An Ode to Go

Falling into place
The first Xenocratic lines
Straight and steel-wrought

Mathematical:
Finely measured harmony
Restrained in dark ink

Nineteen slender threads
Interlocking, embracing
Their involution

Autumn cornfield
Fertile golden kingdom
World-within-a-world


Softly shining stars
Perfect, remote in beauty
Splendidly untouched

Pearls crying from streams
Hidden deep in the forest
Singing yesterdays

Fast-falling flowers
Spreading their petals like snow
Gathering on hills

Coals glowing white-hot
Spray on the tsunami’s crest
Swallowing the land


Yet night-time darkness
Engulfs the faltering light
With a sable glove

The midnight seashore
Welcomes its paramount Nox
Sighing cold praises

Black is the dungeon
Lightless Gaia’s hidden caves
And the cat’s slit-eye

Yet deepest of all
The emptiness of absence
Between the lit windows


The beating heart, War
Unrivalled king of men
All raise his banner

Apelike, hard-clutching
Illusion of possession
For convenience

Manically rushing
Into the gulping whirlpool
To the smell of blood

North, south, east, and west
Hark to the horn-herald’s call
Collapsing inwards


Two men are sitting
Low on embroidered cushions
By a lantern’s light

Out in the field
A cicada plays its tune
Through the humid air

Laughing, one admits
Defeat gently with good grace
Blaming the sake

Then delicately
With rough hands they fill the bowls
Clearing the board.

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Amazing!

The Birth of Go

In the world’s first youth
Between waking-lands and sleep
Ruled a mighty king
Surrounded by great riches
In his fair golden city

Yet he envied still
A beautiful young maiden
A gentle goddess
Looking downwards with kindness
On the fair golden city

“O shining one!” said he
“If only as a dowry
You would give those pearls
That hang like stars on your neck
Then I swear we shall be wed.”

The goddess loved them
Like sisters, and mourned their loss
But found comfort still
Asking that all see them shine
Then happily they should wed.

Clutching the treasures
He locked them away deeply
In wooden barrels
Jubilant to have plundered
For his fair golden city

With cold-grasping joy
He declared to all the world
Never another
Should gaze upon their lustre
In the fair golden city

Watching in anger
The goddess saw the king’s greed
And spoke like a sword
Imposing words of judgement
By the right of those above

“O king of gold
You are, but your blackened heart
Will crack to pieces
And even these not be yours
But belong to those above.”

“Now darkness will fill
Every one of these straight streets
Covering the finery
Until the end of the world
In this fair golden city.”

“You shall be buried
In the centre of the land
Suffering the rain
Of your jealous-held treasures
On the fair golden city.”

“For all ages hence
Crying from beneath the earth
Your spirit will lie
Amongst the nutmeg tree’s roots
Under the golden city.”

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I never thought to write poetry about go before, i shall have to give this a go.

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