Potters


The day wind felled a weary oak,
we donned work aprons, boots,
took pails and spades in hand
and ventured out into the brumey cold
to scoop red clay, harvesting Earth.

That night we sat around a fire.
Flickering flames of warmth dispelled
the cold that seeped through dense
gray stone—walls caching sacred
secrets of a century and more.

We worked the clay that night, extracting
grit and stones, Gaia’s grainy
cells that would, ignored, destroy
our own creative efforts. Each night
thereafter, tediously, we toiled for perfection.

And when the day arrived to mold
and fashion terra-cotta worlds,
figures formed of toil and imagination,
clods of mud clung to our hands
that we discarded as extraneous.

Yet now and then we’d find a pebble.
Another proof that life eludes
the quest for flawless execution.

In the early 70’s I lived in a monastic setting at the Motherhouse of Les Petites Soeurs des Pauvres in St. Pern, Brittany, France. The above story is true. I am submitting this poem to Gay Cannon’s prompt at dVerse Poet’s Pub, as a metaphorical twist on life. I’m also linking it to my own prompt for this week’s Write2Day. The muse actually crawled out from under the covers this morning!

Motherhouse of the Little Sisters of the Poor

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21 thoughts on “Potters

  1. booguloo says:

    Yet now and then we’d find a pebble.
    Another proof that life eludes
    the quest for flawless execution.

    Love the last verse and have to agree with wolfsrosebud about getting lost in it.

    Like

  2. zongrik says:

    beautiful sense of camaraderie and connection to the earth

    Like

  3. manicddaily says:

    Sounds pretty amazing, and so well told. K.

    Like

  4. 83October says:

    This is incredibly beautiful poem. I love the detail. I love that i feel the motions and the clay, that the poem is grounded. It has weight which echoes the weight of being close the ground (to clay). It’s an inspiring poem in its detail. I should be visiting more often. 🙂

    Like

  5. Yousei Hime says:

    What a wonderful connection to a beautiful poem. I love the entire metaphor.

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  6. wolfsrosebud says:

    your piece is so complete in many ways… loved the reading… ended up lost in it

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  7. Beautifully penned with wonderful imagery, smooth flow & great storytelling… xxx

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  8. “…and ventured out into the brumey cold
    to scoop red clay, harvesting Earth.”
    Because an event occurred doesn’t make it less allegorical or metaphorical. It serves the purpose when converted to words – the symbols that purify and contextualize it. In that act we transform, and here you transcended. Excellent work my dear friend.

    Like

  9. The pebble is a perfect reminder of how perfectly imperfect our efforts are, but that makes them all the more precious. I loved this poem!

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  10. Heaven says:

    what a lovely work of hands… i do like the last verse.. the quest for perfect execution ~

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  11. Mama Zen says:

    Oh, that ending! Just gorgeous!

    Like

  12. souldipper says:

    *Saluting your muse* It was like your hands – the gentle message appeared as simply as a figure slipping out of a clump of wet clay. Your photos are so well suited.

    May my pebbles not be found all at once. I don’t have my climbing gear assembled.

    Like

  13. Luke Prater says:

    fascinating history, V. Wonderful poetry … your entry for the CC was also excellent, it was v close to a place in the top three I believe. You’re one of my favourite poets 🙂

    Like

  14. Shawna says:

    I love this:

    “Gaia’s grainy
    cells that would, ignored, destroy
    our own creative efforts”

    And your last stanza.

    Like

  15. brian miller says:

    nice victoria…i like the flow of this ..i esp like that moment by the fire…been there and heard the ancient secrets myself…yay for the muse…smiles.

    Like

  16. zumpoems says:

    Great metaphor and lovely use of words. Love the following verse which starts with the 1,2 and 4th iambic lines contrasted with the use of “imagination” extraneous” at the end of lines 3 and 5.

    And when the day arrived to mold
    and fashion terra-cotta worlds,
    figures formed of toil and imagination,
    clods of mud clung to our hands
    that we discarded as extraneous.

    Like

  17. vivinfrance says:

    Your muse crawled out to great effect, I found this poem very moving, and the metaphor perfect. I, par contre, am in the doldrums, poetically speaking. I’ve decided to spend a few days reading rather than writing.

    Like

  18. claudia says:

    this has an awesome flow and beat…read it aloud with heavy german accent.. smiles… and really love it…this is so perfectly smoothly balanced victoria..love the story as well… and no comment on perfectionism…ha…

    Like

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