This Wrinkled Clay
“What matters” to this piece of clay
Who models clay in class this day?
That theme, to eight of us, she asked –
Us living still, whose time’s not passed.
Not sure just what was real for me
That is, not intellectually –
I talk from left-brain’s store of good
But what’s in there – beneath the hood?
I played the clay flat in my hands
As she suggested – ‘let the bands
Of your imagination go –
Allow expression of your soul.’
Emerged a sphere of fragile clay
I smiled as if my soul did say,
‘What matters most for me this day
Is spirit-space in sphere of clay.
As fragile was this outer sheet
A partial sphere I made – a heap –
Then looking at my patched up piece
A wrinkled visage clay released.
A few quick strokes drew features out –
The face, especially round the mouth –
Kaleidoscope of fleeting looks
Like portraiture in photo books.
When done, placed it in sunny shaft
To photograph it – made me laugh
The whitish clay with darkened ground
Like black and white photography found.
For minutes I was back at work
Before this journey as a jerk
Outside my element as clay
Deluded I could work that way.
Not that I could, though thought I was
As I’m committed to Your cause
Though through this route you’ve taken me
It’s not my task – that’s plain to see.
To speak in public to a crowd
Out there in front, and right out loud
It costs too much, both fore and aft,
But not this other, there I laugh.
It’s there – not just the spirit-man,
The Elder’s face, as good I can,
But where the clay and Spirit meet –
Inside and out from head to feet.
This Elder is a person who
Has felt the pain of struggling fool
Amidst whatever’s come his way
And lived to face another day.
The lines on face show history
A portrait artist sees in me
Selects some contours in the light
Revealing weaknesses with might.
Such mediated word from me
Is much preferred than ‘me’ they see.
The word gets through , they get the point
Without me twisted our of joint.
For juxtaposed – this week, with clay
And public time two days away,
Which trepidation brings to me –
The photo-contrast plain to see.
Few seconds there – behind the lens
A thrill of life that visage sends
Once more I worked with black and white
To capture and record my sight.
So still it sat, that lump of clay
Expression locked, just where it lay,
But when rotated in the light
So many views emerged to sight.
So many looks form several views
I took them all – to later choose
Just as I do when pictures take
Or, rather, when I photos make.
And so, another piece comes home –
Elusive photographs that roam –
‘Grace, mercy, peace – God greets,’ I’ll say
For me as well – this lump of clay:
Graced by her help to get it through
Mercy and kindness shown by you,
Peace deep within from heaven got
That you might live here at this spot.
To do the research, troubles find,
I’d rather do, here in my mind,
And then results to you convey
Through photographic sheets like clay.
Behind the scenes and lens prefer
Than public moments, hearts to stir,
That’s clear to me, most – one-on-one,
Is how my output best is done.
And so, just as this piece of clay –
What matters lies in me this way –
Love – heart and soul and mind and strength –
Is mediated out at length.
Imagination’s from left brain
The ‘editor’ my thoughts keep rein
I’d not seen that the best flows out
When we imaginations flout.
We try so hard to product get
While other part of self’s not let
To see, for us, the light of day
Till, ‘Knock’ – ‘can you come out to play?’
It’s all there, right brain, in us deep
The shift to left then lets us sleep
PTSD no more entraps
Our lives, but lets us go at last.
This Elder’s troubled days are seen
As into life I ran, most keen,
Then ’gainst successive walls I ran
Gave lines on face of crinckled man.
The ‘Elder’ term is taken not
By self, nor from the others sought
But rather, from the outside given
As indicating self that’s riven –
A gift that’s given in human form
But not that body, here and warm –
A spirit let to live within
A life that’s wracked by human sin.
It’s after years that life is wrought
As person walks as Spirit taught
Twix world and Spirit life is ground
Till once more powdered clay is found.
Refreshing water’s mixed into
That powdered broken life of fool
But then within the Potter’s hand
We find anew – created man.
What’s seen now is not just a face
But Spirit active – mercy, grace,
And peace is often noted there
So with the others we compare.
It’s not that elder unique stands
For all can place selves in God’s hands
To break, mold, shape, until we find
That person God once had in mind.
A self of clay, God’s life within
Who guides us through this life of sin
And evil here – within, without
So we can live – with victory shout!
He’ll take us through confusion deep
Till we attain that place most sweet
Where wrinkled with the scars of time
There’s peace within our state of mind.