Tag Archives: meditation

“To My Lucky Readers”

You reading prose and poetry I write
Belong among the fortunate of Earth—
But not because I share profound insight
And not because my work’s of special worth.
Then why? Because some person clearly cared
Enough to see you’d have the skills you’d need
To understand what other minds have shared
And freely water learning’s fertile seed.
The food by which a hungry head’s enriched
Might rest untouched atop your dinner plate
If birth had found you and another switched
By circumstance, a god, or luckless fate.
When filled with pride for all the things you’ve learned,
Reflect on your advantages unearned.

an Elizabethan sonnet by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess


“First Impressions”

or “Judging Books by their Covers”

A cup in hand, he seemed to beg for change.

I thought him dirty and a little strange

Until he pressed the cup against his lips,

unlocked his car, and took a couple sips.

by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

“Mindless Life in Ghostly Shadows”

a sonnet by Paul Burgess–this is one of my rare “serious” works. I would genuinely appreciate any feedback readers would provide.

This drinking tea to empty out a cup
And doing tasks to cross them off our lists
Directs the eyes to what is coming up,
Although what’s here, and nothing else, exists.
If sewing only to complete a dress
With thoughts of only what will next arrive,
Then shadows and a deathly emptiness
Accompany all moments we’re alive.

Without Awareness, tapestries of what has passed
Are woven presents filled with ghostly dreams,
And threads of faded “Now” that we’ve amassed
Will hold together Future’s fraying seams.
To always look behind or play the seer
Exchanges “is” for “is not truly here.”

This poem was inspired by the following passage from Thich Nhat Hahn’s Miracle of Mindfulness:

If while washing the dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”…If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future–and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life” (5).

“Two Deaths”

Bumble Bee & Carpenter Bee PicturesMagnified view of a spider mite

“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 was streaked with red.

[2 poems by Paul Burgess; posted previously as part of the following entry: https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/3-nature-poems-by-paul-burgess/

“The Underdog Effect”

A prose reflection by Paul Burgess
– Consistent winners are often polarizing. While hated by many, they are loved by others who enjoy sharing vicariously in their glory. Consider the envy and hostility many spectators feel towards athletes and teams that seem indestructible, and think of the appeal of the ‘underdog’ with whom many identify.

-Perhaps the underdog effect is related to its ability to inspire in people the following thought process: “I, little lowly me, could also succeed at slaying the big dragon. People might look at me as meek, but I have potential. Look at those other underdogs who’ve proven the world wrong! I’d love to obtain similar vengeance on public opinion […or what I’ve perceived as public opinion when I’ve narrated my life’s dramas to myself]. I’d love to have “them” feel that they were wrong […although they likely never think of “me.”]

– Sometimes people who are not underdogs like to feel that they have been in order to experience a sense of vindication  in defying the supposed expectations of the doubters; they imagine the abstract crowd of doubters –often dubbed ‘the world’– thinking to itself, “I sure was wrong about so and so.” What fantasies and narratives we weave about ourselves!

-Might some people’s love of underdogs be motivated by pleasure derived from opposing prevailing opinion? Betting on the underdog means to go against “the crowd” while remaining in the security of another crowd (i.e. the “underdog’s supporters”). Some people might side with the underdog because they enjoy fantasizing about the malicious joy of taunting the mighty. Whether mighty or meek, people often indulge in thinking of themselves as underdogs whose failures can be attributed to their participation in a rigged game; when they succeed despite facing ostensibly long odds, they expect “the World’s” applause to ring more loudly than it would for the entitled victors of “the Establishment”–an abstract group containing miscellaneous “types” with whom they do not identify.


Before beginning to write goofy poetry a few weeks ago, my other period of writing poetry was in 2006 when I took a Poetry Workshop with one of my favorite professors. The first poems we wrote were cinquains. The cinquain is a five-line, syllabic form with the following pattern:

Line 1: 2 syllables
Line 2: 4 syllables
Line 3: 6 syllables
Line 4: 8 syllables
Line 5: 2 syllables

Before sharing the cinquains, which were the first few poems I ever wrote, I would like to invite you all to compose and share cinquains with me. [I hope to eventually figure out a  graceful way to provide prompts and to receive and display entries; I would welcome any advice regarding how to make the prompt/respond process intuitive and interactive.] Please do not laugh…these were my first poems, and I know that some of them are cheesy!

Blues is
naked music
stripped of all pretension
Until only raw emotion

the rose without
the prick to remind us
that, though beautiful, love causes
such pain.

Trapped for
in polished celluloid,
moments call their cage not “jail,” but


red eye dangling
from a smooth black cable,
swaying solemnly in noon’s soft,
sad wind.

devours beauty,
consumes clear skin;
once sated, digests, excretes a

“King Snake”
King Snake,
royal reptile,
though Lion rules jungles,
when grown weary of throne, he can’t
shed skin.

“Red Sand”
For sand:
Crimson-stained land
ever redder becomes
soaked with blood of zealots on a

These lips
will serve to bare
my frenzied soul to you–
not with whispered, honeyed words but
a kiss.

as summer’s sun
has made my skin, its rays
fail to melt the frozen traffic
I’m in.

“Lost and Found”
Do not
Despair that you’ve
Lost so much weight of late;
For I’ve found it and wish to give
It back.

and twenty years
we had Morrison and
Hendrix. So quickly burned out our
Bright Jims.

“Dream 1”
And Attila
play chess and smoke cigars
in a realm beyond time and space
and stars.

“Dream 2”
I saw you there
playing and dancing, a
smile on your face and ribbons in
your hair.

Immortal Wisdom in Deathless Verse by Dr. Burgess [Epigrams] #5

“Expectations [Not Working with What IS]”

When clinging hard to “should” and “shouldn’t be’s,”
We’re trapped as insects glued by sap to trees.