Tag Archives: love

“Don Juan”

“I’ve been Narcissus–gazing at the pool,
Enchanted by the ghost reflected there,
Manipulating others like a tool
So they’ll assure me that my type is rare.
Those beautiful faces that have tempted me
Have never earned their share of guilt and blame.
They’re mirrors showing what I want to see,
Illusions forced to fit inside my frame.
The Siren songs I always curse and scorn
[Once pleasure’s poison has destroyed my ear]
Are like a skillful servant on a horn
Who’ll play the melodies I want to hear.
The charming predator inside’s been loosed,
and I’ve become seducer and seduced.”

“Love (but not in LOVE)”

“Honest Greeting Card #1” [from the Tasteless Greeting Cards Sonnet Sequence]

Although your inner beauty means a lot,
That side of you is only half the truth.
Your loving’s never really made me hot,
And, dear, I need some fire to light my youth.
You’re like the men I’ve read about in books—
The type to be a fine and faithful friend
And selflessly conceal his mournful looks
When Madame weds the Baron at the end.
Although you’re not the man of whom I dream,
I hope we’ll be the best of any pals.
Perhaps I’ll call to vent and blow off steam
And talk to you just like I do “the gals”.
I’d keep your tender heart and clever head
But spare myself from going to your bed.

Happy 50th Anniversary!

[Another “Tasteless Greeting Card” by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess]

The portrait gath’ring dust inside a bin—
The one for which two newlyweds once sat—
Reveals you’ve changed in only “this” and “that”
…by which I mean, he’s grown a double chin,
And hair, along with wits, are getting thin
Beneath his perspiration-dripping hat.
[…He’s not the only one who’s gotten fat
Or turned into a bag of hanging skin.]

Although you both are lacking proper teeth,
From passion’s fruits you still can take a bite.
It won’t be long before you go beneath,
So, take advantage of this special night,
And strive to win for Love a laurel wreath
By loving ‘til you perish from delight.

With Deepest Regrets?

a mock (intentionally trite) greeting card by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

Dual-Purpose Hallmark Card:
[Italian Sonnet]
“I know it seems your life’s been badly marred.
[It’s rumored by a close and friendly source
That soon you’ll file the papers for divorce.]
If leaving now appears too sad and hard,
Just know you’ll later heal if now you’re scarred–
For Time’s the Planet’s greatest healing force
And cures the folks who let it take its course.”
[In case I’m wrong, I’ve sent a second card…]
“If leaving now appears a happy choice,
And joy’s the only cause of falling tears,
Then, let’s invite some friends, and we’ll rejoice
(With party songs and rivers made of beers)
While fin’lly giving free, exalted voice
To sore resentment built up over years.”

 

*This poem was an excuse to attempt an Italian sonnet…

 

“Fame in Marriage”

Part I: Stanza 6 of “The New House of Fame”
Perhaps the surest way to find the House—
Aside from being born behind its doors—
Is to become a famous person’s spouse.
Your fans will multiply like fertile spores
If you become a star’s domestic louse
Or follow him or her on promo tours.
You’ll be the House’s queen or king
By virtue of your royal wedding ring.

The stanza is likely more enjoyable in its original context:

https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/an-introductory-guide-to-becoming-rich-and-famous-2/

The Wit and Wisdom of Byron

I am having such a good time reading Byron’s Don Juan would like to share some passages from the first canto of  what might be the language’s most enjoyable long poem. [The witty lines are so sharp and smooth that one often forgets that the stanzas are in the exceptionally difficult ‘ottava rima’ form.]

ON LOVE

1.116
Oh Plato, Plato, you have paved the way
With your confounded fantasies to more
Immoral conduct by the fancied sway
Your system feigns o’er the controlless core
Of human hearts than all the long array
Of poets and romancers…
1.117
…But who, alas, can love and then be wise?
Not that remorse did not oppose temptation;
A little she strove and much repented,
And whispering, ‘I will ne’er consent’—consented.
1.65
…Yet he was jealous, though he did not show it,
For jealousy dislikes the world to know it.
1.62
Wedded she was some years and to a man
Of fifty, and such husbands are in plenty;
And yet I think instead of such a one
‘twere better to have two of five and twenty…

On Humans [and especially “progress”]

1.129
What opposite discoveries we have seen,
Signs of true genius and of empty pockets!
One makes new noses, one a guillotine,
One breaks your bones, one sets them in their sockets…

1. 132
This is the patent age of new inventions
For killing bodies and saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions…
[These] are ways to benefit mankind, as true
Perhaps as shooting them at Waterloo.

