davidbrucehaiku: the Fremont troll






Troll under the bridge

Fairy tale has come to life

Now scares the homeless


NOTE: Public domain photo by jellygator. A troll is hiding under a bridge at Fremont Street in Seattle, Washington.

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Reblogged on davidbruceblog.

The Reluctant Poet

By Charles Robert Lindholm

Yours is the last heart

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davidbrucehaiku: educational #2







For young girls without brothers

There’s a difference

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davidbrucehaiku: educational







for most sixteen-year-old boys

Perfect marble breasts

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davidbrucehaiku: sending nudes






It took so much work

To send nudes in the old days

Art from long ago


NOTE: Of course, this is Sandro Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus from the 1480s.

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David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s “The Two Noble Kinsmen”: A Retelling in Prose — Act 5, Scene 4 and Epilogue

— 5.4 —

A guard entered with Palamon and his three Knights; all of the prisoners were tied up. The jailer, an executioner, and others arrived. The executioner was carrying an ax. Palamon and the three Knights who had fought with him were sentenced to die by beheading. A chopping block had already been set up on a platform.

Palamon said to his Knights, “There’s many a man alive who has outlived the love of the people; yes, and in the same situation stands many a father with his child. Some comfort we have by so thinking. We will die, but not without men’s pity. We have men’s good wishes that we should continue to live. By dying now, we avoid the loathsome misery of old age, beguile the gout and catarrh that in the last hours of life wait for gray-haired men who are approaching their graves. By dying now, we come towards the gods young and unwearied, not limping under the weight of many old sins. We surely shall please the gods better than such old sinners, and the gods will give us nectar to drink with them because we will be spirits with fewer sins than if we had lived a long time. My dear kinsmen, whose lives are laid down for this poor comfort that I have just spoken about, you have sold your lives too, too cheaply.”

The First Knight said, “What death could be happier? Over us the victors have had good fortune, which is as momentary as to us death is certain. They defeated us through good luck. Their honor does not outweigh our honor by even a grain.”

The Second Knight said, “Let us tell each other farewell, and with our patience let us anger unsteady Lady Fortune, who even at her steadiest reels.”

Lady Fortune is often depicted in works of art as standing on a ball.

The Knights embraced each other.

“Who will be the first to die?” the Third Knight asked.

Palamon said, “He who led you to this banquet shall be the taster to you all. I will die first.”

Kings employed people who would taste food to see if it was poisoned before the Kings ate it.

Palamon said to the jailer, “Ah, my friend, my friend, your gentle daughter gave me freedom once; you’ll see to it just now that I am given freedom forever. Please, tell me, how is your daughter? I heard she was not well; her kind of illness — madness — has caused me some sorrow.”

“Sir, she’s well restored,” the jailer said, “and she will be married soon.”

“By my short life, I am very glad to hear it,” Palamon said. “It is the very last thing I shall be glad of. Please, tell her that. Commend me to her, and to increase the amount of her dowry, give her this.”

He gave money to the jailer.

The First Knight said, “Let’s all be givers and increase the amount of her dowry.”

The Second Knight asked, “Is she a maiden — a virgin?”

“Truly, I think so,” Palamon said. “She is a very good creature, and she deserves more from me than I can give her or speak of.”

All three Knights said, “Commend us to her. Give her our compliments.”

They gave money to the jailer.

The jailer accepted the money and said, “May the gods reward you all and make my daughter thankful!”

Palamon said, “Adieu, and let my life be now as short as my leave-taking.”

He put his head on the chopping block.

The First Knight said, “Lead, courageous cousin.”

The Second and Third Knights said, “We’ll follow cheerfully.”

A great noise sounded. People shouted, “Run! Save! Stop!”

A messenger ran quickly over to the executioner and said, “Stop, stop! Oh, stop, stop, stop!”

Pirithous arrived and ran quickly over to them and said, “Stop! It is a cursed haste you have made if you have already killed Palamon!”

Seeing Palamon, he said to him, “Noble Palamon, the gods will show their glory in a life that you are yet to lead. You won’t die yet.”

Palamon asked, “How can that be when I have said that Venus is false? What has happened?”

Pirithous said, “Stand up, great sir, and hear tidings that are both most dearly sweet and bitter.”

Palamon stood up and asked, “What has awakened us from our dream?”

An attendant untied his hands.

“Listen,” Pirithous said. “Your cousin Arcite mounted a steed that Emily first gave to him — a black one, with not a single white hair, which some will say lowers his price, for many will not buy an otherwise good horse that has this bad characteristic; this is a superstition that people here believe.”

According to that superstition, an all-black horse is a vicious horse.

Pirithous continued, “Riding on this horse, Arcite trotted the stones of Athens — which the heels of the horse’s shoes tapped as if it were counting rather than trampled, for the horse would make the length of his stride a mile, if it pleased his rider to put mettle in him.

“The black horse thus went counting the flinty pavement, dancing, as it were, to the music its own hooves made — for, as they say, from iron came music’s origin.”

According to a folktale, a blacksmith whose hammers rang out different notes when striking the anvil invented music. In another folktale, the Greek philosopher Pythagoras visited a blacksmith shop and invented music.

Pirithous continued, “An envious piece of flint, cold as the old god Saturn, and like him possessed with malevolent fire, may have darted a spark when struck by a horseshoe. Or else it was fierce sulphur, aka brimstone, expressly made for the purpose of spooking Arcite’s horse. I won’t comment on which I think it was, but the hot horse, hot as fire, took fright and shied at it and began to do whatever misconduct its power and strength could give its will. It jumped and stood upright, having forgotten what it learned in the stable where it was trained to properly obey its rider. Like a pig, it cried in pain as Arcite used the sharp rowel of his spurs. It fretted at the use of the spurs rather than obey them even a little. It sought to use all the foul means of boisterous and rough jades’ tricks to unseat Arcite, its lord who bravely kept his seat.”

