Potter's Clay

Published 1973



To Igor, Gordon, Hans and Dave of the Island Coaster "Akana"

Tahiti - Lisbon
Twentieth Century Reality
White Mirror
Potter's Clay



To Igor, Gordon, Hans and Dave of the Island Coaster "Akana"

Oh you rolling sailors
With a mermaid on each knee
And a salt tear in each eye,
The sea runs free.

Oh you bedraggled sailors
Adrift at each port's call 
With a star forever by you,
The sea runs true.

Oh you sweating sailors 
Tough to fight the storm 
So gentle to the child,
The sea runs wild.

Oh you restless sailors
Unable to grow old
Blooded always to the tide,
The sea runs cold.

Oh you simple sailors 
Wise to every brothel
Yet adoring womankind,
The sea runs fine.

Oh you laughing sailors
Dancing in every bar
With a loneliness of hell,
The sea runs hard. 

Oh you wandering sailors
Sprayed about the wind 
Lost ever to the land,
The sea runs sand.

Ah you living sailors 
With a ghost upon each knee
And a wet glass in each hand,
The sea runs mad.

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Tahiti - Lisbon

Chill winter of no leaf 
Clothes me in tight,
Europe again.
Faces in the street 
Cut off with thought 
Brightness of Tahiti.

I wear my gloves,
My fingers cannot feel the shell
Nor twist in salt-torn hair.
I am encased in European time 
In centuries of civilizing man,
Planned, patterned and important. 

No more the sun, the wide Pacific,
The moistness on my skin
The endless shade of dreamtime.
No more the honey hum of water on white sand
That happy nothingness of hours,
That yawn of languid limbs.

Energy noises about me,
Business and busyness,
Responsibility of being European.
The clock is watched 
And Everyman is running 
Around its numbered face. 

I wish to doze beneath some palm
Be riotous and ridiculous,
To lie all day with lovers 
In some unimportant place
Where no one is quite proper,
And stars are eyes to see. 

This Europe makes me tired,
My clothes are heavy 
And my fingers ache.
I cannot naked touch 
The warming day of earth.
I squeeze into gloved Europe.

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Twentieth Century Reality

That bullet is aimed at you -
Move from the armchair,
Don't just sit there
Eating your chops.

That rat wants your flesh -
Clean out the gutter,
Don't just snap the camera
For quaint shots.

T.V. sight,
Tourist sight,
Twentieth century delight.

Spectator by the hearth fire,
Lounging with the maimed,
Eye of the lens
Unfocussed as you see
In real colour, real blood.

Spectator of Panama dirt,
Paying the tourist guide
To show you the slums 
And watch as you catch
In real colour, real rats.

Real colour,
Real blood,
Real rats.

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White Mirror

You, man, forget my woman's breast,
Be suckled at my soul
Which now I do undress
So you may see some lovers wear no flesh.

This body that you long for 
Is woman to growth decay
For some young girl to gather it
Back into sexual array.

Go elsewhere, love, for comfort,
With you my flesh is soul
And these white fingers lie
On fire of equal minds.

This body that is pricking you
If fragile crossing couch,
An ancient scented Egypt
Ripe asp for us both.

I offer you no rubies
But shell of bright sea foam,
I offer in this naked form 
My female without sex.

This body licking out to hand
Cushioned in sexual ease, 
Bites all spirit out to birth 
Drugs out the wish to think.

For you I fling my garments 
Wide back to show you, man,
That I as woman realise
Love lives beyond all sex.

Take nipple of my soul then
Forget the limbs of silk
Forget the hairy mask of joy
Seize, man , my woman's soul.

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Far out in loneliness 
In the season of the sea,
When the world has hurt, 
Remember me. 

When the thrill of sunset
Is stifled in a sob
And the red is blood,
Remember me. 

As the night tears up 
Your easy game of love
And coldly cuts your youth,
Remember me.

