A PLACE OF BEAUTY
a place of beauty
good place for a butterfly
to land and to feed
Free davidbrucehaiku eBooks (pdfs)
Free eBooks by David Bruce (pdfs)
A PLACE OF BEAUTY
a place of beauty
good place for a butterfly
to land and to feed
Free davidbrucehaiku eBooks (pdfs)
Free eBooks by David Bruce (pdfs)
Seventh and last ledge
Devoted to purging lust
Least serious sin
NOTE: In the Inferno, the most serious sins are punished in the deeper circles. On the Mountain of Purgatory, the most serious sins are purged on the lower ledges, aka stories. Pride is the worst sin, and lust is the least serious sin.
— 1.5 —
In a room in King Cymbeline’s palace in Britain, the Queen and Doctor Cornelius, who made medicines and poisons from plants, were speaking. Some ladies attended the Queen.
The Queen said, “While the dew is still on the ground, gather those flowers. Be quick. Who has the list of the flowers I need?”
The first lady said, “I do, madam.”
“Go, and hurry,” the Queen said.
The ladies exited to gather the flowers.
The Queen said, “Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs?”
“If it pleases your highness, yes, I have,” Doctor Cornelius replied. “Here they are, madam.”
He gave her a small box and said, “But I beg your grace, without meaning to offend you — my conscience makes me ask you this — why have you commanded me to bring you these most poisonous compounds, which are the causers of a languishing death? Though those compounds work slowly, they are deadly.”
“I wonder, doctor, why you ask me such a question,” the Queen said. “Haven’t I been your pupil for a long time? Haven’t you taught me how to make perfumes? How to distil? How to preserve? Yes, I have been. Our great King himself often asks me for my confections. Having thus far proceeded — unless you think me devilish and engaging in black magic — isn’t it suitable for me to increase my knowledge in areas related to what I already know? I will try the effects of these your compounds on such creatures as we count not worth the hanging, but on no human. I will test the compounds’ vigor and apply antidotes to their poison, and by these experiments I will learn the compounds’ several virtues and effects.”
Doctor Cornelius replied, “Your highness shall from these experiments only make your heart hard. Besides, seeing these effects will be both harmful and infectious. Handling such poisons is dangerous.”
“Oh, settle down,” the Queen said. “Be calm.”
Pisanio, the servant of Posthumus Leonatus and Princess Imogen, entered the room.
The Queen thought, Here comes a flattering rascal. Upon him I will first work. He’s loyal to his master, and he is an enemy to my son.
She asked, “How are you now, Pisanio?”
She then said to Cornelius, “Doctor, your service for this time is ended. Go on your way.”
Doctor Cornelius thought, I suspect you, madam, but you shall do no harm.
Rather than leaving immediately, he watched the Queen interact with Pisanio. He also kept an eye on the box of compounds she was holding.
The Queen said to Pisanio, “Listen, I want to have a word with you.”
They talked quietly.
Doctor Cornelius thought, I do not like her. She thinks she has a box of strange, unnatural, slow-acting poisons. I know her spirit, and I will not trust one of her malice with a poison of such damned nature. Those compounds she has will stupefy and dull the senses for a while. First, probably, she’ll test them on cats and dogs, and then afterwards on higher animals, but there is no danger in the show of death the compounds cause. All that will happen is that the spirit will be locked up for a while and then will revive, refreshed. She will be fooled by a very false and deceptive effect, and I will be all the truer the more I am false to her. By lying to her, I will be a better person.
Noticing that Doctor Cornelius was still present, the Queen said to him, “No further service is needed, doctor, until I send for you.”
He replied, “I humbly take my leave,” and then he exited.
The Queen said to Pisanio, “She still weeps, you say? Don’t you think that in time she will stop crying and follow advice while rejecting the folly she now possesses? Work on her. When you bring me word that she loves my son, I’ll tell you immediately that you are as great as is your master — no, greater, because all his fortunes lie speechless as if they were on a deathbed and his name is at its last gasp. He cannot return to our court, nor can he continue to remain where he is. To shift his place of residence is just to exchange one misery for another, and every day that comes to him is simply another day wasted. What shall you expect if you are dependent on a thing who leans and needs support, who cannot be newly built, and who has no friends, not even as many as are needed to prop him up?”
