The HyperTexts

Less Heroic Couplets by Michael R. Burch
Less Heroic Couplets: Definition and Examples

Less Heroic Couplets are an invention of the American poet Michael R. Burch. The Less Heroic Couplet (LHC) is a form of light verse that can also be considered light poetry, humorous verse, humorous poetry, nonsense verse and/or doggerel. Burch originally called his nonce form the "not-so-heroic couplet" before settling on "less is more." This was the original definition of the form:

Not-So-Heroic Couplets

In an attempt to demonstrate that all couplets need not be heroic, I have created a new poetic form called the “Not-So-Heroic-Couplet.” I believe poets should abide by truth-in-advertising laws, even in their nonsense verse! The rules for the form are simple and flexible: light verse written in rhyming or near-rhyming couplets, in any meter, with the goal of making readers wince or giggle. Nonsense is preferred, of the wiser variety. Poems about cowardice, laziness, not being especially honorable, and/or shirking one’s duty get extra gold stars. I am dedicating the form to my friend and fellow poet Richard Thomas Moore.

The form was later renamed the "Less Heroic Couplet" and the rules were changed to allow tercets, as explained herein, and eventually also unrhymed free verse couplets when I found myself having a "bad hare-brained" rhyme day.

There is a related form called the Less Heroic Limerick, with a number of variations which include the Leering Learian Limerick and the Fliss-Flossian Limerick, which are explained on the page with definitions and examples.

Here are some examples of the Less Heroic Couplet:

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

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

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

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

As you fall on my sword,
take it up with the LORD!”

the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.

Originally published by Lighten Up Online then in Potcake Chapbook #7

Less Heroic Couplets: Meal Deal

by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

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

Originally published by The HyperTexts

While the primary medium of the less heroic couplet is the rhymed couplet, tercets are allowed since L1 rhymes with L2 which rhymes with L3, creating two rhymed couplets in three lines. For example:

Less Heroic Couplets: Bed Head
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

“Early to bed, early to rise”
makes a man wish some men weren’t so wise
(or at least had the decency to tell pleasing lies).

Less Heroic Couplets: Sex Hex
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

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

Published by Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online and Poem Today

Less Heroic Couplets: Funding Fundamentals
by Michael R. Burch

"I found out that I was a Christian for revenue only and I could not bear the thought of that, it was so ignoble." — Mark Twain

Making sense from nonsense is quite sensible! Suppose
you’re running low on moolah, need some cash to paint your toes ...
Just invent a new religion; claim it saves lost souls from hell;
have the converts write you checks; take major debit cards as well;
take MasterCard and Visa and good-as-gold Amex;
hell, lend and charge them interest, whether payday loan or flex.
Thus out of perfect nonsense, glittery ores of this great mine,
you’ll earn an easy living and your toes will truly shine!

Originally published by Lighten Up Online

"Crop Duster" is an example of the rare Antinatalist Less Heroic Couplet.

Less Heroic Couplets: Crop Duster
by Michael R. Burch

We are dust and to dust we must return ...
but why, then, life’s pointless sojourn?

Less Heroic Couplets: Shady Sadie
by Michael R. Burch

A randy young dandy named Sadie
loves sex, but her horse neighs she’s shady.

The couplet above is based on the limerick below:

Shady Sadie
by Michael R. Burch

A randy young dandy named Sadie
loves sex, but in forms fancied shady.
(I cannot, of course,
involve her poor horse,
but it’s safe to infer she’s no lady!)

The very flexible Less Heroic Couplet is not limited to couplets and tercets:

Less Heroic Couplets: Just Desserts
by Michael R. Burch

“The West Antarctic ice sheet might not need a huge nudge
to budge.”

And if it does budge,
denialist fudge
may force us to trudge
neck-deep in sludge!

NOTE: The first stanza is a quote by paleoclimatologist Jeremy Shakun in Science magazine.

The Bachelor Spectacular
by Michael R. Burch

One heart? Tossed aside.
The other? A bride’s.
In all his great wisdom, the bachelor decides.

Eeenie, mean-ie, mine-y, mo’,
one gal must stay and one must go.
If she hollers? That’s the show!

No heart can handle such despair!
But hearts get broken, hearts repair.
Next season? The treasoned will rule the air.

