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Michael R Burch Feb 2020
Brief Fling
by Michael R. Burch

“Epigram”
means cram,
then scram!



The Whole of Wit
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas 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)



Feathered Fiends

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

(Winner of the National Poetry Month Couplet Competition)



Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses'
recesses
are not for excesses!

(Originally published by Brief Poems)



Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

(Published by Romantics Quarterly, Poets for Humanity, Daily Kos, Katutura English, Setu, Genocide Awareness, Darfur Awareness Shabbat and Better Than Starbucks; also translated into Czech, Indonesian, Romanian and Turkish)



Childless
by Michael R. Burch

How can she bear her grief?
Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight
of one fallen star.

(Originally published by The HyperTexts)



Stormfront
by Michael R. Burch

Our distance is frightening:
a distance like the abyss between heaven and earth
interrupted by bizarre and terrible lightning.

(Originally published by The HyperTexts)



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.

(Originally published by Angelwing)



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

It's not that every leaf must finally fall,
it's just that we can never catch them all.

(Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea; also translated into Russian, Macedonian, Turkish and Romanian)



Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

If we strip away all the accouterments of war,
perhaps we'll discover what the heart is for.

(Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea; also translated into Arabic, Turkish, Russian and Macedonian)



*** Hex
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Published by ***** of Parnassus and Lighten Up Online)



Styx
by Michael R. Burch

Black waters—deep and dark and still.
All men have passed this way, or will.

(Published by The Raintown Review and Blue Unicorn; also translated into Romanian and published by Petru Dimofte. This is one of my early poems, written as a teenager. I believe it was my first or second epigram.)



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

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

(Originally published by The HyperTexts)



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.

(Originally published by The HyperTexts)



Multiplication, Tabled
or Procreation Inflation
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

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

(Originally published by The HyperTexts)



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.

(Published by Shot Glass Journal and Poem Today)



A Passing Observation about Thinking Outside the Box
by Michael R. Burch

William Blake had no public, and yet he’s still read.
His critics are dead.



A man may attempt to burnish pure gold, but who can think to improve on his mother?—Mahatma Gandhi, translation by Michael R. Burch



Less Heroic Couplets: ****** Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch

“****** most foul!”
cried the mouse to the owl.

“Friend, I’m no sinner;
you’re merely my dinner!”

the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.

(Published by Lighten Up Online and in Potcake Chapbook #7)



**** Brevis, Emendacio Longa
by Michael R. Burch

The Donald may tweet from sun to sun,
but his spellchecker’s work is never done.



a passing question for the Moral Majority
by Michael R. Burch

since GOD created u so gullible
how did u conclude HE’s so lovable?



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



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.

(Originally published by The HyperTexts)



Fahr an’ Ice
by Michael R. Burch

From what I know of death, I’ll side with those
who’d like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker),
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.

(Originally published by Light Quarterly)



Dawn
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth and Laura

Bring your particular strength
to the strange nightmarish fray:
wrap up your cherished ones
in the golden light of day.



Self-ish
by Michael R. Burch

Let's not pretend we "understand" other elves
as long as we remain mysteries to ourselves.



Imperfect Perfection
by Michael R. Burch

You’re too perfect for words—
a problem for a poet.



Expert Advice
by Michael R. Burch

Your ******* are perfect for your lithe, slender body.
Please stop making false comparisons your hobby!



Grave Oversight I
by Michael R. Burch

The dead are always with us,
and yet they are naught!



Grave Oversight II
by Michael R. Burch

for Jim Dunlap, who winked and suggested “not”

The dead are either naught
or naughty, being so sought!



Midnight Stairclimber
by Michael R. Burch

Procreation
is at first great sweaty recreation,
then—long, long after the *** dies—
the source of endless exercise.



Accounting
by Michael R. Burch

And so I have loved you, and so I have lost,
accrued disappointment, ledgered its cost,
debited wisdom, credited pain . . .
My assets remaining are liquid again.



Why the Kid Gloves Came Off
by Michael R. Burch
for Lemuel Ibbotson

It's hard to be a man of taste
in such a waste:
hence the lambaste.



Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It’s true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the bon voyage is hard
and the objections loud.



Biblical Knowledge or “Knowing Coming and Going”
by Michael R. Burch

The wisest man the world has ever seen
had fourscore concubines and threescore queens?
This gives us pause, and so we venture hence—
he “knew” them, wisely, in the wider sense.



Descent
by Michael R. Burch

I have listened to the rain all this morning
and it has a certain gravity,
as if it knows its destination,
perhaps even its particular destiny.
I do not believe mine is to be uplifted,
although I, too, may be flung precipitously
and from a great height.



Reading between the lines
by Michael R. Burch

Who could have read so much, as we?
Having the time, but not the inclination,
TV has become our philosophy,
sheer boredom, our recreation.



Early Warning System

A hairy thick troglodyte, Mary,
squinched dingles excessively airy.
To her family’s deep shame,
their condo became
the first cave to employ a canary!



Untitled
by Michael R. Burch

I sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle.



Snap Shots
by Michael R. Burch

Our daughters must be celibate,
die virgins. We triangulate
their early paths to heaven (for
the martyrs they’ll soon conjugate).

We like to hook a little tail.
We hope there’s decent *** in jail.
Don’t fool with us; our bombs are smart!
(We’ll send the plans, ASAP, e-mail.)

The soul is all that matters; why
hoard gold if it offends the eye?
A pension plan? Don’t make us laugh!
We have your plan for sainthood. (Die.)



Eerie Dearie
by Michael R. Burch

A trembling young auditor, white
as a sheet, like a ghost in the night,
saw his dreams, his career
in a ****!, disappear,
and then, strangely Enronic, his wife.



Gore-dom Boredom
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a candidate, Gore,
whose campaign had become quite a bore.
“He’s much too stiff,”
sighed his publicist,
“but not like his predecessor!”



Translations

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 may ignite great Infernos.—Dante, translation by Michael R. Burch

Love distills the eyes’ desires, love bewitches the heart with its grace.―Euripides, 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

My objective is not to side with the majority, but to escape the ranks of the insane.—Marcus Aurelius, translation by Michael R. Burch

To know what we do know, and to know what we don't, is true knowledge.—Confucius, sometimes incorrectly attributed to Nicolaus Copernicus, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Where our senses fail,
reason must prevail.
—Galileo Galilei, 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

To live without philosophizing is to close one's eyes and never attempt to open them.—René Descartes, 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.



Farewell to Faith I
by Michael R. Burch

What we want is relief
from life’s grief and despair:
what we want’s not “belief”
but just not to be there.



Farewell to Faith II
by Michael R. Burch

Confronted by the awesome thought of death,
to never suffer, and be free of grief,
we wonder: "What’s the use of drawing breath?
Why seek relief
from the bible’s Thief,
who ripped off Eve then offered her a leaf?"



Keywords/Tags: epigram *** procreation accounting fire ice housman bible heaven mrbepi mrbepig mrbepigram

Published as the collection "Epigrams V"
Infinity Jul 2018
Honey you must be
High risk, high return ;)
I've lent you my love
But you'll most likely be a bad debt
I'll have to write off
You've got a high risk of default

You're not a public offer
Won't give me the disclosures I need
Darling you're private debt
And the riskiest type

Babe, you're the riskiest investment
A structured product
Only the most accredited investor

Can afford your risk
Im only a retail consumer
Barely making ends meet

But you're a bad boy
Risky
And I'm nothing, if not risk-seeking
I thought I'd write a silly poem, it's not fully edited and there's a lot of finance terminology here so I hope it's understandable. This was inspired by cheesy/lame accounting pick up lines.
Death-throws Aug 2015
Where does this zero go?
when is it o.k to say yes or no?
my transactions arent lining up
and my expenses have run amuck
and i think my buisness has  gone to ****
i think that i am out of luck
Death-throws Jul 2015
Debits on the left credits on the right
balancing such wastefull transactions
debits on the left credits on  the right
hating myself for youthful actions
debits on the left credits on the right
Who told you about job satisfaction?
Phil Lindsey Jun 2015
An accountant: A number poet. That about sums it up.

— The End —