Menage à Tiger and Dragon by Vince Gotera

Tiger and Dragon by Richard Fay

Menage à Tiger and Dragon
Vince Gotera

In Chinese mythology, Dragon and Tiger are opposing forces, portrayed in art as always in epic battle against each other.

Tiger and Dragon
Pine for Each Other

Dragon
and Tiger
love each other

like
dawn Sun
and harvest Moon,

Sword
and Flower,
Flame and Rain.

Forever
chasing, never
touching. Each other’s

orbit
clockwork machined
by distant gods.

They
each sit
in glass globe

heavens,
whatever bridge
between them nothing

but
empty space,
purple and orange

motes
of dust
floating in between.

cherry blossoms

Tiger and Dragon:
How They Can Love

Dragon,
water emperor,
shapeshifts himself liquid,

transforms
into lakewater,
glassy surface, ultramarine

depths.
In him
Lady Tiger swims.

Bodies
dissolving, melding,
ebb and flow.

Tiger and Dragon:
deliquescent, mellifluous, one.

cherry blossoms

Tiger and Dragon
Fight About Nothing

Dragon
mopes, wishing
he hadn’t roared.

Tiger
turns away:
cold shoulder, glower.

Even
mythological creatures
have bad days.

Neither
will kiss
and make up.

Cave lair full
of bad air.

cherry blossoms

Tiger and Dragon
and Nightfire

Everyone
told them
impossible, never happen.

But
then Tiger
had her cub:

first
Chinese dragon
with actual wings!

Stripes
too, tinted
flame and shadow.

Thus, they named
their child Nightfire.

 

Note: These poems are in hay(na)ku stanzas, with the last three being hay(na)ku sonnets. The hay(na)ku is a recent invention of the poet Eileen Tabios: a three-line word-counting form, with 1 word in line 1, 2 words in line 2, and 3 words in line 3. Sometimes the word count is reversed to 3-2-1. This is a deceptively simple form; the trick is to get useful, meaning-enhancing line breaks, not simply break six words up into 1-2-3. The hay(na)ku sonnet is my own invention, using 5 hay(na)ku with the last one compressed into a couplet to total 14 lines.

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