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Feb 2020
Epigrams IV



Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses’
recesses
are not for excesses!



*** Hex
by Michael R. Burch

Love’s full of cute paradoxes
(and highly acute poxes).



Saving Graces
for the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter
(wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter).



The Whole of Wit
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Moore

If brevity is the soul of wit
then brevity and levity
are the whole of it.

(Published by Shot Glass Journal, Brief Poems, AZquotes, IdleHearts, JarOfQuotes, QuoteFancy, QuoteMaster)



Conformists of a feather
flock together.
—Michael R. Burch

Winner of the National Poetry Month Couplet Competition



Feathered Fiends
by Michael R. Burch

Fascists of a feather
flock together.



Laughter’s Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.



If every witty thing that’s said were true,
Oscar Wilde, the world would worship You!
—Michael R. Burch



Multiplication, Tabled
for the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

“Be fruitful and multiply”—
great advice, for a fruitfly!
But for women and men,
simple Simons, say, “WHEN!”



Not Elves, Exactly
by Michael R. Burch

Something there is that likes a wall,
that likes it spiked and likes it tall,

that likes its pikes’ sharp rows of teeth
and doesn’t mind its victims’ grief

(wherever they come from, far or wide)
as long as they fall on the other side.



Fierce ancient skalds summoned verse from their guts;
today’s genteel poets prefer modern ruts.
—Michael R. Burch



Long Division
by Kim Cherub
after Laura Riding Jackson

All things become one
Through death’s long division
And perfect precision.



Meal Deal
by Michael R. Burch

Love is a splendid ideal
(at least till it costs us a meal).



Vice Grip
by Michael R. Burch

There’s no need to rant about Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The cruelty of “civilization” suffices:
our ordinary vices.



Self-ish
by Kim Cherub

Let’s not pretend we “understand” other elves
As long as we remain mysteries to ourselves.



Piecemeal
by Kim Cherub

And so it begins—the ending.
The narrowing veins, the soft tissues rending.
Your final solution is pending.



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



Fleet Tweet: Apologies to Shakespeare
@mikerburch (Michael R. Burch)

A tweet
by any other name
would be as fleet.



Fleet Tweet II: Further Apologies to Shakespeare
@mikerburch (Michael R. Burch)

Remember, doggonit,
heroic verse crowns the Shakespearean sonnet!
So if you intend to write a couplet,
please do it on the doublet!



15 Seconds
by Michael R. Burch

Our president’s *** life—atrocious!
Asian markets are all hocus-pocus.
Politics—a shell game.
My brief moment of fame
flashed by before Oprah could notice.



Death
by Michael R. Burch

Death is the ultimate finality
and banality
of reality.



Translations

Shattered
by Vera Pavlova
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I shattered your heart;
now I limp through the shards
barefoot.

Birdsong
by Rumi
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Birdsong relieves
my deepest griefs:
now I'm just as ecstatic as they,
but with nothing to say!
Please universe,
rehearse
your poetry
through me!

Raise your words, not their volume.
Rain grows flowers, not thunder.
—Rumi, translation by Michael R. Burch

The imbecile constructs cages for everyone he knows,
while the sage (who has to duck his head whenever the moon glows)
keeps dispensing keys all night long
to the beautiful, rowdy, prison gang.
—Hafiz loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An unbending tree
breaks easily.
—Lao Tzu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Little sparks ignite great flames.—Dante, translation by Michael R. Burch

Once fanaticism has gangrened brains
the incurable malady invariably remains.
—Voltaire, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Booksellers laud authors for novel editions
as pimps praise their ****** for exotic positions.
—Thomas Campion, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No wind is favorable to the man who lacks direction.
—Seneca the Younger, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hypocrisy may deceive the most perceptive adult, but the dullest child recognizes and is revolted by it, however ingeniously disguised.
—Leo Tolstoy translation by Michael R. Burch

Just as I select a ship when it's time to travel,
or a house when it's time to change residences,
even so I will choose when it's time to depart from life.
—Seneca, speaking about the right to euthanasia in the first century AD, translation by Michael R. Burch

Improve yourself through others' writings, thus attaining more easily what they acquired through great difficulty.
—Socrates, translation by Michael R. Burch

Fools call wisdom foolishness.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

One true friend is worth ten thousand kin.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

Not to speak one’s mind is slavery.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

I would rather die standing than kneel, a slave.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

Fresh tears are wasted on old griefs.
―Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch



Native American Proverb
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Before you judge
a man for his sins
be sure to trudge
many moons in his moccasins.



Native American Proverb
by Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues.



Native American Proverb
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us walk respectfully here
among earth's creatures, great and small,
remembering, our footsteps light,
that one wise God created all.



The Least of These...

What you
do
to
the refugee
you
do
unto
Me!
—Jesus Christ, translation/paraphrase by Michael R. Burch



The Church Gets the Burch Rod

How can the Bible be "infallible" when from Genesis to Revelation slavery is commanded and condoned, but never condemned? —Michael R. Burch

If God
is good
half the Bible
is libel.
—Michael R. Burch

I have my doubts about your God and his "love":
If one screams below, what the hell is "Above"?
—Michael R. Burch

If God has the cattle on a thousand hills,
why does he need my tithes to pay his bills?
—Michael R. Burch

The best tonic for other people's bad ideas is to think for oneself.—Michael R. Burch

Hell hath no fury like a fundamentalist whose God condemned him for having "impure thoughts."—Michael R. Burch

Religion is the difficult process of choosing the least malevolent invisible friends.—Michael R. Burch

Religion is the ****** of the people.—Karl Marx
Religion is the dopiate of the sheeple.—Michael R. Burch

An ideal that cannot be realized is, in the end, just wishful thinking.—Michael R. Burch

God and his "profits" could never agree
on any gospel acceptable to an intelligent flea.
—Michael R. Burch

To fall an inch short of infinity is to fall infinitely short.—Michael R. Burch

Most Christians make God seem like the Devil. Atheists and agnostics at least give him the "benefit of the doubt."—Michael R. Burch

Hell has been hellishly overdone
since Jehovah and his prophets never mentioned it once.
—Michael R. Burch

(Bible scholars agree: the word "hell" has been removed from the Old Testaments of the more accurate modern Bible translations. And the few New Testament verses that mention "hell" are obvious mistranslations.)



If every witty thing that's said were true,
Oscar Wilde, the world would worship You!
—Michael R. Burch
Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
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