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Athenian Epitaphs
by Michael R. Burch

These are epitaphs placed on gravestones and monuments by the ancient Greeks in remembrance of their dead.

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls
in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

Passerby,
Tell the Spartans we lie
Dead at their word,
Obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Now that I am dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones.
Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that nurtured me, that held me;
I take rest at your breast.
—Michael R. Burch, after Erycius

These men earned a crown of imperishable glory,
nor did the maelstrom of death obscure their story.
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

He lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.
—Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon

They observed our fearful fetters, marched to confront the surrounding darkness;
now we extol their excellence. Bravely, they died for us.
—Michael R. Burch, after Mnasalcas

Be ashamed, O mountains and seas: these were men who drew valorous breath.
Assume, like pale chattels, an ashen silence at death.
—Michael R. Burch, after Parmenio

Stripped of her stripling, if asked, she'd confess:
"I am now less than nothingness."
—Michael R. Burch, after Diotimus

Blame not the gale, nor the inhospitable sea-gulf, nor friends' tardiness,
mariner! Just man's foolhardiness.
—Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

Stranger, flee!
But may Fortune grant you all the prosperity
she denied me.
—Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

I am loyal to you, master, even in the grave:
just as you now are death's slave.
—Michael R. Burch, after Dioscorides

Having never earned a penny
nor seen a bridal gown address the floor,
still I lie here with the love of many,
to be the love of yet one more.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Little I knew—a child of five—
of what it means to be alive
and all life's little thrills;
but little also—(I was glad not to know)—
of life's great ills.
—Michael R. Burch, after Lucian

I lie by stark Icarian rocks
and only speak when the sea talks.
Please tell my dear father I gave up the ghost
on the Aegean coast.
—Michael R. Burch, after Theatetus

Everywhere the sea is the sea, the dead are the dead.
What difference to me—where I rest my head?
The sea knows I'm buried.
—Michael R. Burch, after Antipater of Sidon

Pity this boy who was beautiful, but died.
Pity his monument, overlooking this hillside.
Pity the world that bore him, then foolishly survived.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Insatiable Death! I was only a child!
Why did you ****** me away, in my infancy,
from those who would love me?
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Tell Nicagoras that Strymonias
at the setting of the Kids
lost his.
—Michael R. Burch, after Nicaenetus

Now his voice is prisoned in the silent pathways of the night:
his owner's faithful Maltese...
but will he still bark again, on sight?
—Michael R. Burch, after Tymnes

Poor partridge, poor partridge, lately migrated from the rocks;
our cat bit off your unlucky head; my offended heart still balks!
I put you back together again and buried you, so unsightly!
May the dark earth cover you heavily: heavily, not lightly...
so she shan't get at you again!
—Michael R. Burch, after Agathias

Dead as you are, though you lie still as stone,
huntress Lycas, my great Thessalonian hound,
the wild beasts still fear your white bones;
craggy Pelion remembers your valor,
splendid Ossa, the way you would bound
and bay at the moon for its whiteness,
bellowing as below we heard valleys resound.
And how brightly with joy you would canter and run
the strange lonely peaks of high Cithaeron!
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Aeschylus, graybeard, son of Euphorion,
died far away in wheat-bearing Gela;
still, the groves of Marathon may murmur of his valor
and the black-haired Mede, with his mournful clarion.
—Michael R. Burch, after Aeschylus

Not Rocky Trachis,
nor the thirsty herbage of Dryophis,
nor this albescent stone
with its dark blue lettering shielding your white bones,
nor the wild Icarian sea dashing against the steep shingles
of Doliche and Dracanon,
nor the empty earth,
nor anything essential of me since birth,
nor anything now mingles
here with the perplexing absence of you,
with what death forces us to abandon...
—Michael R. Burch, after Euphorion

Though they were steadfast among spears, dark Fate destroyed them
as they defended their native land, rich in sheep;
now Ossa's dust seems all the more woeful, where they now sleep.
—Michael R. Burch, after Aeschylus

