Introduction

In this poem, the poet addresses an earthen goblet and asks it how it felt before it was given its present form. The earthen goblet expresses sorrow at its current form which was crafted by the potter, and feels that its misshapen past as a mass of clay was much better.

About the Poet

Harindranath Chattopadhyaya (1898 – 1990) was an Indian poet and dramatist from the Vijayawada Constituency who wrote in English. He was Sarojini Naidu’s little brother. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973 for his contributions.

Theme

The theme of this poem is an earthen goblet.

Stanza 1 – 2

O silent goblet! Red from head to heel,
How did you feel
When you were being twirled
Upon the potter’s wheel
Before the potter gave you to the world?

‘I felt a conscious impulse in my clay
To break away
From the great potter’s hand that burned so warm,
I felt a vast
Feeling of sorrow to be cast
Into my present form.’

The poet addresses the silent goblet which is red from head to heel, or all over. He asks it how it felt when it was being twirled upon the potter’s wheel, before the potter gave it to the world. The goblet says that it felt a conscious impulse in its clay to break away from the great potter’s hand that burned so warm. It felt a vast feeling of sorrow at being cast into its present form.

Stanza 3 – 4

‘Before that fatal hour
That was me captive on the potter’s wheel
And cast into his crimson goblet-sleep,
I used to feel
The fragrant friendship of a little flower
Whose root was in my bosom buried deep.’

‘The Potter has drawn out the living breath of me
And given me a form which is the death of me,
My past unshapely natural stage was best
With just one flower flaming through my breast.’

Before that fatal hour that had it captive on the potter’s wheel and made into a crimson goblet, it used to feel the fragrant friendship of a little flower whose root was buried deep in its bosom. The earthen goblet says that the potter had drawn the living breath out of it, and given it a form which was its death. It feels that its old unshapely natural stage was best, with just one flower flaming through its breast.