davidbrucehaiku: flowers






blossoms, little girl,

and her decorated skirt:

all these are flowers


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Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge Congregate & Passion

Annette Rochelle Aben

Bunched up pantyhose

Eliciting some anger


Perhaps they can be removed

Nope, I hear “Here Comes the Bride”

©2018 Annette Rochelle Aben


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David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s 2 HENRY VI: A Retelling in Prose — Act 2, Scene 4

— 2.4 —

The Duke of Gloucester and his servingmen stood on a street. They were wearing hooded cloaks that were customarily worn by mourners.

The Duke of Gloucester said, “Thus sometimes the brightest day has a cloud; and after summer always and forevermore succeeds barren winter with its wrathful and nipping cold. So worries and joys abound, as seasons pass quickly.

“Sirs, what’s the time?”

The servants replied, “Ten o’clock, my lord.”

“Ten is the hour that was appointed to me to watch the coming of my punished Duchess. She is scarcely able to endure the flinty streets as she treads on them with her unshod and tender-feeling feet.

“Sweet Nell, your noble mind can ill endure the mean-spirited people gazing on your face with their malicious looks, laughing at your shame. These mean-spirited people formerly followed your proud chariot-wheels when you rode in triumph through the streets.

“But, wait! I think she is coming, and I’ll prepare my tear-stained eyes to see her miseries.”

The Duchess of Gloucester arrived. She was barefoot and wearing a white sheet. In her hand she carried a lit candle. On her back were pinned papers listing the crimes for which she was being punished. With her were Sir John Stanley, the Sheriff, and some officers. Sir John Stanley would take her to the Isle of Man after her public humiliation.

A servant said to the Duke of Gloucester, “If it would please your grace, we’ll take her by force from the Sheriff.”

“No, don’t do that, for your lives; let her pass by,” the Duke of Gloucester said.

Seeing him, the Duchess of Gloucester said, “Did you come, my lord, to see my public shame? Now you do penance, too. Look at how they gaze at you! See how the giddy multitude point, and nod their heads, and throw their eyes on you! Ah, Gloucester, hide yourself from their hateful looks, and, pent up in your private chamber, rue my shame, and ban your enemies — both my and your enemies!”

“Be patient and calm, gentle Nell,” the Duke of Gloucester said. “Forget this grief.”

“Ah, Gloucester, teach me to forget myself!” the Duchess of Gloucester replied. “For while I think I am your married wife and you are a Prince, the Lord Protector of this land, I think I should not thus be led along, wrapped in a white sheet in shame, with papers on my back, and followed by a rabble who rejoice to see my tears and hear my deep-fetched groans. The ruthless flint of the street cuts my tender feet, and when I flinch from the pain, the malicious people laugh and tell me to be careful how I walk.

“Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke? Do you think that I’ll ever look upon the world or count people happy who enjoy the Sun?

“No. Dark shall be my light and night shall be my day; to think upon my nobility shall be my Hell.

“Sometimes I’ll say that I am Duke Humphrey’s wife and he is a Prince and the ruler of the land, yet he so ruled and he was such a Prince that he stood by while I, his forlorn Duchess, was made a spectacle and a pointing-stock to every idle rascal follower.

“But be mild and do not blush at my shame, and do not stir at anything until the axe of death hangs over you, as, surely, it shortly will.

“The Duke of Suffolk, who can do all in all with her, Margaret, who hates you and hates us all, and the Duke of York and impious Cardinal Beaufort, that false priest, have all limed bushes to betray your wings, and, flee however you can, they’ll entangle you — they have set a trap for you.”

Sarcastically, she added, “But don’t be afraid until your foot is snared, and do not seek to prevent your foes from acting.”

“Ah, Nell, stop!” the Duke of Gloucester said. “Your aim is all awry; you are mistaken. I must offend before I can be accused and condemned. And if I had twenty times as many foes, and each of them had twenty times their power, all these could not procure for me any harm as long as I am loyal, true, and crimeless.

“Do you want me to rescue you from this reproach? Why, if I did, your scandal would still not be wiped away, but I would be in danger for the breach of law.

“The thing that can best help you is patience and calmness, gentle Nell. Please, make your heart be patient. These few days’ wonder will be quickly worn away and exhausted.”

