kami no michi

certain moments lend themselves
to a strict economy of expression
for fear of offending the gods
and caricaturing the ineffable

moments that dare inscription
and bid only the austerest
turns of phrase to be sounded out
and rendered into hymns

choice words worthy of the ritual
as salt scatters before a bout
purifying the dohyo as the sacred
waters had purified a bathing izanagi

after his fateful orphic descent
words that must match the hushed awe
attending the gyoji who presides
in the garb of a shinto high priest

moments that are the making of a poet
who though betrayed into effusion
chooses well and selects with care
the wheat from the chaff giving us

the kami with the carnal as the bodies
of two well-matched rikishi meet
in full flight and with fearful force
bearing witness to a mystery half-divine

Melvin Chen is a Singaporean philosopher, poet and painter. His poems have appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, while his philosophy has been accepted for publication in Philosophy & Literature, Philosophical Forum, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, and elsewhere. He is also an invited Reviewer for the Croatian Journal of Philosophy. He speaks English, Mandarin, Norwegian, Danish, and French, and is learning Slovak, the native language of his muse and fiancée.​

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