“Japanese Bowls” — a New Favorite

While listening to A Prairie Home Companion on March 4th, I heard Jearlyn Steele’s interpretation of a song called “Japanese Bowls.” I was very moved by the singing and the lyrics. Peter Mayer wrote the song, and so I was motivated to learn more about him and his work. I couldn’t find that video on his website, but here are the lyrics:

Japanese Bowls

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls

That were made long ago

I have some cracks in me

They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then

When they had a bowl to mend

It did not hide the cracks

It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows

From every time I broke

And anyone’s eyes can see

I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind

All of these jagged lines

Make me more beautiful

And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls

I was made long ago

I have some cracks you can see

See how they shine of gold


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cathie
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 17:29:46

    Peter Mayer writes some of the most beautiful songs. If you get a chance to see him it is well worth the time. Peters music crosses all bounderies and there is something for everyone. Prairie Home Companion should really have him on their show. He is a wonderful musician and entertainer !


  2. louanne
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 17:05:46

    Hear! Hear! Thanks so very much for posting the lyrics….I too loved the rendition and tried to write the words down as I was listening to them… but was frustrated by capturing it incompletely


  3. Phaon Clewis
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 19:03:37

    I love the song Japanese Bowls. I have the Peter Mayer version but where can I purchase the Jearlyn Steele version?


  4. Donate_blood
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 21:35:34

    Same response I had on 8.21.11 rebroadcast. It stopped me in my tracks–actually pulled the car over to listen. Thx for the post.


  5. Sal
    Sep 03, 2011 @ 18:11:21

    Wow! I heard it too on my car radio. Love the imagery. Thanks for the lyrics. Sal


  6. mary chione
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 10:04:28

    I wish a recording of this song was posted somewhere on the web, sung my Ms. Steele & the Guys’ All-Star Shoe Band on Prairie Home Companion. It reads beautifully, but she sang it even more beautifully.


    Oct 02, 2011 @ 21:30:54

    Cut and paste this into your address line and see if it works for you? If it doesn’t, I’ll try Plan B.


    Oct 02, 2011 @ 21:32:09


    Oct 02, 2011 @ 21:36:22


    Oct 02, 2011 @ 22:00:53

    Well gang, this as clean as I can get it without it breaking up at the end. There may be another way. I’ll work on it tomorrow. ss



    • Janet
      Mar 21, 2012 @ 23:12:12

      Thank you SO much for doing this. This song so perfectly summed up our situation. It was the last song I sang to my husband before he died the next morning. Beautiful song for a beautiful man who endured so much. And I was born in Japan and love so much their about their culture. Thank you again for makining this available to me.


    • Denise Vernier
      May 10, 2012 @ 22:06:26

      The song, Japanese Bowls, is so beautiful. Thank you for posting the link. Did you ever have the chance to shorten it to clean up the ending? Just curious. Thank you, again.


  11. cece
    Mar 15, 2015 @ 11:39:28

    I wish I could download Jearlyn Steele singing Japanese Bowls. It is so beautiful. The links shown above didn’t work for me.


  12. susanbruck
    Mar 15, 2015 @ 12:12:32

    Reblogged this on To Wonder at Beauty and commented:
    I heard this song last night on A Prairie Home Companion and found it beautiful and inspiring.


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