(All poetry by Bruce Dale Wise)

Crossing the Swamp by Jon MacNaughton

by Caud Sewer Bile

“If freedom of speech is taken away…we may be led, like sheep to…slaughter.”

—George Washington

The boat of freedom of MacNaughton follows Leutze’s pic
of Washington upon the Delaware, grave, foggy, thick.
Don Trump with lantern in his hand is standing in the boat,
with rowers working hard to keep the nation’s soul afloat.
There’s Haley, Mattis, Carson, Sanders, Kelley, at the oars,
with Sessions, Pence, Pompeo, Conway, Bolton. Where’s the shore?
Melania, Ivanka too; they’re all in camo gear;
with rifles cocked, the swamp around, trees leafless, drab and drear.
And past the crocs, the Capitol’s bathed in an eerie light,
a few bright hues, flame, tie, and flag, gold, scarlet, blue and white.

Caud Sewer Bile is a poet of the DC Swamp.


Upgrades in the Spratlys

by Wari Ebes Dulce

The Philippines is now upgrading Thutu Island’s land;
grab dredger, crane with clamshell bucket, on its runway’s strand.
This shouldn’t even matter, but that China claims it all.
South China Sea is theirs they say. They want it—all—all—all.
The airstrip built within the 1970s, the first
built in the Spratly Islands—long before the Chinese thirst
to conquer everything in sight—they push, they shove, they yell;
if you’re a neighbour to the Communist Chinese, it’s hell.
So on Pag-asa even some new buildings have been built,
though China claims them theirs without the slightest bit of guilt.

Wari Ebes Dulce is a poet of the Philippines. One of his Philippine acquaintances, who makes the most delicious Filipino Chicken Adobo, spoke of childhood experiences on her farm, where she rode a water buffalo in the rice fields as a young girl.


The Chinese CFCs

by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

In 1987, th’ Montreal-signed Protocol
had banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons for us all.
The ozone layer started healing, but there’s now a hitch;
there’s been an increase in CFCs, EIA has snitched.
There are at least some 18 Chinese companies that use
illegal CFC-11 foams they still produce.
But profit margins are so high that China doesn’t care.
It may sign treaties, but it lies. Environment, beware.
The hope had been they would be gone, at last there’d be a dearth;
but worse, these CFC emissions also heat the Earth.

Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei is a poet of China. His hao derives from, lu wei 蘆葦, which means “reed” in English.


An “Oddball” Discovered

by Drew U. A. Eclibse

And now we learn that Jupiter has seventy-nine moons,
among its outer retrograde and inner prograde ones.
Amid the prograde lunar group, one finds the largest four,
where Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto soar,
those Galileo Galilei saw back in 1610,
observing through his telescope, what no eye had then seen.
Twelve more moons were discovered recently by scientists,
eleven of their orbits fitting in with all the rest;
but in the outer retrograde an “oddball” has appeared,
with prograde orbit! though that is not all that makes it weird.
With small diameter that’s less than one kilometre,
it’s on a c-r-a-s-h course cuz it’s traveling with Jupiter.

Drew U. A. Eclibse is a poet of lunar landscapes.

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10 Responses

  1. Amy Foreman

    More great socio-cosmologic-political verse from the multi-faceted B.D.Wise, master of the expressive heteronym! Always an entertaining read!

  2. Mark Stone


    In “Crossing,” “Capitol’s bathed” is too hard to say. Perhaps something like: “And past the crocs, the Capitol transcends the foggy night.” Also, the last line is sonically beautiful, but seems anti-climactic. I would think the last line of the poem would make some point about why the party crossing the swamp is significant, the likelihood of success, the futility, etc. Rather, the last line just tells us the colors of things (unless I’m missing something).

    In “Upgrades,” I wonder if “them theirs” should be “they’re theirs.”

    In “The Chinese CFCs,” “th’ Mon” is a tough syllable to say. Bravo for using “chlorofluorocarbons” in a poem; haven’t seen that before. In L4, currently the stress is on the “F” in “CFCs,” but normally the stress is on the two C’s, rather than the “F.” To fix this I would change it to: “there’s been a rise in CFCs; the EIA has snitched.”