Sail on, mariner,
for when we were perishing,
greater ships sailed on.
—Michael R. Burch, after Theodorides

We who left the thunderous surge of the Aegean
of old, now lie here on the mid-plain of Ecbatan:
farewell, dear Athens, nigh to Euboea,
farewell, dear sea!
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

My friend found me here,
a shipwrecked corpse on the beach.
He heaped these strange boulders above me.
Oh, how he would wail
that he "loved" me,
with many bright tears for his own calamitous life!
Now he sleeps with my wife
and flits like a gull in a gale
—beyond reach—
while my broken bones bleach.
—Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus

All this vast sea is his Monument.
Where does he lie—whether heaven, or hell?
Well friend, perhaps when the gulls repent—
they may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

Cloud-capped Geraneia, cruel mountain!
If only you had looked no further than Ister and Scythian
Tanais, had not aided the surge of the Scironian
sea's wild-spurting fountain
filling the dark ravines of snowy Meluriad!
But now he is dead:
a chill corpse in a chillier ocean—moon led—
and only an empty tomb now speaks of the long, windy voyage ahead.
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

His white bones lie shining on some inhospitable shore:
a son lost to his father, his tomb empty; the poor-
est beggars have happier mothers!
—Michael R. Burch, after Damegtus

The light of a single morning
exterminated the sacred offspring of Lysidice.
Nor do the angels sing.
Nor do we seek the gods' advice.
This is the grave of Nicander's lost children.
We weep at its bitter price.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Pluto, delighting in tears,
why did you bring our son, Ariston,
to the laughterless abyss of death?
Why—why? —did the gods grant him breath,
if only for seven years?
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Although I had to leave the sweet sun,
only nineteen—Diogenes, hail! —
beneath the earth, let's have the more fun:
till human desire seems weak and pale.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Once sweetest of the workfellows,
shy teller of tall tales
—fleet Crethis! —who excelled
at every childhood game...
now you sleep among long shadows
where everyone's the same...
—Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus

Passing by, passing by my oft-bewailed pillar,
shudder, my new friend to hear my tragic story:
of how my pyre was lit by the same fiery torch
meant to lead the procession to my nuptials in glory!
O Hymenaeus, why did you did change
my bridal song to a dirge? Strange!
—Michael R. Burch, after Erinna

Suddenly this grave
holds our nightingale speechless;
now she lies here like a stone,
who once was so accomplished
while sunlight illumining dust
proves the gods all reachless,
as our prayers prove them also
unhearing or beseechless.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

I, Homenea, the chattering bright sparrow,
lie here in the hollow of a great affliction,
leaving tears to Atimetus
and all scattered—that great affection.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

Wert thou, O Artemis,
overbusy with thy beast-slaying hounds
when the Beast embraced me?
—Michael R. Burch, after Diodorus of Sardis

A mother only as far as the birth pangs,
my life cut short at the height of life's play:
only eighteen years old, so brief was my day.
—Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

We mourn Polyanthus, whose wife
placed him newly-wedded in an unmarked grave,
having received his luckless corpse
back from the green Aegean wave
that deposited his fleshless skeleton
gruesomely in the harbor of Torone.
—Michael R. Burch, after Phaedimus

Here Saon, son of Dicon, now rests in holy sleep:
say not that the good die, friend, lest gods and mortals weep.
—Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus

Keywords/Tags: translation, epitaph, epitaphs, eulogy, Ancient Greek, epigram, epigrams, death, mrbepi, grave, funeral, spirit, ghost, memorial, tribute, praise
yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #1
by michael r. burch

plagued by the Plague
i plague the goldfish
with my verse

###

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #2
by michael r. burch

sunflowers
hang their heads
embarrassed by their coronas

I wrote this poem after having a sunflower arrangement delivered to my mother, who is in an assisted living center and can’t have visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

###

Homework
by Michael R. Burch

Dim bulb overhead,
my silent companion:
still imitating the noonday sun?

