04 March 2014

scar tissue is visible history

(This poem was suggested by a former student of the old man--an MVH alum working hard up in Santa Cruz.  Thank you to Brother Paul Bishop--a scholar and a gentleman)

The Joins

       Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending precious pottery with gold.

What's between us
often seems flexible as the webbing
between forefinger and thumb.

Seems flexible, but it's not;
what's between us
is made of clay,

like any cup on the shelf.
It shatters easily. Repair
becomes the task.

We glue the wounded edges
with tentative fingers.
Scar tissue is visible history,

the cup more precious to us
we saved it.

In the art of kintsugi,
a potter repairing a broken cup
would sprinkle the resin

with powdered gold.
Sometimes the joins
are so exquisite

they say the potter
may have broken the cup
just so he could mend it.

The Southern Review
Winter 2014

(related?  see elsewhere in this blog:  "Scars" by William Stafford)

photo from:  http://listeningtoleaves.blogspot.com/2012/11/kintsugi-art-of-repairing-teaware.html

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