Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
7 November 2013updated 02 Feb 2015 4:01pm

“At a porcelain collection”: a new poem by Richard Meier

By richard meier

Among the flasks and vases –
Song to Ming dynasties –
the stillest of still things:
five “plain domestic bowls
from circa 1300”.

Who knows why they’re here.
For contrast simply – drab
against the blue, the dragons?
Or maybe this was kindness,
saving them from work.

All we know is this:
this is no life for them.
How could it be without
the one life-giving thing –
the possibility of breaking?

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
Transport is the core of levelling up
The forgotten crisis: How businesses can boost biodiversity
Small businesses can be the backbone of our national recovery