Monday, August 20, 2007

An Extraordinary Talent

Twenty-five years a Benedictine monk at Weston Priory, twenty-two years an artist-in-residence at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery, internationally acclaimed potter, Brother Thomas Bezanson, died on August 16 here in Erie. An article in Erie's Saturday paper gives a beautiful overview of his life and work. If you google "Brother Thomas" you'll find books and photos and information galore. Go to Pucker Gallery (his sponsors in Boston) to see a sampling of his ceramic pottery work. Or better yet, come to Erie and see our 120 piece collection--his extravagant thank you for offering him a home and place to pursue his art for the last two decades.

Brother Thomas, Potter

Your hands
the miraculous modelers
of clay, remain long
and thin and beautiful
while the sum of your essence,
body and soul,
splinters like dry wood,
thirsting for rain.
It is the antithesis of
clay to porcelain.
Secret glazes have
fashioned pots
their value in museums
their sacredness in your heart
keep them the sole
gift of your flaming spirit.

Now cancer captivates your body.
Today you cannot sit at your wheel
and today you cannot lift virgin clay.
You rest in your studio
waiting as malignant cells
take your magnificent dreams
and, pressing them earthbound,
forbid their transformation to miracle from clay.

Ellen Porter, OSB