Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the fifty-eighth poem in this series. This week’s piece is by poet, short story author, scriptwriter and lyricist Ken Temple.
–A Parable Of Choice
Many years ago in Poozestan,
Lived a great knight, Diego-san.
Life was much simpler in those days –
One chose to slay or to be slain.
Achieving his illustrious reputation,
You can guess which was Diego’s inclination.
A famous, well-accomplished knight,
Second only to Tigerius’ might.
His Bitter Biter blade, his joy had been,
In a scabbard of jade and emerald green.
His skill so keen, his sword so sharp,
He could cleave snowflakes in half, mid-drop.
Having vanquished a hoard of Fiendish foes,
Once more Diego journeyed home.
He reflected on battles fought and won,
Enemy skulls crushed to dust with scorn.
An ardent student of the Warrior’s Path,
He’d never lost a fight thus far.
But he suspected, without knowing,
That there was more to life than brawling.
He stopped by a seer, named Katsumoto –
Pussini’s granddad’s psychic brother.
With eyebrows sweeping up the floor,
The old cat cooked his rich fish broth.
His question Diego then laid before him,
About the destination of Life’s journey.
“Tell me, O Seer without bias,
Is Heaven only for the pious?
Is there a place where we, Battlecats,
Will be rewarded for our acts?
Will our deeds be recognized,
Acknowledged as necessary and wise?
As tooth and claw for Poozestan,
We sacrificed before the Crown.
Tell me of the Fiends we’ve sent to Hell,
Forever trapped where demons dwell.
Speak up old cat and tell me truly,
How will we receive our judgment duly.”
Katsumoto stirred his rich fish soup
And right on cue his caldron gulped.
He shut his eyes, then he replied,
His tone methodical and fine:
“You seek justification for your deeds –
The hurt you’ve wrought in this sad world.
But you do not truly believe,
That absolution can be yours to hold.
You ask if your deeds will be remembered,
But I’ve already forgotten who you were.
A soldier is an instrument of terror –
A socially accepted killer, nothing more.
You’ve come to me for proof of Fate,
But disappointing are your ways.
Your muscles may be large and bulging,
But your spirit is feeble, unworthy of my coaching.”
Bitter Biter leapt from its jade sheath,
Hissing as it split the chill of eve.
Trembling with rage, his eyes aflame,
Diego wound himself up the sage to slay.
“Insolent peasant! Thy life is forfeit –
Now we shall see who is not worthy!!”
Unperturbed, the hermit gently said:
“Lo! Here is your Demon raising Hell.”
He handed a mirror to the hero,
Who had suddenly become the villain.
Confused, Diego took it in his paws
And muttered an ancient soldiers’ curse.
A face contorted in a snarl,
Looked pitilessly at him now.
As he beheld the looking glass aghast,
His fury ebbed, subsiding fast.
In a feat of incredible will power,
He overcame his inner coward.
He sheathed his Bitter Biter blade,
Staying his wrath and humbly said:
“Thank you for the analogy – stark, allegoric.
I applaud your bravery and courage.
At the risk of personal demise,
You opened this brute’s long-shut eyes.
You have taught me to control my wrath,
Setting me upon a higher, nobler path.”
The hermit nodded then and smiled,
Then sniffed to see what else his pot required.
“Restraint, compassion and regret?
Perhaps there’s hope for your soul yet.
By reining in your wild pride,
You have attained a higher level
And learned a new respect for life.
Lo! Here’s your Angel crafting Heaven!
Go now in peace, be healed inside,
Leave hate and suffering behind.”
Diego continued his journey home,
Feeling enlightened and reborn.
Reflecting on the encounter with the sage,
Which a lifetime of doubt did now assuage.
In balance hung his life and death,
Kept apart by an old cat’s wheezing breath.
Had he not stayed his fateful hand,
Forever, he his own soul would he have damned.
Thank you, Ken.
Ken is a keen martial artist, pupil of the old-Japanese culture, avid chess / shogi player, video game and movie junkie and a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth zealot of German-made cars.
He also loves comics and good music, but then, he says, who doesn’t?
If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with non-fiction author Phyl Manning – the six hundred and twenty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!
or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel, which is being serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome critique for the four new writing groups listed below and / or flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays. For other opportunities see (see Opportunities on this blog).
The full details of the new online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, are:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.