Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Poem for Wednesday and Jewish Philadelphia

The Song of the Potter
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Turn, turn, my wheel! Turn round and round,
Without a pause, without a sound:
    So spins the flying world away!
This clay, well mixed with marl and sand,
Follows the motion of my hand;
For some must follow, and some command,
    Though all are made of clay!

Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
To something new, to something strange;
    Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
    To-morrow be to-day.

Turn, turn, my wheel! All life is brief;
What now is bud will soon be leaf,
    What now is leaf will soon decay;
The wind blows east, the wind blows west;
The blue eggs in the robin's nest
Will soon have wings and beak and breast,
    And flutter and fly away.

Turn, turn, my wheel! This earthen jar
A touch can make, a touch can mar;
    And shall it to the Potter say,
What makest thou? Thou hast no hand?
As men who think to understand
A world by their Creator planned,
    Who wiser is than they.

Turn, turn, my wheel! 'Tis nature's plan
The child should grow into the man,
    The man grow wrinkled, old, and gray;
In youth the heart exults and sings,
The pulses leap, the feet have wings;
In age the cricket chirps, and brings
    The harvest home of day.

Turn, turn, my wheel! The human race,
Of every tongue, of every place,
    Caucasian, Coptic, or Malay,
All that inhabit this great earth,
Whatever be their rank or worth,
Are kindred and allied by birth,
    And made of the same clay.

Turn, turn, my wheel! What is begun
At daybreak must at dark be done,
    To-morrow will be another day;
To-morrow the hot furnace flame
Will search the heart and try the frame,
And stamp with honor or with shame
    These vessels made of clay.

Stop, stop, my wheel! Too soon, too soon
The noon will be the afternoon,
    Too soon to-day be yesterday;
Behind us in our path we cast
The broken potsherds of the past,
And all are ground to dust at last,
    And trodden into clay.


I spent most of Tuesday photographing, listing, and selling things on Facebook Marketplace plus doing some research about what might be worth putting on eBay despite the huge chunk eBay takes out of the total. In the course of this, I discovered that some beautiful pottery we got as wedding presents that I didn't think was particularly valuable had been made by an Oregon potter who's no longer alive and who has a devoted following, and that I have a vase made by a then-obscure ceramics maker who now produces big studio installations in mixed media. We ate leftover ham and cheese pie for Pi Day. 

My Voyager group watched one of the most terrible hours of Star Trek ever, "The Disease" -- in which a prunish Janeway gives Harry Kim a formal reprimand because Starfleet officers "must obtain authorization from their C.O. as well as clearance from the medical officer before initiating an intimate relationship with an alien species"! Kirk and Riker should have been kicked out of Starfleet! Now I'm also caught up on Carnival Row, whose politics are increasingly hard to comprehend, not to mention figuring out who the good guys are. Here are some Jewish sites we saw in downtown Philadelphia:

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2023-03-11 13.45.19

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