Sunday, 13 August 2017

Toitu Museum visit


We took a trip to Toitu Otago Settlers Museum to get some inspiration. One of the challenges we put to ourselves was to find an object that we liked and write something about it without letting on what it was. The other challenge was to write something from the perspective of one of the many Scottish settlers in the Smith Gallery.


HOME (from bagpipes, treadle sewing machine and horseshoe)

The heat of the fire 
burns the red mark on the side of her face.
The treadle sewing machine keeps her in place,
trapped in the task of sewing a new apron
to protect her husband out in the smithy's barn.
She thinks of his muscled arms
working the horseshoes,
their embrace reassuring and loving
in this hell-hole of a settlement.
The rhythm of the machine pulls her back,
taking her home
to her beloved Scotland
and the sound of the bagpipes
floating in the air.
Home.

- George 




TOITU PORTRAIT GALLERY

Conceivably I could
live in the same house as you
sleep in the same bed
work in the same building
worship at the same church
and eat the same meals as you.
At a fancy dress party
I could even wear your clothes
I may be your descendant 
but still a chasm divides us
I cannot get inside your skin
Less than 200 years separate us
but our thinking
our way of talking and acting
the mores of society
are so different
it's as if you belonged to a different race
What can I learn from you
and the familiar but alien world in which you lived?
I can learn to take risks
abandoning all in the hope of a better future
I can learn dauntlessness
persevering in the face of insurmountable problems
Can these things be useful
in light of nuclear weapons and environmental disaster?

- Helen



THE WITNESS

Claw feet
Flat deck
A long handle.
In another age
You were pressed into service
But here you are still
A witness to the story
Of settlers
A Sermon From the Dead
An instrument of peace.

- Robert McFelin

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