Thoughts on a Clay Pot: written for an agnostic friend

Margaret Lyall

18 February 2015

Thoughts on a Clay Pot: written for an agnostic friend


I saw it on the Salisbury Centre stall.
It was the shape that drew me - simple and symmetrical.
Carefully I picked it up and turned it round
to savour its perfection.

Then came the shock, the disappointment,
there was a blemish in the glazing.
I chose another... and another…
but none of them was perfect.

And in that moment came the realisation
that each one was unique,
fashioned out of formless clay
by the skill of the potter,
kneading, pulling, gently stretching
until finally moulded into a shape
satisfying to its creator.

What price now that self-same mass of clay?
Almost worthless in its natural state
but through the influence of those hands
now able to hold within itself flowers - and water,
giving the flowers strength to open  
and display the fullness of their beauty,
evoking a multitude of emotions in the human heart.

Filled with primroses, a splash of yellow beauty
pointing to the renewal of life and hope
after the darkness and despair of winter.

Or when filled with buttercups and daisies
picked by the sticky fingers of a happy child
and given to her granny whom she loves.


What is the chance
of the atoms of that lump of clay
organising themselves
Into such a spatial arrangement
without the potter?

And which seems more incredible:
that blind chance - or a Master Potter
created the living beauty of the primroses
and the love of the child?

©Margaret Lyall

Image: In the Potter’s Hands, Steve Abbott