Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Independent since 1920

The Potter

Tom McGrath evokes the mysterious atmosphere of an old pottery shed, and the man who once used it, in this powerful poem.

Did you ever meet the man, 

Who lived once in this place?

Seen so many winters he, 

That rust grew round his face. 

Glaze and wheel and kiln, 

Each he gave its spot, 

Moulding earthly heaps,

Homes for ferns and apricots.

Much he did not have, 

Giving instead to what he made:

The strength to last a thousand years,

Never to sag or melt or fade.

Pastel clayful creatures,

Yellow, green and blue, 

Greater than what nature formed,

But natural through and through.   

Muscles weary like a watch 

That’s fallen off the pace, 

Implored his hands 

To work as they had,

In the analogue age.

When time was up he gave the place to me,

I wonder what it was that he could see?

Turned to me that day he did,

Mischief breaking through the rust, 

Did you ever meet a man, he said, 

Who thought that he was lost? 

No, I said, I reckon not,

Pity, he said, I should have liked to make him a pot. 

Image Credit to the author.

Support student journalism

Student journalism does not come cheap. Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles