Pottery lesson

pottery

The first lesson in making pottery

Is: be willing to get your hands dirty.

‘Cos when you place that clay mound

At the centre of the spinning-wheel,

Then wet your palms to wrap them around,

The slurry splatters on you.

And at times, with fingers placed gently,

As you drag and pull inwardly,

The mound comes undone,

Collapsing into a lump.

But, if you get past this stage,

And your mound is still in place,

The task of centering can make

The clay go out of shape.

 

Three attempts and I give up.

My instructor says,

“No one’s made their perfect pot

As soon as they set out.”

In the potter’s hut, I find on display

A collection of odd pots:

Some cracked outside,

Some charred inside,

No ode-worthy Keatsian urns.

“I sell the good ones,

And keep the odd ones

In honour of the endeavour.”

 

(This poem is inspired by the memory of attending a pottery making session at DakshinaChitra museum in Chennai many years ago.)

 

© Vidya Venkat (2020)

Published by Vidya Venkat

Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at SOAS, London. Formerly, journalist at The Hindu, Chennai.

2 thoughts on “Pottery lesson

  1. This is a great poem. It definitely captures the whole journey. I loved the ode you quote at the end. I’ll be looking at my weird pots a little differently now.

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