Thursday, July 19, 2018

An explosion of exactitude

Japanese things - laquers, netsuke, prints - conjure a picture of a place where sensations are always new, where art pours out of daily life, where everything exists in a dream of endless beautiful flow.
~Edmund de Waal



Netsuke from the Edo period

I've been reading The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal. De Waal is a poetic writer, and the way he described why he wanted to figure out the history of the netsuke he inherited from his great-uncle made me want to add some line breaks...


from The Hare with Amber Eyes
by Edmund de Waal

This netsuke
is a
small,
tough
explosion
of exactitude.

It deserves
this kind of
exactitude
in return.
All this matters
because my job is to make things.

How objects get handled,
used and handed on
is not just
a mildly interesting question
for me.
It is my question.

I can remember
if something invited touch
with the whole hand
or just the fingers,
or was an object
that asked you
to stay away.
Some objects seem to retain
the pulse
of their making.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Heidi!

Addendum: I shared a couple of photos with netsuke yesterday.

13 comments:

Sally Murphy said...

Oh I love this found poem. I can see why you wanted to add the line breaks - it is definitely a piece of poetry! I love that 'my question'. That ownership, that sense of purpose. Lovely!

Michelle Kogan said...

The title "The Hare with Amber Eyes" sounds intriguing. I like how the narrative reads with your line breaks–it seems to put the emphasis right where it needs to go, thanks Tabatha! BTW a good friend of mine lives in Yokohama and recently visited the Asakusa Hozuki Ichi (Chinese Lantern Plant Market), this market actually began during the Edo period and continues today, here's a link to my friends page where she posted about it: https://www.facebook.com/asami.kido.100

Heidi Mordhorst said...

A lovely resculpturing of the text indeed! Text as object, formed and reformed with exactitude...you could go far with that, Tabatha.

On a separate note, now that I have gone and read about netsuke...

Why didn't they just add some dang pockets, I wonder?!

Linda said...

You did a great job with the line breaks. Now you've got me wondering about netsuke. I must go read more. : )

Mary Lee said...

We have about a half dozen netsuke. This poem makes me want to hold each of them and try to feel
"the pulse
of their making."

Catherine Flynn said...

This book has intrigued me since I first heard about it and the exactitude with which you parsed these lines makes me want to read it even more. Thank you for sharing this lovely found poem with us!

Margaret Simon said...

Love that last line. Ah, the pulse of their making!

Diane Mayr said...

So glad you recognized the poem within and brought it to light for us to enjoy. I first saw netsuke on display at the old Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, about 40 years ago. The detail was amazing and memorable. I'll have to look for The Hare with Amber Eyes; thanks for the recommendation.

Brenda Harsham said...

Poetic indeed. Not a wasted word. I like the line breaks.

Mitchell Linda said...

Oh, my. Such lovely words. It’s fun to see you collaboration with the author. Explosion of exactitude is a beautiful thought.

Tara Smith said...

I LOVED this book, read it twice. The line breaks are so effective - the writing called for them, somehow.

Molly Hogan said...

This is just beautiful. I'm so glad you shared this and highlighted the poetry with your line breaks. That final sentence--wow! Now I'm off to check out netsuke!

Ruth said...

This sounds like an amazing book!