Jar Song

Don Bogen

 

How could I calm the ache
that drifted through my sleep?
A plain ceramic jar,
rounded at the lip,
seemed to offer hope.

It stood there in the dream,
complete, outside of time:
a heavy brown-gray shape
on a table top–
no chairs, no floor, no room.

What was it doing there?
Where had it come from?
I knew somehow I’d spent
my whole life making it,
step after deepening step.

I rolled the coils of clay.
I looped them on the wheel.
I spun and smoothed, my palms
clay-pale and slick with wash.
I watched the vessel grow.

Glazed, permanent, it stood,
defining all I’d made:
a single empty jar
too perfect for the fear
I hoped it might contain.


image: Giorgio Morandi, Natura Morta, 1942