Kintsugi.

I have been considering
kintsugi, and how
we heal ourselves,
we who are no longer whole,
and if we can
be beautiful
and flawed
and flawed
and beautiful.

I have considered
my scars, not golden,
not joyful,
not thoughtful, but
silver pale, glistening,
secret lines,
hidden from view,
and wondering
if I can be beautiful
even though
I can never be
mended, not entirely.

I am broken,
re-made,
broken again,
mended. I am
burnt, cut,
poisoned,
damaged.
I am not
who I was,
and yet I am
still here,
beautiful
and flawed
and flawed
and beautiful.

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Cracks – kintsugi for dVerse

On Friday night the weather was glorious. We threw some towels into the car and drove to the beach. Just as we pulled up by the pebble ridge, my friend Tracey pulled up next to us, with her two daughters, Jojo and Julia. We climbed the ridge, laughing and stumbling, negotiating the warm, round stones – dull grey, sometimes splintered through with bright, white quartz. The wide bay faces west, so the afternoon sun sits out to sea, setting eventually behind the island, but still high in the sky when we arrived. The sea was clear blue, sparkling in the sunlight. The tide was on the way in, and we hurried to get into the water before it reached the pebbles. Jojo helped her sister into the water, and then helped her again when it was time to get out. Then we sat on the warm rocks, soaking in the sunlight, warming our bones, talking, laughing, enjoying being together. Just being together is a miracle.

Just over a year ago, Julia had a massive brain bleed. She was nine. Amazingly, there was an ambulance driving through the village when her mum dialled 999, and even more amazingly the air ambulance happened to be at our local hospital when she arrived there. She was flown 150 miles to a specialist centre, where the surgeon had just finished operating and was able to wait for her to arrive, and take her straight to theatre. Even so, she spent three weeks in intensive care, and three months in hospital.

I watched the family crack, but hold together. I saw how much work Tracey put into keeping things going, and how much love and care surrounded them, but at times it wasn’t enough. The stress was overwhelming, the strains became almost too much, but somehow each of them was able to reach out and hold on, and pull things back together again. Sometimes Tracey was the strong one, sometimes her mum stepped in, sometimes her husband shouldered things. Sometimes Jojo took on more than a 14 year old really should. There were cracks, yes, but they were filled up with love and family, and kindness. There will always be cracks, I think, but that love that fills them has made them part of the family story and the family strength.

Summer sun on sea
moments of love and healing
warmth of air and stone

Grace at dVerse is tonight’s bartender. She asks us to think about the wonderful art of kintsugi, mending things so that the repair becomes part of the beauty of the piece. ” In Japanese, the word kintsugi means “golden rejoining,” and refers to the Zen philosophy of acknowledging flaws, embracing change, and restoring an object with a newfound beauty” she explains. The story I thought of is all there, it needs no explanation. 

Freedom – Friday Fictioneers

The riots have got worse over the last few years. Like caged animals, we are angry, and we lash out. This was the worst of all, with the biggest crackdown, but it won’t be the last. Not now. Not now we’ve seen.

We’ve been caged all right – by the metal shell of this place, but also by fear – fear of the radioactive desert they tell us is out there.

We’ve seen it now, though. Through the shattered panels – a world of tangled green. And we have smelt the forest.

Photo by J Hardy Carroll. Prompt by Friday Fictioneers. 100 words or less – story by me.

Rooting – for dVerse

The strength of the tree
is in its roots –
that dark mirror
that plunges into
the scented dark,
where strange creatures,
many legged,
dark carapaced,
nest among its
secret branchings.

The power of the tree
is there, in the fine,
searching threads,
all mouth,
blind nipple-suckling
water, seeking out
mineral sustenance
down there,
where the worm
glides silent
in its heavy medium,

and that depth
holds the tree,
supports the green,
dancing leaves,
the bright blossom,
the round, ripening fruit,
all nourished by
that subterranean
echo, that patient
force, stone splitting,
creeping down
into the darkest places,
finding life there.

 

Paul is hosting at dVerse tonight, and asking us to go underground. We are all rooted in Mother Earth, she holds the mysteries of life and death for us. 

News

drip drip drip
the tap fills
the sink until
drip drip drip
it overflows
and suddenly
it’s everywhere
and the noise
maddens
drip drip drip
and yet somehow
we can’t turn it off
can’t turn away
can’t look away
we must know
drip drip drip
what she wore
what he said
where they fought
drip drip drip
who made the error
who told the lie
drip drip drip
the flood
the fire
the bomb
the war
drip drip drip
the child crying

Poets used to carry news with them, we are told. I’m feeling a bit newsed out at the moment, but this is for the Toads. 

Hairdresser – for real toads.

Each chair holds a story
because we each hold a story
of love or lust or dreaming
and the blue flowers hold the sky.

