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Monday, September 19, 2011


on the counter in my kitchen
sits a salt cellar
with a large open mouth
yawning out its side
crafted perfectly
to keep the salt from caking
in damp climates

it was thrown by a potter
now gone from this world
an englishman
who’d retired to the french countryside
in the dordogne
with his partner
who kept the house
and cooked their meals

their house was a simple place
but with special touches of artistry
in unexpected places
in harmony with
the provincial feel of the carpentry
which the house had been built

the rear of the house
overlooked a green river valley
and had a large wooden porch
under branchwood cover
where ewart turned his wheel
shaped his clay
and glazed his work

down the grassy path
not fifty steps
from the house
past a bicycle
a rusted green wheelbarrow
and a pen full of geese
perched on a small promontory
sat an old shack
whose wood had worn grey

a step inside the one darkened room
the flick of a switch
and the gallery came to life
from the spotlighted ceiling
a treasure-filled art house
with collections and samples of stoneware
in subdued greys, blues and stark white
scattered out on fine tables and sideboards
of walnut and cherry

on the walls above them
hung colorful landscapes
of french vistas painted
by ewart’s lover
who was a mystery to me
for he kept himself busy
and popped his head out only
to say hello
and goodbye

of all the fine art
held captive in that room
the piece that spoke to me
was the muted grey salt cellar
speckled with blue and darker grey
for it was the time
when i was in culinary school
in saussignac

the last time i saw him
we sat on that perfect porch
ate perfect cherries
and sipped perfect armagnac
from rejected clay cups without handles
and talked of anything that came to our minds

we watched as a thunderstorm came
lofting across the valley
and enveloped us
no one spoke a word
until the rain stopped
ewart said it was a fine wet rain
and poured us more drink

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