Haiku from Chester Beatty Today

So, I was writing Haiku today at the Chester Beatty, rather than sketching. Haiku are 3-line poems with 17 syllables (5-7-5 pattern across the lines). Enjoy....

Fluid feathers furl.
Body, elegant, arches
Downwards. Talons out.

Lies, treachery and
Jealously turn king ‘gainst king.
Men die, women mourn.

Paper warrior
Gallops across the desert.
Slaughters the dragon.

Feast, hunt, play polo –
Things Iranian kings must do.
And, of course, make war.

Ornate foliage
Clambers across page, inked gold.
Illumes ancient text.

Crowing cockerel bears
Man on horseback clothed in red.
Ancient myth unfolds.

(…Women do not often appear in Shahnama illustrations. Those who do are most often wives or consorts, whose prime role is to bear children, especially heirs to the throne – or serving girls, included simply to fill out a composition….)

The composition
Lacks balance. He’s frustrated,
Adds a serving girl.

Evil step mother.
Always inevitable.
Curse of v*&%$"$a?

Mythic creatures watch
Fearless men on horses cross
Swift swirling river.

The Great War between
Kay Khusraw and Afrasiyab.
Senseless waste of life.

Splendour, divine right.
Rulers forever thus born.
Charismatic gods.

Rose water revives.
Classic iconography.
Ancient marketing.

Warriors bearing
Bows and arrows should never
Play at hide go seek.

The exhibition
Ends here. Red sign on brown wall.
Where does it begin?