The Clay Puppet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Clay. It can be so soft. Warm in your hands as you knead it. Press it. An impression visible. A fingerprint. Lines curved…one after the other…a layer…creating a pattern. Shape it into whatever you want it to be. Flatten it out because it wasn’t what you wanted, or not good enough. Reshaped and moulded over and over again until you get exactly what you want. Exactly what you imagined.

Have you ever heard the story of the clay puppet? She was formed from a chunky piece of clay. Not the really hard stuff but the soft malleable clay. Like the clay I found on the banks of a dam when I went swimming as a kid. My feet squished into the red warmth and it oozed between my toes. When I picked it up, I allowed my fingers move with no thought. It was an addictive feeling. The sensations so soothing. So smooth. I decided to fashion a bowl and fruit. Over a few days the clay bowl hardened. The sun dried out the moisture. It was no longer soft and malleable. It was set.

The clay puppet was born from a clump; a reddish-brown piece of soft clay. The sculptors wanted her to be perfect. First her body was formed, ever so daintily, with a little dress. Then her limbs: arms, legs, fingers, toes. Tiny toes. Her head was the most challenging part as it had to be flawless. Little eyes, a button nose, full lips, round face. Clay was shaped into strings of wavy hair and attached to her head. Ears to listen and a line for a mouth. Closed. But she was not finished yet. She needed to think and feel. So a little heart was placed on top of her body. Odd you may think, to place the heart on top of the body. But how was one to control her heart if it was invisible, hidden on the inside? Her head was fashioned with lines and impressions, over and over again. Finally, strings were attached to help her move, to help her function in the world. The creators were very proud of their work and excited to have this clay puppet as their own. She belonged to no one else.

The clay puppet was ever so grateful that she was brought to life. That she could see, observe, feel, love and be loved. She didn’t mind being told how to think, or behave, or respond. She didn’t mind that she was told what she could do or not do. What she could like or not like. Who she should love and not love. She was just ever so grateful that she was alive and loved and cared for. She was surviving. What more could she want? What more should she want?

Then one day, she broke free……



About Anne Lane

A long time ago I dreamed about being a writer. I was seven. I wrote my first short story about a loved family horse which died. I began writing poetry for family members, including one for my grandfather who passed away suddenly when I was eight. I read it at his funeral. Since those many moons ago, I continued to write for myself; songs, journals, poems, essays. My writing was filled with thoughts and musings constantly shifting from dark and angry to whimsical and romantic, to wonderings about the world: life, death, love, spirituality, pain, family. My blog doesn't have a specific is a work in progress. I suppose my aim is to have a play with writing, get my thoughts, ideas and feeling out there and explore the world, people and thoughts. I hope I make you feel, think, laugh, cry and spur you on to peel your onion.
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2 Responses to The Clay Puppet

  1. Kay Landgren says:

    This piece is so full of imagery. It’s beautiful. I would love for my literacy groups to read it. We are looking at ways of improving our writing. There is so much in The Clay Puppet we have talked about, that the students can observe for themselves. They would be so responsive knowing you wrote it. Only respond, if you prefer I didn’t.


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