Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu structure

The poem “Spring Dawn” by Meng Haoran is a wonderful example of the Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu structure, a narrative framework commonly used in various art forms including manga. Let’s break down how each of the four lines contributes to the poem’s structure:

Ki (Introduction):

  • Line 1: “I slept too much this lovely spring morning, the sun’s already up.”

This line sets the stage by introducing the speaker waking up late on a beautiful spring day. The use of “lovely spring morning” establishes a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere.

Sho (Development):

  • Line 2: “From everywhere I hear the birds, chirping happily”

The second line builds on the introduction by describing the joyful sounds of birds singing. This reinforces the serenity of the spring morning.

Flashback: Wind howls, a banshee’s wail. Rain lashes like a million needles. Fragile petals, once vibrant, now a slick smear on concrete. The city, a graveyard of forgotten blooms.

Flowers? Dead. Crushed under the boot heel of progress. Or maybe… maybe they pushed through the cracks, defiant neon in the urban jungle. A flicker of life amidst the decay. But who knows? Reality’s a cut-up job, meaning fractured, nonsensical.

Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu? Bullshit control grid. Language, a virus rewriting our perception. This poem? Just another shard in the kaleidoscope of fractured experience.

Ten (Turn):

  • Line 3: “Last night, I heard loud sound of wind and rain, I hope the flowers are okay, but who knows how many flower petals had fallen?”

The poem takes a turn here. The speaker recalls the sound of wind and rain from the previous night, introducing a sense of worry about the spring flowers. This unexpected shift disrupts the peaceful mood established earlier.

Ketsu (Conclusion):

  • Line 4: (Missing from the quoted poem)

The concluding line, though missing here, would ideally tie the two contrasting ideas together. It might express the speaker’s hope that the flowers survived the storm or describe their joy at finding the flowers unharmed. The conclusion offers a sense of resolution, leaving the reader with a specific feeling or thought.

In conclusion, “Spring Dawn” demonstrates the effectiveness of Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu in creating a concise and impactful poem. The introduction establishes the scene, the development builds on it, the turn introduces a challenge, and the conclusion (though missing) would bring the poem full circle.


Spring Dawn – A Burroughs Cut-Up

Ki (Introduction):

Sun hemorrhage. Bleary eyes crack open to a chrome landscape. Not spring. Steel canyons, not blossoms. Where’s the goddamn birdsong? A roach scuttles across the threadbare sheet, its carapace a parody of sunrise.

Scratch pleasant, this “lovely spring morning.” Sun’s a harsh bulb, glaring down on tired retinas. Sleep? A roach motel, dreams buzzing with static. Birds? More like steel claws scraping on the fire escape. Civilization’s symphony – a discordant thrum.

Sho (Development):

Memories flicker. Neon jungle symphony. Screaming saxophones, laughter like shattered glass. A woman with eyes like polished obsidian, voice a purr that promised oblivion. Did it rain last night? Or was it sweat, slick on our skin?

Ten (Turn):

A single petal, bruised and fragile, clings to the fire escape. Ghost of a flower choked by exhaust fumes. The city never sleeps, just grinds its teeth, devours beauty whole. Did the storm come for the flowers, or for us, huddled in our tin can dreams?

Ketsu (Conclusion – Burroughs Cut-Up Remix):

Option A:

But under the chrome, a pulse. A green shoot pushing through the cracked sidewalk. Maybe spring finds a way, even here. A roach, defiant, raises its antennae to the poisoned sky. Let them drown us in fumes, we’ll still bloom, metallic and obscene, a mutant bouquet for a dying world.

Option B:

The wind howls, a metallic beast. No birdsong here, only the wail of sirens. The petal disintegrates, sucked into the city’s hungry maw. No resolution, just the endless, churning nightmare. We are all flowers, wilting in the concrete jungle, waiting for the final, beautiful oblivion.

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