These lines from the poem of a famous Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev came to mind while we were preparing this post:
Нам не дано предугадать, Как слово наше отзовется,- И нам сочувствие дается, Как нам дается благодать… *
Really, we never know what the last line of a poem will be when we write the first one. Especially when we’re collaborating with you, our Dear Writers and Readers.
And guess what? It’s this very thing that makes the Open Source Poetry feature one of our favourites here on Unbolt Me. We believe it’s one of your favourites too. The overwhelming number of submissions bears this out!
The lines quoted above also serve as a kind of epigraph. They’re strangely relevant to the themes of our newly completed poem, and pose pertinent questions. How often do we regret words that were said? How often do we hurt those closest…
Carpe Diem Dives Into The Classical Literature and asks “is it possible to create haiku, tanka or other form of Japanese poetry from it?”
For this first episode, we have an excerpt of Plato’s “The Republic”:
[…] “I will tell you, Socrates, he said, what my own feeling is. Men of my age flock together; we are birds of a feather, as the old proverb says; and at our meetings the tale of my acquaintance commonly is–I cannot eat, I cannot drink; the pleasures of youth and love are fled away: there was a good time once, but now that is gone, and life is no longer life. Some complain of the slights which are put upon them by relations, and they will tell you sadly of how…
• While touring in America, Emma Calvé arrived in Pittsburgh very tired because of all the singing she had done. Mr. Salignac, with whom she was scheduled to sing that night, was also very tired, and both he and Ms. Calvé felt that they would be unable to give good performances that night. However, before the first act, Ms. Calvé looked at the members of the audience and saw many coal miners with sooty faces. She spoke to Mr. Salignac, and they agreed that despite being exhausted, they would not hold back, but instead would endeavor to give the coal miners, many of whom were probably hearing grand opera for the first time, a magnificent performance. After the opera, Ms. Calvé discovered that many of the coal miners were originally from her own country. They presented her with an enormous wreath and kissed her so many times that her face became as sooty as theirs.
• American soprano Grace Moore became famous in opera, musical comedy, and movies — in opera, she is best known for her Louise, which she studied under Gustave Charpentier. One day, Garbo visited her and her husband at their house in Connecticut in response to an invitation to stay for the weekend. Before Sunday lunch, Ms. Moore asked Garbo and her other guests to sign their names in her guest-book. Garbo disliked giving autographs, so she declined to sign the guest-book. Ms. Moore told her, “If my house is not good enough for you to let others know you have been here, I think you had better leave immediately. I shall have the car ready to take you back to New York in 15 minutes.” Within 15 minutes, Garbo was in the car and headed for New York.
• After Schuyler Chapin became general manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera, he acquired the problems that all opera managers acquire. On the very first Saturday morning of his very first season as general manager, he was faced with three problems. First, Mirella Freni let him know that she would not honor her contract because of “yourInternal Revenue Service.” Second, Tito Gobbi cancelled as Iago because of illness. Third, conductor Erich Leinsdorf demanded another Die Walkure Wotan. Faced with all these problems within the space of 20 minutes, Mr. Chapin closed his door, walked over to his window, and asked himself, “You wantedthis job?”
• Sir Rudolph Bing once said that opera singers do not fit easily into blue jeans. Soprano Rita Hunter once visited Disneyland, where she attempted to get through a turnstile leading out of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Unfortunately, she got stuck. The day was hot, and as she and her family were waiting for a turnstile mechanic to arrive to help her, her daughter bought her an ice cream cone, then bought her another one. As Ms. Hunter was eating the second ice cream cone, she heard a Disney employee tell her daughter, “Jesus, sweetheart, don’t feed her any more or we’ll neverget her out.”
• At the end of the Second World War, Galiano Masini was performing as Cavaradossi in Toscaat the Teatro Verdi. Unfortunately, he struggled vocally for the first two acts, and the audience loudly and persistently criticized him. However, Mr. Masini performed a marvelous “E’ lucevan le stelle” in the final act, and the audience reversed itself and shouted for an encore. Mr. Masini strode to the footlights, glared at the audience, then told them (presumably in Italian), “Up yours!”
• Opera singers go to extremes to avoid colds. In February of 1992, Luciano Pavarotti announced at a press conference in Scotland that he was going on a diet to lose the excess pounds that he had carried around for much of his adult life. All reporters were required to stand behind a line made of white tape so that they would not get close enough to Mr. Pavarotti to give him their germs.
• A rehearsal of The Bartered Bridein Covent Garden with Sir Thomas Beecham went badly, with the maestro making remarks more cutting than the singers deserved. Fortunately, Austrian tenor Richard Tauber came to the rescue of the singers by saying, “I’m sorry, Sir Thomas, but we’ve been singing it wrong for so many years in Prague and Vienna that you can’t expect us to get it right in only one rehearsal.”
