(All poetry by Bruce Dale Wise)

Hylas and the Nymphs

by Beau Ecs Wilder

John William Waterhouse’s “Hylas and the Nymphs” must go;
enchanting, pretty, water nymphs are far too much to show.
Manchester Art has claimed it is unsuitable right now.
It is offensive, and it must be censored, take a bow.
The postcards too must be removed; PreRaphaelites are bad.
To contemplate such loveliness is nothing less than mad.
If beauty’s truth, and truth is beauty, don’t let it deceive.
The 1896 Pre-Raphaelite pic has to leave.
But all the rest can stay! It’s just that one they have to store.
O, mad one, yes, I tell you now—it stands without the door!*

 

*This last line is an allusion to the horrors behind the door in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

Beau Ecs Wilder is a poet and art critic of the 19th century.

 

Dad

by Bruce Dale Wise

I still can hear the echo of his voice—2004—
my dad, when he said, as he opened up the bedroom door,
“I like your songs.” In truth, they were so bad. We did not know.
I could not sing, nor play the guitar—Claude Nougaro, no.
I’ve no song for the city of my youth, no statuette.
The city of my youth was pink, but only at sunset…
from the pollution of the paper mills, which sent dad’s kids
to college, castles in the air, and cars upon the skids.
The long view that I had back then, I will not see again.
And, dad, no one will hear those songs, but you once did—back then.

 

Bruce Dale Wise is an American poet and essayist who writes under various anagrammatic heteronyms—usually. His favourite French song of the Postmodernist period is Charles Trenet’s chanson classic and jazz standard “La Mer” and in the New Millennial period Carla Bruni’s “L’amoureuse”.

 

Winnie the Pooh Banned

by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

The Chinese government is cracking down on Weibo sites
that do not serve the Chinese Communists preemptive rights.
It must suspend key portals, trend-search features, and low taste,
rap music, dirty language, crude cartoons, and gossip waste.
It needs to censor content of opinions that are wrong,
obscenity, and micro-blogging platforms anti-Han.
100,000 Internet police are watching for
words, like democracy, Winnie the Pooh, and old Eeyore.
All media and news must serve the Chinese government;
and Xi Jinping is sacrosanct, like Mao’s enlightenment.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet of China.

 

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7 Responses

  1. David Watt

    You eloquently bring to our attention the harm of censorship, misguided in regard to the painting ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’, and with over-reaching intent by the Chinese government.

    Reply
  2. David Hollywood

    Poetic indignation and impatience with nonsense allied to great melancholy in ‘Dad’. Marvelous.Thank you.

    Reply
  3. "Bard" Eucewelis

    By the way “Hylas and the Nymphs” has been rehung after the public outcry.

    Reply
  4. Beau Ecs Wilder

    One of the problems of my poetry is that I am ever revising my works; they seem often to be works in progress before they settle down to their long eternal naps.

    “Hylas and the Nymphs” is another one of those works, the kind of which Mr. C. B. Anderson would never try to bring forward, that is, an unfinished work.

    I was already revising the work (I had used the word “PreRaphaelite” twice, and in such a short poem that seemed wasteful to me), when I discovered a further advance to the “story.” So I revised (which I often do, even after my poems have sat for a relatively longer time). In this respect, I am reminded of the poetic practice of Walt Whitman, among others. However, in this case I changed the tennos to a dodeca, and here it is.

    Hylas and the Nymphs
    by Beau Ecs Wilder

    John William Waterhouse’s “Hylas and the Nymphs” must go;
    enchanting, pretty, water nymphs are far too much to show.
    Manchester Art has claimed it is unsuitable right now.
    It is offensive, and it must be censored. Take a bow.

    The postcards too must be removed; PreRaphaelites are bad.
    To contemplate such loveliness is nothing less than mad.
    If beauty’s truth, and truth is beauty, don’t let it deceive.
    These dream-like maids amidst these water lilies have to leave.

    O, all the rest can stay! It’s just that one that must be stored!
    O, mad one, yes, I tell you now—it stands without the door!
    But gusts of public outcry blasted back, and panels flew!
    and there the unenshrouded canvas came back into view.

    What I think is exciting for Mr. Mantyk and myself is that Waterhouse, whose paintings we have posted and written about on this site, has just received a short reblast of fifteen minutes of fame; and the Victorian artist is in the news in a way he never would have been.

    Reply
  5. Bruce Dale Wise

    Because so much is going on in the World, there’s so much to discover, and we have so many things to do, it is difficult to keep up with even the tiniest fraction of all that transpires. Life requires constant attention. So forgive me if I am not as attentive as I should be.

    Mr. Watt reminds me that, “Cluttered as our minds are/ With worries day to day,/ Fogs of limitation,/ Forgotten rules of play…” I should instead, like the rabbit, not twitch my nose at “treasures given free—/ The perfume of Life’s roses.” In short, I should “without quibble,/ Savour sunbeams, thistledown.” Your points of misguided censorship and over-reaching intent are, as Ms. Foreman mentioned elsewhere, “spot on.”

    “Dad” is an odd poem, that despite the kind comments of Ms. Foreman and Mr. Hollywood, didn’t quite succeed, because it was trying to say too much too fast; though Mr. Hollywood, who is striving after surprising verbal effects in his own poetry, did catch its tone of “melancholy,” and perhaps “pale ambitions incomplete.” My father died in 2004, the year French singer Claude Nougaro died; and I’m really not a fan of Nougaro; but I was remembering my attempts at writing and singing songs with a guitar in my teens and early twenties. I remembered what my dad said one day when he walked in on my strumming and singing. So the poem is a combination of reminiscences, like working summers in the paper mill, where my dad worked, to pay for college, a car, and Longview, Washington, where I grew up as a boy, alluded to indirectly. What I was trying to say in the poem was that I still hear my father’s voice long after his death; but the memory was from decades earlier, and that was not made plain in the poem.

    Because I am from the impersonal school, a la T. S. Eliot and others, and not from the Confessional school, like Plath and others, I was surprised when Mr. Mantyk chose this poem out of dozens of others that I sent him at the beginning of this year; for I think, that even when we are writing of historical figures, like Shakespeare did in his plays, we are expressing our personal selves completely, and we needn’t attend to specific events in our lives. Mr. Hollywood caught that in his suggestion of indignation and impatience with nonsense in reference to “Winnie the Pooh Banned” and “Hylas and the Nymphs,” of which the latter Mr. Gioia called “a ridiculous event. PC prudery triumphant.”

    Reply
  6. Robi

    ) ABCs and Letter of the Week We sing the ABCs and then I introduce a flannel of the letter of the week as well as several objects that begin with that letter.

    Reply

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