###

Not Saying the World Revolves Around You, But...
by Michael R. Burch

The day’s eyes were blue
until you appeared
and they wept at your beauty.

###

Imperfect Perfection
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

Stormfront
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

Splintering

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

###

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.

###

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.

###

Childless
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

New World Order
by Michael R. Burch

The days of the dandelions dawn ...
soon man will be gone:
lawn fertilizer.

Keywords/Tags: haiku, epigram, epigrams, coronavirus, epidemic, pandemic, plague, mother, child, family, social distancing, life, death, numbers, numbering
Epigrams by Michael R. Burch



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

(Winner of the National Poetry Month Couplet Competition)



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, Poetry Super Highway, Mindful of Poetry, Poets for Humanity, The New Formalist, Angle, Daily Kos, Katutura English, Setu, Genocide Awareness, The Hip Forms, Darfur Awareness Shabbat, Viewing Genocide in Sudan, FreeXpression, Better Than Starbucks, Art Villa, AZquotes, QuoteFancy, QuoteMaster, and WiseFamousQuotes; 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.



Stormfront
by Michael R. Burch

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




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, this poem has been 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, this poem has been translated into Russian, Arabic, Turkish and Macedonian)



*** Hex
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



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 epigram.)



Fahr an' Ice
by Michael R. Burch

(apologies to Robert Frost and Ogden Nash)

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.



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!
Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



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! "




The Whole of Wit
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Published by Shot Glass Journal)



Nun Fun Undone
by Michael R. Burch

Abbesses'
recesses
are not for excesses!

(Published by Brief Poems)



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)



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.




Self-ish
by Michael R. Burch

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




Piecemeal
by Michael R. Burch

And so it begins—the ending.
The narrowing veins, the soft tissues rending.
Your final solution is pending.
(A pale Piggy-Wiggy
will discount your demise as no biggie.)




Liquid Assets
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.



Brief
by Michael R. Burch

Epigram
means cram,
then scram!



To write an epigram, cram.
If you lack wit, scram!
—Michael R. Burch



Fleet Tweet: Apologies to Shakespeare
by Michael R. Burch

A tweet
by any other name
would be as fleet.

@mikerburch (Michael R. Burch)




Fleet Tweet II: Further Apologies to Shakespeare
by 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!

@mikerburch (Michael R. Burch)




Love is either wholly folly,
or fully holy.
—Michael R. Burch



Civility
is the ability
to disagree
agreeably.
—Michael R. Burch




Midnight Stairclimber
by Michael R. Burch

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

(Published by Angelwing and Brief Poems)



Love has the value
of gold, if it's true;
if not, of rue.
—Michael R. Burch




Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick;
Donald Trump speaks loudly and carries a big shtick.
—Michael R. Burch



Nonsense Verse for a Nonsensical White House Resident
by Michael R. Burch

Roses are red,
Daffodils are yellow,
But not half as daffy
As that taffy-colored fellow!




There's no need to rant about Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The cruelty of "civilization" suffices:
our ordinary vices.
—Michael R. Burch



Redefinitions

Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.—Michael R. Burch

Religion: the ties that blind.—Michael R. Burch

Baseball: lots of spittin' mixed with some hittin'.—Michael R. Burch

Love: a temporary insanity curable by marriage.—Michael R. Burch

Insuresurrection: The dead are always with us, and yet they are naught! —Michael R. Burch

Trickle down economics: an especially pungent *******.—Michael R. Burch



Translations

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

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

An unbending tree
breaks easily.
—Lao Tzu, loose translation/interpretation 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

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

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



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.)



Clodhoppers
by Michael R. Burch

If you trust the Christian "god"
you're—like Adumb—a clod.




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



Questionable Credentials
by Michael R. Burch

Poet? Critic? Dilettante?
Do you know what's good, or do you merely flaunt?

