Posts Tagged ‘folklore’

The mists of the village welcomed a new visitor,
A monk of the road,
Tsugaru shamisen in hand,
Ragged in his very being,
Skeletal and mute,
A man whose eyes had never seen,

He played for rice and water,
His instrument his only possession,
Aside from the soiled cloth on his back,
The shamisen continues its mournful twangs,
Each pluck unleashing a tale of spirits,
Mystifying the villagers in its sad tones,

The old monk persisted,
With his music magic seemed real again,
Not a single eye remained dry,
Even the skies above acknowledged his rueful tune,
Falling in dismal sheets,
The village walked beside spirits once more,

And the shamisen continued its mournful twangs.

Upon the sea we rest,
Callused hands upon nets and scales,
The winds rise in warning,
Waves lashing at our hull,
Begging us to flee to shore,
The storms know what approaches,
The monster the waters try to hide,
Teeth like tantos approach,
Ichthyology turned to nightmarish design,

The shadow cutting betwixt waves,
This is no shark,
No animal of biological leaning,
But a yokai,
A dread spirit of myth,
Isonade,
A barbed tail like a typhoon,
Ready to impale fleeting lives up on deck,
It could be our briny and thrashing end.

The bog is woken up,
The murkiest waters even animate,
Murk becoming effulgent,
That fell flame hovering there,
The waters surface reflects it,
Phosphorescent in its disquiet,
Like a canvas painted by ghosts,
Some machination of the spirit realm,

That dread light,
It’s a foreboding lighthouse in the black,
Offering not salvation,
But a watery grave,
Is it a ghost?
Is it purely folklore?
Or is there a more cogent cause?
Science offering some motive.

I am Gaki,
I died once,
A life spent in overindulgent opulence,
Now I suffer in spirit,
Doomed to unlife existing in eternal famine,
All is fodder,
Unclean or otherwise,
But no myriad feast can cure my paucity,
All of the kings men,
And all of the kings flesh,
Couldn’t sate this demons hunger again,
Nothing can fill this distended belly,
It is hell I assure you,
The pain has dulled all other sensation,
Hell of a worse kind.

The fly on the wall left for a jaunt,
Out of the window,
Across a lawn laid in neglect,
There he met his companion the gnome,
In flaxen shirt and inert gaze,
Fishing rod and gormless grin,
The fly said to the gnome,

“Between us we see everything,
I within the house and you without,
Sins within this hovel and besides,
I’ve seen the married souls lay with strangers,
You’ve seen needles and shady deals alfresco,
I’ve smelt the scent of flesh under floorboards,
You’ve seen where the bodies are buried under turf,
Together we could rule this place”,


In response the gnome looked ever on,
Unimpressed,
The fly’s proposed blackmail not to his liking,
His painted eyes still staring wide-eyed,
The fly seethed at the refusal,
Zooming back to the house in a rage,
He would bring ruin to the occupants elseways.

I am nobody,
I am everybody,
I am me,
But I am also not me,
I shift each and every day,
To me physique is simply a mood,
Race and gender are just words,
I can be anyone,
I am true fluidity,
The rain drops between bodies,

I jump from form to form,
For necessity or on a whim,
Constitution is just an art form,
Skin hair and bone simply paints on my easel,
One day I am a humble man,
The next the fairest damsel,
I could be the villain,
Or maybe the comedic relief,
I can be anyone,
I can be everyone.

Do you remember thirteen years thus?
A bargain was made,
A pact you cannot break,
With a loan shark you can’t dupe,
An infernal contract,
Your soul for your hearts desire,
Seemingly an easy trade at the time,

The time has come to collect,
Your final sunset has passed,
The hounds come,
Obsidian pelt and garnet-eyed,
Slavering and tireless,
From the flames they come howling,
To tear from you a promised ember,

The hounds are here,
A flood of ghastly Baskervilles,
Do you hear them scraping at your door?
The scent of brimstone is palpable,
No amount of bargaining can lull them,
They are the devils own mongrels,
And they hunger for the flesh of a soul promised.

Wandering bewildered in a lawn maze,
I found this place,
By mistake or chance,
This verdant museum,
This garden of secrets,
Its emerald prizes did not come free,
The thorns acted an entry toll upon my arms,
But oh was it worth it,
Almost did I prostrate myself,

My eyes did bathe in supernal botany,
A wonderland without a red queen,
Trees holding up the firmament,
Flowers abound of every persuasion,
Little cardinals splaying to their solar deity,
The pristine lawn a parade ground of green,
Drilled by uniformed peacock life guards,
I could remain here forever,
Yet such divinity can only exist in folklore,
So I wrench open my eyes.

Having grown lost and confused,
My compass a hopeless compatriot,
I tire of traversal,
I cease for repose in a shrouded glade,
Flanked by vines and caressed by grass almost glowing,
But my rest is quickly cut short by weight of eyes,
A million foreboding fireflies,

Miniscule beings of glamour I notice,
Little simulacra of humans,
Hiding behind toadstools and tulip buds,
Scores upon scores,
I hear them flitter,
Giggling and chanting in shrill tongues,
Sounds from every direction,

Skeptical of their intentions,
Whether foul or fair,
I bade them come clean,
But instead they plied their folkloric magics,
Binding me in cruel ivy,
Laying claim to me as a plaything,
Still their hollering chorus cried on,

For decades I have remained here,
Still bound in enchanted green,
A literal piece of garden furniture,
Subject to jests and jabs of fancy,
Endless riddles and unfair games,
My torment at their hands may go on for eternity,
A nightmare wrought in trickery and thaumaturgy,

I implore you,
Beware the fae glades,
Beware the pixies.

I took a jaunt along a forest trail this morn,
And immediately I start to feel their eyes,
Tiny eyes like fireflies all about,
The Kodama,
Infantile spirits of the boughs,
Bodies of moss and sage,
Slinking trunk to trunk,
Trees all bound by shimenawa,
Homes of woodwork and onmyo,
Lithely they rush around in innocence,

I do not interrupt their games,
They mean no harm to a traveller,
But only to romp amongst the jade,
But as I have been told before,
Dare not nick the trees skin,
Lest their mischief becomes your misfortune,
A curse of a yokai perhaps,
Instead they whisper a prayer to this respectful walker,
A blessing from the spirits,
I leave the forest rejuvenated,

Their frolics continue amidst the mystical leaves.