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How Wonderfully Imperfect—dVerse Haibun Monday, Wabi-Sabi

The story is told of a young man who went to a renowned Tea-Master to learn the Japanese ritual known as the Way of Tea. The Master, to test him, asked him to begin by cleaning his garden. After doing so to perfection, the student approached a cherry tree and shook a branch so that a few flowers would fall on the cleanly raked sand. The inspired student pleased his teacher and became recognized as one who had a deep understanding of beauty.

Wabi-Sabi is the art of imperfection. It is the recognition that everything real is transient and imperfect. It recognizes the circle of life—that things die, break, disintegrate—and to find therein beauty.

Many times during the Tea Ceremony, a beautiful, but imperfect cup (chipped, cracked, mended) is used. The imperfection is turned so that the person receiving the whisked cup of matcha can see and admire the imperfection and reflect on the imperfections of the universe that also bring beauty. (Matcha is a high-grade green tea ground into powdered form. The green tea powder is whisked into hot water, instead of steeped, to form a frothy drink.)

I first heard of Wabi-Sabi when I took a community class on floral design In its application to flower arrangements I learned of the loveliness of asymmetry and simplicity. I’ve also read of Amish quilters who, in piecing their marvelous works of art, always make sure to include a minor imperfection. The concept of Wabi-Sabi offers an important reminder to those of us, especially if we are prone to perfectionism, that we, though imperfect, are beautiful.

For today’s prompt I am asking you to consider the compelling world-view of Wabi-Sabi in writing your Haibun. You may use an imperfect object to inspire you, or choose to include a grammatical or spelling error in the prose portion of your work. I do ask, however, that you adhere to the proper form for a Haibun—that is, 1-3 tight paragraphs of non-fictional prose and a traditional Haiku that includes a reference to a season. If you are new to the Haibun form, it would be a good idea to review the post that gives a clear introduction HERE.  For more information about Wabi-Sabi, I encourage you to read over the explanation offered HERE.

To join in:

  • Write your poem and post it on your blog. Add a link to dVerse to your post.
  • Copy and paste the original URL with your name into Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Use your social media to spread the word and invite your poet friends.
  • Return to the pub to read and COMMENT on the work of your fellow bloggers. This is a community!
  • Enjoy the wonder of poetry and imperfection.

For dVerse, this is Victoria, looking forward to reading your Haibun.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons–labeled for reuse.