(Published by ***** of Parnassus, the first poem in the April 2017 issue)



*******
by Michael R. Burch

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once,
but joy is an illusion to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.



Lines in Favor of Female Muses
by Michael R. Burch

I guess ***** of Parnassus are okay...
But those Lasses of Parnassus? My! Olé!

(Published by ***** of Parnassus)



Meal Deal
by Michael R. Burch

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



Long Division
by Michael R. Burch as Kim Cherub

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



i o u
by mrb

i might have said it
but i didn't

u might have noticed
but u wouldn't

we might have been us
but we couldn't

u might respond
but probably shouldn't




Mate Check
by Michael R. Burch

Love is an ache hearts willingly secure
then break the bank to cure.



Incompatibles
by Michael R. Burch

Reason's treason!
cries the Heart.

Love's insane,
replies the Brain.

(Originally published by Light)




Death is the ultimate finality
of reality.
—Michael R. Burch



Stage Fright
by Michael R. Burch

To be or not to be?
In the end Hamlet
opted for naught.



Grave Oversight
by Michael R. Burch

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



Feathered Fiends
by Michael R. Burch

Fascists of a feather
flock together.



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.



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.



Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

Salzburg.
Seeing Mozart's baby grand piano.
Standing in the presence of sheer incalculable genius.
Grabbing my childish pen to write a poem & challenge the Immortals.
Next stop, the catacombs!



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!




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 other sense.



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.)



I sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle.
—Michael R. Burch



The Editor

A poet may work from sun to sun,
but his editor's work is never done.

The Critic

The editor's work is never done.
The critic adjusts his cummerbund.

The Audience

While the critic adjusts his cummerbund,
the audience exits to mingle and slum.

The Anthologist

As the audience exits to mingle and slum,
the anthologist rules, a pale jury of one.

*

Prose Epigrams

We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it.—Michael R. Burch

When I was being bullied, I had to learn not to judge myself by the opinions of intolerant morons. Then I felt much better.—Michael R. Burch

How can we predict the future, when tomorrow is as uncertain as Trump's next tweet? —Michael R. Burch

Poetry moves the heart as well as the reason.—Michael R. Burch

Poetry is the art of finding the right word at the right time.—Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: epigram, epigrams, short, brief, concise, aphorism, adage, proverb, quote, mrbepi
NOVELTIES
by Thomas Campion
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Booksellers laud authors for novel editions
as pimps praise their ****** for exotic positions.

This is my translation of a Latin epigram by the English poet Thomas Campion. In Campion’s era some English poets continued to write poems in Latin and/or Greek. For instance, John Milton and Andrew Marvell wrote poems in Latin, while Shakespeare was criticized by Ben Jonson, if I remember things correctly, for having “little” Greek and Latin.

Not being “versed” in the senior languages was seen as a deficiency in literary circles back then. Shakespeare was called an “upstart crow” for daring to write “litter-chure” without a proper university degree. How could he properly quote the ancients if he couldn’t read them in their original languages? The Bard of Avon was doomed to failure and obscurity … or perhaps not, since the English language was finally in vogue in England (where for centuries English kings had been unable to read, write or even speak the mother tongue, preferring French, Latin and Greek).

My title is a bit of a pun, because novels were new to the world when they first arrived, and were thus considered by the literary elites to be “novelties” not on par with more serious verse plays. Some of the more popular early novels were “subversive” (pardon the pun) explorations of ****** naughtiness, through characters like Tom Jones, Moll Flanders, et al.

Campion probably didn’t have such campy (enough with the puns, already!) novels in mind when he wrote his epigram, since the more titillating (cease! desist!) ones had yet to arrive. But perhaps he would prove to be a “profit” (I’m udderly hopeless!).

Keywords/Tags: Campion, Latin, translation, epigram, novels, novelties, booksellers, publishers, authors, pimps, ******, prostitutes, prostitution, exotic, positions
Stormfront
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

Childless
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

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.

