Please welcome today’s guest writer, Joella Ranaivoson. Joella graduated from Calvin in 2013 with an Interdisciplinary degree in international relations, religion, and writing, and a minor in congregational & ministry studies. She has since spent the last two and a half years at Calvin Seminary in the Master of Divinity program. Come May, she will collect her degree and herself and see if and to where she will head next. In the meantime, it’s going on seven years here in Grand Rapids—she never thought as an undergrad that she would be able to say that happily—but then, life is full of lovely surprises.

Kintsukuroi: (n.) (v.phr.)
“to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

 

Dear you,

You of the fair skin and see-through eyes,

You of the towering stature and dreams’ surprise,

You from the mould of this clay that doesn’t rise,

this clay that doesn’t feel the heat of day;

You were brought up in this land,

this forgetful, ignoring land

that wishes itself pale when its true hue is

deep and rich like earth and clay.

 

I had hoped you were different, earnestly willed you to be,

But the moons have waxed and waned,

And you’ve taken your seat in the game

Unchanged

From the position of your fathers

Disappointment shatters—

shards of stained glass showering the unwilling ground

with their unhallowed presence.

 

The glimmer of resistance flickering behind your eyes

I thought I caught a glimpse of

those old stormy days of surprise,

your conviction, burning blue,

now consumed by vague, green conformity.

Perhaps I never saw it,

perhaps I only wished it to be true—

I had hoped you were different.

 

You don’t understand, do you

You acquiesced and you conformed.

My dear, it takes a deep,

gut-wrenching

soul-forming

mind-turning

living

to begin unsinging the brute glories of division

trumpeted by your forefathers,

lamented by our foremothers.

 

It was never enough to simply glance on,

to dip in and out at will,

to lament and grieve,

but always with the safety distance provides.

No, it’s different when it is your flesh and blood

laying on the table of sacrifice to a godless will—

It’s different when the breath stolen from lungs

is that of one you can’t breathe without—

but that won’t be now.

You have insured against it.

Shrewd, perhaps,

not wise.

 

You were on the journey— I was sure of it!

Now I am sure of nothing,

only that I hope it is true—

that gold between cracks makes more beautiful for having been broken.

 

I remember in younger days

when I could see the storm of privilege tear through

your eyes, lacerating your heart

bleeding blood and bile

poison;

poison didn’t scare me.

 

Now you are without courage to speak the words

that would set you free from fears yet unheard.

You with slander slick on your tongue

looking around for one more to devour,

You are one who would live in fear

Until decrepitude steals you away

Don’t you get sick of remaining in the same old ways?

Don’t you grow tired of the same old things you say?

 

You who throws daggers at me with your eyes

Pause and consider why I cannot regard you anymore.

One clamps a hand on the wound to ease the hurt.

There was a kinship,

this is the deepest loss,

‘Friends flung near and far’ and still, this cuts with a force unbarred

Now to think you gone

 

You of fair skin and see-through eyes

Born of this land of surprise.

I was wrong, I was wrong,

Find me singing life’s humble song.

Careful,

let my parting words be

careful—

Do not use lest you be used

and the indignation you subject

be subjected to you,

Lest what shame you bred

curl up and take residence

in your own bed—

unwanted company.

 

Yet, I’m grateful for you

Lessons I never would have learned

without you

Hues of life I could not have seen

apart from you

Deepness of depths I would not have known

if not for you.

 

You will not be my undoing

Let the peace I long for be yours as well.

You will not poison me against all of you

For gold fills the cracks,

not ash.

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