Wise Words with Bruce Wise

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The Gauze of Sentences and Rhymes
          by Cu Ebide Aswerl

I still recall those happy days, abandoned to time’s tide,
when I would leap in Silver Lake, my hands and legs spread wide.
I loved to jump onto those lily pads, green shiny isles,
where bass fish swished, and flying insects rested on their smiles.
I’d run and try to grasp the sky. I felt so glad and free.
I had not yet achieved the depths of death and misery.
I hardly knew the World. I had no friends or enemies.
I hardly knew much more than flushing through a summer breeze.
But now those days are only memories of distant times;
I only reach them through the gauze of sentences and rhymes.

 

Cu Ebide Aswerl is a poet of leisure and the joy in life.

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On Weibo
          Li “Web Crease” Du

On Weibo, searches for his name result in zero hits.
It is as if he is a man who cannot now exist.
The lightning thunderstorm above Beijing must mark the end
of some heroic figure who in darkness must descend.
An empty chair sits on a rug within a circle’s light.
but it cannot now be discussed—this dark and empty night.
He had no hatred and no enemies, but no one dare
repeat those words, because they were too dangerous to air.
The censors are now out in force; but do not say good-bye.
Light up his eXit and observe his going with a sigh.

 

Li “Web Crease” Du is a poet on China intrigued by the possibilities of the Internet.

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The Woman From the East
          by Dae Wi “Scrub” Lee

High up above the port, she walks alone
among the rocks. The boats travel along.
She watches them pass in the blue-white foam.
She sighs and sings a lovely heart-felt song.
Nobody notices her as she walks.
The rocks are big and grey and hard. She climbs
and steps so carefully. There are no clocks.
She’s out of ev’rybody’s hands, but time’s.
Beyond the city’s filled with people. If
she could, she would escape the anguish in
her heart. She cries out in pain so plaintive-
ly. O, to be in love’s all she’s wishing
for, fishing for anyone at the edge
of her existence. O, where is the bridge?

North Korea’s Fate
          by Dae Wi “Scrub” Lee

Tom Malinowski, an assistant secretary state,
has shared his thoughts on how to deal with North Korea’s fate.
His first important thought is flood the zone with info’s might,
then focus on reunification and human rights,
continue sanctions but don’t cut out North Korean talk,
and strengthen ties with South Korea, forging common stock,
communicate with North Korean figures when one can,
and speak to China of transition to a better plan.
The question is could Tom’s thoughts and the new technology
reign in the raving, mad Kim Jong-un’s bellicosity?

 

Dae Wi “Scrub” Lee is a poet of Korea. His father was a medic in the Korean War.

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June Huh
June HuhJune HuhJune HuhJune HuhJune HuhJune HuhJune HuhJune HuhJune HuhJune Huhby Euclidrew Base

Huh proved, with Eric Katz and Karim Adiprasito,
the Heron-Rota-Welsh Conjecture log concavity.
He did this after proving Read’s Conjecture with insights
he got from Hironaka and devoted days and nights.
Huh at the IAS of Princeton University
is working, teaching and researching with New Jersey’s team;
he obviously learned the lesson well he had been taught
back in Seoul, South Korea, what the joy of learning brought.
Huh has moved on. He left behind the pressing theory of
the nuances of singularity and lofty love.

 

June Huh is a Korean-American mathematician, who first wanted to be a scientific journalist, so he got a BS in astronomy and physics. It wasn’t until after he met elderly Japanese mathematician Heisuke Hironaka, who would hopefully became Huh’s first subject, that he got hooked on mathematics, by that author of “The Joy of Learning.” Hironaka is also noted for proving in 1964 that singularities of algebraic varieties admit resolution in characteristic zero. In 2017 he posted on his website a manuscript that claims to prove the existence of a resolution of singularities in positive characteristic.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics, who received a BS in Mathematics/Computer Science.

