Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Bā Guà"

This poem came out of the November 2, 2010 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by marina_bonomi.  It is the second Origami Mage poem that I've written this month.  (See also "The Jewel and the Key.")

The inspiration began with the beautiful bā guà gate photo, and then I looked up some more details about the bā guà framework, specifically the Fuxi "Earlier Heaven" version.  In essence, this is a protective and balancing design with rich symbolism in Chinese and Japanese cultures, so it appears in many guises.  The poem's form echoes one of the most popular examples, an eight-sided mirror with the trigrams engraved along the sides.  Each verse consists of a tercet representing one of the trigrams; the closed lines are whole sentences, while the open lines are broken into two phrases separated by a caesura or into two sentences.  The original poem is written in MS Word so that the verses match the positions on the octagon, and those are the verse titles:

     Duì        Xùn
Lí                     Kǎn
     Zhèn     Gèn

That barely fits on the original page when compacted to 8pt type; I don't think I can duplicate the effect in LiveJournal, so you'll have to use your imagination a bit for the layout.  I'm waffling over whether the best scrapbook layout would be to leave all the verses horizontal (as in the original) or tilt them to align with sides of the octagon (like the trigrams in the mirror design).  *chuckle* It would probably be easier to fit the words on the page in Japanese or Chinese, which are much more concise. But on the whole I really like this form.  (Sorry, angela_n_hunt, it's probably going to be a nightmare in chapbook layout.)  Now, on to the poem!

Bā Guà

Heaven expands in a broad blue sky.
Creative energy awaits expression.
The origami mage arrives in the Garden of Gates.

The lake embodies      stagnation and satisfaction.
No ripples disturb its smooth surface.
The origami mage wonders where to turn next.

Wind penetrates the garden with gentle fingers.
Neither the leaves nor the branches resist it.
The origami mage      meditates on flexibility.

Fire dances in the radiance of sunbeams.
They move rapidly      as they cling to the walls.
The origami mage allows them to light her way.

Water circles the drain.      Abyss embraces emptiness.
Her rival has released a monster upon the trail.
The origami mage shivers      sensing the danger.

Thunder shakes the sky      arousing excitement.
Rivalry is unbreakable.      The separation still aches.
The origami mage circles around the same thoughts.

Mountains stand immovable on the horizon.
Don't just do something.      Stand there.
The origami mage      finds her center.

Earth receives      the rain that falls.
A tortoise creeps      toward the north.
The origami mage      follows the guide.

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