Friday, November 25, 2016

Jack Scott writes

The Sculptor

Terra cotta, 

born of man and fire, 
endures as long as shrine it complements, 
will long outlast the congregations 
wading on their knees in darkness,        
forestalling hell while shunning sunlight. 
What we would save of crumbling temple 
has been branded on belief.

There is much waste 

in firing permanence 
upon collapsing walls 
around the passing people 
unless there is a single witness -

The jug, the loaf and thou, 

our picnic carved into bas relief. 
Oh, the psalms 
I long to sing with you. 
My need for you may be as great 
as your desire for someone else 
who may someday be me.

I shrink from worship in a temple. 

Thou in terra cotta permanence -
wedding between wall and space -
I marry with my hands and fingers 
fashioning with faithful grace 
your features privately 
upon this public edifice. 
I am closer now 

to clay and you
than clay will ever be to wall 
dividing flock from eternity.   
Clay wants a wall, and firing, 
or you will be forever mortal, 
and clay will never be but clay.

You, in terra cotta, 

I leave behind when done 
to form more just like you 
an essence at a time.      

Some say god made clay,

then made man of it. 
With my hands 
and my devotion 
I affirm that god is clay 
and man, its sculptor.

 Penny -- Jack Scott
[Penny is a 6’ fiberglass fish supplied by Baltimore City as part of what they called Fish Out Of Water. About 60 commissions (and $1,000) were given to artists. Each had a corporate or other business sponsor. I clad her in 3 or 4 types of copper, including about 3,500 pennies I flattened on a RR track as her scales. They were all displayed around downtown Baltimore for several months, then auctioned at the Walters Art Gallery. She was first up, bringing $9,500. Toward the end some works drew bids over $20,000.]

1 comment:

  1. from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám

    A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread - and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
    O, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

    Some for the Glories of This World; and some
    Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
    Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
    Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!

    Look to the blowing Rose about us - 'Lo,
    Laughing,' she says, 'into the world I blow,
    At once the silken tassel of my Purse
    Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.'

    And those who husbanded the Golden grain
    And those who flung it to the winds like Rain
    Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
    As, buried once, Men want dug up again.


    Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
    Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
    How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
    Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.

    They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
    The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
    And Bahram, that great Hunter - the wild Ass
    Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

    I sometimes think that never blows so red
    The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
    That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
    Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

    And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
    Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean -
    Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
    From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

    Ah, my Belovèd, fill the Cup that clears
    TO-DAY of past Regrets and Future Fears:
    To-morrow! - Why, To-morrow I may be
    Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years.

    For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
    That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
    Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
    And one by one crept silently to rest.

    And we, that now make merry in the Room
    They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom,
    Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
    Descend - ourselves to make a Couch-for whom?

    Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
    Before we too into the Dust descend;
    Dust unto Dust, and under Dust to lie,
    Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and - sans End!

    Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
    And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
    And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
    By some not unfrequented Garden-side....

    Yon rising Moon that looks for us again -
    How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
    How oft hereafter rising look or us
    Through this same Garden-and for one in vain!

    And when like her O Saki, you shall pass
    Among the Guests star-scatter'd on the Grass,
    And in your joyous errand reach the spot
    Where I made One - turn down an empty Glass!

    -- tr. Edward FitzGerald


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