dVerse Poetics: Metaphor

This is for dVerse Poetics hosted today by Bjorn. He wants us to use metaphors in our writing. I don’t know if I came close. I’m used to writing “direct poetry” – no hidden meanings or agendas. So I wrote about an old lover.
I hope I did okay! I don’t know about obvious metaphors.

The Black Dragon (kokuryūkai)

I was told long ago: Never look into the eyes of a dragon –
His gaze will capture you and you will be lost.
But I looked too long into his whirling eyes.
Brown, liquid and disturbingly male.
His eyes lifted and trapped mine.
There was about him a wildness,
a smell of cold fresh water rushing over rocks.
There was about him a heat, the skin of a dragon
encapsulating an inner eternal fire –
a wisdom of ages, of trees, of endless sky –
a loneliness about him, a dragon curled
about a red ruby heart in the depths of a faraway cave –
he had the strength of a dragon lifting his wings upward
and flying beyond the sun –
And the infinite sadness of cherry blossoms killed by frost.
I could only stand and watch as he flew back to his mountain.



image from pixabay

The Notes: You can always tell a Japanese dragon from a Chinese or Korean dragon in paintings and tattoos – the Japanese dragon will always have only three toes/claws per appendage making a total of 12. The dragons are given different colors for obvious reasons. Each color has their own powers: Black dragons are children of a thousand-year-old dragon that is black-gold. They are symbols of the North. They are the most solitary of all the dragons and also, fly the highest and sometimes mated with humans. They caused storms by battling in the air. Blue dragons are children of blue-gold dragons that are eight hundred years old. They are purest in blue colors, the sign of the coming spring and the symbol of the East. Yellow dragons are born from yellow-gold dragons who are one thousand years old or older. They appear at ‘the perfect moment’ and at all other times remain hidden. Yellow dragons are also the most revered of the dragons. Yellow dragons also sometimes mated with humans.  White dragons come from white-gold dragons of a thousand years of age. They symbolize the South. White is the Asian color of mourning, and these dragons are a sign of death.

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. qbit
    Sep 14, 2017 @ 20:50:39

    Beautiful metaphor!


  2. nosaintaugustine
    Sep 14, 2017 @ 21:56:11

    I think you nail the metaphor in the last line where he is no longer similar to a dragon, rather he IS a dragon, flying back to his mountain. There’s an exciting immediacy when two things get all conflated.Good of you to join the challenge even though it’s not your cup of tea!


    • kanzensakura
      Sep 14, 2017 @ 22:01:41

      Since I’ve been writing at dVerse for several years, I try to hit all the prompts I can. It’s the courteous thing to do. Lol… i just will not do fussy rhyming/meter poems. I’m glad my fellow staff members are so kind and understanding. 🙂

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 00:52:36

    Though dragons are often used as metaphor your treatment of the topic made it new and interesting to read. Especially like the eyes, and how you have sustained the metaphor throughout the poem


    • kanzensakura
      Sep 15, 2017 @ 06:00:35

      Wow. Thank you Bjorn. I wasn’t at all sure about the metaphor thing. I do okay with similes but am never sure about metaphors.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  4. sarahsouthwest
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 02:04:01

    Well, I don’t know if you got it right from a metaphor point of view, but you certainly got it right as a poem. It carries you up, and then drops you into loss and yearning.


  5. kim881
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 02:24:10

    A mesmerising dragon poem, Toni – your autobiographical poems, with and without metaphors, always do it for me.I love the way you describe your lover’s wildness as ‘a smell of cold fresh water rushing over rocks’.and
    ‘a loneliness about him, a dragon curled
    about a red ruby heart in the depths of a faraway cave’.
    So sad that dragons always fly back to their mountains.


    • kanzensakura
      Sep 15, 2017 @ 06:08:37

      Yes it is. But if they stay away from their caves too long, they die. Some of the mountains and hills in Japan are said to be the remains of ancient dragons.


  6. Gospel Isosceles
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 06:08:19

    I’ve most often heard the black dragon analogy as associated with drugs and addiction. Here there is that sense of allure and doom as well. The “trapped eyes” is haunting to me. Because the dragon leaves, and your gaze is still forever set.


  7. kanzensakura
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 06:15:18

    Maybe thatdrug thing is a modern myth and some drug groups use it because it sounds so cool. In ancient Japanese lore, drug addiction and that sort of thing did not exist. The white man, especially the English carried opium to China eere it was known as “eating clouds”. The dragon is known as often guarding knowledge of some sort and then,you got that thing with mating with humans. I did not mean any of the dragons in the context of addiction.


  8. paul scribbles
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 08:06:55

    The poem was well executed and potent. The information about Dragons was just mesmerising. So interesting.


  9. Frank Hubeny
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 10:50:29

    I didn’t know that about the number of toes of dragons. Nor their colors, but the colors make sense. Nice description: “the infinite sadness of cherry blossoms killed by frost”


  10. Beverly Crawford
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 18:36:29

    A lovely lyrical dragon tale!


  11. alisonhankinson
    Sep 16, 2017 @ 08:51:51

    I really liked learning about the dragons, and I couldn’t have resisted either, I would have looked in his eyes.


  12. Mary (tqhousecat)
    Sep 16, 2017 @ 12:01:17

    I must have gazed, for I was captured by the entire poem. I don’t completely understand metaphors or dragons but this is beautiful!


  13. lillian
    Sep 17, 2017 @ 09:23:15

    My internet connection just faltered. Writing and posting this to see if it posts automatically (which means I need to write my comment again) or if it says it is waiting for approval…in which case, just delete this one and use my original.


  14. lillian
    Sep 17, 2017 @ 09:26:55

    I LOVE this post! This is some of the most beautiful writing…you are amazing. These lines most especially
    “a loneliness about him, a dragon curled
    about a red ruby heart in the depths of a faraway cave”
    And then this ending
    “a loneliness about him, a dragon curled
    about a red ruby heart in the depths of a faraway cave –”
    Such beautiful imagery that pulls at the heart and engages. I hope dear friend, that someone is collecting and saving all your writing to pass on to generations within your family. Your way with words is truly unique and heartfelt. This to me….I am enthralled.


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