###

Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

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.

###

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.

###

Here and Hereafter
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

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.

###

Styx
by Michael R. Burch

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

###

honeybee
by Michael R. Burch

love is a little treble thing—
prone to sing
and (sometimes) to sting

###

The Shrinking Season
by Michael R. Burch

With every wearying year
the weight of the winter grows
and while the schoolgirl outgrows
her clothes,
the widow disappears
in hers.

###

brrExit
by Michael R. Burch

what would u give
to simply not exist—
for a painless exit?
he asked himself, uncertain.
then from behind
the hospital room curtain
a patient screamed—
"my life!"

###

briefling
by Michael R. Burch

manishatched,hopsintotheMix,
cavorts,hassex(quick!,spawnanewBro­od!);
then,likeamayfly,he’ssuddenlygone:
plantfood

###

Stage Fright
by Michael R. Burch

To be or not to be?
In the end Hamlet
opted for naught.

###

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.

###

Athenian Epitaphs
by Michael R. Burch

Here he lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.
—Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon

Blame not the gale, or the inhospitable sea-gulf, or friends’ tardiness,
mariner! Just man’s foolhardiness.
—Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.
—Michael R. Burch, after Plato

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls in their high, lonely circuits may tell.
—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

Passerby,
tell the Spartans we lie
here, dead at their word,
obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?
—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Now that I am dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones.
Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that nurtured me, that held me;
I take rest at your breast.
—Michael R. Burch, after Erycius

Keywords/Tags: epigram, epigrams, epitaph, epitaphs, Greek, translation, Greece, life, life and death, grief, mother, mother and child, eulogy, dirge
Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!

###

Sappho, fragment 156
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.

###

Sappho, fragment 47
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks.

###

Sappho, fragment 50
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros, the limb-shatterer,
rattles me,
an irresistible
constrictor.

###

Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.

###

Sappho, fragment 31
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... at the sight of you,
words fail me...

###

Sappho, fragment 24
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... don't you remember, in days bygone...
how we, too, did such things, being young?

###

Sappho, fragment 118
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sing, my sacred tortoiseshell lyre;
come, let my words
accompany your voice.

###

Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.

###

Sappho, fragment 90
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Mother, how can I weave,
so overwhelmed by love?

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Someone, somewhere
will remember us,
I swear!

###

Sappho, unnumbered fragment
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What cannot be swept
aside
must be wept.

###

Sappho, fragment 34
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You are,
of all the unapproachable stars,
by far
the fairest,
the brightest―
possessing the Moon's splendor.

###

Sappho, fragment 34
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Awed by the Moon's splendor,
the stars covered their undistinguished faces.
Even so, we.

###

Sappho, fragment 39
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We're merely mortal women,
it's true;
the Goddesses have no rivals
but You.

###

Sappho, fragment 5
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We're eclipsed here by your presence―
you outshine all the ladies of Lydia
as the bright-haloed moon outsplendors the stars.

###

Sappho, fragment 35
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

With my two small arms, how can I
think to encircle the sky?

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaving your heavenly summit,
I submit
to the mountain,
then plummet.

###

Sappho, fragment 129
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You forget me
or you love another more!
It's over.

###

Sappho, fragment 16
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Warriors on rearing chargers,
columns of infantry,
fleets of warships:
some say these are the dark earth's redeeming visions.
But I say―
the one I desire.

And this makes sense
because she who so vastly surpassed all mortals in beauty
―Helen―
seduced by Aphrodite, led astray by desire,
set sail for distant Troy,
abandoning her celebrated husband,
leaving behind her parents and child!

Her story reminds me of Anactoria,
who has also departed,
and whose lively dancing and lovely face
I would rather see than all the horsemen and war-chariots of the Lydians,
or all their infantry parading in flashing armor.

