Clay Warrior

Our Body is a clay cup,
floating on the ocean;
soon it will fill, and sink . . .
Not even one bubble will show where it went down . . .

— Rumi

This rude clay cup follows
a memory of my hands making it.

A pattern from ancient near east
maybe seven thousand turns
of our rich seasons past.

Mask of a warrior, a hero, which
when I show the cup, terra cotta red—
dull red of our oldest dry blood—

in its common utility as cup
is merely a warrior upside-down,
harmless water bearer.

Sometimes,
the world turned upside-down,
we squander faith on heroes

and for a time our hero becomes
the pattern of our small vision,
soothes the splendor of our fears.

Mostly though, we are wise
to pattern our mythic vision
on a gentle touch of hands,

and we drink from the clay
our fingers shape.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.