Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

August 25, 2011
Bonsai at the Potter’s Stall

I’ve always been fascinated by miniatures of all kinds, the little glass animals I played with as a boy, electric trains, dollhouses, and I think it’s because I can feel that I’m in complete control. Everything is right in its place, and I’m the one who put it there. Here’s a poem by Kay Mullen, who lives in Washington, about the art of bonsai.

Bonsai at the Potter’s Stall 

Under fluorescent light,
aligned on a bench


and table top, oranges
the size of marbles dangle


from trees with glossy
leaves. White trumpets


bloom in tiny clay pots.
Under a firethorn’s twisted


limbs, a three inch monk
holds a cup from which


he appears to drink
the interior life. The potter


prizes his bonsai children
who will never grow up,


never leave home.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2006 by Kay Mullen, and reprinted from her most recent book of poetry, A Long Remembering: Return to Vietnam, FootHills Publishing, 2006, by permission of Kay Mullen and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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