Back tothe Dept of English & Creative Writing


Graham Mort's Web Gallery

A Halifax Cider Jar, Yorkshire art Circus (illustration)
A poem sequence about the Halifax potter, Isaac Button, this was a hand-made, limited edition, hardback book. The print run was divided between 8 artists who each produced a unique subset of books. The poem was a Duncan Laurie Prize winner in the first Arvon Foundation International poetry competition.


This is the moment that machines
Have toiled to:
Isaac lifts the two stone ball of clay
And smacks it on the wheelhead,
His foot prods forward,
Drive-cones engage
And the wheel turns.

His hands, dipped at the tray
As if by afterthought,
Grip the cold clay and press
With subtle conviction, centring the mass.
As he feels it give to centrifuge,
His hand, beginning the mystery,
Has already shaped a hole
That presently, elbow deep,
Opening out,
Swallows his entire arm.

He knuckles up the belly,
Lifting weight high for balance,
Coaxing walls just thick enough,
Smoothing with an iron rib,
Then bringing in wide shoulders,
Enclosing darkness, his desire
Clay to the neck:

A sudden quickening,
Fingers slipping the moist hole
That harvesters’ dreg-galled lips
Will rest at, until,
Withdrawing delicately,
The wheel slowing,
It is done.

Buy this book

Back to Writers' Gallery        Back to Creative Writing