Tag Archives: heroic couplets

“Liberation” (or “Sayonara to Samsara”) [Revised]

In response to mistermuse’s advice, I have decided to revise this poem.


If you would take a closer, deeper look,
You’d know that bait conceals a rusty hook.
The words of Siren songs that plagued your youth
Do not communicate objective truth.
Like shadows, on the walls, that seem to play,
Deprived of light, they’re forced to go away.


“Liberation” (or “Sayonara to Samsara”)

by Paul Burgess–The more I read this poem, the more I think I should cut out all but the final 6 or 4 lines. Any suggestions or feedback would be welcome:)

The poem:

A chain’s no good because no chain we make
Will ever be too strong for us to break.
The answer’s not to practice more restraint
Or cover holes with glossy coats of paint.

Suppressing only hides from us the foes
That would be safer for us to expose.
The vine will strangle, given chance to feed,
But you can stop its growth while it’s a seed.

If you would take a closer, deeper look,
You’d know that bait conceals a rusty hook.
The words of Siren songs that plagued your youth
Do not communicate objective truth.
Like shadows, on the walls, that seem to play,
Deprived of light, they’re forced to go away.

“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.

“The Blinding of the Cyclops Polyphemus”

Modern Heroic Couplets by Paul Burgess–inspired by a scene in Homer [Book 9 of The Odyssey; one might view these lines as a compressed adaptation and modernization of a much longer passage.]

While clutching at his mutilated eye,
To Ulysses, the Cyclops gave reply:
“An oracle, whose words I could recite,
Predicted that the man who’d take my sight
Would be the famous hero Ulysses.
From mini morsels, shorter than my knees,
I had no fear of death or even harm—
A shadow might have caused me more alarm!
Assuming only force could make me blind,
I was not ready for a deadly mind.


–Anyone interested in Homer, Classical Poetry, or Early Modern English Literature* should check out George Chapman’s brilliant translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey. The following link leads to information on an inexpensive edition of the translation so famously praised by Keats: http://www.amazon.com/Chapmans-Homer-Odyssey-Classics-Literature/dp/1840221178/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401367076&sr=1-3&keywords=wordsworth+classics+chapman%27s+homer

*from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods in which Shakespeare was one among several brilliant minds

Medusa’s Transformation from Beauty to ‘Petrifying’ Horror” [Morals from Mythology]by Paul Burgess

If Neptune rapes you and Minerva wakes,
She’ll turn your silky hair to slimy snakes.

“To My Mother’s ‘AttorneySon’ on His Birthday” by Paul Burgess

“To My Mother’s ‘AttorneySon’ on His Birthday”
To Dustin: “Here’s a birthday card for you.
Sincerely, All the People that* you Sue.”

*”Whom” would sound too pretentious here…

3 Nature Poems by Paul Burgess

Below you will see what happens when a hack writes doggerel about everything he sees…

“The Death of a Bee”
While slowly closed the automatic door,
A bee remained between it and the floor.
No warning sign inside his head had flashed.
Without alarm, he stayed and soon was smashed.

“The Death of a Spider Mite”
With light and careful touch, I gently steered
A spider mite—who in my book appeared—
Towards the door and thought he’d safely fled…
…Until I saw the page all streaked with red.

“Retail Store Rafter Ecosystem”
Wal-Mart’s the store that sparrows like the best…
Between its rafters, many build a nest.

“Apology for the Rich”–A Parody of Jonathan Swift [Written by Paul Burgess in 2006]

Having become tired of writing papers, I asked a professor if he would let me write a poem in the style of the era we were studying. He agreed, and the results can be seen below by creatures that have eyes:

“An Apology for the Rich”


Oh, Doctor Swift was quick enough of wit
that victims scarcely knew it when he hit
with lightning, dagger strokes of lethal pen
exposing them as loathsome, foolish men.
A funny time it must have surely been
when verse that’d turn a squeamish person green
and scathing satires, murderously keen
were written by a pious, holy dean!
The poem:
The Yahoos filled them with such disgust,
they’d laugh and think, “I’m not like that, I trust!”
For those among the saintly upper crust
possessed no bit of vanity or lust,
nor any other vice, you may be sure;
their souls were noble, true, and wholly pure.
If your doubt need remedy or cure,
remember how they did so well endure
(Unlike the wicked, wretched, starving poor,
the very men, who did the wrath incur
of He who sits on pearly throne above—
His vengeance tempered only by his love).
In fact, I’d say they did no less than thrive,
while peasants struggled just to stay alive.
(They) deservedly had more than all the rest
for they’re* the children God did like the best.    *they were
Oh, rest assured, I don’t speak in jest
(I cross the heart that beats behind my breast)
but say these words I know to be correct.
No, not a one of them would visit whores,
for just their dearest, darling wives’ allures
could ever make them grow the least erect.
Declare I further, words escaped their lips
that came from deep inside their powdered heads
(and not the smaller ones between their hips);
oh, each and everything was wise they said
(with voices musical’s* Apollo’s lyre;          *as
I wish I’d lived (then) to hear them and admire).
And physic’lly they were at least as fine,
with faces soft, without a single line
and smiles as sweet as fancy, agéd wine
(perhaps from Bacchus’s legendary vine)!
Though smell them, I did not, I dare presume
they always had aromas like perfume,
from birth ‘til time of final rest in tomb.
(How lucky must have been their young in fragrant womb!)*        *intentional extra iamb
I cannot help but be in utter awe
of humans as devoid of slightest flaw!