Tag Archives: morality

Jekyll/Hyde

fragments from Underworld

Said Will, while pointing to the place he stood,
There’s Henry Jekyll, also known as Hyde.
Though math’s not how he earned his doc’tral hood,
His project was to physic’lly divide
The human soul into the “Bad” and “Good”
And fully feel the power of each side.
It seems his fame’s the sort to always soar
Because his name’s become a metaphor.

 
Of such distinctions, people are quite fond.
Imagined cosmic wars of Right and Wrong
Are something few of us have moved beyond.
We’ve seen in black and white so very long
For fear that existence is a pond
Whose waters flow around the pointed prong
Which, partnered up with Concept’s nimble knife,
Attempts to slice, then pin and label life.

 

 

 

 

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“THE GRASS IS GREENER”

“The grass enclosed inside a neighbor’s fence
Appears a brighter shade of healthy green
Than that of grass you raise at small expense.
But if you played his* role inside this scene,
You’d think your former ways had made more sense.
[For less possessed is less to tend and clean.]
…The shade of grass won’t matter anyhow,
Unless you are a hungry horse or cow.”

*that of the neighbor. Once again, poetic license is my poor excuse for ambiguity.

[from “A Treasury of Cliches for Aspiring Stars” (which, of course, is part of The New House of Fame by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

 

“CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR”

“If you’ll just take a closer, longer look,

You’ll see that juicy, appetizing bait

Conceals a sharp and rust-encrusted hook–

Which neither tastes nor feels too nice or great

To fish it raises from a peaceful brook

And places on a human’s dinner plate.

Unless you’d be a caught and eaten fish,

Proceed with caution when you make a wish.”

[from “A Treasury of Cliches for Aspiring Stars” (which, of course, is part of The New House of Fame by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

 

“Sirens”

You quickly cross that peril off the list
Because the danger, you assume, has passed,
But other sets of Sirens still exist
And might enchant you when no ropes or mast
Or loyal friends with wax to stop their ears
Restrain your mad, unquenchable desire
To touch the blazing sun that sears
Without enduring its consuming fire.

It’s easy to resist when you’re in chains
And friendly prison guards can’t hear your voice,
But one who’s absolutely free refrains
When fatal pleasure has become a choice.
Until you’ve walked by foes without your crutch,
Surviving battles doesn’t mean that much.

a sonnet by Paul Burgess

“How to Lose Friends and Influence”

You will reduce your chances of sucking at life by 21.72% if you avoid imitating the protagonists of the following poems…results not guaranteed.

“Fireman” or “You Lookin’ At Me?”
There’s a man who in anger will chase
All the people who look at his face.
“Avert now your gaze
Or I’ll set you ablaze!”
Says that man who’s not known for his grace.

“Pants on Fire Man”
There was an old man I once knew
Who would utter no words that were true.
When I asked him his name,
It was never the same
By the time I had counted to two.

“Tipster”
A waiter who’d gotten no tip
Appeared to be losing his grip.
“When serving the fare,
Include not your hair,”
Said the diner, “It’s quite a good tip.”

“Noisy Neighbor”
A man kept all his neighbors awake
With the noise that he nightly would make.
He would play on the sax
And then hammer some tacks
‘til the houses had started to shake.

“The Nudist”
I met once a man who’s so rude
That he walks down the street in the nude.
“I’d rather not see
Your bush and your tree,”
I said to that man who’s so rude.

5 limericks by Paul Burgess

“Right Speech”

Sometimes we speak clumsily and create internal knots in others. Then we say, ‘I was just telling the truth.’ It may be the truth, but if our way of speaking causes unnecessary suffering, it is not Right Speech. The truth must be presented in ways that others can accept. Words that damage or destroy are not Right Speech. [Thich Nhat Hahn, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 89)

“Right Speech”

There’s a man who will never retract*
The words he has said with no tact.
He will often reply,
“There’s too many a guy
Who is kinder in speech than in act.”*

a limerick by Paul Burgess

*Of course, what is said cannot be unsaid. It is better to speak carefully in the first place than to retract something harmful one has said.

*The speaker of the poem mixes wisdom with folly…I will stop treating my light limerick as if it were a literary work meriting scholarly scrutiny:)

Right Speech + Right Action= 🙂

 

“Cautionary Tales”

Lear:Dost thou call me fool, boy?

Fool: All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou  wast born with. [Emphasis mine]

 

Kent [disguised]: This is not altogether fool, my lord. (William Shakespeare, King Lear. 1.4.146-48)

[Before becoming outraged that I have used Shakespeare to preface limericks, remember that he often juxtaposed the highbrow and lowbrow and the comical and the serious.  He was the sort of person to place, at a dramatic point in a tragedy, lines such as the following: “Villain, I have done thy mother” (Aaron from Titus Andronicus)…

“Tattoo Granny”
There was once a lady in pink
Who covered her skin all in ink.
But when she was old,
Those tattoos would fold,
And she’d wish that to nothing they’d shrink.

“Death of a Parasite”
A man was once sent to his grave
By a people he’d tried to enslave.
‘twas and ending quite fit
For that greedy old Brit
Who took always more than he gave.

“Disco Dummy”
A man with a hole in his brain
Once boogied in front of a train.
As the train came along,
The man danced to a song
About the avoidance of pain.

“A Dream of Cream”
There was once an old man with a dream
To ingest a few gallons of cream.
When the task was complete,
He arose from his seat,
And his trousers then split at the seam.

“Confessing Carl”
With too great an abundance of time,
Carl confessed to too many a crime.
‘Til came there a day
When cops blew him away
For having thus wasted their time.

5 limericks by Paul Burgess

P.S. I do not intend to imply any comparison between a limerick-writing hack and the language’s greatest writer…

*I have added the previously missing line to “A Dream of Cream”