PAD 2020 – Day 22

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).

 

Heavy Mouth

 

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?

 

Closeup of woman's mouth

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