The Finished Product.

Last week I shared a few pictures of a pottery piece I was working on, a fish bowl, and quite a few of you expressed an interest in seeing the finished product. You can skip to the bottom to see the result but in the meantime the project caused me to wax lyrical. So here’s a poem I composed to go along with it, but first here’s a reminder of the work in progress.


fishbowl7Ode On A Piscene Bowl*

What is beauty, and how is it defined?

And why do we see it everywhere we look, including the sky?

Surely it’s innate, not limited to those whose tastes are refined,

Since, as Shakespeare said, it’s in the beholder’s eye.

Is it really that simple? Take the Mona Lisa and her mysterious smile.

Her appeal has transcended ages

And prompted all sorts of wild speculations.

According to Freud, patron saint of psychiatric sages,

It’s her ample bosom that draws us in. B.F. Skinner, meanwhile,

Says we’re conditioned like rats to respond to her temptations.


Now I’m getting off the subject, but it’s difficult, as you can see.

If you try to take the Mona Lisa you’ll be arrested as soon as you touch it,

So instead just take my advice, which I promise you is free,

But you get what you pay for so don’t blame me if it breaks your budget.

Let’s get back to the issue of beauty now

And whether what it is can be answered simply.

Is beauty truth, truth beauty, and is it eternal or is it transitory?

And do we answer that question differently when we’re old than we do when young and pimply?

It’s an inescapable truth that what we once loved we might later disavow,

But that is another story.

*Apologies to John Keats, Ogden Nash, any other literati, glitterati, the Illuminati, and anyone stumped by this Gordian knotty

And here’s the finished product. It didn’t turn out quite like I’d hoped but that’s the way these things go.


That really is all of it. It seems like there should be more.

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  1. Moonwatcher51

    That’s a shame, but now you have puzzle pieces!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes! Every broken bowl has a silver lining. Also it means I get to start over again. It was a fun project and I don’t mind doing another one.

  2. Gilly Maddison

    Possibly conceptual art at its finest. The finished piece would not look at all out of place in the Tate Modern in London. Art should provoke emotion and I cried when I finished the poem and scrolled down for the big reveal. But hey, it was your fish dish and you were free to finish it in whatever way you wanted. I am on the phone to the Tate Modern as we speak.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Aesthetically I do think it has more appeal than some of the installations of Tracy Enim or Damien Hirst, although the former’s “My Bed” does have broader philosophical and societal implications.
      I feel a bit bad though that my work provoked tears. I was hoping for tears of laughter. Maybe I should have offered up Edward Lear.

  3. Gilly Maddison

    All joking aside, I actually really love the image as a print. May I use it in a blog post and on Facebook? I would like to put it on my arty crafty website. If you want to know how I would use it, email me on

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Absolutely you can use the image. I’m curious to know what you’ll do with it but really I want it to be a surprise.

  4. Mila

    Great dramatic ending.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s not enough drama in life already so I’m doing my best to add more.

  5. mydangblog

    Nooooo–not the fish bowl! Tragedy aside, the poem was terrific!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The fish bowl met an unhappy end. It’s shocking how quickly it broke. That was from just a couple of inches above the floor. Well, at least it inspired an elegy.

  6. Arionis

    Wow, I was all engrossed in the poem and then BAM you hit me with that last picture! What happened? Was that intentional?

    *Loved the apology line. I hate to admit that I am not well learned when it comes to poetry and the authors who wrote them. So when I am watching Jeopardy and there is a poetry category I always yell out “Keats!” to every question. Sometimes I get them right. 🙂

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m afraid it was completely unintentional. It fell and, well, that was the end of it. The piece hadn’t been fired yet so it was still extremely fragile. Whenever anyone in the class makes a coffee mug or something with a handle the instructor is adamant that we’re not to hold it by the handle until it’s been fired twice.
      And Keats is always a good bet. I was an English major in college so it’s kind of a point of pride to get the Jeopardy questions right when I’m watching, but I had a writing instructor who only ever referred to two poets: Keats and Shakespeare. It was like he’d never read anybody else.

  7. Margot

    The cleverness of your poem blew my mind to pieces, much like your fish bowl. I love how you managed to work “But that is another story” into a poem about beauty.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m glad I could blow your mind to pieces since, as Yeats said, nothing can be sole or whole that has not been rent. Anyway my own mind operates on such twisted lines that it’s almost impossible to avoid “another story” in anything. Now, if I’d only managed to stay within Keats’s iambic pentameter that really would have been something.

  8. Pingback: What is Art? – Part Two – Abstract Art Source Revealed – Fun Crafts To Do At Home

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