davidbrucehaiku: title






Your cold corpse is found

A book is in your pocket

What is its title?


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davidbrucehaiku: discovery






Cup filled with water

Leaf falls in, then another

Tea discovery


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davidbrucehaiku: ravens’ perch






No live leaves on branch

— Autumn announces wintry death —

A perch for ravens


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David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s CYMBELINE: A Retelling — Act 2, Scene 2

— 2.2 —

Imogen was in bed, reading, just before bedtime. Iachimo’s chest was in her bedchamber.

Imogen called, “Who’s there? My servant Helen?”

In mythology, Helen was the name of the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta, and she became the cause of the Trojan War after either Paris, a Prince of Troy, kidnapped her or she ran away willing with him. Troy fell when the Greeks created the Trojan Horse, which was hollow and filled with armed Greek soldiers. The Trojans moved the Horse inside the city, and at night the Greek soldiers came out of the Horse and opened the city gates to let in the Greek army.

“I am here, if you please, madam,” Helen said.

“What time is it?”

“Almost midnight, madam.”

“I have read three hours then,” Imogen said. “My eyes are tired. Fold down the leaf where I have stopped reading. I am going to sleep. Do not take away the candle, leave it burning, and if you can awaken by four o’clock, please wake me up. Sleep has entirely overcome me.”

Helen exited.

Imogen prayed, “To your protection I commit myself, gods. Please guard me from malevolent fairies and the tempters of the night.”

She fell asleep, and Iachimo came out of the trunk — the Trojan Horse — where he had hidden himself.

He said quietly to himself, “The crickets sing, and man’s overworked senses repair themselves through rest. I am like our Roman Tarquin, who like me now did softly step on the rushes on the floor before he awakened the chastity he wounded.”

The ancient Roman Sextus Tarquinius had raped Lucretia, an evil act that led to the overthrow of the Roman King and the establishment of a republic. Iachimo did not dare to rape Imogen — such an act would lead to bad consequences for him — but he still wanted to win the bet that he had made with her husband.

Iachimo continued, “Imogen, you are Cytherea — Venus, who was born on the island of Cythera. How splendidly you become your bed, you fresh lily, symbol of purity, for you are whiter than the sheets! I wish that I might touch you! I want only a kiss — just one kiss! Rubies unparagoned, how dearly they do it! Your lips are like rubies, and they kiss each other. It is her breathing that perfumes the chamber. The flame of the candle bows toward her because smoke follows the most beautiful. The candle flame wants to peep under her eyelids, to see the lights — the eyes — they enclose, which are now canopied under these window shutters, which are white and azure laced with blue of Heaven’s own color. Her eyelids are white but have tiny blue veins.

“But let me carry out my plan. I will take note of her bedchamber so that I can describe it to her husband and convince him that I have slept with his wife. I will write everything down. Here are such and such pictures. There is the window. Such is the decoration of her bed. Here is the wall hanging. Here is a carving of figures on the mantle over the fireplace. Why, I see such and such, and the figures act out the contents of a story.

“Ah, but some personal notes about her body would be better evidence than over ten thousand notes about the items in her bedchamber; those personal notes would significantly enrich the inventory that I am writing down.”

He drew the covering away from Imogen’s body and said, “Oh, sleep, you mimic of death, lie heavy upon her! Let her consciousness be like that of an effigy on top of a coffin lying in a chapel! Don’t wake up!”

He began to take off her bracelet, saying, “Come off! Come off!”

It easily slipped off her arm, and he said, “It is as slippery and easy to remove as the Gordian knot was hard to untie!”

The Gordian knot was incredibly intricate, and according to prophecy, whoever was able to untie it would conquer Asia. Alexander the Great “untied” the knot by cutting it with his sword.

Holding the bracelet, Iachimo said, “It is in my possession; and this will be physical evidence that will aid me as I drive her husband to distraction.”

He looked at Imogen’s body and said, “On her left breast is a mole with five spots like the crimson drops in the bottom of a cowslip flower. Here’s a piece of evidence that is stronger than law could ever make. This secret knowledge of her body will force her husband to think that I have picked the lock and taken the treasure of her honor. I need no more evidence. It would not help make my case stronger. Why should I write this piece of evidence down? It is riveted — screwed — to my memory! She has been reading recently the tale of Tereus; here the leaf’s turned down where Philomel gave up.”

