Profile photo of De Waal

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The permanence of clay

2012/11/21 in Uncategorized

Photo by De Waal Venter

Written and erased

There is a sea
of time and change
between me
and the man who made signs
looking like an oxhead
with three quick dabs
in the soft clay;
and a sign that looks like a small house,
a man, a bird, a river.

But I have crossed the sea
and sit next to the scribe
with folded legs.
I hand him a blank slab of clay,
he lifts his hand
holding his iron stylus,
then looks at me
with a sly smile peeking from his black beard:
this is you, he says,
and makes a circle – you eat!
Then he strokes away the sign
in the wet clay
and carefully makes the sign of the king.

Only the king will be known, he says.
The signs for you and me
do not stay long in the clay.

 

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