    In “An ‘Oddball’ Discovered,” in L6 I would change “then” to “yet.” In L7, I don’t think the meter flows naturally. In L11, I would change “small” to “a” It would sound better, and you don’t need “small” because “less than one kilometer” makes that point. Finally, I don’t think the last line of the poem should end with imperfect meter.

    Notwithstanding my pesky nitpicking, these are really good poems. I like them.

  3. R. Lee Ubicwidas

    The talented Ms. Foreman gets what those guise [sic] are all about. There is a tradition for being multifaceted in English and American literature. In British literature, two names come to my mind immediately, Shakespeare and Milton, and in American literature I think of Whitman and Pound. Of course, there are lots of others as well; and in other fields, like philosophy, history, etc. As Voltaire’s Pangloss, who taught the metaphysico-theologo-cosmolonigology! these “guys” use a sprinkling of Leibniz monadology, a pinch of Platonic prose, a little bit of Aristotelian lecture notes, and a whole bunch of other stuff, all poured in a pot, a potpourri—voilà a semi-wise poesy!

    Some like it hot; some like it cold; some like it not; some like it bowled!

  4. Wilbur Dee Case

    One of the more exciting voices recently appearing @ SCP is that of Mr. Stone, who brings perceptic, metric sensibilities to the works herein displayed. I like his rigour and his matter-of-fact, thought-provoking comments on the poems. In short, he promotes artistic discussion.

    In “Crossing the Swamp”, Mr. Stone focuses on two disappointments. The first, I’m rather likely to ignore for several reasons. First off, I do not think it hard to say,

    “…the Capitol’s bathed in an eerie light”.

    Secondly, even if it were hard to say, sometimes smoothness of verse is not the main ideal a poet strives for, as in the work of Donne, Hopkins, et. al., especially when the topic’s rough. Third, Mr. Stone introduces a word , even worse than “bathed”—”transcends”, which violates the tone of gravity that permeates the pic and the tone of the tennos. Though, and this is why I like Mr. Stone’s comments, he made me reflect on the word “bathed” itself; which is what I wanted to say when I wrote this poem late Wednesday night, August 1st.

    I did appreciate his comment about the anticlimactic qualitiy of the last line, however; and so I have altered the last two lines to read:

    And past the crocs, the Capitol’s bathed in an eerie hue,
    three small bright lights, gold flame, thin tie, and clasped red, white and blue.

    Because this is an ekphrastic tennos, I do want colour words in the text—so instead of “faint flame”, my next impulse, I retreated to “gold flame”; but earlier, as Mr. Mantyk himself critiqued the work, and contributed a couple of words himself, he will remember, I began with “gray” not “grave”. I had already sacrificed one colour term—the most I can do here is sacrifice one syllable “scarlet” to “red”. I have lost the word flag, which began line eight early on after supplanting it with banner, and then tossing it, so it’s disappointing to see it gone from the poem; but perhaps the spirited “red, white and blue” will suffice.

    The poem may take time to settle, but Mr. Stone clearly demonstrates the battlefield of poetry.

    In “Upgrades in the Spratlys”, already published elsewhere, I am unconvinced of Mr. Stone’s suggestion. In earlier years I would have been more prone to go for “claim they’re theirs”, especially as it fits in with the “all—all—all.” But the concise subtlety and the nice, unobtrusive alliteration of “claim them theirs” precludes acceptance. Nevertheless, I am so glad Mr. Stone brought the phrase to light; because I got to see, in that moment when I wrote the poem, my stylistic choices; and it made me happy. Surprisingly, the main purpose for writing the poem was to use the phrase “grab dredger, crane with clamshell bucket”. I am reminded by something Auden somewhere once said in an interview, or wrote in an essay, that it is more rewarding for practicing poets to do crossword puzzles than to strive after “great themes”. I have never really liked Auden’s poetry, like Dana Gioia, for instance, has; but that off-hand comment I have treasured for years. As Mallarmé once pointed out, much to Mr. MacKenzie’s chagrin, “Ce n’est pas avec des idées qu’on fait des vers, c’est avec des mots.” The ideas will come; they are everywhere we are.

