Turning Darkness Into Light … Kintsugi Blog Hop Day 1

Kintsugi 金継ぎ



Welcome to Day 1 of The Kintsugi Poetry Blog Hop! I know I haven’t posted poetry here since the end of April, but I will be penning and posting poems over the course of the next week. Actually, over the course of the next three weeks in anticipation of the release of: A Poem A Day Won’t Kill You, But Mine Might Leave You Wounded (Stabs At Poetic Adequacy) on August 18th! That’s National Bad Poetry Day for those of you who were wondering about the release date.

I hear you–what is this “kintsugi” of which you speak? Okay, you might be asking that, or, as I know some of you, you’ve already Googled it. “Kintsugi” is the Japanese art of repairing (or rejoining) pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. The result is positively stunning. Where there had been broken sherds, there becomes a renewed vessel made stronger and more brilliant in its former weakness. Hence, the idea of the Kintsugi Poets as postulated by author Kim Koning. What if, she wondered, there were a group of poets who drew inspiration and clarity from the most broken parts of their lives… turning darkness into light, as it were. Because it reminded me of one of my favorite poems (Pangur Bán, 9th Century, Ireland), I had to sign on. Oh, that bit of poem? Here it is:

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

(Robin Flowers Translation)

I don’t know why that last line always, unfailingly, brings a tear to my eye. “Turning darkness into light.” I wonder if it’s the latent physicist in me who loves to read about (but makes no pretense of understanding) light: the nature of light, the quality of light, the play of light … I’ve been told a lot of my writing worries too much about “the light.” I love light. Just like I love eyes. Yeah, I get taken to task for gazing into, through, around, under, and with my characters’ eyes. “That’s so last century” (hey, it’s only been 13 years), but what I think they mean is that: “oh, that’s so early 20th century.” Really? AWESOME, because if you’re lumping me with the masters of suspense and psychological horror of the early 20th century, I’d be all over that!

But, I digress….

But you knew I would…..

Talking about light….

And so I will digress over the next few weeks, thinking about light in the broken places, thinking about the lacquer that strengthens us in the cracks, that shores us up so that, should be break again, it will be along different lines. And break, and break, and break we will, until the gold that mends us becomes us. All of us. And we become perfect in that light.

Turning darkness into light…


Last of all, the brilliant fade

Into that darkness, silent, deep, and

Ghastly moans of wind and rain

Harbor fear and terrifies

The twice-wrecked soul.

Immortal lost,

Near whirlwind’s grip,

Turn again, with strength renewed

Hewn from knowledge long forgot of

Eden’s promise burning still.

Ne’er forsaken, golden flame,

Incandescent glows the heart

Ground with trouble, and with woe

Heated, fixed, and soldered sure

Transform’ed ache bleeds all compassion.

5 Replies to “Turning Darkness Into Light … Kintsugi Blog Hop Day 1”

  1. Oh Amy your post brought a smile to my face for so many reasons.
    What a wonderful day 1 entry into the Hop…
    I LOVE that poem Pangur Bán, 9th Century, Ireland – wow, never heard of it and now I have to google away and hunt down that poet and that poem. This is why I loved the idea of a poetry bloghop – not only do I get to share in exquisite words but get to find out about more exquisite words. 🙂

    Absolutely LOVE your poem – Turning darkness to light…A beautiful interpretation of turning darkness into light. 🙂

    Thrilled to be hopping with you. 🙂

    – Kim

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