The Queen dropped the box of compounds, and Pisanio picked it up for her.
The Queen said to him, “You have picked up you know not what, but take it for your labor. It is a thing that I made, which has saved the King’s life five times. I do not know anything that has better medicinal value. Please, take it; it is a down payment on the further good things that I mean to do for you. Tell the mistress you serve, Princess Imogene, how the case stands with her. Tell her to love my son, and tell her that as if it came from your heart. Think what an opportunity this is to change and improve your life. You will still serve Princess Imogen, but in addition my son will take notice of you. I’ll persuade King Cymbeline to give you anything you desire, and I, who have set on you this course of action that shall give you good things, will chiefly and richly reward you for persuading Princess Imogen to love my son. Call my female servants to come to me. Most importantly, think about my words.”
Pisanio exited to get the female servants to come to the Queen.
The Queen thought about Pisanio, He is a sly and loyal knave. He is not one to be diverted from doing his duty to Posthumus Leonatus and to Princess Imogen. He acts as Posthumus’ agent at the court, and he is a constant reminder to Princess Imogen to remain loyal to her marriage vows. I have given him compounds that, if he takes them, shall quite remove from Princess Imogen this chief advocate for her sweetheart. After Pisanio dies of poison, Princess Imogen — unless she changes her mind and loves my son — shall taste the poison, too.
Pisanio returned with the Queen’s attendants.
The Queen said to the attendants, who were carrying the flowers they had gathered, “Good, good. Well done, well done. Take the violets, cowslips, and primroses to my private room.”
She added, “Fare you well, Pisanio. Think about my words.”
The Queen and her dependents exited.
Alone, Pisanio said to himself, “And I shall do so. But when to my good lord I prove untrue, I’ll choke myself. That is all I’ll do for you.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
In 2008, Charlize Theron, 32 years old and an Oscar-winner as Best Actress in the movie Monster, and AnnaSophia Robb, 14 years old and the lead actress in the kids’ movie Because of Winn-Dixie, starred together in the movie Sleepwalking. Normally, actors will study each other’s work before acting together; however, Ms. Robb had seen very few movies starring Ms. Theron. Why? She explains, “My parents won’t let me see them, especially Monster.” Of course, winning an Oscar for Monster was very satisfying for Ms. Theron, especially because it was so hard to get the movie made and to find distribution for it. Ms. Theron says, “There wasn’t one person in this industry who wanted that film made. We had our financiers calling us at 3 a.m. and asking us what the hell we were doing. They didn’t like the way I looked [the beautiful Ms. Theron put on weight for the movie and looked ugly], and they wondered who would want to see this movie. When we finished, we couldn’t pay a distributor to take it. We were hours away from signing a straight-to-video deal with Blockbuster when we found a distributor. For that reason alone, the Oscar was especially sweet.”
At one time, film producer Harvey Weinstein tried to convince Barbra Streisand to star in the movie version of Chicago, which was to be directed by Anthony Minghella, who had just directed The English Patient. Always a straight talker, Ms. Streisand told Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Minghella over dinner that The English Patient was “overlong and overpraised.” Later, of course, The English Patient was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won nine, including Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. At the Academy Awards, Ms. Streisand was seated directly behind Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Minghella. As The English Patient won Oscar after Oscar, Ms. Streisand was a good sport, patting Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Minghella on the back and laughing at her critical appraisal of The English Patient. Mr. Minghella even told Mr. Weinstein about Ms. Streisand, “She ended up being our good luck charm.”
A couple of mishaps occurred when Betsy Byars accepted the Newbery Medal for her book The Summer of the Swans. Her favorite dessert, blueberry cheesecake, was served at the ceremony, but before she gave her speech she was so nervous that she couldn’t eat any of it. Near the end of her speech, she started to think about the cheesecake and she started to read her speech more quickly. Unfortunately, when she was finished with her speech and she went to the dessert table, all of her favorite dessert was gone. In addition, a couple of teenage boys wearing pageboy costumes and carrying banners led the VIPs to their seats of honor at the beginning of the ceremony. Ms. Byars was pleased by this, but she heard one of the teenage boys say to the other teenage boy, “I could just kill my mom for making me do this.”
