I miss the way clay feels
fresh gutting of smooth earthen lungs
breathing a molded inhale, exhale
between the gaps in my grazing fingers
and as I seek to recall and involve
my mind in such imaged memories,
it becomes a seeking for my own rough-spun
earth-risen, shape-searching soul
Because I want to hold myself
like just-scraped terra cotta skin cells;
like clay waiting unawares for the potter
between these hands so that I may conjure
with part impetuous inspiration,
part careful measured study
and with all meaningful imagination,
my true shape
the one I can never see beneath my own changings,
never release from my constant contradictions.
And what if, after I have sought long workings
for the shape of my soul,
worn my hands with revealings-
I result with no substance at all.
- shall I then conclude
that my artist's hypothesis was wrong all along?
that I lay not as a baked gold-glazen form
somewhere waiting for release within this clay,
but that my essence lays dispersed along the deep layers of earth
a grain of me spread-eagled through each cell...
Then I am a work never-finished, my constant being
that I am still changing between my seeking hands-
always the same substance,
but never the same shape.