Broken Pot by Sara Wright

When Emmy handed me the pot I held it gently in my palm, marveling over its rounded shape, the warm earth tones, the sparkling mica speckled through the smooth clay.

“It’s broken,” she said simply as I turned the small pot in my hands, laying my cheek again her soft skin. How did she manage to stretch the clay that thin?

“I think it’s beautiful just as it is,” I responded gazing at the lines where the clay had cracked in the fire – almost as if it was meant to be this way.” I peered inside the neck of the bowl to see two pieces of broken lip nestled in the bottom, two sisters asleep in the arms of their mother.

“Once I sold a broken pot,” Emmy murmured with a quiet sense of wonder in her voice.

“I see why,” I responded, replacing the pot on the table with reluctance.   

The entire display was a collage of natural art. Bits of bone, smooth stones, shells, delicately strung hand made necklaces, hills of sand, strips of patterning crisscrossed the table highlighting the exquisite shapes of these small pots. Lush sedum plants provided an emerald backdrop. I was transfixed and couldn’t take my eyes off the table…

Vaguely, as if from a distance, I heard Emmy say to someone “ Oh, I probably came out of the ground somewhere” in response to a question about where she had come from.

Obviously, I thought. Emmy emerged with her pots.

I was so moved that this artist was able to create her own original style without copying Indigenous traditions. After being with, and touching each exquisite shape my eyes and hands would recognize these pots anywhere. The spirit of the clay spoke through each of these containers. Emmy doesn’t sign her work, a tribute to the Mother of Clay?

Mammitu, she is called by some.

That night, tired and deeply satisfied from the El Rito Studio Tour, the image of the broken vessel kept re- surfacing in my mind… There was something about that pot…

The next day I returned to the art show to finish my sight seeing. It was my birthday, and this year like so many others I would be acknowledging the day alone. After visiting a number of other studios, I was drawn back to Emmy’s table.

“Will you sell me this pot?” I asked Emmy as I cradled the little jewel in my hands. She was thoughtful for a minute, and then nodded her head. We agreed on a price, and I left holding the fragile clay creation tenderly in one hand.

Not understanding why but knowing I had made the right choice.

When I returned to the Adobe I placed the little pot in the Northern Nicho with the Owl’s feathers… but the pot was still speaking. ‘Not here.’  

Where then? And suddenly I knew as I walked over to the Nicho in the South that held a clay vase full of  Indigenous Anasazi potshards. I moved the large pot to one side and placed the broken jewel next to the Ancient Ones.   Then as now, in the South, the direction of Fire, soft clay vessels were surrendered to this fierce element to be tempered… if they survived the pots became strong and durable, capable of storing water, grains, and seeds for the future…

I felt waves of amazement wash over me even as tears ran down my face – rivulets in the rain… Even though the little pot had a broken lip, she had survived the ravages of fire and held her broken fragments tenderly deep within her body as both an offering and a prayer.


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.

Categories: Earth-based spirituality, Ecofeminism, General

Tags: , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Even though the little pot had a broken lip, she had survived the ravages of fire and held her broken fragments tenderly deep within her body as both an offering and a prayer.

    Beautiful and of course a metaphor.


  2. What a beautiful birthday gift to and from yourself. <3


    • Yes, it turns out that it was. Sometimes we do things without understanding why, but if we can allow our senses to lead us we reach new insights… a day or so later I found a bird’s nest and placed it under the little pot. Every time I look at the two they fit perfectly.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Have you read the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam? A lot of his poetry is about pottery speaking. Here is an excerpt:
    As under cover of departing Day
    Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away,
    Once more within the Potter’s house alone
    I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay.
    Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small,
    That stood along the floor and by the wall;
    And some loquacious Vessels were; and some
    Listen’d perhaps, but never talk’d at all.
    . . .
    Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot–
    I think a Sufi pipkin-waxing hot–
    “All this of Pot and Potter–Tell me then,
    Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely writing. I believe you and the pot both made the correct choices. Brava!


  5. Your story is just what I need today, Sara. Thank you for sharing it.


  6. I’m so glad…one never knows with personal stories what resonance might be created.


  7. Thanks Sara. The broken pot makes me want to heal it. I recently happened to find some artworks here and there online, created by a fabulous French woman artist named Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), and who specialized in ceramics.

    There are lots of images of her fascinating work on the Net. Her creativity is full of joy, playfulness, humor with amazing color schemes, etc. She was part American and part French, and I think you would love her work. If you have time, Google her name and you’ll find online her many small, sometimes humorous, and also amazingly big and joyful masterpieces.


  8. Beautiful Sara – I suppose we are also like the pot – “Even though the little pot had a broken lip, she had survived the ravages of fire and held her broken fragments tenderly deep within her body as both an offering and a prayer.”- making our wounds part of our true selves.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful little pot. It wasn’t broken at all. It was just as it was meant to be … a small treasure that helped to heal us. Thank you for this lovely gift.

    Liked by 1 person

Please familiarize yourself with our Comment Policy before posting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: