Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

  • Mood:

Poem: "kintsugi"

This poem came out of the April 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] alexseanchai, [personal profile] mama_kestrel, and [personal profile] kelkyag. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] redsixwing.


the monk's begging bowl
is smooth and beautiful, but
small cicada sounds
startle it from his soft hands
to shatter upon the ground

the monk's mournful cry
sounds like the wind in the reeds;
shards of ceramic
tinkle between his fingers
as he picks up the pieces

his elder nods and
says, "kintsugi can mend it."
with warm gold resin
the shards are reunited
and what was broken is whole

nevermore will it
be a monk's begging bowl: now
instead it's a lamp
made more beautiful by the
cracks that let the light shine through

lines of gold have sealed
what the cicada's song broke
but there are places
where the glass, cracked but not yet
broken, gives way to the flame

this is the beauty
of impermanent things and
of imperfect things:
the world is not so solid
as to stop enlightenment

* * *


The tanka is a syllabic form of poetry with five lines. There are simple and complex instructions for writing a tanka.

Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery with metallic resin. It also extends to the idea of repairing a broken life. Enjoy some examples. It's easier to follow the steps if you have a kintsugi kit, but you can also assemble the components from scratch.

Kigo are symbolic words that encode the season into a Japanese poem, usually a haiku but they can go anywhere. Brows a big list of kigo.

A begging bowl is one of the requirements for a Buddhist monk. Read more about how Buddhist monks live.

tsukutsukubooshi (tsukutsukubooshi, early autumn). A small cicada; the name is onomatopoetic for its cry and includes the word for 'priest'. Meimuna opalifera.

wind in the reeds (ogi no koe, early autumn). Lit. 'voice of the reeds'.

This kintsugi lamp shines from within.

Wabi and sabi are principles of Japanese aesthetics. Although often compounded, they are not the same: wabi is about simplicity and rustic imperfection, while sabi reflects the graceful passage of time and impermanence.
Tags: crafts, cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, life lessons, poem, poetry, reading, spirituality, weblit, writing
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.