Potters


Potters

Earth Elephant

Earth Elephant (Photo credit: Caro's Lines)

The day wind felled a weary oak,
we donned work aprons, boots,
took pails and spades in hand
and ventured out into the brumy 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.

I apologise for re-posting an older poem. Time has not been generous with me lately! I’m linking this to the theme of sculpture at dVerse Poetics which I’ve had the honor of hosting. Hope to see you there.

Process Note: this took place in Brittany, France in the early 70’s when I was living in a “mostly-monastic” setting.

Photo: License Creative Commons, Non-Commercial Share-Alike

Advertisements

34 thoughts on “Potters

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    No apologies for re-posting such a fine piece. I love the bit of travel there and the observation on perfection.

    “Brimy” Well done. Not often we read or hear that one. 😉

    Like

  2. I had never encountered the word “brumy,” from “brume” or fog… lovely word, that. This expedition sounds wonderful, and the odd pebble might be construed as a reminder that Gaia is a lover of all things Zen…! Thanks, Victoria! Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/02/28/sr-elizabeth-and-babylon-400th-post/

    Like

  3. wolfsrosebud says:

    do believe I need to wash my hands… I was so into the piece

    Like

  4. David King says:

    No apologies required. I’m glad you did. It’s a cracker!

    Like

  5. Pat Hatt says:

    Nice, repost of not it was grand. So true too, no matter the quest for perfection, there will always be one little pebble or piece, at least out of order and in the way.

    Like

  6. dragonkatet says:

    Count me as another who is glad you re-posted this, as I also must have missed it the first time around! My favorite phrase in this: “Gaia’s grainy cells…” 🙂 There is something very relaxing and sensual about feeling the clay squish and smooth beneath your fingers. We have tons of red clay here in TN but I’ve never been on a gathering mission for it – I imagine that the experience makes the finished product that much more valued for having to tirelessly work it until it’s ready to use.

    Like

  7. dani says:

    i’m happy you reposted this as i missed it the first time around ~ absolutely love this!

    Like

  8. life eludes the quest for flawless execution … how wise and great is this last line, a finishing touch to a wonderful poem!

    Like

  9. Ruth says:

    A beautiful poem, Victoria – pretty much perfect, I’d say. 🙂 – We toil for perfection, knowing it’s not attainable on this plane. Ah, but the striving, the journey toward… – maybe that’s the purpose after all?

    Like

  10. Really like the idea of harvesting Earth and the images you created. Excellent!

    Anna :o]

    Like

  11. Chazinator says:

    Wonderful color, and inside description of the will to mold form from the stuff that makes this world real. Companionship and artistic vision working together to fashion beauty in the face of Gaia’s silence. That final stanza speaks so wisely; our desire for perfection so difficult yet so important to making us human. The contrasting images between human and mute earth are striking.

    Like

  12. yoga-adan says:

    it may be an older poem, but it resonates right “now” 😉 could feel the earth and cold and warmth and esp the feeling of discovery and creativeness

    the pebble reminder of the lack of perfection is, for me, the uniqueness in the moment

    very lovingly told, must’ve been a grand time, thanks victoria 😉

    Like

  13. poetrydiary says:

    Its amazing how much richness and feeling there is simply in earth and clay – as soon as you write the words you have an evocative poem and call up all sorts of feelings. I can feel it on my hands, reading your words.

    Like

  14. So descriptive – got the vision of the fallen dead tree- and then shopping out the clay from its roots- so steeped in history and time- that when pots where made out if it – they took on its character- were steeped in its memory. Sculpting memories out of memories maybe- very very nice

    Like

  15. irene says:

    A celebration of earth indeed, working with clods of clay in intimate connection with mother earth.

    Like

  16. The earth gives so much, to create from the earth and to enjoy and appreciate the process does give a spiritual experience which I think is the desired outcome rather than the perfection. Expressed beautifully in this poem.

    Like

  17. Especially like the last three lines:
    “…Yet now and then we’d find a pebble.
    Another proof that life eludes
    the quest for flawless execution.”
    That life eludes flawless execution just seems to remind us of how small and imperfect we really are in the scheme of things. Such lovely thoughts and imagery going on in this. Beautiful!

    Like

  18. Ravenblack says:

    This is awesome and I’m glad it was reposted — I don’t think I have read this. What an interesting poem on the process. Excellent detail, determination, dedication and mood. Really enjoyed reading this.

    Like

  19. oceangirl says:

    I like the feeling of…

    Flickering flames of warmth dispelled
    the cold that seeped through dense
    gray stone—walls caching sacred
    secrets of a century and more.

    Like

  20. Mama Zen says:

    I adore this. The ending is just gorgeous.

    Like

  21. hedgewitch says:

    I love this one, Victoria–really a very neat and deft twist at the end, but the whole poem is full of a sense of connection to the earth, of making. This may have been old for you, but it was new for me, and I really enjoyed reading it.

    Like

  22. Amazing, both picture and prose. The earth really does resemble an elephant. I imagine creating with pottery is a fabulous experience, no matter what the outcome.

    Like

  23. Heaven says:

    The best lines for me:

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

    Thanks for sharing this ~

    Like

  24. Heaven says:

    I haven’t read this before so it’s nice that you reposted this. This is my fav lines:

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

    Lovely work ~

    Like

  25. Blue Flute says:

    I liked your description of the creative sculpting process and talking about terra cotta brought to mind the soldiers in the Emperor’s tomb in China. These were very word combinations:

    the cold that seeped through dense
    gray stone

    Like

  26. Mary says:

    Your poem is beautiful! I don’t think, though we strive for perfection, it is attainable on earth. I liked the idea of working the clay and the joy in the process – perfection or not!

    Like

  27. seingraham says:

    Nothing wrong with posting an older poem especially when it’s such a good one! Enjoyed this very much …

    http://thepoet-tree-house.blogspot.com/2012/02/mother-to-mother.html

    Like

  28. ManicDdaily says:

    I’ve read this poem before and liked it then, and like it again now, worth revisiting. It’s both interesting in terms of content and wonderfully told. K.

    Like

  29. viv blake says:

    You can post as many old poems as you like, when they’re as good as that one. It was spellbinding. And yes, only Allah is perfect – everything I have ever made has flaws that I hope no-one sees but me.

    Like

  30. souldipper says:

    I remember this beautiful work, Victoria, but more important…I think of you often. I know you are not far away!

    Like

  31. brian miller says:

    smiles…any act of creating is def a spiritual experience…and love how you took the opportunity when nature felled one of its own to get the clay and the working of it…and yes imperfections elude but i think only add to the beauty…very cool victoria…

    Like

  32. claudia says:

    wow..really like this…harvesting Earth… sounds like an awesome experience…think it’s thrilling to find traces of life long gone…fascinating…and agree with laurie – also reads like a spiritual experience..

    Like

  33. Laurie Kolp says:

    I’m sure that must have been a spiritual experience… the ending says it all.

    Like

Your comment and feedback are important to me. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s