Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "the two alchemists"

This poem came from the April 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by marina_bonomi.  She wanted to see what would happen with a Chinese-style alchemist and our paper mages.  But it turns out there are two  approaches to alchemy ...

To read the other poems in the Origami Mage series, visit the "Serial Poetry" page on my website.

the two alchemists

in the high mountains
the origami mage met
an old alchemist

he was practicing
the internal alchemy:
jing  and qi  and shen

they talked by his well
about their rivals and roads,
their joys and regrets

"tell my rival, if
you see him: I have found the
key to happiness"

"tell my rival, if
you see her: I am learning
all about patience"

the alchemist said:
"it would seem that we are on
the same path, my dear"

in the low valleys
the kirigami mage met
an old alchemist

he was practicing
the external alchemy:
metal elixirs

they talked by his hearth
about their rivals and goals,
their hopes and their fears

"I want to learn how
to cut to the heart of the
matter," she whispered

"I wanted the pill
of immortality, but
I was not ready"

"if you could still die,"
asked the kirigami mage,
"would you choose to go?"

the old alchemist
nodded, so she cut for him
an eight-spoked fălún

"tell my rival, if
you see him, that he was right
after all," he said

she agreed, and said,
"I hope that you don't meet my
rival where you go"

then she loaned him her
scissors to cut himself free
of immortal life

she watched his spirit
ride the Dharma Wheel toward a
new lesson at last

kirigami mage
prayed that her rival still walked
among the living

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing
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