Blaschka Glass

By Beau Ecs Wilder

So beautiful they are, the lovely Blaschka glass displays,
exquisite floral blossoms and marine invertibrates;
such fragile, magical designs, and educational,
as if their curving artifice were purely natural.
Work after work reveals subtle tease and frilly gills,
as if they captured, in a moment, living tentacles.
Their skills included the technique, glass-spinning, liquid lines,
precise, detailed work that whorled round their whirling minds.
Their voyages about the Earth to varied places was
inspired, fired by imagination, sunlit-spun.

 

Wise Words on Plato

By R. Lee Ubicwedas

He was a man the wicked have no right to even praise,
said Aristotle long ago, among his works and days;
and Cicero said if Zeus spoke the language of the gods,
he’d use the language Plato used within his dialogues.
The European philosophical tradition is
a series of footnotes to Plato, Whitehead reminisced.
He took dramatic fire to the realms of the ideal,
Wise thought, by showing that ideas were in essence real.

 

Haiku

By “Lice Brews” Ueda

A paper kite dipped
in a sunlit, steamy pond:
the teabag simmers.

Rain droplets glisten,
beads on a diamond necklace,
a spider’s fine threads.

 

In This Summer of Discontent

By Lebudias Crewe

I cry aloud. O, who will hear me. Hate rains on the land.
My heart is heavy. I seek solace. Help me understand.
The rising deaths in all the land. There are so many dead.
The day is dark. My soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember, when I meditate, my spirit faints.
My eyes are open to the horrors and the hard complaints.
When I consider days of old, the years of long ago,
I cannot speak. I cannot rest. I am in vertigo.
How can we live amidst such evil? Where has goodness gone?
Don’t spurn our nation. Bring us favour. Bring us love at dawn?

My hands are stretched out in the night. Let me remember life.
O, bring us grace, o, bring us hope, not anger, sin and strife.
I will remember deeds of kindness. Let compassion reign.
O, let me ponder on such holy wonders once again.
Redeem the people. Bring us joy. Deliver us from pain:
the rising waters, flying bullets, thunder on the plain.
O put a song of praise into our mouths, and gratitude.
Humility and reconcilliation, be renewed.
The Earth is trembling in the whirlwind. Arrows out are hurled.
Preserve us from this misery. Bring mercy to the World.

 

On Looking Back

By Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

On looking back upon the Great Leap Forward what is found
was what in ordinary circumstances would astound.
Some tens of millions died from ’58 to ’62;
some forty million people died, for things they dared to do.

One boy, who stole a handful of … grain in a Hunan town,
alive … was buried by his father, buried in the ground.
A few days later that dad died of grief for what he’d done,
forced to the brutal act by local boss Xiong Dechang.

Wang Ziyou had an ear chopped off, his legs tied up with wire,
then stoned, and branded with a sizzling tool’s electric fire;
because he’d done a thing most horrible in Chinese eyes,
he’d dug one small potato up, which Communists despise.

In Shanghai, on March 25, in 1959,
Mao ordered party personnel to buy the grain supply.
He said it’s better to let half of all the people die,
so that the other half can eat their fill, like Zhou Enlai.

 

 

 

Bruce Dale Wise is a poet living in Washington State who often writes under anagrammatic pseudonyms.

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4 Responses

  1. Carole Mertz

    Mr. Wise, the colored or clear Blaschkas under your hand, make them seem liquid rather than glass. So is your poem, very fluid. I particularly like the final sentence ending in sunlit-spun.

    Again, the final two lines in the poem on Plato, were so satisfying, with your perhaps whimsical reference to Wise’s thought.

    On Looking Back was almost too painful, though well done with its precise rhyming.

    In This Summer of Discontent expresses so much for the suffering world of Today. (Perhaps, if you will allow, “arrows outward hurled” would make that phrase somewhat smoother.)

    Reply
    • Wilbur Dee Case

      Carole,

      Your comments on the Blaschkas piece are subtly acute.

      What a nice word “whimsical” to catch the tone of Plato.

      I took only two examples from millions in On Looking Back. I think it would be too painful to fathom the entirety of that time.

      “arrows outward hurled” would balance the alliteration in the final couplet in Summer of Discontent: earth, whirlwind, outward, hurled; preserve, misery, mercy, World. I wonder also now if I shouldn’t exchange “the World” with “our World.”

      Thank you for your keen observations.

      Reply
  2. Michael Curtis

    Dear Mr. Se Wi:

    As you will remember, Plato failed at Syracuse: The Republic was there the cause of death and destruction, was recently through Marx the inspiration for the horrors of the Soviet Union, and is now the cause of decline in Europe, The United States, et alibi. Ideas have consequence, Plato’s Theory of Ideas, Theory of Forms is a quaint absurdity. You will remember that Plato offered excuse to murder. Yes, Plato was a fine literary artist, much to say on love, and yes, the Dialogues are clever, pretty things, yet Plato was a failed philosopher whose errors continue to inspire tyranny, infect Liberty.

    Wise words on Plato in pretty words showing the messy of the ideal:

    That book has done more damage than Mein Kampf,
    And more destruction than a thousand wars;
    It is a slimy, stinking swamp of thought;
    A virus of a book; a germ of words.
    A fool, the prig, he failed, he knew it, too:
    He tinkered with the prince and broke the state.
    That’s what the blowhard did to Syracuse
    And half the world: Praise to Plato the great
    Big jackass. Why do sophists never learn?
    Why? Because in a cartoon republic
    The egghead is the boss. Save the world—burn
    The book! You academics make me sick.
    Yes, really: Each and every Plato prig
    Likes to pretend he is the Mister Big.

    A good poem, yours, except that I might make a slanting rhyme true:

    The European philosophical tradition pissed
    a series of footnotes to Plato, Whitehead reminisced.

    Where has goodness gone: Ask Mao, ask Plato.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Curtis

    Reply
  3. R. Lee Ubicwedas

    Michael Curtis,

    Your response was energetic. Your sonnet is fun. Although, as you probably know, an ad hominum argument is a logical fallacy. Those of us who have been around for a while know that no two people agree on everything, even husband and wife; and even when they agree on the same thing it may be for different reasons.

    No, Plato did not fail at Syracuse. It was Dion,
    who was imperious and tactless, though filled with elan,
    like Marx, who is not known for his fine thought, but more his hell;
    ideas do have consequences, actions count as well.
    For me the theory of ideas is not absurd or quaint,
    but brilliant and inspiring for sinner and/or saint.
    Although I know at times we do not all do what we should;
    because of Plato’s thought we’ve got a record of the good.

    One of my arguments with Plato’s Republic is that I believe the truth encompasses even the poetic.

    As a quaint absurdity, I offer this:

    You ask: “Where has goodness gone?” but earlier you remarked, “A good poem yours…” Apparently goodness is in my poem!

    R. Lee Ubicwedas

    Reply

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