Reflections on a pug mill at winter solstice

Not dust, precisely, to dust;
We rise
From stickier stuff. Not parched desert sand
But damp crease of Nile, rich
flood-given mud, the living fertile dirt.

Darwin sings us up from primordial ooze.
Genesis forms us, clay of a potter God.

From a spark, we come to be
in a uterine sea, are born
in glorious mess, born wet
into waiting hands, howling
to be what we are to become.

See, how it turns? Wettest fruit spawns the yeast,
it burgeons as fruit decays. May I pour you some wine?

Bread, from the damp of kneaded loaf?

Or tea in an ancient bowl, made by hands
that hundreds of years ago dripped from their bones and were gone?

Not to dust, we return,
but to mud: damp transformation, a new kind of growth.
Even ashes, once scattered,
will fertilize something,
come the rain.

See, how it cycles? No loss is complete.
Best intentions, gone soft in the produce drawer
will compost for next year’s crop.

See, how it rolls? The pot rim
gone loppy, vessels meant for grace
but failing, tossed
from wheel to slop, are never lost.

Into the pug mill I feed my failure, my ego, my well laid plans
scooped by the handful, clinging to fingers,
reluctant to be released.

The augur churns like the spin of seasons, the roll of earth.

and then: rebirth. New clay from old,
made plastic by lessons learned.
Possibility is primordial mud: the genesis clay,
born wet into waiting hands
waiting to be what is next.

Kelly Averill Savino
December, 2007

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