Breaking Lines- NaPoWriMo

So the prompt yesterday day was about line breaks.  It was a day without inspiration. Happily this morning I woke thinking about literal lines, as in Morse code or the I Ching, both made up of lines embedded with information.  (A dot is after all just a very short oghamcover picline.) I am very interested in the idea of embedded information.  In researching my book Sitting on the Hag Seat, I explored the link between the ancient runic alphabet and the sacred trees of Ireland.  Runes you may recall are made of lines resembling branches, twigs and sticks.  These letters also formed a system of divination.  

My latest book, Return to Inanna, still in progress, is based on the cuneiform tablets holding the first poem in written history  for which we know cuneiform tabletthe poet’s name.  Her name was Enheduanna. The cuneiform inscribed clay tablets also contain myths about Goddess Inanna from which I received my inspiration for the new poems.

The I Ching is an ancient Chinese system of divinity, at least 5,000 years old.  It is made up of 64 hexagrams (6 lines) consisting of a lower and upper trigram (3 lines); each of the characters comes with a meaning of its own; as does every trigram and individual line within it.


Traditionally, you count the lines of a hexagram from bottom to top. This way, line one is the line at the bottom and line six is the topmost one. All hexagrams derive from 8 original trigrams.   

I decided to pick a character for my prompt.  I chose one I liked the look of and it turned out to be 21- Shih Ho / Biting Through  from Richard Wilheim‘s I Ching translation.

biting through

I read the meaning of hexagram Shih Ho and underlined the phrases that stood out for me.  I listed them in order and then began rearranging them and adding a word here or there in a way that maintained the original meaning.  It is really a found poem, and I cannot take credit for the words or their associated meaning, only for their new arrangement.

Shih Ho/ Biting Through – Hexagram 21

Unity cannot be established.

To prevent permanent injury

proceed with right action.

Obstacles blocking the way

are forcibly removed in nature.


the clinging,


the arousing

at once, take vigorous measures –

the energetic biting through of obstacles.

Deliberate destruction does not vanish of its own accord.


and punishment required.

Proceed with right action.

Soft clarity

hard excitement,

two together create the just measure

of a gentle nature

commanding respect through conduct.








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