As you see your skin
Torn, bloody, bits afloat,
Ripped by jealous claws,
Remember me. 

In the silent glory 
When your ship is sunk 
And no light appears,
Remember me. 

When the wind has died
And the stars have faded
And you lash for love,
Remember me.

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A train window,
We are together 
In silence.

Soon the whistle 
Will cut naked,
We are trapped. 

I must leave 
With the world 
Of my lips dead.

Hands that light
Tumbling life
Lie fallow.

Eyes a sad shine,
I cannot look 
At your face. 

Doors slam out
Our meeting 
With its delight. 

You kiss me 
And go. 
The carriages jerk.

What purpose love
Singing to sob
Beneath steel.

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Potter's Clay

Threefold the paradise of my creation,
My identity a visioned trinity of Love.
Blue was the sea of my pre-coming 
As in a birth I turned the familiar matter
And breathed about this global cell,
Figure of parents remembering God.
And white the stream of my adult love
That dashed me human into sexual form,
Returned the sense of my original structure. 
While fire of birth place
Gave instinct of a passionate sweet land
That lay about my parents' limbs 
As they, in desire, conceived me. 

I spun, vessel from chaos
As the jar from clay is shaped
By power of the potter's art.
I, as one spirit upon his crowded shelf,
Glimpsed thrice the inner, magic room
Where wheel of energy bewitched the spheres.
A candle sketched in vibrant flame 
The loving face of Him who made
Craft, creatures and creation.
I saw his eyes strong on their work 
With hands moist in fine feeling
And, as he whirled the clay to life,
I was free in joyous rhythm.

This wondrous workshop, the centre of divine Love,
Crafted me human in its moving light.
I was that clay, I knew that wheel
That hand, that eye, that face.
I was one jar He seized,
One spirit of eternal millions.
With energy the potter struggled
To discipline from circling life my form.
Blue sea, white stream, red fire,
Each separate vision he made of me a part,
A fragment within his searching fingers,
Yet in his wheel he fashioned me 
With freedom to stand alone and be apart. 

I then from blue of substance came,
A spinning creature in my maker's mind
From seas within all spheres.
My father's and my mother's blood,
Embryo of fulfilment. 
I, wanted child of lovers 
Who joyed to craft from clay to shape 
Another in the image of their love.
They, my parents
Delighting in each other,
Then let me come from God aware 
Of always living in some paradise.
I wanted here, was wanted there,
And ever clear the passage to conception. 


Over his wheel the potter bent
Crafting the fragments of his imagination 
Into a world of unique and distinct forms.
I felt the touch of his good artistry 
Moistening parental blood into my own.
Such variety of vessels crowded round his room,
And yet my eyes darted and danced
Out, out to those
Figures of instinct, my own family.
The artist had one masterpiece planned out,
A work of vision containing every form,
And each shape to its own shadow turned 
By reason of its blood and memory.

My parents' and my potter's love
Showed me myself in many generations.
I, earth bound to my family and kin,
Was pushed into an outline of their shape
And our unity of blood 
Beat till their features were my own.
We, separate jars from one lump of clay 
Fashioned to whirl on all the centuries' wheel 
And moulded with our ancestors ringing hands,
Were mixed into one essence.
We, of one line lived moving shadows,
Within our ancestors, and our family's face.
Portraits with past futures.


In enthusiasm I was crafted,
I breathed in image of the artist,
And the blue sea of my bright coming 
Washed radiant light around me,
As shivering in excitement 
I crossed in clearest vision 
To a future planned by sensitive hands,
Exhausted and triumphant in their loving. 
Much of this figure was fixed,
Yet did I stand free in my shape
For I had by the disciplining wheel
A personal energy to mould myself, 
A capacity to ponder and decide my purpose. 

