Scott Reid Serkes

Knowledge of the Elements

He measures cups into an iron bucket,
props the kiln door open,
heats the sand two thousand degrees.
When silica is molten, the master
scoops a sticky globe and presses it
on the end of a hollow tube.
He stands nearby, allowing his students
to blow and roll the fireball against a form,
shaping glass with curves of life--
a goblet, an urn, perhaps a vase.

As they blow, the shapes harden and cool.
When they are almost finished,
he snips the globe from the tube,
carving his initials on the bottom.
The little kiln teaches them
sand is an old idea hardening
into light.

Copyright 1996, Scott Reid Serkes

Scott Reid Serkes teaches the Albany Poetry Workshop (
and has taught other workshops in Marin County and East Bay, CA, and at Sonoma State
University. His poems have appeared in The Berkeley Poetry Review, Tomcat, and
Blue Unicorn.