Originally published by Light

The Unspectacular Bachelor
by Michael R. Burch

The bachelor is back, he’s black,
and some fair-skinned gals sure want him in the sack!
And, yes, he’s a whole lot smarter
than the previous knights of that peculiar garter.

We can hear the white supremacists stewing:
What the hell are the screenwriters doing?
They know love requires a nice white spark,
and this apprentice is far too dark!

Free verse versions of the LHC are allowed, both unrhymed and irregularly rhymed, as long as couplets remain the primary form employed. Slant rhymes are also allowed. For example:

by michael r. burch

u are charming
& disarming,
but mostly alarming
since all my resolve

u are chic
as a sheikh’s
harem girl in the sheets
but my castle’s no longer my own
and my kingdom’s been overthrown!

Untitled Nonsense

There's a bun in auntie's oven;
now soon you'll have a cousin!
Michael R. Burch

Animal Poems

Generation Gap
by Michael R. Burch

A quahog clam, age 405,
said, “Hey, it’s great to be alive!”

I disagreed, not feeling nifty,
babe though I am, just pushing fifty.

Note: A quahog clam found off the coast of Ireland is the longest-lived animal on record, at an estimated age of 405 years.

by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.

by Michael R. Burch

love was a little treble thing—
prone to sing
and sometimes to sting

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
by Michael R. Burch

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ the bees rise in a dizzy circle of two.
Oh, when I’m with you,
I feel like kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ too.

Don’t ever hug a lobster!
by Michael R. Burch

Don’t ever hug a lobster, if you meet one on the street!
If you hug a lobster to your breast, you're apt to lose a teat!
If you hug a lobster lower down, it’ll snip away your privates!
If you hug a lobster higher up, it’ll leave your cheeks with wide vents!
So don’t ever hug a lobster, if you meet one on the street,
But run away and hope your frenzied feet are very fleet!

Nonsense Verse about Writing Nonsense Verse

There is a variation of the limerick called the Less Heroic Limerick (LHL). In order to conform to the rather lax rules of the LHC, the LHL ends in a tercet. For example:

The Heimlich Limerick (II)
by Michael R. Burch

for Tom Merrill

The sanest of poets once wrote:
"Friend, why be a sheep or a goat?
Why follow the leader
or be a blind breeder?"
But he didn't convert a single believer.

"Of Tetley’s and V-2's," or, "Why Not to Bomb the Brits"
by Michael R. Burch

The English are very hospitable,
but tea-less, alas, they grow pitiable ...
or pitiless, rather,
and quite in a lather!
And thus we ask Nazis: "Why bother?"

Pell-Mell for Hell Mel
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a Baptist named Mel
who condemned all non-Christians to hell.
When he stood before God
he felt like a clod
to discover His Love exceeded his rod!

Another variation of the Less Heroic Limerick consists of three rhymed couplets, with L3 and L4 being shorter, as in the common limerick.

Caveat Spender
by Michael R. Burch

It's better not to speculate
"continually" on who is great.
Though relentless awe's
a Célèbre Cause,
please reserve some time for the contemplation
of the perils of EXAGGERATION.

For more examples of the Less Heroic Limerick and its variations, please click here: Less Heroic Limericks.

Getting back to the Less Heroic Couplet...

Less Heroic Couplets: Rejection Slip
by Michael R. Burch

pour Melissa Balmain

Whenever my writing gets rejected,
I always wonder how the rejecter got elected.
Are we exchanging at the same Bourse?
(Excepting present company, of course!)

I consider the term “rejection slip” to be a double entendre. When editors reject my poems, did I slip up, or did they? Is their slip showing, or is mine?

Doggerel about Doggerel

The Board
by Michael R. Burch

Accessible rhyme is never good.
The penalty is understood—
soft titters from dark board rooms where
the businessmen paste on their hair
and, Walter Mitties, woo the Muse
with reprimands of Dr. Seuss.

The best book of the age sold two,
or three, or four (but not to you),
strange copies of the ones before,
misreadings that delight the board.
They sit and clap; their revenues
fall trillions short of Mother Goose.

Humorous Haiku Couplets

Right at my feet!
When did you arrive here, snail?
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I toss in my sleep,
so watch out, cricket!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In a better world
I'd leave you my rice bowl, little fly!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All's well with the world:
another fly's sharing our rice!
―Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cries of the wild geese
spreading rumors about me?
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An enormous frog!
We stare at each other, both petrified.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Skinny frog, hang on ...
Issa to the rescue!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond,
the frog leaps: the silver plop and gurgle of water.
Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The frog returns to its lily pad.
—Michael R. Burch

The Artful Science of the Limerick

Ass-Tronomical I
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
proved E equals MC squared.
all mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my ass debriefs us!

