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.