Sorcerer's Fashion

(c) Pete Ahrens 1999


Quiet skies rule the kingdom
and the morning darkens.

The birds suddenly whisper,
a tiger attacks.

Leave the divining stalks
in their fallow fields.

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Vermillion Bird

Once venerable Yu is stained
by wine and blood.
"Peace" shields many truths.

"If war is part of history,"
Kee reasons from his lake of debauchery,
"then we shall have no more of it!"

The poisons of the future
echo throughout the past.
"Destroy all books."

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White Tiger

Astronomer Fu Shang knew the stars.
This ancient fellow saw the lives of men
weave and unravel
in the planetary dance.
"The spheres do not listen to a man’s decree."

Old Fu Shang and his granddaughter hid well
his library of drawings and poems
and historical documents,
and tales of glory,
secreting every book by his house’s wall.

Master and Girl made this promise,
"The changing season,
shall not destroy our world."

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Black Tortoise

The Warrior comes when the people wish it,
he is always ready.

Tang Loo came under the last quiet sky,
while noon sun vanquished all shadow.

He walked with the shimmering horizon
and calm heart of death.

This day brought him to the Gate of Yu,
portal of flesh and spiritlessness.

"History you may destroy for evil or good, Kee.
You may not possess our future."

The unvirtuous Kee took up his sword at these words,
"I am the future!"

Ringing steel pierced the hollow chants of pleasure,
blood spattered the sinful curtains.

Tang Loo was calm and in the No Mind:
to the wrenching fates he threw Kee’s desperate soul.

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Blue Dragon

So was evil Kee sent to the Southern Lands,
banished forever.
Now the Warrior Tang called for books.

Tso, granddaughter of Master Shang
brought the Astronomer’s library to Loo.

The Warrior Tang offered libation to the gods.

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Clouds lift with the smoking shells,
the Evening Star is bright in the dusk.

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Augered so well,
these years of sorrows?
Upon the torn fingers of one hand,
fearful wars.
From the parched lines of the other,
the empty palm of hunger.

"Philosophers should be kings,
and warriors poets!"
So bore Tang the leadership of the people.
More burdensome by far agriculture,
than archery or grappling,
stilling than seizing a throne.

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"What wrong step on this righteous path
of my people,
has been by my guilt."
Annointed by oils,
Tang drew the sash low and tight about his waist,
"Of any error of mine,
my people are without blame…"
He and his Ministers went to the grove of trees.

"…so shall my people
find harmony with the Tao,
as my spirit finds the river."
The Warrior held his King’s Sword
great hilt in white cloth,
point resting at sinewy groin.
The blade opened a flowering egg of blood.

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Soaked night gathers our eclipsed Moon,
scarlet flames unquenched by gentle rain.

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(c) Pete Ahrens 1999

Oracle of the Ring
Nexial Quest