Some monk somewhere made slow delicious love to each letter,
holding each word close to his hand, his face, his heart.
Was it the sound of the letter that revealed its intricate shape?
Slowly, after listening and sleeping and waiting for it to speak?
Or did the sound of the whole word open the canvas before him?
The pen was carefully crafted, the nib stroked and stroked again.
The ink was pounded into being,
then left in long curling trails to slowly dry on calfskin.
With these he created creatures which will never be seen elsewhere.
They spin and devour and tangle and do not rest.
But one look at the deer, or the winged ox, the endless dragon, the knotted lion, or the birds, oh the birds,
One look and this creature nests in your mind,
appears in your dream,
or out of the corner of your eye
when you need it close.