after sei shōnagon
solar flares on the surface of skin | how a candle flame dances with shadow
sails of a brigantine | wings of a moth | snake skin that is shedding me
we can all go up in flames as the wind catches just right | wrong
moonlight pools on water dreaming| sunlight dapples feet here-and-now
smooth enamel of the bath | sediment at the bottom of the ocean
either can be a throne, either can swallow a woman whole
feel of brush strokes on canvas |scratch of a pen on paper |
fingers trace where flesh curves bone
i don’t think we're supposed to know
if the taste of tears varies according to their mood
everything will be ok, as told by the touch of a hand or a look in the eyes,
i will take either right now
letting go and giving up are not to be compared
nor with walking away
grief cannot be greater or less than the sum of each human experience
finding out the truth and looking for lies are different
yet both result in a life before and a life after
i think only time can stop us from comparing things
by emma blas
My eternal gratitude to poet Amy Kay, who introduced me to Sei Shōnagon's pillow book, and the incredibly contemporary 1,000 year old list poems and poetic prose within it. Sei Shōnagon was a lady serving the Empress Teishi at court in Japan, around the year 1000 and she documented daily life in her 'journal'. She lists beautiful and petty, witty and intelligent observations from courtly life, against titles such as:
'Things that make the heart lurch with anxiety'
'Things that create the appearance of deep emotion'
'Things that make your heart beat fast'
'Things that lose by being painted'
It's remarkable to me how relevant and relatable these 1000 year old lists are and the titles are poetically inspiring to gather observations against or to stimulate other titles. Read more about this book on Goodreads.