Poetry Friday – Our Wabi-Sabi Home

Today is Poetry Friday and Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting today with an interesting poetry form and some valuable wabi-sabi questions. 

At the June Guest Poet presentation for the Stafford Challenge, I heard Jessica Jacobs read her poem “Primer.”


A Florida child knows the safest part
of a lake is the middle. That gators
and moccasins shade in the lilies, hunker
at the shoreline in the muck right past
the trucked-in sand. Knows a baby snake
means a mother’s nearby, angry.
That to kill her, you must bring a shovel
down just behind her skull—leave
too much tail and the headed half will
keep coming at you. To run zigzag if a gator…

Thank you, Poetry Sisters, for the invitation to join you in this month’s wabi-sabi poetry writing. Jessica’s form loosely inspired my wabi-sabi poem today. As I learned about wabi-sabi, it kept reminding me of the place I call home, a home we have gradually and frugally made into a place we love (in no small part, thanks to my talented sister who lives next door).


Our home knows the hands of the Martin brothers who skillfully built her seventy years ago. Knows the power of quiet living, even when the wind is so strong she thinks she’ll blow away. Knows the heavy work of being moved from her first foundation a hundred yards across the desert. Knows how it feels to grow to the north, west, and south with room additions to make her a home. Knows the most-of-the-year-snow-capped San Gorgonio will be there long after she’s gone. Knows the 40-year-old tiled living room floor is as sturdy as it needs to be. Knows the cottontails, the jackrabbits, and the coyotes of home. Knows each of the hundreds of generations of quail that have skittered and scattered, communicated, and raised ever more babies around her place. Knows, inside and out, the wooden cabinets that the brothers built. Knows how we lovingly extended the kitchen by building more cabinets from the wood the brothers left in the shed.

Knows imperfection.
Knows impermanence.
Knows incompleteness.

Our home has new tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms puzzled together with tiles respectfully gathered from here and there. Has sweet basil hanging in the front, enough for us and the occasional critters who nibble it. Has yard sale treasures to make her comfortable. Has a counter made from a dying Jeffrey pine tree, with bark beetle history prominently displayed through its lifelines, now suspended in time. Has a bar that serves up smiling sunshine from the skylight overhead, bandage on an archaic evaporative cooler wound. Has chipping paint, cracks, and weathered boards. Our home has had poems written in her honor.

Our home has imperfection.
Our home has impermanence.
Our home has incompleteness.

And in honor of the value of wabi-sabi in relationships, please listen to / read Alice Walker’s “I Will Keep Broken Things.”