Silver Phoenix Haiku Sequence

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Different Story by Peter Schilling.

For those who remember from the YA Fantasy Showdown, Ai Ling from Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix was one of the featured characters, and in my contest it happened to be one of the most requested books of the showdown. Well, the sequel is coming out (March 2011) and she decided to host a contest of very cool proportions.

Originally I wasn't going to share this at all, but I was cajoled by friend and foe alike (they happen to be the same people by the way. I still shake my fist at you!). Usually any work I show I like to have refined, polished and prettily spit shined, but since I wrote this last night under very little sleep there isn't much to be done in that arena. But I also know I should be proud of my work, and I love to feature diverse and different stories like Silver Phoenix whenever I can, so here I go. And a little fandom is always nice.

Here is a very rough haiku sequence in honor of the storyline of Silver Phoenix. Originally it was going to be a renga, but I don't feel nearly adequate enough to attempt it and get it right. I also did not follow the strict form of 5-7-5 syllables (it is a lot easier to do in Japanese, trust me), but instead tried to keep the original idea and intent behind the haiku with the image, the turn, commentary, etc. I tried to make each stand on its own but also follow the sequence of the story.

Silver Phoenix

Mere daughter
Unworthy of esteem by most
but cherished by a father still

One day, a letter
a summons from the emperor
leaves - but does not come home

A journey begins
the step beyond the light is dark
but time - too short

Courage, a medallion
gifts of her father, but to take hold of another's spirit
a gift of her own

The world is wide
unknown dangers always lurk
a reflection of life

The pool seems safe
cool water, soft lilies bloom
but the monster's hands are strong

Choking in a water prison
life's small candle flickers, threatening extinction
but other hands pull back

A friend, an enemy
a stranger can be both
but these yellow eyes are soft

Two now instead of one
a journey with a friend is always best
but first - we eat.

Instructions, advice well taken
wisdom and a dagger freely given
which shall prove the greater?

On the back of a dragon we fly
a courtyard of trees. The gods still live
- a revelation.

Dragon, demon-possessed
not all dragons are the same
like humans, I suppose

Insurmountable foe
requires the greatest mastery of self
reaches with her spirit - and destroys

One brother safe, the other unable to save
she could pull him back, restore him, warped
... she lets him go

A journey twists and turns
never knowing its end until it is upon you
like sun lifting a morning fog

A thousand souls stolen away
to wait for a single bright spirit
everything - for a marriage

Night, the shield of many things
a bedchamber, a place of communion turned to another purpose
different eyes, different soul destroys this time

Love potent, refined through trials
but there are more paths to walk
so we say goodbye.


Doret said...

Just dropping by from Cindy Pon's blog to say, I love the poem. It's spot on good.

Heather Zundel said...

Wow. Thank you so much. It is very rough, but I think Cindy is right, there is a certain organic quality about it this way.