The Garden of Hesperides
Epigram derives from the Greek epigramma -- "in-scribed". It is a short meaningful statement or saying that is often insightful and can provoke deep thought. According to the Oxford dictionary, an epigram is "a short poem ending in a witty turn of thought; pointed saying or mode of expression." But to me a definition cannot capture the spirit of something, and this is especially true of epigrams. They have to be experienced to get an appreciation for them. I also think that it takes a certain kind of person to recognize and appreciate the wit, wisdom, and value of an epigram.
One such person is Richard Cruickshanks, to whom this Epigram Page is dedicated. For Cruickshanks, epigrams are irresistible because they are problem-solving in nature. "It is a train of thought that leads to a result." He feels that epigrams are tools "to change the way people look at things," and are aimed more at the heart than the head. I feel this is true in that an epigram opens the door to an issue or subject without limiting or defining it, and invites the reader to take it further. To Cruickshanks, "Epigrams are the result of the philosophy of distilling the human condition," and calls the epigram a "poetic telegram." Here is a short sampling of his epigrams.
If you're looking for more of his writings, he has written book of love poems, My Heart Has But One Wish, which includes many epigrams on the subject of love. Cruickshanks considers Oscar Wilde to have written the quintessential one-liners. I personally feel that epigrams culled from Emerson's and Thoreau's writings can't be surpassed, but that may be just a matter of taste.
Any epigrams to add to this page would be welcome. Please send them here. Enjoy!
To conclude, here are a few jewels contributed by John Drybred:
To see a few more of John's one-liners, pay a visit to his blog
Hesperides | Epigrams | Collection | Emerson | Thoreau
Just for Laughs
Journey to Heaven
Flowers of Peace