Last Update: Saturday, March 20, 2004. 11:22am (AEDT)
Rumsfeld prose makes sweet music
US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld's jousts with the Pentagon press corps are legendary, but hardly music to anyone's ears - until now.
Last year, newspaper columnist Hart Seely recorded Mr Rumsfeld's exchanges with reporters in Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld.
One of those pieces, The Unknown, is Mr Rumsfeld's oft-repeated musing on the vagaries of intelligence, "as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know; we also know, there are known unknowns..."
To San Francisco composer Bryant Kong, the poem was a lyric awaiting his piano and the voice of Elender Wall.
Her arching soprano lifts to new heights Mr Rumsfeld's words from an otherwise-prosaic Pentagon briefing on February 12, 2002.
Why give Rumsfeld's part to a soprano?
"Certainly, if I knew a tenor or a baritone, then we would have written them for him," Mr Kong said.
"Any singer can, as it were, play the Donald Rumsfeld character in a musical."
So here are the lyrics of The Unknown:
"As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know."