The King of Fire and Water
In the seven towers in the seven mountains in the deep Cambodian wood
each year for seven years the King of Fire and Water reigns.
He has no authority, no subjects except for moon & monsoon--
he travels barefoot from tower to tower but leaves no track behind.
And so rules for seven years subsisting on bark and berries,
& occasional offerings in woven baskets left by women at the forest's edge.
In the final fall he returns to family, fold and fallow field,
saying nothing of the seven years or the secrets of the seven towers--
for six weeks he must abstain from sex lest consummation consume him.
In the seventh winter no king-- the fire is guarded in the hearth;
But in spring lots are tossed, and a new king assumes his throne
in the seven towers in the seven mountains in the deep Cambodian wood.
copyright 2001 Phoebe Claire Publishing, LLC All rights reserved