The Potter

What is a child?
A young mind of curiosity
Tiny body keen on testing itself
Little hands and feet, exploring
Wide eyes that absorb everything

A child is but a piece of clay
Some large chunks, some small
Some tough and some supple
They come in all sorts of colors
Bright, dark and all in between

You were clay once
Perhaps you still are
You’ve been shaped by surrounding forces
And have come to take this form

Of all forces, I wonder
Which is most powerful?
There is but one popular answer
The potter that made you from soil and water

Though a potter in reality
Has complete control of the clay
These potters we speak of
Aren’t quite the same

The potter is but one of many
Who test their hands on the clay
Although this is the case
He makes most of the indentations

This potter must spend much time
Studying the clay before he starts
To change its shape or size
For this is a crucial part

All that follows will depend
On how well he knows the clay’s ends
Too much force or too less
Will certainly make a mess

But potters aren’t all so meticulous
And some don’t grasp the importance
And thus there are pieces
Of unappealing pottery

A potter must first fathom his challenge
Be ready to work on given clay
He cannot change it on his will
With what is given he must stay

Not knowing texture or soil
This task can be surprising
He gets just one chance that is all
To make the best pottery

He must set the wheel to soundly spin
And gently handle any sagging
That the spinning may cause to his piece
For if not attended, the shape will loosen

Rightly skill must be applied
To bring out the form desired
A little mistake here or there
Takes lots of time to be repaired

The potter can’t do everything alone
So he must call for help
And make sure the piece is well maintained
While they work on it’s structure

It’s a tedious task, is it not?
Even more so! since the clay doesn’t
Take it’s final shape so quick
It takes years for it to stick

It demands all the potter’s attention
And a day ignored is hell to pay
For the clay may take arbitrary shape
And cause trouble

This clay can be a handful too
Yet the potter must continue
To work with it though it may slack
Or not cooperate just because

Yet another point to know
Is that the potter himself
Though more stable than his subject
Is clay himself.

What is a person but clay himself
Molding those around him with his presence
And being molded in return
To become the shape that he is.


What Sunglasses Go With

As I wrote out the prescription, the child had wandered back to a wall with display pieces. He took off his new glasses and reached up to the full extent that he could to unmount the black soda frame. Having done so without dropping them, he quickly put them on his face and ran to the mirror. He let a muffled giggle slip through in excitement, distracting his mother from her hunt for a pair of sunglasses.

“What are you doing, Raj!” she said. It wasn’t a question. “Don’t you understand? I have already bought a pair for you. You don’t even have a black shirt to wear with it!” she squealed. “Don’t embarrass me!”

“Then let’s buy a black shirt! I want a black shirt for my birthday!” wailed the child.

“Don’t be stupid. Your father has already given you a gift. Stay put now. Go sit on that chair until I pay the eye doctor.”

With disappointment pouring from his gait, the child slumped onto the singular chair next to the billing table. Some minutes passed as I waited for the bill to be printed from the age old machine. The child had taken a liking to the rubber band ball and kept himself occupied in the meantime. “Here’s the bill and prescription” I said to her. The woman walked up to me with the pair of sunglasses she had most recently taken off the shelf. It was a bright-yellow retro style frame complemented with dark brown glass. Then again, she herself was much more flamboyant than the poor pair. “I’ll take these too” she chimed in her high voice.

“You don’t have a yellow shirt, mom!” said the kid. “Yeah, I do, Raj.” “No you don’t, but I guess it doesn’t matter, they’ll match your undies”

What did you say?” she flushed.

“The yellow undies you wore today, mom. Remember?” That left her dazed, the pink visible under the twenty feet of makeup on her face as she stared at mine expressionlessly. A slight grin broke across my face and I quickly regretted it. She attempted recovery, fishing for cash in her purse and then thrusting it in my face. “Just his one pair a’ glasses” she barked, and reached for the door, her legendary undies visible for a moment under her white pants, or I could have just imagined that part. She then scurried out the door, managing to stomp her feet at the same time. The 8-year-old followed, trailing behind her, completely unaware of what he had done. He still had the rubber band ball, but I decided against stopping them for that. Maybe he knew what color underwear I was wearing too.