ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the April 18, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Rix_scaedu. It also fills the "bedtime rituals" square in my 4-3-17 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman. It belongs to the series Clay of Life.


"The Work of Your Hands"


Menachem felt bad
about Yossele's feet,
or rather, his lack of feet.

To be sure, Yossele had
as fine a pair of iron feet as
the blacksmith could make,
strapped onto the ends of
his legs, but that was not
the same as feet of living clay.

Though Menachem was
a blacksmith and not a potter --
and certainly not a rabbi or a scholar! --
still he began to study the lore about
golems and their construction.

He learned about the three types of clay
and their features before and after firing.

He learned that any kind of clay
could be enchanted, although
its nature affected the ease and
durability of the casting; but
that ordinary earth could not
be brought to life the same way.

He learned that the clay
was not the means of magic
but only a medium for it.

What mattered was not
the work of his hands.

What mattered was
the wisdom of the man
who was making the magic
and his skill in channeling
the divine energy into a vessel.

"I do not think I can make you feet,"
Menachem said to Yossele.

The golem shrugged and pointed
to the fine iron feet that he wore.

"I know, but it's not the same,"
Menachem said sadly. "I wish
that I could make you real feet."

Yossele just hugged him
and climbed into the wagon,
for it was nearly Shabbat
and time for him to rest.

Menachem was as gentle
as ever in reaching between
his lips to remove the shem
so that Yossele could sleep.

"O L-rd, you are our Father; and
we are clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hands,"
Menachem said, looking at the sky.
"Would that I had such power, not for
my own sake, but to help my friend."

Then he began his own preparations
for the evening, but silently he resolved
that after the Shabbat had passed,

he would go and study some more.

* * *

Notes:

"But as for you, O LORD, you are our Father; and we are clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hands."
-- The Bible, International Standard Version, Isaiah 64:8

The creation of man from clay appears throughout much of world mythology. The golem was created from clay, much like Adam and Eve. Science likewise suggests that life may have emerged from clay.

Read about the basic types of clay (porcelain/white, stoneware/gray, and earthenware/red) and how they behave.

Jewish magic and the attitudes about it relate to various interpretations of the golem myth. The power of language is a primary aspect of Kabbalah.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-19 03:32 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
I wonder if iron could be enchanted as easily as clay..after all, iron ore is often clay-like itself, and the process of smelting is somewhat like firing a pot.

But iron feet, I think, would be more durable than pottery ones.

Oh, and thanks for the info on clays.. I know if I dig down here a few feet, it's bed of a yellowish white clay [that's just awful for gardening] .. now I know that it'll fire to a hard earthern-ware body.

I can use that in my forge, either as cheap refractory lineing, or to make stuff.
Edited Date: 2017-12-19 03:39 am (UTC)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-19 05:54 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*nods* one can also make a forge out of a large galvanized steel bucket, a bit of pipe flue, some pop rivets, and a leaf blower. Helped do that once...

OOOH.

The problem with using a regular fire to fire clay is heat. A wood fire, well insulated, will get you to nearly 2000F. This will make a semi-decent grade of unglazed pottery. But if you're going to glaze that bad boy, you need Cone 6, nearly 2300F... that implies forced air. Betcha you could do that DIY with the flue and blower as part of the rig... you'd also have enough oomph there to do downdraft venting, which will help with the inevitable differences in temperature in the top and bottom of the kiln. Uneven heat means stress, which is bad.

Hmmmmmmmm.

Part of me is thinking *hybrid* feet. Yes, golems are very tough.... but so's a steel-toed boot. Hmmmmm....
Mine are doubly hybrid... the toe is actually a light alloy, not steel, and the rest is leather, with a rubber sole. But then, Menachem may have ideas of his own...

(If you ever have the dosh to invest and want boots that will *last*, get Danners. Holy cow these things are tough.)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-19 07:22 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Clay golem feet in specially made iron boots, perhaps.

Yes! I'm thinking an open toe *on the bottom*, so his clay toes can get extra traction.

One's design changes when one's feet aren't so vulnerable ...

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-19 05:59 am (UTC)
antisocialite_forum: A group of small round pumpkins in a very green pumpkin patch (Default)
From: [personal profile] antisocialite_forum
There is a man in the ceramics class who said he took a greenware pot home and fired it in his grill. The end result was beautiful.

- Ryō

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-19 06:09 am (UTC)
antisocialite_forum: A group of small round pumpkins in a very green pumpkin patch (Default)
From: [personal profile] antisocialite_forum
This is the same guy who figured out how to transfer printed images to clay in his free time. He's ingenious. :D

So far I only have experience putting things into kilns, not with the firing itself. But, the already twice-postphoned Raku firing is supposed to be early tomorrow. Wind willing, there will be flames. :)

- Ryō

I'm not sure if this was intentional but....

Date: 2017-12-20 12:12 am (UTC)
readera: A tree on a animated background of snow falling (Default)
From: [personal profile] readera
Thanks for the Hanukkah poem!

Re: I'm not sure if this was intentional but....

Date: 2017-12-20 02:19 am (UTC)
readera: A tree on a animated background of snow falling (Default)
From: [personal profile] readera
Ah, that makes sense. Thanks to the sponsor then. :)

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