IMAGE:  April 2003  GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
 
APRIL 2003
Volume 95, Issue 4
 
 
   
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Unexpected Expertise  
Poetic Justice  
Survival of the Richest
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Clouding the Issues

 
 
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Poetic Justice

FIRST PRIZE
Potter’s Song
for Nicola Miller

The clay has no shape as it comes from the ground:
This bowl takes its form through the skill of my hands.
But fire will tell if the work is unsound.

I dig up what I use from a place that I’ve found
On deserted, infertile, and ownerless lands;
The clay has no shape as it comes from the ground.

Raw earth, when I start, is heaped into a mound.
A beautiful bowl is the aim of my plans,
But fire will tell if the work is unsound.

This lump on the wheel goes around and around,
Till by pressing and pushing a vessel expands…
The clay has no shape as it comes from the ground.

I will glaze it to look like a rainbow is wound
From its base to its lip in tight, shimmering bands.
But fire will tell if the work is unsound.

It’s strange how my life—like this bowl—should be bound
To give proof of its worth by the trials it withstands.
The clay has no shape as it comes from the ground,
But fire will tell if the work is unsound.

—Douglas Mandell, AB’72

Mandell lives in Fresnes, France, where he is a software engineer for EADS–Launch Vehicles. This is his first published poem.


Select a poem:

First Prize - Potter's Song

Second Prize - Pockets

Third Prize - Little Red Schoolhouse

Honorable Mention - Lowdown Lovesick Blues

Honorable Mention - Unavoidably Detained

 

 


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