Tried out today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asking for a poem that engages with different languages and cultures through the lens of proverbs and idiomatic phrases. Because one of my jobs is teaching English to adult Japanese learners, I chose a Japanese phrase, and its opposite: kuchi ga omoi (one’s mouth is heavy) and kuchi ga kurui (one’s mouth is light).
Katsuya explains that when it comes to talking politics
he’s been taught to keep a heavy mouth: kuchi ga omoi.
In English, we say tight-lipped I explain,
internally thinking how today’s lesson is really for me.
A chance to weigh the things I’m prone to say.
How often do my heavy thoughts
slip from a mouth that’s too light?