###

Sappho, fragment 137
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Gold does not rust,
yet my son becomes dust?

###

Sappho, fragment 36
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Vain woman, foolish thing!
Do you base your worth on a ring?

###

Sappho, fragment 113
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No droning bee,
nor even the bearer of honey
for me!

###

Sappho, fragment 113
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Neither the honey
nor the bee
for me!

###

Sappho, fragment 130
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May the gods prolong the night
-"yes, let it last forever! -
as long as you sleep in my sight.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I'm undecided.
My mind? Divided.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unsure as a babe new-born,
My mind is divided, torn.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I don't know what to do:
My mind is divided, two.

###

Sappho, fragment 52
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon has long since set;
the Pleiades are gone;
now half the night is spent,
yet here I lie, alone.

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the bride comes
let her train rejoice!

###

Sappho, fragment 90
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bridegroom,
was there ever a maid
so like a lovely heirloom?

###

Sappho, fragment 19
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You anoint yourself
with the most exquisite perfume.

###

Sappho, fragment 120
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

But I'm no resenter;
I have a childlike heart...

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May your head rest
on the breast
of the tenderest guest.

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is my real desire for maidenhood?

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is there any synergy
in virginity?

###

Sappho, fragment 75
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dica! Do not enter the presence of Goddesses ungarlanded!
First weave sprigs of dill with those delicate hands, if you desire their favor!

###

Sappho, fragment 79
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I cherish extravagance,
intoxicated by Love's celestial splendor.

###

Sappho, fragment 79
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the sensual
as I love the sun's ecstatic brilliance.

###

Sappho, fragment 81
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Assemble now, Muses, leaving golden landscapes!


###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Darling, let me see your face;
unleash your eyes' grace.

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


Turn to me, favor me
with your eyes' acceptance.


###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Look me in the face,
smile,
reveal your eyes' grace...

###

Sappho, fragment 4
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon shone, full
as the virgins ringed Love's altar...

###

Sappho, fragment 11
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You inflame me!

###

Sappho, fragment 11
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

###

You ignite and inflame me...
You melt me.

###

Sappho, fragment 12
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am an acolyte
of wile-weaving
Aphrodite.

###

Sappho, fragment 14
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros
descends from heaven,
discarding his imperial purple mantle.

###

Sappho, fragment 35
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Although you are very dear to me
you must marry a younger filly:
for I'm by far too old for you,
and this old mare's just not that **** silly.

###

Sappho, after Anacreon
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Once more I dive into this fathomless sea,
intoxicated by lust.

###

Sappho, after Menander
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Some say Sappho was the first ardent maiden
goaded by wild emotion
to fling herself from the white-frothed rocks
into this raging ocean
for love of Phaon...
but others reject that premise
and say it was Aphrodite, for love of Adonis.

###

Sappho, fragment 3
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To me that boy seems
blessed by the gods
because he sits beside you,
basking in your brilliant presence.

The sound of your voice roils my heart!
Your laughter? ―bright water, dislodging pebbles

in a chaotic vortex. You **** up my breath!
My heart bucks in my ribs. I can't breathe. I can't speak.

My ******* glow with intense heat;
desire's blush-inducing fires redden my flesh.
My ears seem hollow; they ring emptily.
My tongue is broken and cleaves to its roof.

I sweat profusely. I shiver.
Suddenly, I grow pale
and feel only a second short of dying.
And yet I must endure, somehow,

despite my poverty.

###

Sappho, fragment 93
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You're the sweetest apple reddening on the highest bough,
which the harvesters missed, or forgot―somehow―

or perhaps they just couldn't reach you, then or now.

###

Sappho, fragment 145
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Prometheus the Fire-Bearer
robbed the Gods of their power, and so
brought mankind and himself to woe...
must you repeat his error?

###

Sappho, fragment 159
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May I lead?
Will you follow?
Foolish man!

Ears so hollow,
minds so shallow,
never can!

