Collecting bowls and such

While meditating the other day, these visions flowed in:

Carved jade bowls, the stony sides of mountains reflecting sunshine, translucent stone, the translucency of celadon-glazed Chinese porcelain, and the colors of thin sheets of jade and rust against light, over and over.

These represent some quality of love, to me.  I collected them in my mind, where they haunt me. It started like this:

I read a story by Tracey Taylor in the NYTimes about Heath Ceramics, a US company still manufacturing its own goods.  I went to the Heath Ceramics web site and fell in love with their work.  And not just because my nickname is “Heath.” 🙂  I’d never focused on plates and bowls — until I saw what Heath Ceramics makes.  Their shapes are simple, strong, well-balanced.  Their glazes are spectacular, to me — the surface and color interplays went to my heart, for some reason.

From that encounter came a sense of home, an ideal home that reflects me more purely than anything I’ve ever lived.

Later, outside, the sense of home came to me again.  Then a sense of my love, a guy who’s like no one I’ve ever known, even remotely, and how simple, strong, well-balanced and contrasty he is.  Then a sense of endurance, two ways: lasting through tough times, and everlasting.

And then jade: hard, glossy, fibrous (difficult to carve), and translucent. Its colors are those of the Indian flag, but subtly so.

I associate my love’s success with the peace promoted by the Buddha.  Buddhist monks collect alms in hand-made bowls.   My meditation flowed to a sense of Zen, then the Japanese approach to arts.  Then their ceramics, some of which are as translucent as jade and Chinese porcelain.  And the jade “mountains” which Chinese scholars used for contemplation.  And real stony mountainsides in real sunlight.  Tang dynasty bronzes, and Chinese ceramic horses glazed with the colors of jade.  And celadon-ware.  And finally, to jade bowls.

A bowl, holding love.

A bowl that’s strong and pure, that protects its contents from any harm.  A bowl that rings like a temple bell, in the colors of India, subtly so, with light shining through it, a bowl that won’t break, that holds and protects what’s in it without disturbing the integrity of what it holds.  This is love, to me.

So I’ve collected bowls, stone, and light, as visions that haunt me, that will become a poem, one day, somehow, one way or another.



Filed under creative process

5 responses to “Collecting bowls and such

  1. This is the second piece of prose I’ve written since I heard Seidel read his poems. Does it have more space in it for the reader?

  2. Reading this now that it’s aged a little, I see places where I can cut down. And a glaring logical error — if a bowl is for holding love, how is it love too, unless I tell how that can be?

  3. derek

    Yes there is more room in this piece. It feels like your going to break out into poetry. I believe you are close to a balance of information and passion, a powerful combination.

    I am on my way out the door but I want to come back and talk about the repetitiveness of some words.

    I like the structure and it does remind me of Seidel’s readings.

    back soon


  4. Thank you, Derek.

    I missed your comment. Busy busy, is part of it. But also also… too much email, I tend to ignore most of it right now.

    I am working on that balance. Had a lot of visions and thoughts about my book this past weekend.

    Had Fri and Mon off, which is why I was able to do a change to Graf’s look. And check my emails today, too, in LIFO order, of course, whereupon I finally found your comment.

    love, h

  5. And, as I risked and feared, writing about my intent to write pulled the energy out of the impetus to write. So maybe no jade bowl – is love – is jade bowl poem, ever.

    love, h

    p.s. Just visited the Heath Ceramics site again, and OMG, I lust for some of their pieces. !! I’m surprised the reaction is still there. I like to go to their Deep Serving Bowl on their Accessories Line page, go to the Options, and change the colors. I’d like to get about five of the colors, and all three bowls in all of them. That’s a few thousand bucks worth of serving bowls. I’d have to change my entertaining habits to use them properly. I feel very silly being lustful over ceramic tableware, but their stuff has a design integrity that gets me right here. There. In the gut.

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