The poem's a problem, as ever, because my mind insists it should be written in whatever metre 'The king with half the East at heel' is written in, and it's far too jaunty. But I've had the thing stuck in my head for weeks now and any attempts to do sonnets or rondels go nowhere.
'Tis mute, the word they went to hear on high Dodona mountain
When winds were in the oakenshaws and all the cauldrons tolled,
And mute's the midland naval-stone beside the singing fountain,
And echoes list to silence now where gods told lies of old.
I took my question to the shrine that has not ceased from speaking,
The heart within, that tells the truth and tells it twice as plain;
And from the cave of oracles I heard the priestess shrieking
That she and I should surely die and never live again.
Oh priestess, what you cry is clear, and sound good sense I think it;
But let the screaming echoes rest, and froth your mouth no more.
'Tis true there's better boose than brine, but he that drowns must drink it;
And oh, my lass, the news is news that men have heard before.
The King with half the East at heel is marched from lands of morning;
Their fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air,
And he that stands will die for nought, and home there's no returning.
The Spartans on the sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair.
Much as I fancy Gouen addressing Kanzeon as 'my lass', it's not going to happen.
(I *will* get back to Onmyouji eventually, if only because of a fancied and doubtless fever-induced resemblance between a certain levitating monk and the gentleman with the thistledown hair in JS&MN:
He had read over the sutra and fallen asleep, when he heard a voice saying "Myouchi-dono, Myouchi-dono." When he came awake the voice was not to be heard. He assumed his ears were playing tricks on him and was just nodding off again when once again he heard the voice. 'Myouchi-dono, hullo, Myouchi-dono--"
He opened his eyes and saw in the air above his face, another face looking down at him.
He jumped out of bed in surprise, only to find a monk sitting beside his pallet. The man opened his mouth and said, very calmly, "So you finally heard me?"
"Who are you?" Myouchi asked, and the other answered, "Not one who can reveal his name."
"What do you want?"
"Oh, it's just that as I was passing by I happened to hear a voice chanting the Sonshou mantra, and without thinking I came in here to listen better." But Myouchi was perfectly aware that when he'd been reciting the mantra there'd been no one else in his cell with him.
"When you were done I intended to return home, but I find I've spent too long in the air of the human realm. My body is too heavy to fly and the gates will not open for me, so I was wondering if you'd burn a little incense for me..." the man explained. "When you burn it, fan the smoke in my direction."
Myouchi of course had heard the story of the monk of Heizan. "Are you then Choushou-sama?"
"No no, I'm nothing like him. I'm just an ordinary monk.")