In Heian poetry, pivot words are often hidden in other words. This poem is an example of that practice. In the word “sapphire” is the hidden word “fire.” So when the poet says “the sapphire sparks,” he is really saying the “sapphire sparks like a fire.” Throughout this poem is imagery that plays on this sapphire/fire/spark connection. In the final two lines, there are two words that also act as pivots, creating multiple layers of meaning when combined. “Set” could refer to a setting, or it may indicate that something is ready. “Ere” means before, but is a homonym of “e’er” (ever).
The Award of the Sapphire is given to individuals who exhibit courtesy, grace, and honor to people of all ranks and exemplify what it means to be the embodiment of the dream. Mistress Zaynab is one such exemplar. Her ebullient personality never fails to inspire those around her to achieve more, from the rank novice, to the highest peer; even someone who has spent years on the fringes of the Society cannot help but be inspired by her. She also leads by example, a living embodiment of the Dream, who works hard to make the Dream real for others.
The form is waka, Japanese in origin with a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern of syllables. This was my award recommendation for an Award of the Sapphire for Her Excellency of Andelcrag, Mistress Zaynab Yasmine. Awarded by their Majesties hand at A Day at The Castle, on 11th day of 3rd month, AS XLVII