A herald arrived and said to the Duke of Gloucester, “I summon your grace to his majesty’s Parliament, which will be held at Bury St. Edmunds the first of this next month.”

The Duke of Gloucester said, “And I was not asked in advance if I consented to attend the Parliament! I am ordered to be there! This is underhanded plotting! Well, I will be there.”

The herald exited.

The Duke of Gloucester said, “My Nell, I take my leave of you, and, master Sheriff, don’t let her penance exceed what the King ordered.”

The Sheriff replied, “If it pleases your grace, here my orders end, and Sir John Stanley is appointed now to take her with him to the Isle of Man.”

The Duke of Gloucester asked, “Must you, Sir John, be the escort of my lady here?”

“So are my orders, may it please your grace,” Sir John Stanley replied.

“Don’t treat her worse because I ask you to treat her well,” the Duke of Gloucester said. “The world may laugh again and look favorably upon me, and I may live to treat you kindly if you treat her kindly, and so, Sir John, farewell!”

The Duchess of Gloucester said, “Are you going, my lord, and without telling me farewell!”

“Witness my tears,” the Duke of Gloucester said. “I cannot stay to speak to you.”

The Duke of Gloucester and his servingmen exited.

The Duchess of Gloucester said, “Have you gone, too? May all comfort go with you! For none abides with me. My joy is death — death, at whose name I often have been afraid because I wished to enjoy this world for eternity.

“Stanley, please, go, and take me away from here. I care not where we go, for I beg no favor. Just convey me where you have been commanded to escort me.”

“Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man,” Sir John Stanley said. “There you will be treated according to your state.”

“That’s bad enough, for I am only a source of shame, a person who deserves reproach. Shall I then be treated reproachfully?”

Sir John Stanley replied, “You will be treated like a Duchess, and like Duke Humphrey’s lady and wife. According to that state, you shall be treated.”

The Duchess of Gloucester said, “Sheriff, farewell, and may you fare better than I fare, although you have been the guide of my walk of shame.”

“It was my duty,” the Sheriff said, “and, madam, pardon me.”

She said, “Yes, yes, farewell, your duty has been discharged.

“Come, Stanley, shall we go?”

Sir John Stanley replied, “Madam, your penance is done, so you will throw off this sheet; we will go to where you can dress yourself for our journey.”

“My shame will not be shifted with my sheet,” the Duchess of Gloucester said. “I can change what I wear, but my shame will hang upon my richest robes and show itself, no matter how I dress.

“Go, lead the way. I long to see my prison.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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David Bruce: Travel Anecdotes

When children’s book author Lois Lowry won the Newbery Medal (which is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished American book published that year in children’s literature) for her book The Giver, she was on a ship traveling in Antarctica and had no one with whom to share the good news. (Ms. Lowry likes to travel alone.) Therefore, she turned to a total stranger and said, “You’ve probably never heard of this, but I just won the Newbery Medal.” Actually, the stranger had heard of the Newbery Medal, which is very famous among librarians: “My goodness,” the stranger said. “I’m the former president of the American Library Association.”

During Prohibition, W.C. Fields and a friend partied long and heartily—and illegally—at a friend’s home on Long Island, leaving with quite a few bottles after having consumed quite a few bottles. They drove and drove, expressing surprise at how long Long Island was. Eventually, they stopped at a hotel. The next morning, Mr. Fields’ friend noticed palm trees outside the window, so he bought a newspaper, then announced to Mr. Fields, “We’re in Ocala, Florida.” Mr. Fields replied, “I always said those Long Island roads were poorly marked.”

When Yoshiko Uchida, author of Journey to Topaz, was a little girl , she and her family sailed to Japan to visit relatives. Unfortunately, almost everyone in her family, including herself, got seasick, and so it was several days before they ventured out of their cabin to eat with the other passengers. The waiters who served their tables were so happy to have a full table of people to wait on that they applauded.

Abraham Lincoln was a plain-spoken man. In Springfield, Illinois, Mr. Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, spoke volumes of eloquence about the beauty and wonder of Niagara Falls, then he asked Mr. Lincoln what had most impressed him about seeing the waterfalls. Mr. Lincoln replied, “The thing that struck me most forcibly when I saw the Falls was, where in the world did all that water come from?”

