Loosely Binding


The making of Hanji paper ….


Mulberry bark


skin, boil, wash, pound

In winter

cover with the root mucus … of hibiscus manihot.

Blended together … artfully form.

In a warm room … dry slowly … covered with stones.

I am durable … unpreserved I outlast civilizations

Enter my door … I am cool in summer, warm in winter

Impenetrable … the rain that falls can not dim my light


Accompanied by cricket sound in a field of stars

I sit in the soft glow of papered lamp light

it’s ancient tradition a beckoning

all my loved ones resting deep in sleep,

and tonight a great nest of grandchildren

dreaming of mountain tadpoles

and the wild strawberries they picked

as their own sun kissed bodies ripened in the sun

In this moment

I wonder at the naturalness of this great love that binds us

I am dazed by this spiraling life my heart forever flies towards

while still maintaining my own self … full, nurturing, self providing

I sit here like an open field arms held wide for it all

Tonight looking out at the shadows cast in response to our light

the dreaming of this family and the vast silence of living surrounds me

I wrap myself round with the wonder of it all

At the strength and resilience this steady cadence our hearts beat

Seemingly fragile

But oh, so strong


Hanji paper is a traditional paper made in Korea from the inner bark of the paper mulberry. It is durable with archival properties and can be openly displayed in museums without protection. It is a good ventilator but can also keep a room warm so it is used to cover their wooden framed doors. It is also waterproof. It’s translucent qualities lend well to the artistry of shading lamps.

Hanji Paper Artist: Kitty Jun-Im

17 responses

  1. Absolutly beautiful! So many lines and images I love here. The “cricket sound in a field of stars,” “the soft glow of papered lamp light,” the images of the grandchildren’s sun-kissed bodies picking straberries. These lines especially: I am dazed by this spiraling life my heart forever flies towards / while still maintaining my own self … full, nurturing, self providing. / I sit here like an open field arms held wide for it all.

    You capture so much that makes my heart sing. Also love the Hanji paper artwork.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Mark…it was a collaboration with another artist who works with Hanji paper for an event combining poetry with art. It was curiously inspiring how it all came together. I’m entertaining more of this kind of collaboration with a photographer friend now. It’s challenging in the best way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely beautiful Jana!! 🙂 Couldn’t help feeling as I read, this would make a wonderful spoken word poem… hard to say why… just something about the way it flows, or the way it would if read in the right way. And maybe crickets in the background?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Suzy. Yes exactly! I’m so glad you stopped by. It was written as a collaboration between a friend’s art and poetry. I read this at the benefit with 25 other poets representing the other artists in the show. It was great fun to read to a crowd in appreciation of the exquisite lamps my friend creates from Hanji paper. AND it was inspired both by my friend’s work but also from the poem you so graciously published in the Writing Garden.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I see, you’re very brave! I’ve never read my own poetry in public only on SoundCloud recordings… that must be quite an experience, and to read with other writers… that sounds like a good place to be! It’s an unusual subject, and very lovely indeed! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your prayer, chant, hymn, spell, song moving and enchanting me, the voice and lute of the troubadour in the flickering crackle of our tribal fire reminding us we are family, in grace and beauty…

    Liked by 1 person

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