Saturday, November 25, 2017

Jorōgumo (Poem)

This is a multi-verse haiku with a running foot (ie lines that flow on from each other) that I am working on as a possibility for the poetry book. The story is that of Jorōgumo, a type of Yōkai (monster, ghost, or goblin) from Japanese folklore. Jorōgumo is a woman-spider - she can appear as a beautiful young woman to lure men into her webs, but in fact she is a venomous spider who traps, kills and consumes her prey. She usually lives near water, often a waterfall. In some versions of the story, she appears to be holding an infant, which is actually made of thousands of spider-eggs which then burst open.

I am not especially arachnophobic, but I will not deny that this story is a little shuddery even for me. Sometimes it's good to go to darker places, though. As usual, I am trying to find (or create) another meaning in the story.

Because this might end up in the book, feedback SUPER, SUPER welcome! (The phrase "clever abyss" is a reference to one version of the story where a traveller tricks a Jorōgumo by ensnaring the web tendrils around a tree stump instead of themselves; the Jorōgumo whispers "clever, clever" as the stump is drawn into the water, and this is the source where Kashikobuchi, or "clever abyss", takes its name).


the waters fall; clear
and pure above my hidden
snares; my damp, dark nest

a clever abysss
whirls in my jewel-bright eyes;
the stars and the moon

look down, say nothing.
I put on breasts and belly,
costuming for them

baiting my skein-trap
with the scent of their desire
within the forest

in the dark I spin
in twilight i am hunter
in the dawn, legion

my children bursting
life life life to run and dance
a thousand splinters

I am as I am;
I hunt and I eat, and men
fatten my she-blood

their eyes grown wider
as they look upon their death;
all iridescence 

and long-legged, red
in sting and mouth-bite
sticky with longing

the hunger that drives
them into my arms, and I
to sing their dirges soft

and aching-sweet; the
water forgets all that was,
and the web shimmers

caught in the sunlight;
I consume, and create, and
yes am born again.

- Kathy, 25/11/17

(This is post #25 in NaBloPoMo; 25 down, 5 to go!)

No comments:

Post a Comment