Ass-tronomical II

Relativity, the theorists’ creed,
says all mass increases with speed.
My (m)ass grows when I sit it.
Mr. Einstein, get with it;
equate its deflation, or omit it!
Michael R. Burch

Relative to Whom?
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein’s theory, incredibly silly,
says a relative grows willy-nilly
at speeds close to light.
Well, his relatives might,
but mine grow larger at rest, overnight!

Subversive Poems

These are "sub-versive" poems of mine, pardon the pun:

Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.

I came up with this epigram after reading the Bible from cover to cover at age eleven, and wondering how anyone could call the biblical God "good."

What Would Santa Claus Say
by Michael R. Burch

What would Santa Claus say, I wonder,
about Jesus returning to Kill and Plunder?

For he’ll likely return on Christmas Day
to blow the bad little boys away!

When He flashes like lightning across the skies
and many a homosexual dies,

when the harlots and heretics are ripped asunder,
what will the Easter Bunny think, I wonder?

A Child’s Christmas Prayer of Despair for a Hindu Saint
by Michael R. Burch

Santa Claus, for Christmas, please, . . .
(Santa, please, I’m on my knees!)
. . . Don’t bring me toys, or games, or candy . . .
Just don’t let Jesus torture Gandhi!

Willy Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

for the Demiurge, aka Yahweh/Jehovah

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You made the stallion, you made the filly,
and now they sleep in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You forced them to run all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—life’s a pickle, dilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
They say I should worship you! Oh, really!
They say I should pray so you’ll not act illy.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

The Less Heroic Couplet can have variations, as long as the couplet remains the dominant form. Again, tercets are allowed because L1/L2 constitute a couplet, as do L2/L3.

When I Was Small, I Grew
by Michael R. Burch

When I was small,
God held me in thrall:
Yes, He was my All
but my spirit was crushed.

As I grew older
my passions grew bolder
even as Christ grew colder.
My distraught mother blushed:

what was I thinking,
with feral lust stinking?
If I saw a girl winking
my face, heated, flushed.

“Go see the pastor!”
Mom screamed. A disaster.
I whacked away faster,
hellbound, yet nonplused.

Whips! Chains! Domination!
Sweet, sweet, my Elation!
With each new sensation,
blue blood groinward rushed.

Did God disapprove?
Was Christ not behooved?
At least I was moved
by my hellish lust.

Children's Poems

A True Story
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

Jeremy hit the ball today,
over the fence and far away.
So very, very far away
a neighbor had to toss it back.
(She thought it was an air attack!)

Jeremy hit the ball so hard
it flew across our neighbor’s yard.
So very hard across her yard
the bat that boomed a mighty “THWACK!”
now shows an eensy-teensy crack.

Originally published by TALESetc

The Aery Faery Princess
by Michael R. Burch

for Keira

There once was a princess lighter than fluff
made of such gossamer stuff—
the down of a thistle, butterflies’ wings,
the faintest high note the hummingbird sings,
moonbeams on garlands, strands of bright hair ...
I think she’s just you when you’re floating on air!

Maya's Beddy-Bye Poem
by Michael R. Burch

for Maya McManmon, granddaughter of the poet Jim McManmon aka Seamus Cassidy

With a hatful of stars and a stylish umbrella
and her hand in her Papa’s (that remarkable fella!)
and with Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore in tow,
may she dance in the rain, cheek-to-cheek, toe-to-toe,
till each number’s rehearsed ... My, that last step’s a leap! —
the high flight into bed when it’s past time to sleep!

Note: “Hatful of Stars” is a lovely song and image by Cyndi Lauper.

hey pete
by Michael R. Burch

for Pete Rose

hey pete, it's baseball season and the sun ascends the sky,
encouraging a schoolboy's dreams of winter whizzing by;
go out, go out and catch it, put it in a jar,
set it on a shelf and then you'll be a Superstar.

When I was a boy, Pete Rose was my favorite baseball player; this poem is not a slam at him, but rather an ironic jab at the term "superstar."

