Part 5: Potter’s Guiding Hand
Awakened before daylight, Dolius took Rhete
To nearby river cliffs, source of potter’s clay,
Digging difficult with hand-tools, heavy in
Wooden buckets moving along gravel beach
To waiting oxen carts. What lessons learned?
Generations laboring riverside at ebbing tides,
Pickax and shovels, removing ancestral clays,
Earthen marrow, they toiled beneath sphere
Of sunlit golden clouds, amongst flowing
Waters clear and pure, weary maiden’s lave.
Hollow forms reanimated upon temple potter’s
Wheel, turning compass divine, clay rising by
Steady hands, clay lump-shaping, streaming
Water, fire-glazed earthenware: vases, bowls,
And deep amphora. As god created man, living
Clay arose in deific flame, verse breathed into
Air, thrust of arms and legs, maternal weeping
Womb, mind self-realizing, crucible of struggled
Hardships, life from beginning to brittle end,
Potter’s wheel shaped destiny of women, men.
Potter’s guiding hand, Rhete, lessons gleaned
From digging clay, visiting temple potters. She
Realized how gods searched for suitable clay,
Shepherdess-maiden sunlight beckoned from
Mountain streams, Ekho at her side, affinity
Of soul, leaving family and flocks. At temple,
Dolius attended potter’s wheel of learning,
Novitiate Rhete became, studying ancient
Papyri, medicinal herbs, mettle tested when
Ministering to sick of body and of spirit.
“Are you the potter?” Rhete asked Dolius,
“I the unformed wedge of clay?” “We are all
Clay, some in more finished form than others,”
Dolius replied, reassuring. “Few are kiln-fired
Glazed, others vessels misshaped, wandering
Lives without true purpose or desires.” Thus
Dolius explained, whilst knowledge was
Afforded through temple study, keeping faith,
Patient understanding were fiery tests of
Prophets, living vessels of the gods.
In last stanza, Dolius did not directly answer Rhete’s
question, “Are you the potter?” Who may Dolius be or
represent? He is an enduring character reappearing in
my poetry. Next is Part 6.