary fame.
Though many times one finds restriction taints
The Muses’ spring with more of what’s “the same,”
It might elicit novel thoughts from minds less tame.

[This is a reflection on the fact that over half of what I write is inspired by words that coincidentally rhyme, start with the right letter, or have a convenient number of syllables. In other words, form can inspire people to combine words and concepts in new ways. I think that form feels restrictive to those who write a piece to express a specific idea; but, when used for the pure fun of playing with words, form can force people to surprise themselves. Strangely enough, I often find that word associations inspired by form bring to life the sort of bizarre combinations that one might normally find only in dreams.]

P.S. When writing the poem above, I had no idea what I would say. As usual, I decided that I felt like writing a poem, I chose a form (in this case, the Spenserian stanza), and started writing…