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  • Chris Becker

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


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