A famous scene in the movie Jerry Maguire, starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding, Jr., occurs when Mr. Gooding’s character, a football player, makes Mr. Cruise’s title character, a sports agent, jump through a few hoops before he allows Jerry Maguire to continue to represent him. One hoop is to shout “Show me the money!” like he meant it. Jerry does that, and he gets to continue to represent Mr. Gooding’s character. Mr. Cruise was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor, and Mr. Gooding was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. After learning about the nominations, they got together on the telephone and shouted. Mr. Gooding says, “We screamed at each other for ten minutes. It was nothing intelligent, just ‘Arrrggghhh! Ahhh! Yeaaahhh!’ I yelled. He yelled. Then he went hoarse.”
Actress Angelina Jolie has the respect of people in the movie industry. In 2000, when she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Girl, Interrupted, she was making a movie titled Original Sin in Mexico. After flying back to the movie location following the Academy Awards, she was asleep when suddenly a mariachi band started playing outside her trailer. She went outside, where the cast and crew of Original Sin greeted her. Each member of the cast and crew gave her a rose—she ended up with almost 200 roses! Many of the crewmembers, including director Michael Cristofer, had worked with her before in the television movie Gia, and they were ecstatic that she had won an Oscar.
Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, gave Gregory Peck, who played Atticus Finch in the movie, a pocket watch that had belonged to A.C. Lee, her father, the model of Atticus. (After the book was published, friends asked A.C. to sign their copies as “Atticus,” which he gladly did.) Mr. Peck was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, and at the Academy Awards, he held that watch. He was still holding it when he won the Oscar, and he made sure to thank Ms. Lee in his acceptance speech.
Shirley Temple became a child star in movies before she learned how to read. So how did she learn her lines? Her mother read her the scripts of her movies at bedtime. In 1934, little Shirley won a miniature Oscar to recognize a major accomplishment: According to Hollywood, she had brought “more happiness to millions of children and millions of grownups than any child of her years in the history of the world.”
The high-quality TV sitcom Taxi won awards even when it had low ratings. After it was canceled, it still won Emmys. When Judd Hirsch, who played Alex Rieger, picked up an Emmy for Best Award in a Comedy Series, he asked, “Don’t they know we’ve been cancelled?”
Tim Conway’s speeches after winning an Emmy are great because he never talks about the Emmy Awards. Once, he thanked all the Tarzana Pitch ’n’ Putt employees and recommended that everyone in the audience play golf there for an evening of relaxation.
When magicians Penn and Teller won an Obie, their theatrical show was so unusual that the presenters of the award didn’t know what to call it. Therefore, they officially gave the award to Penn and Teller for “whatever it is they do.”
No other man, unless it was Doc Hill,
Did more for people in this town than l.
And all the weak, the halt, the improvident
And those who could not pay flocked to me.
I was good-hearted, easy Doctor Meyers.
I was healthy, happy, in comfortable fortune,
Blest with a congenial mate, my children raised,
All wedded, doing well in the world.
And then one night, Minerva, the poetess,
Came to me in her trouble, crying.
I tried to help her out—she died—
They indicted me, the newspapers disgraced me,
My wife perished of a broken heart.
And pneumonia finished me.
HE protested all his life long
The newspapers lied about him villainously;
That he was not at fault for Minerva’s fall,
But only tried to help her.
Poor soul so sunk in sin he could not see
That even trying to help her, as he called it,
He had broken the law human and divine.
Passers by, an ancient admonition to you:
If your ways would be ways of pleasantness,
And all your pathways peace,
Love God and keep his commandments.
If you want something to return to the source,
you must first allow it to spread out.
If you want something to weaken,
you must first allow it to become strong.
If you want something to be removed,
you must first allow it to flourish.
If you want to possess something,
you must first give it away.
This is called the subtle understanding
of how things are meant to be.
The soft and pliable overcomes the hard and inflexible.
Just as fish remain hidden in deep waters,
it is best to keep weapons out of sight.
Tao Te Ching
A translation for the public domain by j.h.mcdonald, 1996
A Fox was boasting to a Cat of its clever devices for escaping its enemies. ‘I have a whole bag of tricks,’ he said, ‘which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies.’
‘I have only one,’ said the Cat; ‘but I can generally manage with that.’ Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the Cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the boughs.
‘This is my plan,’ said the Cat. ‘What are you going to do?’ The Fox thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was debating, the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last the Fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen. Miss Puss, who had been looking on, said:
‘Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon.’