Wise Words with Bruce Wise


 

An Earthquake on the Border of Iraq and Iran
by Abdul Serecewi

At least five hundred people died in Sunday’s earthquake jar,
upon the border of Iraq/Iran near Halabja.
The epicentre was southeast of Sulaymaniyah;
a 7.3 magnitude hit western Kermanshah.
In Baghdad, cars came to a standstill, as tall buildings swayed;
at first some thought that an explosion had just taken place.
In Tehran, state TV reported thousands injured, and
the aftershocks were felt nearby and all across Iran.
In Sarpol-e-Zahab, some blamed destruction on deathtraps
from government corruption; many newer blocks collapsed.
The earthquake’s strike was felt as far away as Turkey, plus
Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Abdul Serecewi is a poet who stands in awe of the Stans, and whose poems range geographically from Armenia to Kazakhstan, from Iraq to Afghanistan, from Pakistan to Turkmenistan, from Iraq to Uzbekistan, from Azerbaijan to Kyrgyzstan, and historically from the ancient Persian Empire to modern Iran.

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Astronomers Date Sappho Poem
by Esiad L. Werecub

Astronomers and physicists have used advanced software
to date the lyric poet Sappho’s undisturbed despair,
back in 570 BC on Lesbos rocky isle,
her sad and haunting, lonely lines: I wonder, would she smile?
The moon had set back then, as had the starry Pleiades;
they left her in the darkness, on her couch and ill at ease.
At midnight, time was passing by, and she lay all alone;
nobody there to sense or hear her uncomplaining moan.
Did these researchers, furthermore, detect, the residue
of quiet resignation in the metred lines construed?

 

Esiad L. Werecub is a poet fond of ancient Greece.

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Tim Berners-Lee
by Esca Webuilder

Tim Berners-Lee, on August 6th, twenty-six years ago,
created Earth’s first website, basic, linked, text page—Hello!
He launched it from his NeXT computer at Geneva’s CERN.
He wanted there to be a place where everyone could learn,
where people could share information all across the globe;
the World Wide Web was on its way to open, public probe.
Search engines, social networking, and on-line shopping sites
exploded in the interim, as if just overnight.
Now interactive screens appear, new codes and languages;
sometimes the best things can come in the smallest packages.
So unlike Bezos, Gates, or Brin, or Page, or Zuckerberg,
instead, like Jimmy Wales, he gave his best works to the World.

 

Esca Webuilder is a poet of computers and the Internet. He agrees with Jimmy Wales in not allowing Wikipedia to succumb to the Chinese Communist dictatorship, like suck-ups Google and Microsoft have. “Do no evil?” Hmm. Rather “Do some evil to make lots of money.”

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Bizet
by U. Carew Delibes

Bizet enrolled in the Conservatoire when he was nine;
inspired by Guonod, he worked on his melodic line;
Rossini thought he was like Mozart for his virtues; but
his early compositions were ignored, unloved and dumped;
Liszt was amazed to hear Bizet’s sight reading of his work;
his wife was Geneviève Halévy; they’d a son named Jacques;
his early operas were not successful at the time;
the critics panned L’Arlésienne; though some find it sublime.
He thought his op’ra Carmen was a failure at the end;
and then he died at thirty-six, when fame began t’ ascend.

 

U. Carew Delibes, a poet and critic of French music hears in Bizet adumbrations of Debussy.

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“Ladies and Gentlemen”
by Dic Asburee Wel
for Joseph Salemi
“dat ueniam coruis, uexat censura columbas”
—Juvenal, Satire II

“Ladies and gentlemen,” we will no longer use that phrase
on New York City’s subways, so reports the MTA.
This is a pressing issue of the day, as riders know,
not roaming gangs of street thugs who attack those on the go,
not homeless people urinating on the subway seats,
not rats that scuffle in the stations by the walking feet,
not subways breaking down or druggies looking for a hit,
not beggars playing music or the perverts when they spit.
“Ladies and gentlemen” must be excluded from these cars;
for such a phrase will clash with this environment of ours.

 

John Ashbury (1927-2017)
by Dic Asburee Wel
“the most celebrated unclothed emperor in US letters…an invention of academic critics…”
—Mary Karr

Not quite a Parmigianino, his head bigger than
his right hand, but more like a Popeye cartoon figurine,
Ashbury buried his obscurity in spinach leaves,
and won an a)wk(ward word or two from Auden for some trees.
More nebulous than Stevens and more verbose than Webern,
he isolated terms for estimated tax returns.
Experimenting in confusion, fleeing sense for fleece,
he klept a water clock] kleyudra [found in ancient Greece.
The tennis court oath that he took, in ambiguity,
dissolved into a new and witty -C-a-g-e-d- annuity.

 

Dic Asburee Wel is a poet of New York City.

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A Poem’s Language
in memory of Marianne Moore and Archibald MacLeish
by Wilbur Dee Case

Like Langur monkey footprints left on Poon Hill in Nepal,
a poem’s language should be subtle, hardly there at all.
Like letter b in subtle, or the letter e there too,
a poem’s language should be hidden in an airy view.
Like the arriving of a driving, thrusting, bursting force,
a poem’s language should be awesome as it takes its course.
Like lovely rings of beige and yellow barely entered in,
a poem’s language should be pressed forth, and when centered, spin.
Like lofty lifts that softly sift through taut tautologies,
a poem’s language should be dripping with mythology.

Influenced by Movement poets, like Larkin, Wilbur Dee Case is a poet and literary critic of the quiet and the modest, of the not-quite-negligible.

 

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