Doggerel about Dogs

Dog Daze
by Michael R. Burch

Sweet Oz is a soulful snuggler; he really is one of the best.
Sometimes in bed he snuggles my head, though he mostly just plops on my chest.

I think Oz was made to love from the first ray of light to the dark,
but his great love for me is exceeded (oh gee!) by his Truly Great Passion: to Bark.

Excoriation of a Treat Slave
by Michael R. Burch

I am his Highness’s dog at Kew.
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
—Alexander Pope

We practice our fierce Yapping, for when the treat slaves come
they’ll grant Us our desire. (They really are that dumb!)

They’ll never catch Us napping — our Ears pricked, keen and sharp.
When they step into Our parlor, We’ll leap awake, and Bark.

But one is rather doltish; he doesn’t understand
the meaning of Our savage, imperial, wild Command.

The others are quite docile and bow to Us on cue.
We think the dull one wrote a poem about some Dog from Kew

who never grasped Our secret, whose mind stayed think, and dark.
It’s a question of obedience conveyed by a Lordly Bark.

But as for playing fetch, well, that’s another matter.
We think the dullard’s also as mad as any hatter

and doesn’t grasp his duty to fling Us slobbery balls
which We’d return to him, mincingly, here in Our royal halls.

Donald Trump Less Heroic Limericks aka Slimericks

Viral Donald
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Donald Trump is coronaviral:
his brain's in a downward spiral.
That pale nimbus of hair
proves there's nothing up there
but an empty skull, thick and unfair.

Toupée or Not Toupée, That is the Question
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

There once was a brash billionaire
who couldn't afford decent hair.
Vexed voters agreed:
"We're a nation in need!"
But toupée the price, can we cede?

Toupée or Not Toupée, This is the Answer
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Oh crap, we elected Trump prez!
Now he's Simon: please do what he sez!
'Cause if anyone thinks
And says his "plan" stinks,
He'll wig out 'neath that weird orange fez, the finx!

Stumped and Stomped by Trump
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

There once was a candidate, Trump,
whose message rang clear at the stump:
"Vote for me, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!,
because I am ME,
and everyone else, a chump deportee!"

Humpty Trumpty
by Michael R. Burch

Humpty Trumpty called for a wall.
Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Now all the Grand Wizards and Faux PR men
Can never put Trumpty together again.

15 Seconds
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Our president’s sex life—atrocious!
His "briefings"—bizarre hocus-pocus!
Politics—a shell game!
My brief moment of fame
expired before the boor learned my name.

Trump’s Golden Rule
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Donald Trump is the victim of leaks!
Golden showers are NOT things he seeks!
Though he dearly loves soaking
the women he’s groping,
get real, 'cause he pees ON the meek and the moping!

Is Trump the ANTICHRIST? When the Hebrew prophets spoke of "the Trump of Doom" and a "little horn" were they speaking literally? (For a YUGE slew of 666 connections, see Is Donald Trump the Antichrist?)

Other Political Less Heroic Limericks

As one critic put it, the limerick "is the vehicle of cultivated, unrepressed sexual humor in the English language." But while some experts claim that the only "real" limerick is a bawdy one, the form really took off initially, in terms of popularity, as a vehicle for nonsense verse and children's poems. And the limerick has has frequently been used for political purposes. Here are are three muckraking limericks of mine:

Baked Alaskan

There is a strange yokel so flirty
she makes whores seem icons of purity.
With all her winkin’ and blinkin’
Palin seems to be "thinkin’"—
"Ah culd save th’ free world ’cause ah’m purty an' finkin'!"

Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved

Going Rogue in Rouge

It'll be hard to polish that apple
enough to make her seem palatable.
Though she's sweeter than Snapple
how can my mind grapple
with stupidity so nearly infallible?

Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved

Pls refudiate

“Refudiate” this,
miffed, misunderstood Ms!—
Shakespeare, you’re not
(more like Yoda, but hot).
Your grammar’s atrocious;
Great Poets would know this.

You lack any plan
save to flatten Iran
like some cute Mini-Me
cloned from G. W. B.

Admit it, Ms. Palin!
Stop your winkin’ and wailin’—
only “heroes” like Nero
fiddle sparks at Ground Zero.

Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved

I wrote the last poem above after Sarah Palin compared herself to Shakespeare, who coined new words, rather than admit her mistake when she used "refudiate" in a Tweet rather than "repudiate." The copyright notices above are ironic, as the poems above were written and published before 2012.

