[34] Wabi-Sabi, Thomas R. Smith

i.m. Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I woke up wabi, but things turned sabi
fast when I read in this morning’s paper
that you’d died on Monday at fifty-one.
Wabi-sabi, that subtle Japanese
term for a happy/sad contentment
with the transitory, was key to your
memoir —which I loved — Encyclopedia
of an Ordinary Life. You wrote
thirty books to help children take the world
into their hearts, and coined a phrase that should
be every poet’s envy, The Beckoning
of Lovely. Today as I keep thinking
about that phrase, I trust that in the end
you stepped out of your failing body
into the Lovely’s purest beckoning.
I can’t worry whether in a hundred
years anyone will be reading you (or
me either). Better that one’s kindnesses
follow their recipients into the grave
than be remembered for cruelty that can’t
be erased from history. I think you knew
that in the end “famous” and “powerful”
don’t matter. There are only those who
live — or who don’t — in courage and in love.

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