The scissors click and clack
and the voices rise and fall
and each chair holds a story
because we each hold a story
of fear or pain or sorrow
and the blue flowers hold
the heart of the sky.

A silver tree grows
and crystals sound like rain.
My coffee tastes bitter
down to the last drop
and each chair holds a story
and the blue flowers hold
the soul of the sky.

 

Toad Susie asks us to find a poem in the world around us:

For today’s challenge I want you to write a poem from your immediate surroundings. For example where I am sitting there is a vase of   flowers,  silver thermos, a mailbox nameplate from my father’s mailbox, a window, a rather sickly violet, books, a clock, a tape dispenser, the whir of an air conditioner. I could go on and on.  Your poem could be a combination of what you see, hear, taste, feel, just pull from the spot where you are writing. 

      Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

 

Pain – for dVerse.

I knew pain
when she was a little girl
in a jangling orange dress
sobbing over a grazed knee.

Back then,
she smelt of hot tarmac
and her hands were sticky
with melted lolly.

Raspberry.

I met her later,
wobbly in high, shiny shoes,
buying a hangover
in a high, shiny bar,

and then again
in a sun-bleached square
in a foreign country,
afraid and alone.

I held her hand
when she doubled over,
blue hospital gown
open at the back.
Her breath was sour,
and her hair was wet
with sweat.

But yesterday, when
I reached out for her,
her cracked laugh,
her bitter scent
caught in my throat,

and there was only music,
played on a broken clarinet.

she had forgotten me.

Mish at dVerse asks us to play with our senses. 

I know that you can come up with many more of these and so I leave you to it! Choose something abstract such as a colour, emotion, idea, concept, a quality, trait or situation…and bring it to life using one or more senses. You could also choose something more concrete, as long as you are use senses that are not normally associated with it. For example, “moonlight”. How does it sound? I think you get the idea. Find new ways to dabble with the poetic magic of the senses.

From my poetic kitchen – haibun for dVerse (and for Steve)

It’s May, and I’m making mince pies. Tomorrow we are holding Steve’s leaving do. We love Steve, and Steve loves Christmas dinner, so that’s what he’s getting. He deserves all the love, all the turkey, all the stuffing, every single pig in blanket. He’s a great friend, a great colleague, a great therapist. He has made a difference, to my life and to many others: all through my chemo, years ago now, he drove miles out of his way to bring my son home to me from nursery. He brings all that love and care into the therapy room, where he has literally saved lives. He really has no idea how wonderful he is.

So, I’m making mince pies.

The mincemeat is left over from Christmas. I made it myself – it’s a Nigella recipe, that uses a little quince. I’ve just loosened it with home-made quince brandy, so it smells really fruity. The pastry is made my mother-in-law’s way, with lots of butter, and a little icing sugar. I’ve bound it with an egg yolk, the way she does. I’ve cut out pale discs of pastry, and loaded them with juicy mincemeat, and made the scraps into a tiny pasty for my son, who announced that he loves mince pies. Maybe something rubbed off on him on all those car journeys.

Nobody’s quite sure how the logistics will work tomorrow. Everybody’s bringing a plate of something. I think it will probably be a little chaotic. We will reminisce. There will be some laughter, and possibly tears, and lots and lots of food and love.

White hawthorn blossom
Snowdrifts in the spring hedgerow,
Scents the warm spring air.

Bjorn at dVerse asks us to write a haibun, starting from a recipe. Coincidentally, I made mince pies (!) tonight for a dear friend’s leaving do, so this is for Steve as well – though he’d better not read it until tomorrow.

A list of apple names – for dVerse

Slack ma girdle
Camelot
Billy Down Pippin
Winter Lawrence

There is a crunch
a fragrance
in these names.

Fair maid of Devon
Don’s delight
Glass apple
Golden ball

There is a girl
rubbing an apple
on her skirt,
to make it shine

Black Tom Putt
Cornish Gilliflower
Hangydown
Hoary morning

A boy tossing
A glowing apple
High into a blue
September sky

Sops in wine
Cotehele beauty
Pigs nose
Red ruby, Morgan Sweet

A woman peeling and slicing,
Rolling out pastry
Hands floured,
Cloves and cinnamon to hand,
Singing as she works

Paignton Marigold
Lucombe’s seedling
Pomeroy of Somerset
Farmer’s glory
Quench

The men picking,
crushing, golden juice
trickling, and then
the long wait
in the barrel.

Yarlington mill
Ice apple
Nine square
Hockings green

Old names,
Graced,
Echoing down years,
Sweet and crisp,
Sweeter for being stored.

Names of traditional apples from the South West of England. I’m ever so slightly obsessed with them – and these are only a few. I didn’t really need to add anything else, but I have attempted to explain my obsession. This is for Victoria at dVerse, who is asking for list poetry.