new year’s resolutions: the most beautiful thing

Cherry blossoms

If I say the words right away, delicate, lovely, ephemeral, transient, let me relieve us all the burden of dredging them up each spring. When the silence those words usually fill begins to feel lonely and frightens us, remember the black branches in winter, haven for the sparrows who eke it out between and beneath that starker resilience.


Oolong without a proper pot: what a pity. Roll the taste around, let the scent re-emerge from the back of your palate like a memory. Say it is delicate, ephemeral. Feel the tissue of your heart scald from time to time with your tongue, let the two console one another (organs of the flesh and imagination) with the fire of the moment, and nothing more.


The warped and tiled table of the nuns’ house kitchen. The rungs of a chair, and my feet kicking at them as I did twenty-five years ago, as if I had never stopped kicking at them. The stark light of a gray morning softened by the frosted pane of glass. The nauseating uncertainty of both greeting and goodbye. The golden frog hidden in the rock’s bore. The regrets we learn to let go, the wishes we learn to let lie. The rain laying in on the paddy, the faint squeak of rubber slippers on the wet road. The spoon that served as a pin to lock the door’s handle-ring. The knock that served as an invitation into the dark and unknowable day.


I’ve posted before about the most beautiful things, but the previous “most beautiful” post was about cluster headaches (and fell firmly in the Living Hagiography category), and this post is partly in response to Fiona Robyn’s “most beautiful thing” prompt at Writing Our Way Home. I’m in advance of the April 24th blogsplash, but there’s enough beauty in the world to keep us busy from now ’til then.


4 comments on “new year’s resolutions: the most beautiful thing

  1. What a beautiful post. “Companions” in particular moves me deeply.

    • seon joon says:

      It wasn’t until after I written all three–each one dealing with a stereotypical trope in both East Asian poetry and Korean Buddhist literary imagery–that I realized the “companions” section was the one I’d actually wanted most to articulate. I’m glad it resonated with you, too. I’d just come back from a week-long trip to bow to senior monastics, but on the way I spent a lot of time with various brothers and sisters in the sangha, in a way that made me realize the preciousness of friends in spiritual life, while also impress on me the inability to keep anything…not even our friends.

  2. Via Negativa says:

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  3. […] In response to New year's resolutions: the most beautiful thing. […]

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