Potters' hands are dry
From handling wet clay.
As oils in the skin are stripped away.
Potters' hands are calloused;
Not as rough as hard labor leaves them,
Those scabrous scales that form on flesh --
No match for wood, brick, stone, or steel
That rubs skin to blister, then thicken and scar.
But these are from labors of love
Caused by movements as repetitious as rituals,
And like the smooth callouses of playing guitar
That make performance more of a dance,
These hard nodes produced
By throwing pots perfect the task.
Potters' hands know the patience of mother's work:
Swaddling an infant,
Kneading dough into plump loaves,
Wringing out the wash,
Soothing a feverish brow,
Smoothing wrinkles with the heat and pressure of ironing,
Plaiting hair, knitting a sweater or mending a garment.
Potters' hands are strong,
Shaping clay is not for the weak:
Earth resists being molded.
God could tell us a thing or two about that.
written July 2009