The Leering Learian and Fliss-Flossian Limericks

A variation of the Less Heroic Limerick can be created by "cheating." Just graft a word or two onto the tail end of a normal limerick. Interestingly, this nonce nonsense form can look back to the original limericks of Edward Lear, as in the first example below, since Lear repeated one of his rhyming words. I call this variation the Leering Learian Less Heroic Limerick. And because the first such limerick was written for and dedicated to F. F. Teague, the "Fliss" of my poem, and because no other poet to my knowledge has come as close to Mr. Lear as Fliss, I will also dub the new form the Fliss-Flossian Limerick.

Ding Dong ...
by Michael R. Burch

for Fliss

An impertinent bit of sunlight
defeated a goddess, NIGHT.
Hooray!, cried the clover,
Her reign is over!
But she certainly gave us a fright, we clover!

Be very careful what you pray for!
by Michael R. Burch

Now that his T’s been depleted
the Saint is upset, feeling cheated.
His once-fiery lust?
Just a chemical bust:
no “devil” cast out or defeated, we trust.

The Flu Fly Flew
by Michael R. Burch

A fly with the flu foully flew
up my nose—thought I’d die—had to sue!
Was the small villain fined?
An abrupt judge declined
my case, since I’d “failed to achoo” in his mind.

Door Mouse
by Michael R. Burch

I’m sure it’s not good for my heart—
the way it will jump-start
when the mouse scoots the floor
(I try to kill it with the door,
never fast enough, or
fling a haphazard shoe ...
always too slow too)
in the strangest zig-zaggedy fashion
absurdly inconvenient for mashin’,
till our hearts, each maniacally revvin’,
make us both early candidates for heaven.

The Humpback
by Michael R. Burch

The humpback is a gullet equipped with snarky fins.
It has a winning smile: and when it SMILES, it wins
as miles and miles of herring excite its fearsome grins.
So beware, unwary whalers, lest you drown, sans feet and shins!

Hell-Bound Hounds
by Michael R. Burch

We have five dogs and every one’s a sinner!
I swear it’s true—they’ll steal each other’s dinner!

They’ll hump before they’re married. That’s unlawful!
They’ll even screw in public. Eek, so awful!

And when it’s time for treats (don’t gasp!), they’ll beg!
They have no pride! They’ll even hump your leg!

Our oldest Yorkie murdered dear, sweet Olive,
our helpless hamster! None will go to college

or work to pay their room and board, or vets!
When the Devil says, “Pee here!” they all yip, “Let’s!”

And yet they’re sweet and loyal, so I doubt
the Lord will dump them in hell’s dark redoubt . . .

which means there’s hope for you, perhaps for me.
But as for cats? I say, “Best wait and see.”

Menu Venue
by Michael R. Burch

At the passing of the shark
the dolphins cried Hark!;

cute cuttlefish sighed, Gee
there will be a serener sea
to its utmost periphery!

the dogfish barked, so joyously!;
pink porpoises piped Whee!

But ...

Will there be as much glee
when there’s no you and me?

Anti-Vegan Manifesto
by Michael R. Burch

Let us
avoid lettuce,
and also celery!

Rising Fall
by Michael R. Burch

after Keats

Seasons of mellow fruitfulness
collect at last into mist
some brisk wind will dismiss ...

Where, indeed, are the showers of April?
Where, indeed, the bright flowers of May?
But feel no dismay ...

It’s time to make hay!

I believe the closing line was influenced by this remark J. R. R. Tolkien made about the inspiration for his plucky hobbits: “I've always been impressed that we're here surviving because of the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds: jungles, volcanoes, wild beasts ... they struggle on, almost blindly in a way.” Thus, whatever our apprehensions about the coming winter, when autumn falls and fall rises, it’s time to make hay.

How It Goes, Or Doesn’t
by Michael R. Burch

My face is getting craggier.
My pants are getting saggier.
My ear-hair’s getting shaggier.
My wife is getting naggier.
I’m getting old!

My memory’s plumb awful.
My eyesight is unlawful.
I eschew a tofu waffle.
My wife’s an Eiffel eyeful.
I’m getting old!

My temperature is colder.
My molars need more solder.
Soon I’ll need a boulder-holder.
My wife seized up. Unfold her!
I’m getting old!