###

Sappho, fragments 122 & 123
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your voice―
a sweeter liar
than the lyre,
more dearly sold
and bought, than gold.

###

Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She wrapped herself then in
most delicate linen.

###

Sappho, fragment 70
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That rustic girl bewitches your heart?
Hell, her most beguiling art's
hiking the hem of her dress
to ****** you with her ankles' nakedness!

###

Sappho, fragment 94
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Shepherds trample the larkspur
whose petals empurple the heath,
foreshadowing shepherds' grief.

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The softest pallors grace
her lovely face.

###

Sappho, fragment 36
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I yearn for―I burn for―the one I miss!

###

Sappho, fragment 30
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Maidens, keeping vigil all night long,
go make a lovely song,
someday, out of desires you abide
for the violet-petalled bride.

Or better yet―arise, regale!
Go entice the eligible bachelors
so that we shocked elders
can sleep less than love-plagued nightingales!

###

Sappho, fragment 121
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A tender maiden plucking flowers
persuades the knave
to heroically brave
the world's untender hours.

###

Sappho, fragment 68
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lady,
soon you'll lie dead, disregarded;
then imagine how quickly your reputation fades...
you who never gathered the roses of Pieria
must assume your place among the obscure,
uncelebrated shades.

###

Sappho, fragment 137
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Death is evil;
the Gods all agree;
for, had death been good,
the Gods would be mortal
like me.

###

Sappho, fragment 43
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, dear ones,
let us cease our singing:
morning dawns.

###

Sappho, fragment 14
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Today
may
buffeting winds bear
my distress and care
away.

###

Sappho, fragment 15
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Just now I was called,
enthralled,
by the golden-sandalled
dawn...

###

Sappho, fragment 69
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Into the soft arms of the girl I once spurned,
I gladly returned.

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since my paps are dry and my barren womb rests,
let me praise lively girls with violet-sweet *******.

###

Sappho, fragment 1
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Beautiful swift sparrows
rising on whirring wings
flee the dark earth for the sun-bright air...

###

Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The girls of the ripening maidenhead wore garlands.

###

Sappho, fragment 94 & 98
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Listen, my dear;
by the Goddess I swear
that I, too,
(like you)
had to renounce my false frigidity
and surrender my virginity.
My wedding night was not so bad;
you too have nothing to fear, so be glad!
(But then why do I still sometimes think with dread
of my lost maidenhead?)

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bridegroom, rest
on the tender breast
of the maiden you love best.

###

Sappho, fragment 103
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Maidenhead! Maidenhead!
So swiftly departed!
Why have you left us
forever brokenhearted?

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch, after Sappho and Tennyson

I sip the cup of costly death;
I lose my color; I catch my breath
whenever I contemplate your presence,
or absence.

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How can I compete with that ****** man
who fancies himself one of the gods,
impressing you with his "eloquence, "
when just the thought of sitting in your radiant presence,
of hearing your lovely voice and lively laughter,
sets my heart hammering at my breast?
Hell, when I catch just a quick glimpse of you,
I'm left speechless, tongue-tied,
and immediately a blush like a delicate flame reddens my skin.
Then my vision dims with tears,
my ears ring,
I sweat profusely,
and every muscle in my body trembles.
When the blood finally settles,
I grow paler than summer grass,
till in my exhausted madness,
I'm as limp as the dead.
And yet I must risk all, being bereft without you...

###

Sappho, fragments 73 & 74
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They have been very generous with me,
the violet-strewing Muses;
thanks to their gifts
I have become famous.

###

Sappho, fragment 3
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stars ringing the lovely moon
pale to insignificance
when she illuminates the earth
with her magnificence.

###

Sappho, fragment 49
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You have returned!
You did well to not depart
because I pined for you.
Now you have re-lit the torch
I bear for you in my heart,
this flare of Love.
I bless you and bless you and bless you
because we're no longer apart.