During World War II, artist Marc Chagall left France to escape the Nazi invasion. He went to the United States, where unfortunately he refused to learn English. For a long time, Mr. Chagall refused to leave France for the United States, in part because of a lack of understanding about the country. In fact, he once asked, “Are there trees and cows in America, too?”

As general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, Edward Johnson sometimes led by having good spirits. Once, when the Met was on tour and leaving Bloomington, Indiana, on a train on a rainy morning with nearly everyone’s spirits low, Mr. Johnson brightened everyone up by going from car to car in the train singing, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.”

Estimating travel times accurately used to be very difficult, as naturalist Charles Darwin found out when he set sail on the Beagle. Robert FitzRoy, Captain of the Beagle, thought that it would take a voyage of two years to mail the coast of South America. The actual time it took for the Beagleto return home again was five years!

While on tour, Merce Cunningham and his dancers stopped one icy winter at a truckstop near Chicago, where they got a map and drew a straight line to their destination—Oregon. A truckdriver, after watching them draw the line, told them, “Are you crazy? The only way you’ll get there is by going south through Arizona.”

When Maria Tallchief joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a 17-year-old, she was untraveled. On her first train trip with the troupe, she spent all of the first night sitting straight up in her seat—because she didn’t know how to make it recline and she didn’t want to ask anyone for help.

Berenice Abbot gave up sculpture to become a photographer—in a big way. While traveling from Berlin to Paris, she discovered that she was standing on the wrong train platform. Because she was in a hurry, she went to the right train platform—leaving behind her one of her huge sculptures.

Being a famous opera singer in the days before quick and easy travel was quite rough. After Ernestine Schumann-Heink came back home in Europe after spending her first year singing in America, her little son Ferdinand asked her, “Is your name Mama?”

In 1947, Australian Harry Scott put an “Out to Lunch” sign on his Sydney door, then he and his wife, Oceana, set off on a here-and-there-about-the-world voyage in a boat that he had built. The trip lasted nine years, but they made it home safely.

Actress Julia Marlowe was capable of great kindness. In 1903, she travelled to Europe, and during the sea voyage she was very concerned about the passengers in steerage. Once, she hired the ship’s band to play for the passengers there.

Early in her career as choreographer, Twyla Tharp wanted to take her dancers on a European tour. Getting plane tickets for the dancers was easy. Ms. Tharp told her dancers, “Call your parents.” The parents bought the plane tickets.

Travelers must often be problem solvers. While traveling in Russia, Betty Clabaugh (the sister of Doris Jadan, wife of tenor Ivan Jadan) knew that she shouldn’t drink the water. Therefore, she brushed her teeth with champagne.

As Josephine Baker was leaving a nightclub in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, a student stabbed himself out of love for her. Later, she remarked, “What I like about Europe is the the excitement. Something new happens every day.”

At the Palace of Westminster, Quintin Hogg was once wearing the resplendent wig and gown of the Lord Chancellor when he saw MP Neil Martin and cried out, “Neil!” A group of nearby American tourists kneeled.

Black people and white people in the United States had better learn to live together. The white people aren’t going back to Europe, and the black people aren’t going back to Africa.

As a boy, jazz giant Duke Ellington had read about the sinking of the Titanic, so when he sailed to Europe the first time, he stayed up all the first night to look out for icebergs.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Edgar Lee Masters: Walter Simmons (Spoon River Anthology)

MY parents thought that I would be
As great as Edison or greater:
For as a boy I made balloons
And wondrous kites and toys with clocks
And little engines with tracks to run on
And telephones of cans and thread.
I played the cornet and painted pictures,
Modeled in clay and took the part
Of the villain in the “Octoroon.”
But then at twenty—one I married
And had to live, and so, to live
I learned the trade of making watches
And kept the jewelry store on the square,
Thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking,—
Not of business, but of the engine
I studied the calculus to build.
And all Spoon River watched and waited
To see it work, but it never worked.
And a few kind souls believed my genius
Was somehow hampered by the store.
It wasn’t true.
The truth was this:
I did not have the brains.