Our race attains by careful steps (we say),
to knowledge of our clay;
the cleft of rock from whence it came, we know
percents of sand and loam,
of precious ores, and what the lime, and what
the iron readings say.
But if we care (says she) who mined the cleft,
who loved us first, gave breath,
and turned us on the wheel – we gain that life
from whence he came, who donned
our clay, to face and finish death – these things
the higher readings say.
Needy hearts (we say) put too much hope in
fay warnings and unknowns.
The turning wheel makes us true; we trust in
high firings and fine glazes
for strength and length of days – all these are knowns,
in minutes and degrees.
I see shards in a vale like dry bones (says she),
with no prophet sighing,
nor showing any sign worth possessing;
What means “whither after?”
to vessels not caring if they be made
for wrath or for blessing.
J.F.S. Anngeister, 2011, all rights reserved.
Note: The poem has absorbed so much time in the past 2 weeks that I publish it here hoping to set it in stone, and to move on (I probably can’t).
The rhyme is irregular but functional, I think, and the six-line stanzas 10-6-10-6-10-6 (with rare but warranted exceptions) helped me embrace words which – out of thousands of wonderfully ‘possible’ and very deserving words – seemed to me most ‘fit’ to join my thoughts together in this particular case.
I worry that my meaning has become too terse from the lines being overwrought, and this makes me feel like writing more lines than I did. However, I decided that any more than four stanzas would run the pottery metaphor into the ground.