Poetry Wednesday – Week 1 – Kotsuage

Leaving University has removed the two things that always motivated me to write poetry – Writer’s Society meeting and Poetry Cafe bi-weekly open mics. So I though I’d challenge myself and use my blog as a writing (or at least re-writing, as there’s no promise any of these poems will be fresh) motivator. Therefore I’m going to aim to post a poem I wrote, with brief commentary every week. This idea of posting poetry to my  blog was inspired by my good friend Oscar over at his blog ‘Stirling Poetry’, so go check him out. I by no means claim to be a poet, or even a good amateur poet, I just enjoy writing but often lack motivation to do the thing that I enjoy.

Image result for skull etching art work
Etching by Henry Moore

This week’s poem is called ‘Kotsuage’. It is inspired by a Japanese funeral practice which I first learnt about in the book ‘From Here to Eternity’, in which family members carefully remove the bones of their deceased family member from the remaining pile of ashes after a cremation.


Pale glistening tear streams
over snow bank powdered cheek,
a weeping silent single woman
mourning – a strange kind of peace.
Metal hashi held in shaking hands,
like a paintbrush dipped in ink,
a surgeon scalpel, sacred talisman.
She looks upon this man who taught her
In his calm old voice, she thinks
‘Hold them wisely balanced, gentle grip.’

She gently O so gently reaches
Hand muscles tentative, grip and release.
A burnt bone finds its place,
A black bough between two metal beams.
It is rehomed in peaceful resting case.
She reaches again and over,
Taking the fragments, the fractured
Masses from the ashes.
Picking up pieces and finding them
places in the puzzle of her grief.

One thought on “Poetry Wednesday – Week 1 – Kotsuage

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