The Vessel

Sometimes it seems that the brittle clay
vessel used to carry the clear water
from inspiration’s well is so fragile,
flawed and useless, such an ill-suited thing;
the priceless, sacred fluid it transports
accents each error, highlights weaknesses
that the shadows hide; in its clarified
light, such a carrier seems unworthy.

Such is the poet – from strands of nothing
weaving a tenuous basket of thought
to hold the spirit of the universe;
and once the spark of creation is freed,
they return, bitter and worn, to plain lives,
that seem so uninspiring and normal.

Sometimes it seems that the poet should
be able to fashion the world they see
(in flashing dreams and moments of vision)
from their own lulling, ordinary life,
and at times, when the morning light is good,
to wake and find the universe alive,
vibrant to the touch, pulsing with meaning
in every small flicker of dawn breeze.

For me, that does happen now and again.
But more regularly, it takes a lot
of looking to see what is really there,
of seeking beyond old and broken pots,
where the language of whole universe
hides. And there I find a poem, sometimes.
Most of the time, however, it finds me;
and I try to not spill too much of it.

21 DEC 2002

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