“The Porcelain Vase”

A vase
Of pure white porcelain
Stands tall
And proud
On the fireplace mantle.

Jagged edges
Set off
Skin so thin
It might shatter
Under pressure
From firm fingertips.

The chiseled face
Of a Native American
Emerges from
Yet remains one with
The body of the vessel.
Feathers in her hair
Highlight her heritage
While flowing locks
Set off her beauty
And a toothed necklace
Gently outlines
The subtle suggestion
Of her femininity.

A piece of sculpture
A utilitarian holder
Of flowers
The vase
Stands alone
In solemn solitude.
The stark simplicity
Of this iconic object
Is beauty in itself
And needs no embellishment.

(Written for dVersePoets, Meeting the Bar: Negative Capability, March 21, 2013.)

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9 Responses to “The Porcelain Vase”

  1. brian miller says:

    interesting use of the indian on the vase…intentional or otherwise considering their own history….much like the vase…having to stand alone…and pushed to the sides by man and time…i like how you bring out the fragility of it as well..

  2. J Cosmo Newbery says:

    Beauty in the simplicity.
    Beauty in the simplicity of your poem too.

  3. Having spent a lot of time in the southwest and around Indian pottery, I can imagine this vase and it’s beautiful. (“Jagged” not “Gagged”, though, I think!)


  4. claudia says:

    oh wow sounds like awesome artwork…..def. able to stand alone..love how you capture both, the strength and fragility in this

  5. I confess I had to read Keat’s definition of Negative Capability to understand why you paired the image of the Native American on the porcelain vase and then, of course, it made sense. My rational side was not justifying it, but metaphorically, it fits.

  6. vbholmes says:

    Many thanks, Lynne–I’m not sure I completely understand Negative Capability either but am a firm believer in individual interpretation of abstractions (a cop-out, I know!).

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