Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry


 
 
 

The Song of the Potter: Ceylon Folk Poem
                                        Translation by Eli Siegel 

My fine pots,
My beautiful plates,
Made of the good earth of Kélany.

My beautiful plates,
My fine pots,
Heated in the sun and polished well.

Into huts and palaces,
Pots and plates, go, go;
Carry to the famished
Sinners or saints
The most beautiful and the largest grains.
Pour, so that they be not thirsty,
To the elect and to the damned,
The divine draught of earth.

Do not give
To the sick nor to the weary
Bad plants, vile herbs;
But, sure friends,
Give them, as healing,
Good roots and honest herbs.

My fine pots,
My beautiful plates,
Made of the good earth of Kélany.



From THE POEMS LOOKED AT: or, NOTES

The Song of the Potter: Ceylon Folk Poem. 1965. In Ceylon someone once saw pots, likely his own, as having an ethical mission. They had an ethical mission, but they were made amidst ethics, too. Kind grains of earth and wished for drink would be brought by the pots. In this way the goodness of earth would be shown. The pots are seen as discriminating in effect. They are beautiful, what they carry is beautiful, and earth is a cause with beauty. So the potter is delicately praised, too.— This is the source of the poem: Les Larmes du Cobra: Légendes de Lanka. Collected by Enid Karunaratné. Translated by Andrée Karpelès. Paris, Bossard, 1925.


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From Hail, American Development (Definition Press)
© 1968 by Eli Siegel


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