Wednesday, 11 May 2016


Image result for cute foals horses

This is a lovely poem that I came across recently: a wedding gift in verse.


For John Jones the potter

Waxwork of a crag, a model of sea rock

In gleaming maroon –

Hear the waves break on it, see the fish fly

Under the moon!

A piece of witch-stone, jasper,

Red chalcedony

With a tidewash of grey quartz still ebbing

Back like the sea.

I was given it, it has lain in my hearth

Nearly a year

To give peace by arbitrary charm

To fingerers here.

Each hand that stroked it, gave to and took

Power out of it:

Love warmed it with whitsun, it knew

Fire-tonguing wit.

It felt stillness in half-light, it learned

Like a wild foal

To stand calm in a crowdful of noise

In its deep quartz soul.

It is Welsh rock, John. A vein of it runs

In the nape

Of the hanging coast where the oaktrees

Knot the Straits into shape.

Earth, water and fire! and a girl’s hand that gave it

Dearer to me

Than gold! – I send you this shard from the wheel

Of the Welsh sea.

Your potter’s eyes found glazes in red grit –

You made them yours,

The piebald debris of metallic earths,

Ragbag of ores.

We finger a pebble for luck, or chance

Magic try –

But your fingers have lived with luck so long

They must have it, or die.

And your hands chance no amateur magic:

The wheel must turn,

The wet grey clay must rise like a genie

To teapot or urn.

Yet now, because you have left Wales, and sold

Kiln and wheel

And because your cottage sinks down to its knees

In an overgrown field,

And the racks in your front room shop

No longer fill

Quietly, quietly with the cups and jugs

Of your fingers’ skill

And because now, though the potter’s gone

And the clay dries dead,

We are glad that the love of a bride

Has graced your bed –

That ancient, amateur magic of hands,

A love and a luck

Richer than even from clay

Ever was struck –

Because of all this, on your wedding day

I send

All the power in a stone I can

To make and mend:

A piece of witch-stone, jasper,

Red chalcedony

With a tidewash of grey quartz still ebbing

 Back to the sea.

Line after line of crafted poetry; sinks down to its knees; ragbag of ores; a wild foal, standing calm; its fingerers . . . the whole thing is almost tactile. Like its subject. Fabulous. It’s by a guy called Tony Conran of whom I know nowt.

No comments:

Post a Comment