A More Likely Plot for “Romeo and Juliet”
by Michael R. Burch

Wont to croon
by the light of the moon
on a rickety ladder,
mad as a hatter,
Romeo crashed to the earth in a swoon,
broke his leg,
had to beg,
repented of falling in love too soon.

A nurse, averse
to his seductive verse,
aware of his madness
and familial badness,
felt for the stiletto in her purse.

Meanwhile, Juliet
began to fret
that the roguish poet
(wouldn’t you know it?)
had pledged his “love” because of a bet!

A gang of young thugs
and loutish lugs
had their faces engraved on “wanted” mugs.
They were doomed to fail,
ended up in jail,
became young fascists and cried “Sieg Heil!”

No tickets were sold, no tickets were bought,
because, in the end, it all came to naught.

Exeunt stage left.

Apologies to España
by Michael R. Burch

the reign
in Trump’s brain
falls mainly as mansplain

No Star
by Michael R. Burch

Trump, you're no "star."
Putin made you an American Czar.
Now, if we continue down this dark path you've chosen,
pretty soon we'll be wearing lederhosen.

X-Rated Limericks

This is my randy version of a classic limerick originally published by Arthur Henry Reginald Buller in Punch on Dec. 19, 1923.

An incestuous physicist, Bright,
made love at speeds faster than light.
She had sex one day
in her relative way,
then came on the previous night, now gay!
Michael R. Burch

There once was a girl with small boobs
who would only go out with young rubes,
but their dicks were too small
so she sentenced them all
to kissing her fallopian tubes, at the mall.
Michael R. Burch

There was a young porn star of Ghent
whose get-up just got up and went.
Too sleepy for sex,
her fans became ex-
subscribers, and no checks were sent Fedex.
—Michael R. Burch

Antsy kids of the world, unite!
You don't like facts, so fight!
Call them all “haters,”
those cool, calm debaters,
then your mommies can tuck you in tight. Future waiters.
—Michael R. Burch

Helen Keller
saw more than the stellar-
and the televisioned.
—Michael R. Burch

There once was a camel who loved to hump.
Please get your crude minds out of their slump!
He loved to give rides on his huge, lordly lump!
—Michael R. Burch

Less Heroic Couplets: Shell Game
by Michael R. Burch

I saw a turtle squirtle!
Before you ask, “How fertile?”
The squirt came from its mouth.
Why do your thoughts fly south?

Harem Scare'm
by Michael R. Burch

I wanted to live like a sheik, in a harem.
But I live like a monk without gals ’cause I scare ’em.

Odes to an Enormous Ass
by Michael R. Burch

Trump talks through his rump
at the stump.

His ass is a gas;
it’s as sassy
as an Elephant’s crevasse!

If you see him in a Speedo,
bifocals you will need, oh,
and wide-screen television
to correct eyes’ imprecision.

If you’re ogled by Trump’s hiney,
you’ll be blinded ’cause it’s shiny.
If you’re mooned by his huge buttocks,
best to run before he rut-hops. [*]

On earth there’re weighty things
that can’t take flight with wings:
mountains, seas and giant asses
like Trump’s, though full of gasses.

[*] “rut-hops” is, of course, the scientific term for the mating advances of kangaroos in heat.

On the Horns of a Dilemma (III)
by Michael R. Burch

A wino rhino said, “I know!
I have a horn I cannot blow!
And so,
I’ll watch the lovely spigot flow!

Less Heroic Couplets: Word to the Unwise
by Michael R. Burch

I wanted to be good as gold,
but being good, as I’ve been told,
requires something, discipline,
I simply have no interest in!

A Possible Explanation for the Madness of March Hares
by Michael R. Burch

March hares,
Spring’s a tease, a flirt!
This is yet another late freeze alert.
Better comfort your babies;
the weather has rabies.

Final Ballad of the Unhappy Camper
by Michael R. Burch

I’m low on jizz,
lost my fizz,
out of biz.

Flabby and horny,
morose and mourny,
gals’re scorny.

Friggin’ Low T Hell!
Unable to swell!
"More sleep"? Do tell!

Less Heroic Couplets: Weird Beard
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

C’mon, admit—love’s truly weird:
why does a vagina need a beard?

Should making love produce foul poxes?
What can we make of such paradoxes?

And having made love, what the hell's the point
of ending up with a sore, limp joint?

Who invented love, which we all pursue
like rats in a maze after sniffing glue?

by Michael R. Burch

& astound,
the whole earth ’round,
even if mostly underground.

I wrote the poem above after discovering an article about the aptly-named Wonderwerk Cave in an ancient (March 2016) falling-apart issue of Discover that I rescued from my car. The cave in question lies in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, around 300 miles southwest of the “Cradle of Civilization.” Artifacts discovered in the Wonderwerk Cave appear to be even more ancient than the Cradle’s. According to the article, “The density of stone artifacts in the region is staggering.” The use of fire may now date back as far as 1.8 million years.

The Procrastinator’s Creed
by Michael R. Burch

It’s always, “Tomorrow, I’ll do it.”
Work? I eschew it.
I never collect money I’ve loaned
and the rest of this poem’s been postponed.

by Michael R. Burch

When man is gone
won’t the sun still rise?

Will anyone care
that he isn’t there?

Will the porpoises
lack purpose,

the marigolds

Will the doves and the deer
weep bitter tears?

Or will life continue,
glad to be off his menu?

That Mella Fella
by Michael R. Burch

for John Mella, former editor of LIGHT

There once was a fella
named Mella,
who, if you weren’t funny, would tell ya.
But he was cool, clever, nice,
gave some splendid advice,
and if you were good,
he would sell ya.

One for the Thumb!
by Michael R. Burch

Counting rings, the counters come,
marching to the same sad drum:

“Your GOAT has two, but ours has four!”
“Our GOAT has six, and six is more!”

“One for the thumb! Our GOAT’s the best!”
But Robert Horry’s not impressed.

Jim Loscutoff is trying on
the mantle of the GOAT, anon.

Frank Ramsey laughs himself to tears:
since he won seven in just nine years.

Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Satch Sanders
and Hondo all have eight, ring ganders.

Sam Jones has rings to fill both hands
(that’s ten for all math-challenged fans),
won in twelve years, as truth demands.

Meanwhile, the only GOAT we know,
Bill Russell, has one ... for the toe!

Her Whirlwind Life
by Michael R. Burch

for Tallulah Bankhead

“Never slow down or someone’ll catch up.
Virgins are boring, give me a slut.”

“Male or female, it really don’t matter.
Life is too short to live it in a halter.”

Time Out
by Michael R. Burch

Time is running out,
no doubt.
Time is running out.

I don’t know what the LORD’s about,
since Time is running out, the Lout!,
and leaving me with gas and gout.

I don’t know what the LORD’s about;
still, it does no good to grouse or pout,
since Time is merely running out,
like quail before a native scout.

’Twill do no good to shout or flout:
Time’s running out,
I have no doubt,
though who knows what the LORD’s about?

No need for faith or even doubt,
since Time is merely running out,
like water from a rusty spout
or mucous from a leaky snout.

Yes, Time is merely running out,
and yet I feel inclined to pout
and truth be told, sometimes to doubt
just what the hell the LORD’s about.

Less Heroic Couplets: Clover
by Michael R. Burch

It’ll soon be over

Less Heroic Couplets: Attention Span Gap
by Michael R. Burch

Better not to live, than live too long:
The world prefers a brief poem, a short song.

by Michael R. Burch

Ain’t it funny how trendy
becomes so dead-endy?

Lava lamps and bell bottoms
soon became “never bought ‘ems.”

While that teenage tattoo
soon’ll have wrinkles too.

Invitation to a Spoon
by Michael R. Burch

My kingdom for a spoon!
My kingdom for a spoon!
I love to spoon
as I love to croon
in early June
by the light of the moon
when it's getting as hot as a horse's shoon
while he's shoein' 'n' shooin'!
But why tempt fate,
or procrastinate?
Let’s spoon real soon!

Canada's Response
by Michael R. Burch

Michael Juster
is all bluster.

First release
the geese,
THEN sue for peace!

Bowl-less Fans’ Dilemma
by Michael R. Burch

So much talent, yet so many losses!
Do we blame the damned players or fire their bosses?

by Michael R. Burch

The world’s first antinatalist limerick?

Life comes with a terrible catch:
It’s like starting a fire with a match.
Though the flames may delight
In the dark of the night,
In the end what remains from the scratch? Our plight.

