Photo: Jeffrey Anderson Deanna Pellecchia and Ingrid Schatz in FLIGHT
You work with what you are given
the red clay of grief,
the black clay of stubbornness going on after.
Clay that tastes of care or carelessness,
clay that smells of the bottom of rivers or dust.
Each thought is a life you have lived or failed to live,
each word is a dish you have eaten or left on the table.
There are honeys so bitter
no one would willingly choose to take them.
The clay takes them: honey of weariness, honey of vanity,
honey of cruelty, fear.
This rebus is slip and stubbornness,
bottom of river, my own consumed life?
when will I learn to read it
plainly, slowly, uncolored by hope or desire?
Not to understand it, only to see.
As water given sugar sweetens, given salt grows salty,
we become our choices.
Each yes, each no continues,
this one a ladder, that one an anvil or cup.
The ladder leans into its darkness.
The anvil leans into its silence.
The cup sits empty.
How will I enter this question the clay has asked?
A note to the reader: You will notice that I am posting poems and not much writing. That is because I am seeking some answers in poetry to a personal challenge. Children and their choices will do this. At present, I feel that I am the clay and that this unexpected, difficult, unsought turn is working me like a fierce potter, throwing me again and again on a relentless wheel. The good news is that all this mixing and wetting and spinning is having the inevitable softening effect. The clay that is me is opening to these new shapes, warming to the hands of the maker. Who is me, of course. The poems help.