Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Pottery and claypipe

The third week of my winter residency at Scottish Sculpture Workshop and I've drafted all poems I intended to write. Today, I spent some time reflecting on the overall theme and narrative of the poems. I am thinking of The Music That Dances, the working title I have given them, as a series of poems inspired by the idea of a woman visiting her cousin in search of family stories. In a way, it is the story of one family leaving the land in search of a better life in the city whilst relatives stay behind and the growing gap between these two families in terms of the life they live and the way they relate to the land where they have their roots. Longing to fill in what is written between the lines of records of birth and death, the daughter of the family who left for the city visits her cousin and asks him to take her to the house where she was born. Here is one of the poems:

Pottery and Claypipe
Digging up the story
Buried beneath the stones
Unravelling layer by layer
Pottery and claypipes
Used by the men and women
Who played their fiddle at ceilidhs
Turned hay in the fields

The story builds up
As my trowel brushes away
Yet another sheet of soil

Like an archaeologist
Evidence I’m looking for
Evidence of stories passed
On to me by mother, grandmother
Evidence of lives lived
Of stories burning inside
Shared by neighbours around the fire

Pottery by claypipe, the story
Buried beneath the stones
Builds up, layer by layer

Copyright text, poem and image Petra Vergunst

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