Time Out!
by Michael R. Burch

Time is at war with my body!
am i Time’s most diligent hobby?
for there’s never Time out
from my low-t and gout
and my once-brilliant mind has grown stodgy, with doubt!

A Prude Goes Nude
by Michael R. Burch

She wore near-invisible panties
and, my, she looked good in her scanties!
But the real nudists claimed
she was “over-framed.”
Now she’s bare-assed and shocking her aunties, untamed!

Mercedes Benz
by Michael R. Burch

I'd like to do a song of great social and political import. It goes like this:

Oh Donnie, won't you sell me your Mercedes Benz?
My friends screw in Porsches, I must make amends!
Like you, I fucked my partners and now have no friends.
So, Donnie won't you sell me your Mercedes Benz?

Oh Donnie, won't you sell me a sexy import?
You need to pay your lawyers: a tart for a tort!
I’ll await her delivery each day until three.
And Donnie, please throw in Ivanka for free!

Oh, Donnie won't you buy me a night on the town?
I'm counting on you, Don, so don't let me down!
Oh, prove you're a playboy and bring them around.
Oh, Donnie won't you buy me a night on the town?

Oh Donnie, won't you sell me your Mercedes Benz?
My friends screw in Porsches, I must make amends!
Like you, I fucked my partners and now have no friends.
So, Donnie won't you sell me your Mercedes Benz?

Ode to a Pismire
by Michael R. Burch

Drumpf is a sissy: his hair’s in a Fritz.
Drumpf is a missy: he won’t drink Schlitz.
Drumpf’s cobra-hissy though he lives in the Ritz.
Drumpf is so pissy his diaper’s the Shitz.

The Ballade of Large Marge Greene
by Michael R. Burch

is large
and in charge,
like a barge.

Yes, our Marge
is quite large,
like a hefty surcharge.

Like a sarge,
say LaFarge,
apt to over-enlarge
creating dissent before the final discharge.

Bird’s Eye View
Michael R. Burch

So many fantasical inventions,
but what are man’s intentions?

I don’t trust their scooty cars.
And what about their plans for Mars?

Their landfills’ high retentions?
The dodos they fail to mention?

I don’t trust Trump’s “clean coal” cars,
and what the hell are his plans for Mars?


Don't disturb him in his inner sanctum
Or he’ll have another Trumper Tantrum.
—Michael R. Burch

Trump rhymes with chump
lifelong slump
illogical jump
garbage dump
sewage clump
sump pump
dry hump
cancerous lump
malignant bump
unpleasingly plump
slovenly schlump
yuge enormous diaper-clad rump
and someone we voters are going to thump and whump
—Michael R. Burch

Putin's Lootin's
by Michael R. Burch

They’re dropping like flies:
Putin’s “allies.”

Ah, but who gets their funny

Two birds with one stone:
no dissent, buy a drone.

For tyrants the darkest day’s sunny!

by Michael R. Burch

Friends, I admit that I’m often tempted to say what I think about Trump,
but all such thought’s been preempted by the sight of that Yuge Orange Rump!

Mate Check
by Michael R. Burch

The editorial board of the Washington Post is “very worried that American women don’t want to marry Trump supporters.”

Supporting Trump puts a crimp in dating
(not to mention mating).

So, horny dudes, if you’d like to bed
intelligent gals, and possibly wed,

it’s time to jettison that red MAGA cap
and tweet “farewell” to an orange sap.

Squid on the Skids
by Michael R. Burch

Sidney Powell howled in 2020:
“The Kraken will roar through the land of plenty!”

But she recalled the Terror in 2023
with a slippery, slimy, squid-like plea.

The Kraken Cracked
by Michael R. Burch

She’s singing like a canary.
Who says krakens are scary?

Squidney said the election was hacked,
but when all her lies were unpacked,
the crackpot kraken cracked.

Now, with a shrill, high-pitched squeal,
The kraken has cut a deal.

Oh, tell it with jubilation:
the kraken is on probation!

For an expanded bio, circum vitae and career timeline of the author, please click here: Michael R. Burch Expanded Bio.

Michael R. Burch Related Pages: Less Heroic Limericks, Less Heroic Couplets, Early Poems, Rejection Slips, Epigrams and Quotes, Free Love Poems by Michael R. Burch, Romantic Poems by Michael R. Burch, Cowboy Poems by Michael R. Burch

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