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Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
          by Ibe Ware Desu, LC*

  In a choka, back many centuries,
Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
wrote a eulogy for Prince Takechi,
thinking not of us, nor this tomorrow,
but thinking certainly of many things:
of sorrow and dread, of fear and sadness,
those constant couriers that battle brings,
the august palace, lonely and gladless,
the continuity of misery,
and also long stretches of peaceful times,
of tranquility and society,
of distant places and faraway climes,
the plains of Makami and Wazami,
the lands of Asuka and Korea,
the heights of Fuwa, war’s grand tsunami,
decorum est pro patria mori.
  Yet in thinking of these things, though he is
gone, we can, from this place, from this distance,
understand his grief, both pure and honest,
and those warriors of old, of great puissance,
fighters from the East, where the speech of men
sounds as strange as the crowing of roosters.
The attempt to pacify belligerence
is eternal, gets ever new boosters,
youngsters who are certain how to put down
rebellion in a swift, commanding way—
with strength behind a swords and a fierce frown;
that is how order will come in one’s day.
  Following the death of the Emperor
Tenchi in AD 671,
aristocratic forces temporar-
ily place Otomo upon the throne.
Prince Oama gathered troops together
to attack and then defeat Otomo
at Omi, whereupon he became the
next emperor, the Emperor Temmu.
  It was back there that Temmu’s son buckled
his sword to his waist and seized his war bow.
The sound of the drums echoed and rumbled
like crashing thunder. Prince Takechi now
urged on to battle his courageous troops,
the martial sounds confronting the foe’s ears,
as fierce as pouncing tigers when they swoop
down upon their prey, instilling such fears.
And through the ranks the awful music roared,
the stoutest troops trembling in terror.
High overhead the flapping banners soared;
below spread the flow of blood and error.
  The banners that Oama’s son had raised
to the skies appeared like starved flames of fires
snapping crisply about the mass arrayed,
each blazing up in ever higher spires,
like those fires in fields in early spring
that burn away grass withered by winter.
Were some flags in a line? some in a ring?
some on the outside? some at the center?
Wherever they were, they are no longer,
like those warriors below raising their bows.
A myriad bow strings by the strong were
released on the air. Frightful were those,
those arrows, all rising together,
swarming and sounding like a rushing wind
through the trees of winter’s harshest weather,
the ferocious, freezing rain of Jinshin.
O, what a blizzard of death there on high,
the blinding, sharp, and glaring hurt-filled snow,
descending aslant from the cloudy sky.
There’s no safe place for anyone to go.
  The armies clashed against each other’s spines.
And even the enemies of the Prince,
knowing how they must be led to death’s lines,
took courage from despair and did not wince.
Each vied to be the first to face his end,
like birds that strive to reach the tempest tossed,
from which there is no change, and all descend
to find the sun has melted all the frost.
  But from Itsuki came a blasting gust
from Watarai’s direction. The black clouds
the order of the enemies did bust
with impenetrable sun-covered shrouds.
And in that rice-producing land, darkness
reigned supreme. An uneasy peace appeared
amidst the destruction and the starkness,
as if some gross inhuman power neared
and took over field, road, meadow, and mind,
an epidemic of violence, wrath,
all manner of contortion one can find,
along with fate’s irrevocable math.
The forces of discord propelled into
space and time, arriving at a moment
of exhaustion, created the illu-
sion of tranquility, broken foment,
time erasing all of the combatants,
both foe and friend, family and lovers.
Even the reasons lost their importance.
Everything living the dying covers.
  But new blossoms come, mulberry flowers;
and many think that sweet peace will flourish
and the land will prosper for a thousand years.
Yet kindness is not easy to nourish.
And all do not wear white day after day
beneath a brilliant sun that never sets.
Nor are the deep never stricken. They lie
beside the palace gate, though not as pets.
  Perhaps they never leave Haniyasu,
but only shiver, and stare at the night,
or stare at the hard, bare ground, like quails do,
glancing rarely back in the morning light.
  Prince Takechi is lying in state.
And though there were those who would serve the Prince,
they can’t. He lies beyond the palace gate.
Unlike his followers, he will not wince.
Commander Temmu, victor of Jinshin,
has won the war; but he has lost his son.
Many weak-throated cries, like birds in spring,
hover around the somber procession.
But even the deepest heart-felt grief
there present has passed away long ago,
long after the first moments of relief
were borne off from Kudara and foe,
Kudara, whose name, like the Chinese tongue,
sounds as remote as lofty Kinoe,
where one so pure, like white hemp, and so young,
lies. Time has its own way of winnowing.
The Empress Jito and Otomo’s wife,
each one has vanished with her hard sorrow,
as well as the man who shared one brief life,
Kakinomoto no Hitomaro.

 

Ibe Ware Desu, LC [Lieutenant Commander], is a poet of Japan. He draws inspiration from Japanese waka, and court poetry in particular. Among the writers he most admires is Hitomaro.