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Ukiyo-e

 

Spirit and flesh limn each other

 

 

Bashō might have caught

In his net of three short lines

This torrent of trills

 

 

Pulling in the edges

Attadīpā viharatha

 

The world so vast
  tangled, hungry
  and I so small

I take this place for mine
  for so long we both

And on its eminence
  I make my castle
  my puddle
  my world

 

Here be dragons

Here be dragonlets

 

They come from the sky
  hunt over my pool
  return to the sky

I wait

They come from the meadows
  mate over my pool
  leave many small selves

My brethren

We come from the water
  from hunting the water
  take our seat in the sky

 

Self-containment

Continent

 

Where do I begin and the world end?

What line shall we draw?

Me, and the water
  me, and the leaf
  me, and my aura

Nine-tenths below
  toes grasping fluid ground
  skin chewing mists
  tongue spearing life from the sky

I breathe the atoms of this ocean
  bathe in the warmth of a far flame

I eat and drink and eat again
  until one day eaten
  become other eyes skin tongue
  and again
  and back to earth and air
  and one day, an old star dying and a new one born

Where do I begin?  Where begins the great wet world?

 

 

Ichor and ambrosia

Ichor and ambrosia

 

From siege perilous
  the aspirant goes forth
  bright sword, numinous corps
  guided by dream
  stomach empty, chest full

Faces the beast, himself
  returns victorious (or not)
  brings wisdom to his tribe
  glory to his line

From warm dark earth
  go I forth
  black-daggered, alone
  the dance of she-fellows my lode
  to beauty blind

Face down gale and beak
  wend home, panniers dusty-gilt
  crop of liquid light
  to feed my family

We are all heroes

 

 

Ouroboros

Ouroboros

 

You seem so… steady

I change

Grow too large
  for myself

But we are granted room
  and what I must cast off
  I take back within me
  to sinew the leap
  fletch the bolt
  clear the vision
  steady the change

 

 

Equipoise

 

See me without fear
  I am but a small thing, a metaphor, a legendary caution
  yet well-crafted for my rôle:
  taste air, drink sun, hunt meadow and pool, abide in earth

Curved, a bow; straight, the arrow

My tail I do not bite
  rather, from your garden sweep vermin
  (and all else I can catch and swallow)

Let dawn itself devour each night
  spring, each winter
  beetles, my skin (ere I invite them within)
  and I, the circling seasons
  until they me

No rest for the reaper
  nor yet the sower

Once more around?

 

 

Snapping at gnats

Snapping at gnats

 

Here now we dwell
  we of waning tail and longing limb

Up there we one day wend

Up there in the heavy and dry
  the inconstant heat
  the jaws and paws and claws
  and good fat bugs

For now, we graze green tendrils
  writhing worms
  each other

And strike at the sky

 

 

Aye, all the way down

Aye, all the way down

 

Older am I
  than the sky

They say I
  bear the world
  soft blue moist green rich brown
  many-peopled
  backs on backs on mine

But that is myth

I am the world

Its place mine
  its pace mine

Hard space above
  soft earth below
  between, all that moves
    that lives
      that loves
        that is I

 

 

Gnomon

To outsit the sun
  feel the leaf-isle extend its girth
    as I mine
  sense the new day rising slow at my back
  let spiraled hours encircle

Is to know:

Time is nothing
  and
    there is nothing
      but time

 

 

 

 

 

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