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…