shweta_narayan (shweta_narayan) wrote,

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Grand finale: funded tarot sonnets!

Final Clarion-crowdfunding-poem post! (er, barring a possible followup asking for overall feedback...)  Clarion's nearly done; how weird.  And you guys funded SIX tarot sonnets, of which I had written three.  So!  I wrote three more for you :)
Hope you enjoy/enjoyed the poems!

The six I'm posting are more traditionally: 0: The Fool, I: The Magician, II: The High Priestess, VIII: Strength (or Justice, but I prefer the decks where VIII is Strength & XI is Justice), IX: The Hermit, and XIV: Temperance. 
In my version they're Rupaka (form), Avatar (incarnation), Vidhya (wisdom), Shakti (strength,power, motive force), Manas (mind), and Sarpa (snake).
My couplet spacing is as eccentric as my associations, I'm afraid.

XII: Tapah, XVII: Katha, and XVIII: Maya are already online. At the rate I'm going, I'll have all the major arcana done by, oh, 2013 sometime...


Triumph 0: Rupaka

It's said the god who challenges a sage,
who claims no bounds to knowledge or to might
could wake to mortal, infant-blurry sight
could grow to grace and wrinkle into age --
then, left and lonely, heed the inner sense
of someone's laughter, something she forgot;
she'll have to die to know how He was caught
a moment (life) in Naarada's pretense.
We all fall thus to Maya, into form,
our limits shaped by sight and sound and touch,
revel in knowledge, unaware how much
of what we think is truth is culture's norm.
   There's truth in folly, folly in the wise;
   The trick's discerning where, and how, it lies.

Triumph I: Avatar

I fought the serpent, danced atop his hood
with flutesong, came to draw the rats from town;
with trumpets, blew your city walls right down.
I call the monsoon, and I know the wood
that prophesies. I steal things -- clothes and curds,
fresh moonlight, butter, summertime, and fire
that gods had locked away. And I'm the liar
who knows the truth and power locked in words.
I change things; bend and alter everyone
-- but every note of magic has its cost;
you never can regain the world you lost,
unbreak the shattered bow, unsteal the sun.

   And sure, I make things too, but here's the joke --
   They never will replace the ones I broke.

Triumph II: Vidhya

So you command the waves, the winds, the men
who, taken in by power, call you wise;
Your staff could split the atom; well, what then?
the fallout always takes you by surprise.
You never mean to fly too high to live,
to stake your lady on a roll of dice,
to start a war by choosing who to give
the amrit; or to melt the arctic ice.
In time you'll stumble, halting, to my cave
where shadows swallow up your voice and feet
It won't be fear -- you're foolish yet, and brave --
that stops you. Just the loss of self-deceit
   when I reveal, in Soma's lotus bow,
   the truths that men of knowledge cannot know.

Triumph VIII: Shakti

Our glare turns men to stone, to ash.  We make
the flesh of butchered sons our husbands' feast,
devour the warring Asuras, and slake
our thirst on their hot blood.  There is no beast
we can't command: we know them.  So we dance
on skulls and swords, unstoppable, as wild
as supernovas, frightening as chance-
ruled life -- but stories tell us that a child
will turn us soft.  They paint us kneeling, claim
our pure hot strength as gentleness.  Our art
-- our fire-fed joy, our claws, our blood -- they shame
for fear our dance will rip their world apart.

  And that's why men, my daughters, praise our calm
  and swear true strength would never do them harm.

Triumph IX: Manas

You've learned the secret language of the birds --
their variance of beak from isle to isle
proclaims their feed and, countering God's words,
that species split.  You've tried to reconcile
these truths; five years, a ship your narrow home,
you read a tale oracular and strange
of strata, bone shape -- life's enduring tome;
its fragment-hints of incremental change.
A godly boon -- to see so true, so wide
without the simple comfort of a god
but you, like all sanyasis, must decide
to hide or share: be heretic or fraud.
   And dare you speak the light you sought so long
   when what it says is all you knew is wrong?

Triumph XIV: Sarpa

My gift was never easy to accept:
both death and healing in one razor bite
You vilified me for it, and you kept
me coiled unseen between the day and night.
You sainted those who drove me from the land,
declared me devil, venom in your voice;
projecting evil, wouldn't understand --
my kills are need, your genocide is choice.
I burn away the skins you will not shed,
though not in vengeance; alchemy's my role
your life is short, but so is being dead
and I, with tail in mouth, describe the whole.

   Where empty days shed permanence and light
   I'm waiting for you, offering that bite.

Tags: clarion, crowdfunding, poem, sonnet-off, triumph 0:rupaka, triumph i: avatar, triumph ii: vidhya, triumph ix: manas, triumph viii: shakti, triumph xiv: sarpa

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