Kintsugi poetry and the smiling bear
art by Karin DeNevi
I want to share some kintsugi poetry. As some of you know, kintsugi is a Japanese art form where broken pottery is reassembled with golden glue, making a new creation.
Two friends, Karin DeNevi and Finlay Boag, and myself decided to create a new poem out of pieces of one of each our own, adding some words and slightly editing others. The resulting poem is titled Adieu and is copied below. I hope you like it. It was a fun project glued with love.
Sunlight kisses my face
as I look up at the tall Redwood trees.
I lay among the glowing green ferns and red bark
on a soft bed of matted needles.
There is a narrow path to one side
on which my family, my friends slowly approach.
I am not sure if it is hello or goodbye?
When they arrive, I offer them each a twig or branch
of love, of gratitude.
Tears are healing, I say.
Last night I dreamt about a wound that would not heal.
I peered into the ring of fiery flesh.
Leaning forward I tumbled in.
I fell deep into the wound, then out the other side,
flying past the Moon, planets, and galaxies of stars
in a free fall through vast oceans of darkness
until suddenly Death appeared.
Death was not the snarling wolf I had feared,
ready to tear my flesh from bone.
No, Death was a big fat bear in a tie-dyed t-shirt
standing in a field of tall grass wild with yellow daisies
He looked up smiling,
the sunlight kissing his face.
Wrapping his big furry arms around me,
he pointed to a door.
Laughing he said,
“Before I bid you Adieu,
know that there is Nothing ....
Nothing ever to fear.”
Here in the forest,
a door on the giant redwood tree swings open.
A warm west wind carries me forward.
I marvel at the door frame─
a masterpiece of carved wood depicting saints
hugging smiling demons and curious animals I have never seen.
I drift down a long hallway
with frescos of my ancestors─
Hunters, gatherers, peasants farming fields, artisans,
warriors…the oppressed and the oppressors
Next the scenes of my own life appear like holograms.
And as my body dies, I see my grown children
holding the twigs and branches I gave them
as they cry their healing tears
Drifting further, I see my children living out their lives
until they are old, gray-haired, wise and
lying on beds of matted needles in the redwood forest,
their children and grandchildren surrounding them.
As the Sunlight kisses them Adieu,
I smile as I realize… I am all of them