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False Idols - Poem by gershon hepner

Having squandered glory to false idols,
our duty is to reinterpret history,
providing its sound track with new subtitles,
recasting villains in the murder mystery.
Transforming idols we reject is better
than smashing them. We do the same when we’re rejected,
by lovers who sent us a Dear John letter,
not trauma but tranquility when recollected.

Inspired by Michael Kimmelman’s review of new productions of “Tannhäuser” and “Parsifal” at Bayreuth (“History vs. Modernity in German Opera Season, ” NYT, July 30,2008) :
Waltraud Meier topped a remarkable cast in Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” here the other night, although the current talk of the opera season in Europe is the promiscuous new production of Wagner’s “Parsifal, ” not too far away, that opened the Bayreuth Festival on Friday: it comes a jackboot shy of “Springtime for Hitler, ” but its ambitions soar, and so do many of the voices…. Scenes of Wilhelminian Germany vanish before filmed backdrops of World War I, then yield to orgies of Weimar decadence, with Flower Maidens cast as copulating showgirls, nursing convalescing troops of Grail knights. The evil Klingsor wears fishnet stockings and high heels; Parsifal, a child’s sailor suit. You have to admire the singers’ sang-froid. Most startling was to hear straight-faced, seasoned Bayreuth fans during intermission express surprise at the sight of Wehrmacht soldiers and Nazi banners during Act II, recalling old days at the festival. It all seemed so inevitable. Postwar ruin, gorgeously imagined, then morphs in the finale into the Bundestag in Bonn, with torpid knights as politicians, and Wagner’s death mask, projected, floating in a ghostly ether. By this point, it’s hardly worth troubling yourself to parse how, precisely, Parsifal — having gone on his quest of sacrifice and knowledge, to return weathered and wise and save the day — serves the metaphor of a newly reunited German democracy and a refreshed Bayreuth. Redemption, suffice it to say, rewards those who, having squandered glory to false idols, face squarely the past. A large mirror turns toward the audience, implying our own obligations to history. Or some such… A German critic during intermission, reflecting the general view among his native colleagues, waved off reservations about the inchoate parts of this “Parsifal” by remarking that novelty gives him something to write about and is obligatory in the German opera world today, where directors are the headliners. He dismissed the production of “Tannhäuser” at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden as a consolation prize for rich people who couldn’t get tickets to Bayreuth. Not really novel, he said.


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Poems About History

  1. 201. False Idols , gershon hepner
  2. 202. The Heroes Of Tureengarriffe , Francis Duggan
  3. 203. Stone Age Orcadians , sheena blackhall
  4. 204. With Sharp Teeth , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  5. 205. Returning Wild Goose , Luo Zhihai
  6. 206. The Mahout, The Bearman And The Monkeyman , Bijay Kant Dubey
  7. 207. Parade , Vera Sidhwa
  8. 208. The Poetics Of The 21st Century In The T.. , Nyein Way
  9. 209. Humanity Always Rises From Slavery , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  10. 210. My Awareness , Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  11. 211. Psychosexual Evaluation, ' Is When Yours , Is It Poetry
  12. 212. Certitudes , Edward Kofi Louis
  13. 213. Napoleonic Fable , gershon hepner
  14. 214. There Are People Who Are Not Ashamed Of .. , MOHAMMAD SKATI
  15. 215. Democracy In Decay Xli , Sadiqullah Khan
  16. 216. They'Re Not Suited Totally , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  17. 217. War Poet , Tom Zart
  18. 218. Remix American Wild West , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  19. 219. Preservation Of Forts. , Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  20. 220. The Home Of The Irish , Francis Duggan
  21. 221. History , gajanan mishra
  22. 222. Fall , cheung shun sang
  23. 223. An Apology , Pradip Chattopadhyay
  24. 224. Brown Jacket , Nassy Fesharaki
  25. 225. The Southern Cross , Francis Duggan
  26. 226. Art , Emmanuel George Cefai
  27. 227. Grainne Mhaol , Francis Duggan
  28. 228. In Ballarat Where History Don'T Fade , Francis Duggan
  29. 229. John Joe Daly , Francis Duggan
  30. 230. There's A Mystery About It , Francis Duggan
  31. 231. Old Lil , Francis Duggan
  32. 232. The War Winners , Francis Duggan
  33. 233. Way Back , Francis Duggan
  34. 234. The Birth Of Poetry For M Lady Mary Gor.. , ivor or ivor.e hogg
  35. 235. Andrew Mcauley , Francis Duggan
  36. 236. To Hell Or To Connacht , Francis Duggan
  37. 237. Surprise In Malaysia - A State Assembly .. , john tiong chunghoo
  38. 238. Complete Text Of The Discovery Of The Ka.. , Raj Arumugam
  39. 239. Wounded Civilization , Dr. Yogesh Sharma
  40. 240. Jews, Storks, Pigs , gershon hepner
  41. 241. Through The Legend. , Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  42. 242. Travel Haiku - Madison County Autumn Fes.. , john tiong chunghoo
  43. 243. The Politics Of Revelation Spinning Truth , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  44. 244. British Tea And Gaddafi's Coffee , Edward Kofi Louis
  45. 245. Getting History Wrong , gershon hepner
  46. 246. What You Do Is One Hundred Percent Wrong , MOHAMMAD SKATI
  47. 247. Going About Its Business , Dónall Dempsey
  48. 248. The Crown And Its Pain , Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  49. 249. Sandra , Edward Kofi Louis
  50. 250. Passing The Old Luoyang City , Luo Zhihai
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