Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Jewel and the Key"

This poem was inspired and sponsored by marina_bonomi.  It continues the adventures of the Origami Mage and her rival.


The Jewel and the Key


origami mage
approaches as a pilgrim
up the torii  road
where black and vermilion gates
line the pathway to the shrine

she brings offerings
of fresh inari-zushi
and heady sake
to set before the statues
in the shrine of Inari

the god of foxes
laughs at the solemn maiden
making her slow way
through the greedy kitsune
guarding their magic treasures

the jewel and the key
the sheaf of rice and the scroll
even the fox cub
are held in their patient mouths
all waiting to be bestowed

origami mage
bows before the trickster-god
his nine tails flicking
his red ears perked to her prayers
his eyes on her folded hands

"what do you seek here?"
Inari asks the pilgrim
"whatever you give,"
origami mage replies
Inari licks his whiskers

"you may choose your gifts,"
says the god of the foxes
origami mage
takes the jewel of resources
and the key of safe passage

"why not choose wisdom?"
Inari points to the scroll
"why not sustenance,
the sheaf of rice; or family,
the fox cub?" asks Inari

origami mage
bows to the god of foxes
"kirigami mage,
my rival, follows behind --
she needs them more than I do"

with an ivory grin 
Inari places her gifts
in her waiting hands
she folds a red paper fox
and watches it trot away

on the pathway to 
enlightenment, every step
becomes a threshold
through which each attachment is
banished, one piece at a time

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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