Sharp the fierce trinity of paradise,
For in that perfect visionary night
When man beside me lay,
I, womanhood, of love returned
To the infant's flaming joy.
I was the sea before the womb
Or phallus shudder round me.
For in a swift white roar of love
I rushed beyond the limits of this cell.
I fought to burn back to my sight
Light from the steady Godhead
As gloriously He bent round me
Endless circles of white fire.

That night the potter threw me into sex,
That knowledge that makes flesh,
I felt the female fling
The garments from her thighs,
Surge back to blue of sea
And instinct of my parents' sex.
The craftsman's magic spun around,
I touched his shining hair 
And, flooded to his genius by power of my own Being
I swirled to Beloved in beloved flesh.
I knew the energy that stung the wheel to art,
The force behind the potter's whirling clay 
The strength that seized each figure out of chaos.


Then one ethereal night the moon
Rose through the sunset shadows
Of palm trees curved to sea,
And gathered in its climbing luminous light 
Thrill of the mellow workroom
Where the wise potter modelled.
Here was the fire of birth-place,
Here trinity of love conceived.
A wheeling throw of flesh and earth 
I was material of instinctive matter
That struggled out to recognize its form
As, guided by a hand beyond my parents,
I lay in fire upon blue sea.

Paradise swept down each star
As I relived that passionate becoming, 
That pull from a burning wheel,
The knowledge that, in love, I was first crafted.
This place where I was born 
Carried along its thundering horizon
The sound and sense of those limbs 
That, as an arch, led me from God.
For here in calm moonlight 
My shadow was not mine.
I poised between my parents and my maker
And still warm in their embrace
I quivered as their clay took shape.

Birth in such a beauteous place
Cradled the shock of leaving 
Loveliness of my original bliss.
Here butterflies of bird wing
Made rainbows of each day 
And blue waters licked white sand 
As the sea from whence I came. 
My soul, used to that perfect Light,
Kept clear through parent love
Ideal of Beauty.
As fingers spun me to a lovely earth
I felt His pulse in every living thing
Delighted in this world he had created.

This world where I was born 
Pushed me out of that racial shape 
Into which my parents had conceived me.
I mixed myself into a craftsman's eye 
And rose within his pigments and designs,
A confusing circle of absorbing clay,
Weakened by divided senses 
His genius used to bring forth different jars.
Country and hearth for me were split,
Fire of birth-place equalled fire of blood.
Yet in my world was light of every concept,
A vivid love of fluid changing shapes
Thrown from chaos to sun dance of dawn. 

Three images of Love bent to create
Seen in the Potter's candle. 
From this eternal whirlpool - 
Paradise to paradise created - 
Vision was intense 
And flowed through me to eyes
I knew and in a grasp of love remembered. 
The sea caught stream and fire
To balance in a unity of birth
The familiar contours of the Artist's face.
And His cloak of blue, and white, and red 
Reflected the radiance of His living grace. 

His Light led me to my identity,
Gave strength to my personal free form,
For I was fashioned by a positive idea,
Stood planned by loving hands.
Illuminated by this sight
Of a paradise of growing affirmation.
I loved the potter's traditional craft,
Exulted in his wish to recreate
And revelled in the beauty of his art.
There was no paradise for me 
In sight of Satanic steel 
Destroying the spheres of clay 
The artist had so perfectly embraced. 

I used the freedom given me, 
That power formed by the potter's wheel 
To seek and leap towards the Light 
That gathered round my master's room.
I had my choice and I did choose
To ignore the apprentice Satan's corner
Where into death he wheeled himself
And all those who stumbled to him.
The potter had from his experience
Made me in love and left me 
To decide, as I looked from his shelf,
If I would like or loathe the flame 
That hallowed his face in creation.

Bright are the spheres, 
The Potter loves his craft.
His universe, encircled 
By imagination, 
Links all elements 
Through Him to Love. 
As clay moved into blood
And centred sharp upon the turning wheel,
Blue sea, red fire, white stream ?
Controlled trinity of structure ?
Created me.
And from such Energy 
Can chaos become Art.

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