Beauty for Ashes – A Celebration of Wood Fired Pottery #Poetry #Pottery #Fire #Art #Kiln #GroveCity

Invitation image provided by Chris Bauer

For over a month I’ve been waiting to publish this poem. (I’ve also been in a writing drought…hence my lack of posts.) Earlier in the year, my art teacher colleague at Grove City High School invited me out to his property to experience firsthand the mystery of wood fired pottery. He hoped I could capture in poetry something about my experience with this ancient art of firing the clay. (We’ve worked together in the past on Figure Drawing and Freewrite Fridays – see the linked post). So, notebook in hand, I traveled just outside of Franklin to a secluded step kiln in the woods late in autumn. There, I ate wonderful food cooked over wood fires, helped load wood into the different heating chambers, and peered into the peek holes where the pyrometric cones waited for the right temperature to bow, signaling the final steps in the firing process.

With the art show opening in just under two weeks, may this post serve as an invitation to explore wood fired pottery and, if you happen to be in the area, to come to Grove City College to see Chris’s work in person. My poem will also be part of the exhibition, so you’re getting a sneak peek before the general public! (Just another fringe benefit of being a follower of thedeepeningground!) Both Chris and I will be there on February 2nd for the grand opening. Hope to see you there!

Beauty for Ashes

By Vincent H. Anastasi 2022

Behold the sacred alchemy
transforming wood to glass
where fire paints with ash and flame
and resurrects the past.

The coal bed embers coruscate
as ash melts down to glaze,
and we with veiled and dazzled eyes
approach the blinding blaze.

Within the earthen chambered heart,
the vessels made of clay,
like poets bathed in words of fire,
surrender to the flame.

We shepherd time and feed the kiln’s
voracious appetite,
‘til bending pyrometric cones
resolve this fiery rite. 

At last the bricks are pulled away
and in that hallowed hold,
the flashing and the fly ash left
the potter’s work of gold.

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