Fallow the Earthen Vessels of

Fallow the earthen vessels of

Our words; the potter’s clay which turn

To the hand of our smooth wheel’s ink.

 

I, I can make the plane good-smoothed;

I can layer ceramic sheen;

I can inlay the prism paints

To have the bird, tree and wood-house.

 

I can smooth so there are no prints

Of my fingers upon planed clay.

I can make exactly an inch

Of my thumb for each flowered rim.

 

I can paint the portrait of the

Lady of the house, and fire the

Kiln to the perfect heat-degree

So to lay smoothest enamel.

 

I can make the earthen, red jar

With warbs and wobbles on each side.

I can make the water pots, peach

Like the skin of Caucasian men.

 

I can so make the Doyle plates

Though my heart does not want to make

Them, the most popular design

Made by machines more than a man.

 

I can make them funny, so mar

The clay I use, that ink blackened,—

So to make white plates with rivets

That every man will go to use.

 

I can make gold inlayed leaf, shaved

Twenty-four carat purity.

I can, too, measure with my thumbs

To make a perfect cone so deep.

 

I can make a bowl, a plate; so

Even know how to shape with tools.

 

Yet, the potter’s wheel is so strange

And often so very cruel.

If I made a thousand vessels

But none were put to use.

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