Thursday, June 21, 2012


Fytte VI: Potters' Clay

[An Allegorical Interlude]

'Nec propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.'

THOUGH the pitcher that goes to the sparkling rill

Too oft gets broken at last,

There are scores of others its place to fill

When its earth to the earth is cast ;

Keep that pitcher at home, let it never roam,

But lie like a useless clod,

Yet sooner or later the hour will come

When its chips are thrown to the sod.

Is it wise, then, say, in the waning day,

When the vessel is crack'd and old,

To cherish the battered potter's clay,

As though it were virgin gold ?

Take care of yourself, dull, boorish elf,

Though prudent and safe you seem,

Your pitcher will break on the musty shelf,

And mine by the dazzling stream.

Published in 'Sea Spray and Smoke Drift' (1867).

I just broke a casserole/pudding bowl that my grandfather made. Not broke, smashed. I knew it would happen sometime, because we use it all the time. But I believe in using, not putting on the shelf and treating things as precious. My father quoted this poem to me as a teenager and I've loved the sentiment ever since.

So I cried, hard, and now I'm thinking about grinding a piece down into a pendant, at the kind advice of friends. I have plenty of other things he made; they aren't decorative apart from a good solid sense of workable style, but this piece was constantly in my hands, and it would be nice to remember it.

Other things feel fragile at the moment, too. I'm overworked and trying to hold my head and equilibrium together. Small things are helping, like walks and hanging out with Bumblebee, plus the cats are such simple, faithful pleasures. I hope I can manage a break soon, but it looks like things won't calm down until August!


Alexia said...

So sorry you broke something which was so precious to you.
I was interested in the idea of making a part of it into a memento, because I have been following a site called
These clever people make jewellery out of precious pieces of china which was broken in the Christchurch earthquakes - a lovely concept.

Hope you start to get on top of things and feel better soon :)

Anonymous said...

hope you remember to BREATHE ! and
do try and take some time for yourself - remember there is only one
you --
i have some china plate that was made
into dangly earings which i love! so
its a good way to go
so i guess i shouldn't ask if you've
read the louisa lawson book yet? ha ha

Ampersand Duck said...

Thanks, you nice people!