True Romance

On filling up an old clay pot

scarred by years of harsh neglect

the luster now but slowly glows

For the gloom of day just past,

Filled from dawn to dusk entire:

Labor, heat and dust and sweat.

At the dawning, labor bidding,

Worker sprang in cool of morn.

Pours out vigor, boasts his Man-strength,

Flinging careless burdening stone,

mindless then to hoard in morning,

strength to last until day’s done.

The sun up rising, now comes heat,

Wavering light off white of stone,

The Worker bent and slick with life-sweat,

white with dust of stones of toil,

slowly fitting stone to stone

Edge by edge by edge he builds.

Flagstones heedless of his caring,

Redden fingers, now toil-crook’d,

Scrapes the skin, that stripped lies naked,

In the sere and dusty heat,

salting tongue, creation’s dust.

In way of work, the hand of Man,

finds the buried pot’s thin rim,

Stops within the glare of noontide.

Traces line, and scraping dust,

Lifts the antique form from timeless,

in claw’ed hands, there gleams old pot,

empty, whole. And speaking tidings

Ages past, heroic …vast

Glancing light in eve of day

Light the work that sits complete

precise stone it showing solid,

Cares not of its arduous making…

Worker thinks and fills the vessel,

cleaned with care to lustrous shine

Bright now with his work-whet water

Slowly places truths abandoned

Longtime lost to little men,

Oaths that multitudes have wasted,

Ridiculed; now, smoothed and cleaned,

Once soiled, now a promise radiant,

Shines as new revealed, it gleams;

Odd-shaped truths go unsmoothed also,

Placed with care within the clay.

Worker finding a space yet bidding

Adds he more discarded things:

Abandoned beauty, honor spited

Respect tattered goes within

‘Till together (shaken carefully)

Olden vessel, again now full.

In the dim’ed day, now gloaming,

Pale the work complete stands out

Standing there for tasks already

For whatever workers new

Coming on the morrow dictate,

Build on works by known-less Worker,

Undeserved inherited wealth.

Worker’s still and now he moves not,

Work-formed hands stop in repose.

And the vessel shines ennobled

Stands upon the lonesome center,

Of the work of solid stone;

Waits itself for workers coming

At the sunrise, to arrive,

To be taken up and cherished

Or upon the rosy morn,

Smashed apart in careless fashion

Smashed apart, its content be

Lost to all by inattention,

Lost to those who cannot see…

_wcb 7/08

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