The Poetry of
Jack Scott

The Sculptor

Terra cotta,
born of man and fire,
endures as long as shrine
it complements,
will long outlast the congregations
wading on their knees in darkness,
forestalling hell while shunning sunlight.
What we would save of crumbling temple
has been branded on belief.

There is much waste
in firing permanence
upon collapsing walls
around the passing people
unless there is a single witness-

The jug, the loaf and thou,
our picnic,
carved into bas relief.
Oh, the psalms
I long to sing with you.
My need for you may be as great
as your desire for someone else
who may someday be me.

I shrink from worship in a temple.
Thou in terra cotta permanence-
wedding between wall and space-
I marry with my hands and fingers
fashioning with faithful grace
your features privately
upon this public edifice.

I am closer now
to clay and you
than clay will ever be to wall
dividing flock from eternity.
Clay wants a wall, and firing,
or you will be forever mortal,
and clay will never be but clay.

You, in terra cotta,
I leave behind when done
to form more like just you
an essence at a time.

Some say god made clay,
then made man of it.
With my hands
and my devotion
I affirm that god is clay
and man, its sculptor.

L14®Copyright 1974 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.