Clay

Luis H. Francia

 

Words turn into pots and pots turn into words.

—Edmund de Waal

Throw the word on the poet’s wheel,
Write the mud on the potter’s desk.

From bone and ash I need to spin
shapes that sing to us of blood,

Of lives that are more than wisps.
Celadon, faience: I grow stone into

Days, I seed my verse with
Earth. A vase, a bowl, a cup,

The hard ceramic of

Sonnet, haiku seen in clay,
Whatever vessel I choose, may

It transform water into wine
But also simply be—a lyric hewn in

Place, our gaze rendered worthy
Because of it. There welling

From the kiln,
Dwelling of a kin-

dred spirit, the heat of a
God that burns, imparts to a

Life fire and its glaze:

My self stitched into flesh by the word, and
However imperfect, shaped by potter’s mud.

LUIS H. FRANCIA’s poetry books include Tattered Boat, The Beauty of Ghosts, and Museum of Absences. He is a recipient of the Manila-based Palanca Prize in poetry. In 2002 the memoir Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago was awarded New York’s PEN Open Book and the Asian American Writers literary prizes. He has taught at the City University of Hong Kong, Ateneo de Manila University, Yale, and the Iowa Writers Summer Workshop. A member of the New York Writers Workshop, he is on faculty at New York University and at Hunter College.


image: Edmund de Waal, A Change in the Weather, 2007