1.133
Man’s a phenomenon, one knows not what,
And wonderful beyond all wondrous measure.
‘tis pity though in this sublime world that
Pleasure’s a sine and sometimes sin’s a pleasure.
Few mortals know what end they would be at,
But whether glory, power or love or treasure,
The path is through perplexing ways, and when
The goal is gained, we die you know—and then?

Miscellaneous Passages of Extraordinary Wit:

1. 183
None can say that this was not good advice;
The only mischief was it came too late.
Of all experience ‘tis the usual price,
A sort of income tax laid on by fate…
1.77
Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet
The unexpected death of some old lady
Or gentleman of seventy years complete,
Who’ve made ‘us youth’ wait too, too long already
For an estate or cash or country-seat…
1.83
…A quiet conscience makes one so serene.
Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded
That all the apostles would have done as they did.

1.218
What is the end of fame? ‘Tis but to fill
A certain portion of uncertain paper.
Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapour.
For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill,
And bards burn what they call their midnight taper,
To have, when the original is dust,
A name, a wretched picture, and worse bust.

“Lost Cat” Revised

While watering the plants today, I heard
The ring of metal tags then saw a cat
And wondered whether he’d pursued a bird
Too far and gotten lost. He was as fat
And clean, from furry head to furry paw,
As any loving person’s treasured pet.
A little like one running from the law—
Eluding officers’ circling, dragging net—
He’d often hide in bushes and in trees.
His eyes appeared to say, “It’s not a game.
I’m scared and want again my life of ease.”
He fled before the tags revealed his name.

I hope his face won’t soon appear in signs
That children post on wooden power lines.

A sonnet by Paul Burgess

Odd Couples

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Note: This series of absurd limericks was inspired by the odd love affairs in Ovid’s *The Metamorphoses*.

“Cut Friends”
There’s a man who’s convinced that a knife
Has agreed to becoming his wife,
But the love that he’s made
To the handle and blade
Has endangered his limbs and his life.

“Herpetological Heartache”
There’s a man who resides by a lake
Who has fallen in love with a snake.
When he asks for a kiss,
It replies with a hiss,
And his heart then begins to ache.

“A Bride from Hell”
A gal who in Hell did reside
Was once asked to become a man’s bride.
Although eaten by worms,
She agreed to his terms,
And he’d nightly repose by her side.

“Cocky”
A man who resides by the docks
Has become so enamored of cocks
That he’s tossed into fens
All his chicks and his hens
To ensure he’ll be alone with the cocks.

“Of a Mouse and Man”
A man was in love with a mouse
And suggested she become his new spouse.
With a ring made of cheese,
He proposed on his knees
But was told she’d not marry a louse.

 

5 limericks by Paul Burgess

“Cocky” was originally posted as the 12th entry of my “5 Limericks a Day” series: https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/5-limericks-a-day-to-keep-the-dr-away-by-paul-oburgess-entry12/

“Absent Presence” or “Present Absence”

Version 1:

Although I touch your hair

and see your vacant stare,

you are not truly there.

 

Although I hold you near,

my lips against your ear,

you are not truly here.

 

The form, which I devised, consists of stanzas of iambic trimeter containing rhyming tercets. I have considered rearranging the lines to put the poem in terza rima. In terza rima it would look like this:

Version 2:

Although I touch your hair,

my lips against your ear,

you are not truly there.

 

Although I hold you near,

and see your vacant stare,

you are not truly here.

I would welcome any feedback regarding which version works best.

 

Paul

Soul-Destroying Sounds of Archaic Lamps

3 Minutes, 3 Parodies
I hope this post won’t come off as mean-spirited. My targets are not all free verse poets but rather those free verse poets who– without knowing much about formal meter or literary history and conventions– write off all formal verse as old fashioned. These parodies are supposed to be fun… feel free to laugh at them or to ignore them, but please do not become upset;)
I.

Papercut-thin

slicing my soul

each time she looks me in the eyes

and punctures my mouth with

swords of whore rebel dragon

tongue.

II.

Those wide-eyed youths

thinking they’ve earned life experience

with their passing knowledge of Hume, Nietzsche

other heretics I’ll see burning

from the burnished, embroidered

seat inscribed “Righteous prevaileth over skeptics”–

reading they missed when buried

in thin tree remnants

dried cold bits of bark

lacking life

lacking truth

worm-eaten.

I’ll sit

next

to

my

Maker

the Earth’s Maker.

III.

I-Pod Touch Mini

Aural highway exorcising

impious silence