I asked the Lord, “Is this vessel spoiled,
this pot over which your hands have toiled?”
“Go down to the potter’s house,” he said.
So I went, and watched the potter tread
the watered clay to a plastic mud
and place some on his bench with a thud.
“Will the potter take such care in vain?”
asked the Lord. “Already, sun and rain
have cleansed the raw clay, and biting frost
has broken it – will their work be lost?”
The lump was shaped on the wheel of stone –
but clay can have a will of its own;
the vessel rose from the whirling disc –
but making something carries a risk.
It lost its shape, and the pot was marred
(the potter thought, ‘Did I press too hard?’).
I groaned; but the potter’s loving hand -
whose love I could scarcely understand -
re-worked the vessel as he desired,
then placed it in the kiln to be fired.
“Turn back,” said the Lord, “and hear my words;
your living clay will not break like sherds.”
As I turned to go, a fresh clay lump
fell on the bench with a hopeful thump.
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