davidbrucehaiku: WELCOME REST (After Matsuo Bashō)





(After Matsuo Bashō)


Beautiful full moon

So much beauty is tiring

Clouds give welcome rest


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David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s CYMBELINE: A Retelling in Prose — Act 3, Scene 2

— 3.2 —

Pisanio, who had two letters from Posthumus, was reading the one addressed to him.

He said to himself, “What! Imogen accused of adultery? Why didn’t you write about what monster is her accuser? Leonatus! Oh, master! What a strange infection has fallen into your ear! What treacherous Italian, as poisonous-tongued as poisonous-handed, has prevailed on your too ready hearing?”

Italians had a reputation for being talented in the use of poisons.

Pisanio continued, “Imogen disloyal! No! She’s being punished for being honest and loyal and true, and she endures, more like a goddess than a wife, such assaults as would conquer some who are virtuous. Oh, my master! Your mind compared to her mind is now as low as were your fortunes. What! You write that I should murder her! I should do that because of my respect for you and my loyalty to you and my vows to serve you! I? Kill her? I? Spill her blood? If this is what it takes to do good service, then never let me be thought to do good service. How do I look? How can I seem to lack so much humanity that it appears that I would commit the murder that Posthumus Leonatus tells me to commit?”

He read part of the letter out loud, “Do it. The letter that I have sent to her shall convince her to do something that will give you the opportunity to kill her.”

He said, “Oh, damned paper! You are black as the ink that’s on you! Letter, you are a worthless trifle that lacks human feeling and empathy! Letter, are you a confederate for this act of murder, and yet you look so virgin-like on the outside?”

He looked up and said, “Here Imogen comes. I will pretend to be ignorant of what I am commanded to do.”

Imogen walked over and said, “Hello, Pisanio!”

“Madam, here is a letter from my lord.”

“From whom? Your lord? He is my lord and husband: Posthumus Leonatus! Oh, learned indeed would be an astrologer who knew the stars as well as I do my husband’s handwriting. Such an astrologer would reveal the future. You good gods, let what is contained in this letter taste of love, of my lord’s health, of his happiness except for our being apart — let that grieve him. Some griefs are curative; that is one of them because it ministers to love. Let him be happy in everything except our being apart!”

Starting to break the beeswax that sealed — locked the contents of — the letter, she said, “Good wax, by your leave. Blest be you bees that make these locks of counsel! Lovers and men who have made dangerous contracts do not regard letters similarly. A letter can result in a defaulter’s being cast in prison, yet a letter can allow a lover to hold the writing of young Cupid. Please let this letter bear good news, gods!”

She read Posthumus’ letter out loud, “Justice, and the wrath of your father, if he should capture me in his Kingdom, could not be so cruel to me, as you, dearest of creatures, would completely renew and restore me with your eyes.”

Posthumus was writing a deceptive letter, but he could not prevent his anger from showing up in it. The beginning of the letter read, “Justice, and the wrath of your father, if he should capture me in his Kingdom, could not be so cruel to me, as you ….” But then he continued the letter and wrote that Imogen would be able to completely renew and restore him by looking at him.

Imogen continued to read the letter out loud, “Take notice that I am in Wales, at the harbor town Milford Haven. What your own love will advise you to do after reading this, do. So he wishes you all happiness, you who remain loyal to his vow, and he wishes your increasing in love. LEONATUS POSTHUMUS.”

Imogen, who immediately knew that she wanted to go to Wales, and who was so happy that she spoke excitedly and jumbled her thoughts, said, “Oh, for a horse with wings! Do you hear, Pisanio? Posthumus is at Milford Haven. Read this letter, and tell me how far it is to Milford Haven. If a person on ordinary business may plod it in a week, why can’t I glide there in a day? Then, true Pisanio … who longs, like me, to see your lord; who longs … let me amend that … who does not long like me … yet who longs, but in a less longing way … oh, not like me because my longing is beyond beyond … tell me, and speak quickly because the adviser of a lover should fill the holes of hearing … the ears … to the smothering of the sense … how far it is to this same blessed Milford Haven, and as we travel tell me how Wales was made so happy as to inherit such a haven, but first of all tell me how we may steal away from here, and how we shall excuse the gap that we shall make in time, from our going away until our return, but first, tell me how we shall get away from here. But why should we find an excuse for something we have not yet done? We’ll talk about that excuse later. Please, tell me how many scores of miles can we ride between one hour and the next?”

Pisanio replied, “One score between sunrise and sunset, madam, is enough for you.”

Knowing that Posthumus would not be at Milford Haven when they arrived, he thought, And too much, too.

Imogen said, “Why, one who rode to his execution, man, could never go so slowly. I have heard of people betting on horse races, where horses have been nimbler than the sands that run through an hourglass. But this delay is foolery. Go tell my woman servant to feign a sickness. Say that she’ll go home to her father, and immediately provide for me traveling clothes, no costlier than would be suitable for the housewife of a franklin.”

A franklin is a landowner below the rank of gentry.

“Madam, you had better consider carefully what you are doing,” Pisanio said.

“I see the road that is in front of me, man,” Imogen said. “I don’t see what is on the right or what is on the left. The right and the left and what is in the future have a fog around them that I cannot look through. Go now, please, and do what I told you to do. The only accessible path is the one that leads to Milford Haven.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


Edgar Lee Masters: Julia Miller (Spoon River Anthology)

WE quarreled that morning,
For he was sixty-five, and I was thirty,
And I was nervous and heavy with the child
Whose birth I dreaded.
I thought over the last letter written me
By that estranged young soul
Whose betrayal of me I had concealed
By marrying the old man.
Then I took morphine and sat down to read.
Across the blackness that came over my eyes
I see the flickering light of these words even now:
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily
I say unto thee, To-day thou shalt
Be with me in paradise.”


Lao-Tzu #44: Knowing when you have enough avoids dishonor, and knowing when to stop will keep you from danger and bring you a long, happy life.



Which is more important, your honor or your life?

Which is more valuable, your possessions or your person?

Which is more destructive, success or failure?


Because of this, great love extracts a great cost

and true wealth requires greater loss.


Knowing when you have enough avoids dishonor,

and knowing when to stop will keep you from danger

and bring you a long, happy life.


Tao Te Ching

By Lao-Tzu

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



Aesop: The Nurse and the Wolf

‘Be quiet now,’ said an old Nurse to a child sitting on her lap. ‘If you make that noise again, I will throw you to the Wolf.’

Now it chanced that a Wolf was passing close under the window as this was said. So he crouched down by the side of the house and waited. ‘I am in good luck today,’ thought he. ‘It is sure to cry soon, and a daintier morsel I haven’t had for many a long day.’ So he waited, and he waited, and he waited, till at last the child began to cry, and the Wolf came forward before the window, and looked up to the Nurse, wagging his tail. But all the Nurse did was to shut down the window and call for help, and the dogs of the house came rushing out. ‘Ah,’ said the Wolf as he galloped away,

‘Enemies’ promises were made to be broken.’