Every year at least once I remember the lines of this poem. Usually it’s during Autumn in the dazzling russets of dying leaves. This year it was while walking in Mount Congreve during Magnolia time. Magnolias were flowering on dark branches and there are some ancient specimens there, but it was the dying petals strewn underfoot that brought the poem to mind again.
I wish I understood the beauty
in leaves falling.
To whom are we beautiful
as we go?
If there is such a thing as a Wabi-sabi poem, maybe this is it. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese way of seeing which honours the beauty of transience, imperfection and the incomplete. Think about your favourite old chair, a cracked cup you have stuck back together, an old silk scarf? I saw it in my elderly Grandmother, the most beautiful wrinkly woman, oozing love and elegance. I find it now in ragged hedgerows and vilified dandelions, and here in trampled petals.
How freeing it can be to strive for imperfection! Being 60 now I hope it includes ageing gracefully, fading softly, avoiding at all costs the lethal stuff on offer from the botox pushers and their like? Do you have a place in your heart for Wabi-sabi?