    Mr. Stone brings up some important issues in “The Chinese CFCs”. First off, it’s true; it’s hard to say

    “In 1987, th’ Montreal-signed Protocol”

    I did not like it much myself; but because “m” is a nasal labial, I have recently been eliding it wi’ th’ schwa. An elision rich poetry is a sign of its vitality; and it was after Vergil, and the slow devolving of Latin literature that it slipped away in the Silver Age and after. In our language, it is Shakespeare whose elisions I most admire. Mr. Stone also brings up another important point in my use of terms, like “chloroflourocarbons”. I want to be able to write about anything—and if violates the meter, and I need to say it—the meter be damned. In this respect, I am more like Whitman and Pound than Vergil. Unsurprisingly, for me the hardest thing for my poetry to embrace is mathematics—but I am trying. There is just so much work to do in poetry—and prose. On all fronts, the battle for literature is ongoing. The second point is well taken. Even though, again, like the previous poem, the poem has already been published elsewhere, Mr. Stone’s observation is superior, and I will include it in any subsequent printing, where the smoothness of the meter matters amidst the tripping acronyms:

    “there’s been a rise in CFCs, the EIA has snitched.”

    Mr. Stone’s next observation, however, has come into conflict with purposeful poetic choices in “An Oddball Discovered”.

    “those Galileo Galilei saw back in 1610,
    observing through his telescope, what no eyes had then seen.”

    “…no eyes had seen till then” would be an exact rhyme, with the reconfigurating of the opening iambic tetrametre; however, I like that the rhyme would be hidden within the line, as if breaking into consciousness, a new vision. I like those subtle “jars”, frequent in Dickinson, for example, to explain states of mind, in the same way that Galileo transformed the World with his novel observation. So that won’t be changed. I am also quite content with the meter of L7. Even L11 I will not change, though Mr. Stone is correct that “a” flows more smoothly than “small”. Here I like the “m” alliteration. In its printing elsewhere, I separated its last line from the previous with a space, as in the following, which is how I will continue to print it in the future. I’m also not sure how the last line has an imperfect meter; so I don’t think I shall change it—at least not “yet”.

    “With small diameter that’s less than one kilometre,

    it’s on a c-r-a-s-h course cuz its traveling with Jupiter.”

    I hope Mr. Stone will continue to analyze our writing with his remarkable expertise; he brings a powerful force to a rather sedentary group. I also like his abbreviation for “line” in discussing poetry, which I shall try to adopt from here on. Not only has his prose slightly altered a poem of mine; but his prose too has altered my prose, even if only a scintilla’s worth.

  5. David Watt

    Mr Eclibse, your poetry, unlike your surname, does not obscure.
    Thanks for the informative commentary.

  6. Seer Ablicadew

    Been there; done that.

    They Come For One, They Come For All
    by Seer Ablicadew

    They come for one, they come for all, we see it on our phones.
    The media elite is coming after Mr. Jones.
    They come for one, they come for all, we see it with our eyes.
    They make their backroom deals with dictators and their lies.
    The apple bitten in the garden by the goo-twit-face
    is smitten with its evil power, going after grace.
    They come for one, they come for all, the thought-police of text.
    One wonders who they’re coming for, and who will be the next.
    They come for one, they come for all, if you are reading this,
    beware you may be next in line, if they find you amiss.

    Seer Ablicadew is a poet of prophesy.

  7. J. Simon Harris

    All interesting poems with topics worth chewing upon (to borrow Mr. Mantyk’s turn of phrase). Mr. Wise has such a whimsical technique, yet treats such weighty topics; it is oddly fitting, isn’t it?

    On a side note, I agree with Mr. Stone about the line containing “the Capitol’s bathed in an eerie light”, but I would change it to “the Capitol is bathed in eerie light” (expand the contraction, get rid of the article). I guess it depends on whether you want the line to remain metrical or not, so perhaps Mr. Wise will not favor my version (based on his reply to Mr. Stone). A small point, but that’s my take on it.

    A pleasure as usual, Mr. Wise.

  8. BDW

    I must admit I miss the comments and the poetry of Mark Stone and J. Simon Harris. I both embrace and fight the normalizing quality of Mr. Stone’s prose; and I see that in his comments on my p/r/o/s/etry. He would like to disentangle sprung rhythm and smooth out my Pounding drums. I also enjoyed Mr. Harris’ comments and poetry for his links to classical literature. These, along with the poetry and comments of Ms. Foreman and Ms. E. V., are takes I no longer hear @SCP.


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