Wabi Sabi, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Japanese tea house: reflects the wabi sabi aesthetic, Kenroku-n Garden

Japanese tea house: reflects the Wabi Sabi aesthetic, Kenroku-en Garden

if only i knew
what the artist knows

about the great perfection
in imperfection

i would sip grace slowly
at the ragged edges of the creek

kiss the pitted
face of the moon

befriend the sea
though it can be a danger

embrace the thunder of a waterfall
as if its strains were a symphony

prostrate myself atop the rank dregs on the forest floor,
worshiping them as compost for fertile seeds
and the breeding ground for a million small lives

if i knew what the artist knows,
then i wouldn’t be afraid to die,
to leave everyone

i would be sure that some part of me
would remain present
and that one day you would join me
as the wind howling on its journey
or the bright moment of a flowering desert

if i knew what the artist knows,
i would surely respond soul and body
to the echo of the Ineffable in rough earthy things

i would not fear decay or work left undone
i would travel like the river through its rugged, irregular channels
comfortable with this life; imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credit ~ from Pictures section of OpenHistory under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.o Unported license

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

“In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-Sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.”  . . . Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.” Wikipedia MORE

This week’s prompt is to write a poem or poems that view the world, especially the natural world, from a Wabi Sabi perspective:

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, November 18 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.

Note: If Wabi Sabi is new to you and captures your imagination and interest as it did mine, I recommend Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren.  There’s also a charming children’s picture book, Wabi Sabi, written by Mark Reibstein and illustrated by Ed Young.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

20 thoughts on “Wabi Sabi, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Respected Jamie Ji
    Wabi-Sabi is new for me. Have tried to reflect on the philosophy.
    The results are not satisfactory but sharing the conclusion

    A Perceptive Romance

    crimson gold,shaded cool sunset
    so deeply loved,fills empty souls
    what hate prevails in daylight-
    A perceptive romance

    beloved sheep with precious wool
    sheered to the skin, undressed
    sacrificed goaded roasted
    bleating is no music

    water mirror like, ivory silver
    smiled at, caressed , hated in
    stagnant filthy swamps
    its loss, mourned.

    love the creative spirit in non
    creativity, like lotus in muddy pond
    tree valued green or brown-
    body and soul, split in bond

    embrace all,cool or hot
    all here will be soon, gone
    circle will come full circle
    imperfection, – the mortal round

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wobbly sobby

    on the potter’s wheel is an opportunity
    to fail. the future potter rarely raises a cylinder
    the first time, nor times two through ten.
    getting good at wheel-throwing takes a
    determination shared by marathoners
    and golfers and ballroom dancers. meanwhile,
    the future potter uses his wire tool
    to cut heap after heap of wobbly, wet clay
    from the wheelhead or the batt. when at last
    a cylinder is up, there are almost always
    many things wrong with it.

    here is a still-future potter
    and his new creation. it slumps
    slightly. it wobbles
    when the wheel is brought up
    to trimming speed. the hat
    drawn by dr. seuss for his cat
    has a similar shape.

    the still-future potter doesn’t care. he sobs,
    but not out loud, for joy. he will never
    feel as though raising a cylinder
    is out of his reach. that it took
    so many times, and wobbles, and sobs,
    only reinforces the bedrock
    of his foundation
    of his becoming.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s my poem, Jamie.

    Dewdrop

    Every life is an intake of breath
    in the corridors of humanity
    The spirit of the past
    unfolds within
    A stirring that

    churns the present
    Every moment is splendid
    with the awareness
    that like a drop of dew
    I can only be certain
    I am here now

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For a long long time
    I couldn’t figure it out
    Who I am?

    I went to school
    Asked a teacher
    She said, ‘I’ll talk to your father’.

    I was a kid. A little kid.
    I had to learn
    How to kiss?

    I returned to the book
    Flipped about twenty pages
    I kinda need help

    For a long long time
    I couldn’t figure it out
    Who I am?

    I went to a bar
    Asked the bartender
    He said, ‘I’ll make you cocktail’

    I had a peg. A little peg.
    I had to learn
    How to introduce myself?

    I took a sip.
    Spoke a few English words.
    Genius. Lover. Coward. Drinker.
    I’m kinda happy whoever I am.
    I was drunk.

    For a long long time
    I couldn’t figure it out
    Who I am?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. :: mole hillls & broken plates ::

    we discussed the hardness of the ground,
    it is still quite cold. yet we found that moles
    make soft places for planting.

    dig up buried crocks for saving.

    old photographs spur us on, to
    care and treasure, to sweep and clean.

    so wash and mend your broken plates
    my friends, become a gentler way,
    make a pleasant day.

    look for mole hills, and old photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Days and days

    Philip Larkin told us Days
    bring the priest and doctor
    running over the fields.
    On this rainy day I’m pressed
    into the Day’s four walls, the cold
    seeping into my bones. Restless
    I’m too aware the Day doesn’t fit me;
    it’s like an oversized overcoat.

    My brother texts me and I reply,
    Winter isn’t my favourite time,
    Ditto, he replies. Afterwards
    I resist thinking of summer sun
    and wish I could wear each day
    like a well-tailored suit.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nature’s music

    Morning dew like jewels on spring green grass
    crystals shimmering in the glow of a dawn sunrise,

    drip, drip of tiny of raindrops, a soft chord
    Or drizzle from heaven brushing soft on my eyelids
    mist, layers of mist over rivers that flow ever so gently
    Silver spray, sea foam caressing my ankle on the shore
    Rippling, the swash, the crest white returning to the blue

    trees swaying fiercely as autumn winds denude them
    Music of orphaned leaves lying uncared for like
    carpets of gold, brown and red over grey pavements
    Scrunching sounds under foot, like a beat to
    the hailstones falling on the roof tiles. Cold

    frost and ice a chilling serape of winter hibernation
    snow-sprinkled homes with a soft light in the window
    nature’s notes, musical score, a beautiful symphony.

    Liked by 2 people

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