Jades are bad horses.

Pirithous continued, “When nothing served, when the strap under the horse’s jaw would not crack, nor the strap under its belly break, nor different leaps and plunges uproot its rider from the saddle and instead Arcite kept the horse between his legs, then on its hind hoofs the horse stood up, and Arcite’s legs were higher than his head. For a moment, the figures seemed to hang in the air with a strange magic. Arcite’s victor’s wreath then fell off his head, and immediately the jade fell over backward, and his full weight fell on Arcite and became his — the rider’s — load.

“Arcite is still living, but his life is a vessel that floats only until the next wave comes and hits it. He much desires to speak with you.

“Look, here he comes.”

Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, and Arcite appeared. Attendants carried the dying Arcite in a chair. As they approached, attendants untied the hands of the three Knights who had fought with Palamon.

Palamon said, “Oh, this is a miserable end to our friendship! The gods are mighty, Arcite. If your heart, your worthy, manly heart, is still unbroken, tell me your last words. I am Palamon, one who still loves the dying you.”

Arcite said, “Emilia is yours. Take her, and with her take all the world’s joy.

“Reach out your hand to me. Farewell. I have reached my last hour, and the bell that announces the end of my life is tolling.

“I was false, yet never treacherous.”

He meant that he was false in not allowing Palamon to pursue Emilia without his competition because Palamon had first seen her and had first loved her. Yet his — Arcite’s — love for and pursuit of Emilia had not been treacherous because he had sincerely loved Emilia.

Arcite added, “Forgive me, cousin. I want one kiss from fair Emilia.”

She kissed him.

Arcite said, “It is done. Take her. I die.”

He died.

Palamon said, “May your brave soul seek Elysium, the abode of honorable men in the Land of the Dead!”

Emilia said, “I’ll close your eyes, Prince. May the blessed souls be with you! You are a very good man, and as long as I live, I will devote the anniversaries of this day to tears.”

Palamon said, “And I will devote them to honor.”

Theseus said, “In this place you two first fought; exactly here is where I separated you and stopped you from fighting. Acknowledge to the gods our thanks that you are living. Arcite’s part in life has been played, and though his part was too short, he played it well. Your days of life have been lengthened, and the blissful dew of Heaven sprinkles on you.

“Powerful Venus has well graced her altar and given you your love. Our master, Mars, has made good his oracle, and to Arcite he gave the grace — the victory — of the battle. So the deities have shown due justice.”

He then ordered, “Carry Arcite’s body away to be buried.”

Palamon said to the body, “Oh, cousin, what a pity that we should desire things that cost us the loss of our desire. It’s a pity that nothing could buy dear love except the loss of dear love.”

Some attendants carried away Arcite’s body.

Theseus said, “Lady Fortune never played a subtler game. The conquered Knight has the triumph, while the victorious Knight has the loss, yet in this contention the gods have been most equitable and just.”

He then said, “Palamon, your kinsman Arcite confessed that the right to the lady Emilia was yours because you first saw her and at that time you proclaimed that you loved her. He restored her as if she were your stolen jewel and he requested your spirit to send him forgiven to the afterlife.

“The gods took my justice from my hand. I have the power of life and death over my subjects, but here the gods took that power for themselves.

“Lead your lady, Emilia, away, and call your friends — the three Knights who fought with you — away from the platform of death where the chopping block is located. I adopt these three Knights as my friends.

“For a day or two, let us look and be sad and pay proper attention to the funeral of Arcite.

“After the funeral, we’ll put on the happy faces of bridegrooms and smile with Palamon — for whom just one hour ago I was as dearly sorry for as I was glad for Arcite, and now I am as glad for Palamon as I am sorry for Arcite.”

Theseus then prayed, “Oh, you Heavenly charmers, you gods who work charms, what things you make of us! We laugh on account of what we lack, we are sorry on account of what we have, and always we are children in some way.

“Let us be thankful for that which is, and with you gods we will leave disputes that are above our heads and that we cannot resolve.”

He then said to everybody present, “Let’s go now and conduct ourselves in a manner appropriate to this time.”


Back in William Shakespeare’s day, the boy who has played Emilia in a production of the play comes out on stage and says this:

“I would now ask you how you like the play,

“But, as it is with schoolboys, cannot say [am tongue-tied].

“I am cruel [very] fearful! Pray [Please] yet stay a while,

“And let me look upon you. [Will] No man smile?

“Then it goes hard [for us], I see. He that [who] has

“Loved a young handsome wench, then, show his face —

“It is strange if none be here — and, if he will,

“Against his conscience let him hiss and kill [ruin]

“Our market [profits]. It is in vain, I see, to stay [prevent] you.

“Have at [Let’s face] the worst [that] can come, then! Now what say you?

“And yet mistake me not: I am not bold [being impudent].

“We have no such cause [reason to be impudent]. If the tale we have told —

“For it is no other [nothing other than a story] — [in] any way content you —

“For to [do] that honest purpose it was meant [for] you —

“We have our end [done what we intended to do]; and you shall have ere [before] long,

“I dare say, many a better [play], to prolong

“Your old loves [and patronage] to us. We, and all our might [all we can do],

“Rest at your service. Gentlemen, good night.”

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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davidbrucehaiku: autumn leaves






Red and yellow leaves

Fall colors splashed everywhere

God spilled the sunset

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