Wise Words with Bruce Wise

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The Ladybug
          by “Lice Brews” Ueda
          “hane watte/ tentomushi no/ tobi izuru,” splitting wings/ the ladybug/ begins flying
              —Takano Suju (1893-1976)

Kazuyo Saeto and his team from Tokyo have shown
how ladybugs unfold, and fold their wings once they have flown.
With high speed cameras they caught the change from rest to flight,
occurring suddenly within the blinking of an eye.
Researchers then replaced the spotted forewing elytron,
black dots on shiny hue, with a transparent, resin one;
so they could see the flexible, elastic movements spawn
the origami opening and packing going on.
With folding, springy veins, the ladybug, in tiny space,
can fly and land, without checked bag or carry-on suitcase.

“Lice Brews” Ueda is a poet fond of Japanese literature, particularly haiku. His intimate acquaintances include “Clear Dew” Ibuse and “Wired Clues” Abe.

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Astana, Kazahstan
          by Er Aibec Wulsed
          “Astana has in no time mushroomed out of the Eurasian Steppe.”
              —Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Along Astana’s central boulevard, one sees at night,
Song Fountain and Bayterek Tower glittering in light:
pink, yellow, orange, and flourescent green with sparkling white;
the Kazakh City-Capital’s a bright, surprising sight.
Though it’s amidst nowhere and on the edge of the Great Steppe,
here despot Nazarbayev has had built eye-popping pep.
The buildings range from Central Concert Hall, shaped dombra-like,
to the Banana and Gold Egg upon the Tree of Life.
The city’s futuristic and eclectic, polished sheen,
‘Expo’sed at White-Grave, show Astana is astonishing.

 

Er Aibec Wulsed is poet of Kazakhstan. Among his favourite Kazakh writers are Valikanov and the poet Abaǐ. The poet Turmaghanbet Iztileyov, after completing some translations of classical Persian literature into Kazakh, was executed on direction of socialist dictator Joseph Stalin in 1939. Here is an older, 56-syllable prose piece from the cahiers of Er Aibec Wulsde: “In Kazakhstan, the aqïn, to his people a tutor, sings epics in the seven-syllable line called the žïr, and plays the two-stringed lute, the dombïra, or the qobïz, the horsehair-stringed fiddle, related to the Mongol xūr.”

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The Passing of a Chancellor
          by Uwe Carl Diebes

I still remember Helmut Kohl, from the late Seventies,
when I arrived in Heilbronn, in southern Germany.
Then I was in the US Army, Pershing Missile Crew,
and he was up-and-coming, Party Chairman, CDU.
That was the Cold War, Germany, thralled in hostility:
a Western-style government & Eastern tyranny.
And later, he became the Chancellor of unity,
and gave the mark up for the euro opportunity.
He died last Friday, floral tributes, few and far between,
outside a modest bungalow, to mark where he had been.

Uwe Carl Diebes is a poet fascinated by German literature, and has been influenced by such writers as Hölderlin, Heine, Nietzsche, and Hesse. He is likewise an intimate of Ewald E. Eisbruc and Waldeci Erebus. The following poem is his description of “Deutschland”:

Like an enormous titan rising from its alpine south,
its shoulders at the North and Baltic Seas, with Hamlet’s mouth.
Its head raised up to cloudy, arctic Scandanavia,
its waist hemmed in by Gallic pride, checked by Bohemia.
Beneath its armoured tunic, Austria and Switzerland,
are where the mighty German giant takes its forceful stand.
And though it is not all that big in the great scheme of things;
in history, it takes its place on thought’s most godly wings.
Though awkward in respect and somewhat narrow in its eyes,
its vigour is immense compared to many twice its size.

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Public Theater in the Dark
          by Cawb Edius Reel
          “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
              —William Shakespeare

In Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare found in Central Park;
this year “Julius Cae sar” is the play that’s made its mark.
The Donald-Trump-like Caesar has gold locks and wears long ties.
Calpurnia is draped and peals Slovenian reprise.
The poet Cinna is attacked and murdered by the mob;
the whole a rather strange concocted irony kebob;
because the drama shows similitudes to brutal truth,
assassination by the actors, hints of John Wilkes Booth.
The tyrant has become a god, republic overthrown,
and ever-present threat of mob dictatorship is shown.

 

Cawb Edius Reel is a drama and film critic.

Of note are the following lines from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”:
Cinna the Poet: Truly, my name is Cinna.
First Plebian: Tear him to pieces. He’s a conspirator.
Cinna the Poet: I’m Cinna the poet. I’m Cinna the poet.
Fourth Plebian: Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.
Cinna the Poet: I am not Cinna the conspirator.
Fourth Plebian: It is no matter. His name’s Cinna.
                               Pluck but his name out of his heart, and turn him going.

Gaius Helvius Cinna was a neoteric poet who was mistakenly killed at Caesar’s funeral according to several ancient sources. Catullus praised his poem “Zmyrna,” nine harvests and nine winters in the making. Here is a 100-syllable prose piece out of the cahiers of Aedile Cwerbus, a lover of Latin verse:

“Cinna’s Zmyrna, like Gray’s Elegy, took a decade to compose; and now no book contains it. Nobody can decode its recondite lines, less read than German Lit’s Opitz or Lycophron’s Alexandra, containing prophesies of Cassandra; because it has vanished permanently. Only it and its author’s name gently occur occasionally, out of reach, on the sands of time’s ever rolling beach.”