I prefer pots. They don’t have to be weighed down with meaning. They are what they are, earth and chemistry. --from The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt

I prefer the humility of pots

hands once of clay shaping clay dug by hands

creation dependent upon its potter

the mucked earth swirling into useful things

bowls, cups, basins, mugs, urns, and vases

made for the still-life beauty of each day


I love the mud, the wheel, the fire, the glaze

the single finger running wide the rim

the slurry sluicing over nail and knuckle

the smell of first earth groaning greenish gray


I love too the sometimes slapping collapse

The sudden tilting warp into again

for again the wheel spins our sweat with the clay

our hands again suppliant, gentle, joined

Published in the 2011-07-15 issue: 

John Hopkins lives in Whitman, Massachusetts. In 2008, he was named poet of the year by the New England Association of Teachers of English.

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