###

Sappho, fragment 52
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Yesterday,
you came to my house
to sing for me.

Today,
I come to you
to return the favor.

Talk to me. Do.
Sweet talk,
I love the flavor!

Please send away your maids
and let us share a private heaven-
haven.

###

Sappho, fragment 19
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

There was no dance,
no sacred dalliance,
from which we were absent.

###

Sappho, fragment 20
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... shot through
with innumerable hues...

###

Sappho, fragment 38
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I flutter
after you
like a chick after its mother...

###

Sappho, fragment 30
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stay!
I will lay
out a cushion for you
with plushest pillows...

###

Sappho, fragment 50
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My body descends
and my comfort depends
on your welcoming cushions!

###

Sappho, fragment 133
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Of all the stars the fairest,
Hesperus,
Lead the maiden straight to the bridegroom's bed,
honoring Hera, the goddess of marriage.

###

Sappho, fragment 134
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Selene came to Endymion in the cave,
made love to him as he slept,
then crept away before the sun could prove
its light and warmth the more adept.

###

Sappho, fragment 4
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

"Honestly, I just want to die! "
So she said,
crying heartfelt tears,
inconsolably sad
to leave me.

And she said,
"How deeply we have loved,
we two,
Sappho!
Oh,
I really don't want to go! "

I answered her thus:
"Go, and be happy,
remembering me,
for you know how much I cared for you.
And if you don't remember,
please let me remind you
of all the lovely emotions we felt
as with many wreathes of violets,
roses and crocuses
you sat beside me
adorning your delicate neck.

Once garlands had been fashioned of many woven flowers,
with much expensive myrrh
we anointed our bodies like royalty
on soft couches,
then your tender caresses
fulfilled your desire..."

###

Sappho's Rose
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The rose is...
the ornament of the earth,
the glory of nature,
the archetype of the flowers,
the blush of the meadows,
a lightning flash of beauty.

Keywords/Tags: Sappho, ******, Greek, translation, epigram, epigrams, love, ***, desire, passion, lust
Nun Fun Undone!
by Michael R. Burch

after Richard Moore

Abbesses’
recesses
are not for excesses!

Published by Brief Poems. Keywords/Tags: epigram, humor, light verse, doggerel, nun, fun, undone, abbesses, recesses, excesses
I am a 16RAM program of a telegram whose programmer programmed to deprogram all pogrom to the last gram by the use of an epigram.

In simpler terms, I am a poet.
The full poem is on my page make sure to check it out, it's under the name: "A Toxic Love".
Here is an explication for those who haven't understood: I am the program of a telegram (I write the message ) My programmer (who is god) has programmed me (A debate of determinism and free will) to fight all pogrom (meaning an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group, but here it just stands for HATE)by the use of an epigram which means a short poem ;)

As for why I said a "16RAM" and not 8 or 32 or more or less...Is because I believe that I am mediocre, there are those who OH GOD write waaaay better than me...and those who were not meant for poetry. Anyways thank you for reading :)
Maurice Apr 5
You're like the villain in my own story
as soon as it seems good you reappear,
what was once so close is no longer near.

When I take one step forward, you take two steps back
two steps forward, four steps back
no matter where I go, I'm always trapped.

I stand on these crutches but others stand higher,
while they're looking ahead, I'm looking tired
I guess it's just how we're wired.

We've convinced ourself this is normal
"I'm just stuck in a rut!" but in actuality,
maybe I'm just a nut?
04/5/20
My Epitaph
by Michael R. Burch

Do not weep for me, when I am gone.
I lived, and ate my fill, and gorged on life.
You will not find beneath this glossy stone
the man who sowed and reaped and gathered days
like flowers, well aware they would not keep.
Go lightly then, and leave me to my sleep.

Keywords/Tags: epitaph, epigram, death, grave, stone, marker, nameplate, tombstone, inscription, life, days, flowers, sleep
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