Adam Lindsay Gordon

I won’t bore you by repeating the tales I tell in my book of Adam Lindsay Gordon. Australians know them, and my readers have already met this famous Australian. However, I will share a bit more of the tragic poet’s work.

When we rescue an injured motorcyclist at one point, I quote a famous verse from the poem,”Ye Wearie Wayfarer.” That same poem contains an “allegorical interlude” that I have always quite liked, and which I have always viewed as a good response to those who think I should travel fewer places and do safer things. It is the section of the poem titled “Potter’s Clay.” (And for those unfamiliar with the allusion, it refers to the comment in the the book of Isaiah that we are the clay and God is the potter who forms us.)

Potter’s Clay
Though the pitcher that goes to the sparkling rill
Too oft gets broken at last,
There are scores of others its place to fill
When its earth to the earth is cast ;
Keep that pitcher at home, let it never roam,
But lie like a useless clod,
Yet sooner or later the hour will come
When its chips are thrown to the sod.

Is it wise, then, say, in the waning day,
When the vessel is crack’d and old,
To cherish the battered potter’s clay,
As though it were virgin gold ?
Take care of yourself, dull, boorish elf,
Though prudent and safe you seem,
Your pitcher will break on the musty shelf,
And mine by the dazzling stream.

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Filed under Australia, History, Literature, Poetry

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