Tag Archives: romance

“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.

“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.

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

“Taylor Swift”

Vindictive Missus Taylor Swift
Provided her career a lift
With spiteful songs about the guys
Who’d spent some time between her thighs.

a clerihew by Paul Burgess

…“Pills” gave me chills, so for a lift…a bit of “Taylor Swift”

“My Wife’s Garden”

“My Wife’s Garden”
The stems through which the water slowly runs
Contain, of course, the rain and daily suns,
But something else inside the flowers lives
That neither sun nor falling water gives.
Those petals, leaves, and roots within them hold
The loving labor, sweat, and hours untold
She joyfully provides them ev’ryday
With smiles that nurture like a solar ray.

“Sestina” by Paul Burgess

I wrote this, my first sestina, in 2006 just to see if I could do it. The sestina is an exceptionally difficult form, and mine is pretty lame. [The same six words must end the lines of each stanza, and the lines in which the words appear must follow a specific sequence].

Sestina:
As the house band loudly plays,
They finish a frantic dance.
He buys her a fresh, hard drink
And looks confused ‘til she waves,
And then toward her he moves.
His shoes squeak in time with his steps.

He thinks about how lightly she steps,
The way she sweetly teases and plays,
And then how seductively she moves;
He loves how she smiles when they dance,
Same as when she splashes in the waves,
And he watches, holding a drink.

With a kiss she thanks him for the drink.
On the wah, the guitarist steps.
The couples hit the dance floor in waves
And hum along with the riffs he plays;
The building itself seems to dance.
A drunken pair shows off its best moves.

He hopes she’ll go with him when he moves.
He wants to ask, but just sips his drink.
Sadly, he thinks, this could be their last dance.
As back and forth, side to side, he steps,
A mental film of them married plays
And then one in which she cries and waves.

Her wild hair, flowing as untamed waves,
Swishes and sways as her head moves,
And upon it, the light softly plays.
She feels she’s had too much to drink;
Slightly unsteady are her steps,
But she still enjoys the dance.

Worn out, they cease to dance.
In the wind, a flag waves,
While outside, they sit on the steps.
For seconds, neither of them moves.
Gnats land on them and start to drink.
Inside the band still plays.

With her hair she plays
While his eyes restlessly dance.
It seems as if all he’s had to drink
Escapes his pores in sweaty waves,
As he proposes to her on the steps…