• Greek-American soprano Maria Callas suffered terribly from stage fright before giving a performance. Before performances, Ms. Callas used to hold onto the arm of someone in the wings. Her dresser once displayed her arm to Sir John Tooley — it was bruised from the wrist to the elbow. Once, Ms. Callas’ fingernails drew blood from another supporter’s hand.
• The great conductor Arturo Toscanini knew more than music. Once, he became greatly upset by a set design for a scene in Faust. He cried out, “Shame! Shame! This is noElizabethan house. You know nothing! Read Shakespeare! Study Verdi! Then you will know what to do.” He then declined to hold any rehearsals until a new, better set had been built.
• On June 2, 1937, Herr Simon Rosenheck, a fan of English tenor Alfred Piccaver, became overly enthusiastic at a performance of Toscaat the Vienna State Opera and called out loudly, “Bravo!” and “Long live Piccaver!” For this offense, he was arrested and charged a fine. Mr. Piccaver himself paid the fine for him.
• While sailing in the ship Parakoola, opera soprano Marjorie Lawrence practiced singing Elektra. Unfortunately, the sailors were not used to hearing opera. When Ms. Lawrence practiced Elektrafor the first time, the sailors came running to her cabin to see what was wrong with her.
• Italian diva Angelica Catalani once complained about a rug that had been placed on stage, saying that it was not good enough for her to place her feet on. After her complaints, the rug was taken away and thereafter she placed her feet on a rare Italian scarf.
• Jimmy Dorsey was a fabulous musician but not very good at communicating orally. On Bing Crosby’s radio show, Mr. Dorsey once introduced an overweight opera star in this way: “And now we bring you that great opera steer ….”
I must refer you to the great chronicle of Pantagruel for the knowledge of that genealogy and antiquity of race by which Gargantua is come unto us. In it you may understand more at large how the giants were born in this world, and how from them by a direct line issued Gargantua, the father of Pantagruel: and do not take it ill, if for this time I pass by it, although the subject be such, that the oftener it were remembered, the more it would please your worshipful Seniorias; according to which you have the authority of Plato in Philebo and Gorgias; and of Flaccus, who says that there are some kinds of purposes (such as these are without doubt), which, the frequentlier they be repeated, still prove the more delectable.
Would to God everyone had as certain knowledge of his genealogy since the time of the ark of Noah until this age. I think many are at this day emperors, kings, dukes, princes, and popes on the earth, whose extraction is from some porters and pardon-pedlars; as, on the contrary, many are now poor wandering beggars, wretched and miserable, who are descended of the blood and lineage of great kings and emperors, occasioned, as I conceive it, by the transport and revolution of kingdoms and empires, from the Assyrians to the Medes, from the Medes to the Persians, from the Persians to the Macedonians, from the Macedonians to the Romans, from the Romans to the Greeks, from the Greeks to the French.
And to give you some hint concerning myself, who speaks unto you, I cannot think but I am come of the race of some rich king or prince in former times; for never yet saw you any man that had a greater desire to be a king, and to be rich, than I have, and that only that I may make good cheer, do nothing, nor care for anything, and plentifully enrich my friends, and all honest and learned men. But herein do I comfort myself, that in the other world I shall be so, yea and greater too than at this present I dare wish. As for you, with the same or a better conceit consolate yourselves in your distresses, and drink fresh if you can come by it.
To return to our wethers, I say that by the sovereign gift of heaven, the antiquity and genealogy of Gargantua hath been reserved for our use more full and perfect than any other except that of the Messias, whereof I mean not to speak; for it belongs not unto my purpose, and the devils, that is to say, the false accusers and dissembled gospellers, will therein oppose me. This genealogy was found by John Andrew in a meadow, which he had near the pole-arch, under the olive-tree, as you go to Narsay: where, as he was making cast up some ditches, the diggers with their mattocks struck against a great brazen tomb, and unmeasurably long, for they could never find the end thereof, by reason that it entered too far within the sluices of Vienne. Opening this tomb in a certain place thereof, sealed on the top with the mark of a goblet, about which was written in Etrurian letters Hic Bibitur, they found nine flagons set in such order as they use to rank their kyles in Gascony, of which that which was placed in the middle had under it a big, fat, great, grey, pretty, small, mouldy, little pamphlet, smelling stronger, but no better than roses. In that book the said genealogy was found written all at length, in a chancery hand, not in paper, not in parchment, nor in wax, but in the bark of an elm-tree, yet so worn with the long tract of time, that hardly could three letters together be there perfectly discerned.
I (though unworthy) was sent for thither, and with much help of those spectacles, whereby the art of reading dim writings, and letters that do not clearly appear to the sight, is practised, as Aristotle teacheth it, did translate the book as you may see in your Pantagruelizing, that is to say, in drinking stiffly to your own heart’s desire, and reading the dreadful and horrific acts of Pantagruel. At the end of the book there was a little treatise entitled the Antidoted Fanfreluches, or a Galimatia of extravagant conceits. The rats and moths, or (that I may not lie) other wicked beasts, had nibbled off the beginning: the rest I have hereto subjoined, for the reverence I bear to antiquity.