Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Truth Is a House Made of Tea

Overheard: There’s your own truth that you live by.

Where it took me: This statement is either very profound, or very twisted. Its potential has been on my mind for several weeks, but every time I try to write, my writing turns into platitude. Halfway through writing from the prompt today, I stopped, not happy with the trite, sitcom-like character I was drawing. But I had just written about a smell I remembered from childhood, and that got me writing about scent, and that reminded me of seeing Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei’s solid house of tea at a recent exhibit. I had made a note to write that tea house as a metaphor for something. Thinking of it today made me consider the house of tea as a metaphor for what we consider to be our own truth.

The poem

Truth Is a House Made of Tea

Ai Wei Wei builds his Tea House
the way a child draws home:
straight lines, solid expectations,
a cube packed tight,
safe from intruders.
We build our truth this way.

We forget its walls are made of leaves.
At night they dream of wind,
in the daytime wish for heat.
Crave water; a grave risk worth taking.
Fingers unfurl and unfurl.

The wolf never imagined a house like this.
There is always a way in.

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