Catawba Clay

Detail from face jug by Burlon Craig (BBC)

Folks have been

Digging and working and firing

Clay here for hundreds of years.

The story of how the clay

Came to be though,

How it arrived here is, of course,

A long story.

It is also a violent and

Eternally silenced

By time story.

(Violence is not always full of

Sound and speed—

The most violent

things—things that can push up

And pull apart

Geography are usually

Silent and slow.)

Before the Blue Ridge,

Those rocks were

Buried deep and heated

Under an earth and stone wave

And pressed and folded and swirled

And condensed and changed—

Transfigured in a more deliberate kiln—

Perhaps the mind of God.

All this happened long before you got here.

As they rose and

After they rose,

They hemorrhaged

All sorts of shiny things,

Mica and schist,

Garnet and quartz,

And rutile—

Into the ground and rolling

And grinding down streams

To become part of the clay—

Nature’s axel grease

To keep big things moving

(All things have places to go

And each must have time to get there—

No things are late,

And all things must move).

Its pensive brow

Might seem to tell us that

Death is a dream of stasis,

But when I see this stone face,

This particular one with

Blue lines of rutile, made by

BBC’s big hands,

I look at its eyes

Pointed thirty degrees

Above the horizon to the sky

With sagging cobalt pupils,

Thinking of where its parts have been:

Fallen to the bottom of a

Giant shallow inland lake,

Encrypted in stone and heat,

Risen to such heights,

Pushed back to the ground,

And moving without end

Toward a sea yet unmade.

Copyright 2012

One thought on “Catawba Clay

  1. Margaret Peters September 26, 2012 / 11:45 am

    Wonderful and timely for where we are where pots date back one to two millenium.   M.   Margaret T. Peters

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