Now, listen, if you want to know the truth:
The world’s a battleground of claw and tooth.


Spare the Details

Elections, like the spawning of the salmon,
Are something we would rather not examine.


Dutch Courage

Though everyone will vote for whom they like,
Damn few will stick a finger in the dike.


Pound Foolish

Despite his thrift, a dedicated miser,
For all his wealth, is not a penny wiser.


Change of Heart

She loves me; yes, she really does,
Despite the ogre I once was,
For I’ve become a gentle dude,
Uxorious and never rude.


A Distinction without a Difference

Cremation ashes in a stoneware jar,
A banquet for the vulture or the worm:
It’s all the same, no matter which you are,
Once you have passed beyond your natural term.



C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.

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24 Responses

  1. Ryan Watch

    I am inspired and amazed by your epigrams Mr. Anderson, as it opened my mind to further poetic possibilities. I wrote my own epigram immediately after reading yours, and I am looking forward to learning more forms.

    “To the Inventor of Epigrams”
    Whoever invented this form has got a gift
    To turn simple statements into satire and wit.

    • C.B. Anderson

      I don’t know who invented the epigram or even if it had an inventor. Anytime any writer pens a short, witty observation, even if it is part of a larger work, we have an epigram in the making. This practice goes back to at least the classical Greek times, I’m sure. Perhaps Dr. Salemi can point us toward the earliest known epigram. If you want to see a website that specializes in epigrams, then go to The Asses of Parnassus. At least two contributors to this venue here, besides myself (Sally Cook & James Tweedie), have published some work there. They are fun to write, and don’t take up much of one’s time.

      My suggestion to you is to tighten up your rhyme and meter.

      • Ryan Watch

        Thank you for your suggestion Mr. Anderson. I’ll try to improve my rhyme and meter.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Not only are these poems short and witty, but the author has put additional cleverness into the title of each. That makes for distinguished epigrams. Well done!

    • C.B. Anderson

      Thank you, Margaret. You are correct. Some effort went into making the titles apposite and in counterpoint to the subject of the epigram itself. Why bother having titles at all, if not to give some context to the content of the verse?

  3. James A. Tweedie

    To quote Margaret Coats, “Well done,” indeed!

    I like “Pound Foolish” best. As a descendant of Scots I know how to pinch a penny until it bleeds. The epigram suggests so many other possibilities!

    Ezra Pound
    Was quite profound;
    A favorite of scholars.
    Until one day
    While flying in
    To JFK
    He found he’d been
    Converted into Dollars.

    Thanks, C.B., for the fun.

    • C.B. Anderson

      You are very welcome, James. I pleases me more than you can know that I have amused you. I won’t argue with your favorite among my epigrams. And I’ll bet that someone soon will write an epigram about this confluence of interests.

    • C.B. Anderson

      And at least some true, I hope. Clever B. Anderson is not as washed-up as you might think.

  4. David Watt

    Thanks C.B. for these witty snippets of truth. “Pound Foolish” is also my favorite, perhaps because of predominantly Scottish ancestry.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Or perhaps, David, because you possess an inordinate amount of common sense.


    I greatly enjoyed the wit of these poetic epigrams. Your sense of rhyme always amuses and surprises me. “Examine” and “salmon”! Brilliant!

    • C.B. Anderson

      I liked that rhyme too. I wish I could remember how it came to me.

  6. Daniel Kemper

    I liked this one best, “Elections, like the spawning of the salmon,
    Are something we would rather not examine.”

    Made me think of Bismarck saying that there are two things you really don’t want to know how they’re made. One is sausages. The other is laws.

    • C.B. Anderson

      I would rather make my own sausages than monitor an election. That way, I would at least know that the ingredients were wholesome and not tainted in any way.

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    C.B., I love these… especially ‘Change of Heart’. It employs my very favorite word – “uxorious”. Simply delightful!

    • C.B. Anderson

      I promise, Susan, not to tell Mike what your favorite word is, but he probably already knows. Good for him!

  8. Roy E. Peterson

    C.B. I enjoyed your delightful epigrams. I was going to submit some for Valentine’s Day, but thought better of doing so. Here they are:

    By Roy E. Peterson

    From a guy to a girl:

    I think you’re pretty. I think you’re nice.
    I think you’re cute, but no dice.

    You are like a strawberry.
    I think it would be great
    To pick you up and throw you in
    A big vat of chocolate.

    In the swamp where it is dirtier
    I saw some gators I thought prettier.

    How many times? How many days?
    Before you change your cheating ways.

    From either a guy or girl:

    Forget the molasses. Forget the honey.
    I love you for all your money.

    Cupid shot. His arrow broke.
    I’m okay. It was just a poke.

    In my dream I saw the light.
    Something about you is not right.

    Roses are red. Violets are blue.
    Don’t ask me what you’re going to do.

    From a girl to a guy:

    The sun is bright. The moon is yellow.
    I belong to another fellow.

    I kept your umbrella, since we are through.
    I hope that it rains on you.

    Send me flowers, or send me candy,
    For Valentine’s Day would be just dandy.

    You come late and you leave early.
    Could it be there’s another girly?

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Roy, if I may be so bold, it’s because you’ve not employed the word ‘uxorious.’

    • C.B. Anderson

      Don’t be shy, Roy. You never know how things will play around here.

  9. Panagiota Romios Ketzulah2002etzulah2002@ hotmail.com

    Greetings. These are delightful,… thank you.,
    I love the cremation one best!
    How on the mark you are.!

    • C.B. Anderson

      Me too. I think that one comes closest to being an actual poem.

  10. Andrew Benson Brown

    Where pithy lines are carved like marble pillars,
    The vaults of master masons seem like fillers.


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