Imogen had been reading about Philomel, who was raped by Tereus, her brother-in-law. After raping her, he cut out her tongue to prevent her from telling anyone about the rape. However, she created a tapestry that told the story of the rape.

Iachimo was wrong when he said that Philomel had given up. He was the type of man who believes that it was a rare — perhaps nonexistent, given enough time for the seduction to take place — woman who could not be seduced. Philomel had not given up her chastity; Tereus had forcibly raped her.

Iachimo said, “I have enough evidence. I will go inside the trunk again, and shut its spring — its locking mechanism. Be swift, swift, you dragons of the night, so that dawning may bare the raven’s eye!”

According to a myth, dragons drew the chariot of the Moon. Ravens are birds of omen — they are ominous — and they wake up with the dawn.

Iachimo continued, “I lodge in this trunk in fear. Although Imogen is a Heavenly angel, Hell is here.”

A clock began to strike.

Iachimo counted, “One, two, three. It is time, time for me to go into the trunk!”

He went into the trunk and shut the lid.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


David Bruce: Basketball Anecdotes

NBA star Dikeme Mutombo was born and raised in what used to be known as Zaire, but is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. His first name, “Dikeme,” means “banana.” Mr. Mutombo explains, “When I was little, I was soft. If they sat me up, I fell this way or that.” As you would expect of an NBA center, Mr. Mutombo was tall, even as a child. Once, his local newspaper in Kinshasa took and published a photograph of him, labeling it “The Giraffe of Kinshasa.” This annoyed him. Other things also annoyed him. He got an academic—not athletic—scholarship to Georgetown University. A few weeks after he arrived, some classmates went to his door because they wanted to show him that it had snowed. Of course, Mr. Mutombo was annoyed because they had assumed that people never see snow in Africa. His entire life, he had seen snow on mountains in eastern Congo. Other things amused rather than annoyed him. He often goes on good-will trips in Africa. In Soweto, which is in South Africa, some children gathered around the van he was in and begged him to show them his sneakers, which are frankly gigantic. He stuck his feet out of the window of the van and happily enjoyed the children’s delight. Mr. Mutombo is a kind person who adopted four of the children of his siblings in August of 1995: the son and daughter of a brother who had died, the daughter of another brother who had died, and the son of a sister who was unable to take care of her child.

Jean Little, the author of Little by Little, had major problems with her eyesight. She was cross-eyed with weak eyes, and to read a book — one of her favorite activities — she had to have her face so close to the page that her nose touched it. One day, she planned to attend a basketball game at which some of her friends would play. Unfortunately, some of their players were either away or ill, so they were short handed for the game, meaning that they would lose by default despite being a superior team with superior players. However, Ms. Little volunteered to go on the court as a player since all she had to do was to stand there while the other women actually played the game. When Ms. Little arrived in uniform, the referee actually looked through the rulebook to see if there was a rule against allowing a “blind” player on the court. She couldn’t find any such rule, so Ms. Little was allowed to play. At halftime, her team was ahead, but near the end of the game the score was tied because no one had to guard Ms. Little, who simply stood on the court. However, the ball came directly toward Ms. Little, who grabbed it. Of course, everyone stopped playing because they were wondering what the “blind” woman would do with the ball. One of the players on Ms. Little’s team yelled, “Jean, throw it here.” Ms. Little threw the ball in the direction the voice was coming from, the player on her team grabbed the ball, and shot a last-second shot that went through the hoop. Because of Ms. Little’s assist, her team won the game.

While playing for the Washington Mystics, professional women’s basketball player Chamique “Meek” Holdsclaw wore the number—23—of her favorite men’s professional basketball player: Michael Jordan. However, she did not choose that number because of Mr. Jordan—23 is the number of her favorite psalm. Actually, fans treat her much the same way that they treat Mr. Jordan. After she had won an award, a woman fan jumped on the stage, shook her hand, and said, “I think you are the best player ever!” Asked if that kind of thing happened often to her, Ms. Holdsclaw replied, “Yeah, kind of. But it’s OK.” And when Ms. Holdsclaw’s college team—the Tennessee Lady Vols—met Mr. Jordan, he did not need to be introduced to her—he already knew who she was, and he asked her, “What’s up, Meek?”

NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon was born and raised in Nigeria, and when he came to the United States to play basketball for the University of Houston, he had some adjusting to do. For example, at first he used “whipped cream” and “ice cream” interchangeably. After ordering a bowl of whipped cream one day, he asked his server after his order arrived, “Excuse me, why is my ice cream not cold?” Buying new shoes turned out to be a pleasure for him. In Nigeria at the time, he was unable to buy shoes that were bigger than size 14, and they were very tight on his feet. In the United States, he went to a shoe store and tried on size-14 shoes, then he told the shoe salesperson that he would wear them for a while and then maybe they would fit better. The salesperson said, “Wait,” then showed him a lot of size-15 shoes. They were still tight, so the salesperson showed him a lot of size-16 shoes. Mr. Olajuwon says, “I cannot believe this. It was the first time I wore shoes that felt like that. They felt like I had no shoes on at all.”

In 1982, Gerald Johnson played basketball at Oral Roberts University, but he was only a substitute player who spent most of his time on the bench. One day he was fooling around in the gym and taking shots from half-court when his coach, Mike O’Rourke, told him that he would do better to practice shots that he was much more likely to take in a game. Therefore, Mr. Johnson walked over to the bench, sat down, and shot the basketball at the hoop.

Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics was a trash-talker. Sometimes he would tell a defender in a game, “OK, I’m going to make this one off the backboard. Are you ready?” Bird being Bird, he would make the shot off the backboard, then tell the defender, “Oh, I thought you were ready.” Sometimes, he would also ask the opposing team’s coach during a game, “Can you put somebody in who can check me? He [Bird’s defender] can’t check me.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved



Edgar Lee Masters: Hare Drummer (Spoon River Anthology)

Do the boys and girls still go to Siever’s
For cider, after school, in late September?
Or gather hazel nuts among the thickets
On Aaron Hatfield’s farm when the frosts begin?
For many times with the laughing girls and boys
Played I along the road and over the hills
When the sun was low and the air was cool,
Stopping to club the walnut tree
Standing leafless against a flaming west.
Now, the smell of the autumn smoke,
And the dropping acorns,
And the echoes about the vales
Bring dreams of life.
They hover over me.
They question me:
Where are those laughing comrades?
How many are with me, how many
In the old orchards along the way to Siever’s,
And in the woods that overlook
The quiet water?


Lao-Tzu #38: The great view the small as their source, and the high takes the low as their foundation. Their greatest asset becomes their humility.



The masters of old attained unity with the Tao.

Heaven attained unity and became pure.

The earth attained unity and found peace.

The spirits attained unity so they could minister.

The valleys attained unity that they might be full.

Humanity attained unity that they might flourish.

Their leaders attained unity that they might set the example.

This is the power of unity.


Without unity, the sky becomes filthy.

Without unity, the earth becomes unstable.

Without unity, the spirits become unresponsive and disappear.

Without unity, the valleys become dry as a desert.

Without unity, human kind can’t reproduce and becomes extinct.

Without unity, our leaders become corrupt and fall.


The great view the small as their source,

and the high takes the low as their foundation.

Their greatest asset becomes their humility.

They speak of themselves as orphans and widows,

thus they truly seek humility.

Do not shine like the precious gem,

but be as dull as a common stone.


Tao Te Ching

By Lao-Tzu

A translation for the public domain by j.h.mcdonald, 1996


Aesop: The Man and the Wooden God

In the old days men used to worship stocks and stones and idols, and prayed to them to give them luck. It happened that a Man had often prayed to a wooden idol he had received from his father, but his luck never seemed to change. He prayed and he prayed, but still he remained as unlucky as ever. One day in the greatest rage he went to the Wooden God, and with one blow swept it down from its pedestal. The idol broke in two, and what did he see? An immense number of coins flying all over the place.


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