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Bardic Arts

Three Words

Makiwara no Yetsuko
(aka Jehanne de Wodeford)
September 6, 2003

Spring for your weapon
Against the fearsome ogre!
Fists of cloud brandish
A demon’s flaming trident
As lightning flays the rooftops.

Copyright ©2004 Lisa A. Joseph

"Waka, also known as tanka or uta is the ancestor of haiku. In my research on the arts of Heian Japan, I learned that this form was used for contests, in which one person might start the first three lines and others had to come up with the last two, or one poem must be answered by a new one. Lovers frequently sent messages using this poetic form, often using imagery from nature. As a courtly entertainment, it is extremely well suited to spur-of-the moment topics, in fact, several of the poems below were written in response to topical challenges. I have included the occasional note to provide context. "

"September 6, 2003, written at the competition for Bard of the Mists. Three words are drawn from a hat and one has fifteen minutes to compose something incorporating them. Makiwara-hime looked at the words "spring," "ogre," and "trident," and pushed Jehanne out of the way to write and perform this." -- Makiwara no Yetsuko

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