Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Gun and a Leather Sole

"Digging Down II - A Curiously Collaborative Museum of Lost, Found and Broken"
with Lindsey Colbourne and Marged Pendrell.

This was an exploration of a new type of museum where the traditional model of collection and display was abandoned and replaced with a more interactive  method of exhibiting objects that had been found. In this way, "participatory collections’ of objects were created, allowing for exchange and handling, and an invitation to respond to the objects creatively.

So what gives an object special significance? Where and why do I keep certain objects? When and how, if ever, do I return or give away objects I have collected?

This poem by Rebecca Lindenberg explores some of these questions.

 In the Museum of Lost Objects

"What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee;
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage."  
          Ezra Pound

You’ll find labels describing what is gone:
an empress’s bones, a stolen painting

of a man in a feathered helmet
holding a flag-draped spear.

A vellum gospel, hidden somewhere long ago
forgotten, would have sat on that pedestal;

this glass cabinet could have kept the first
salts carried back from the Levant.

To help us comprehend the magnitude
of absence, huge rooms

lie empty of their wonders—the Colossus,
Babylon’s Hanging Gardens and

in this gallery, empty shelves enough to hold
all the scrolls of Alexandria.

My love, I’ve petitioned the curator
who has acquired an empty chest

representing all the poems you will
now never write. It will be kept with others

in the poet’s gallery. Next door,
a vacant room echoes with the spill

of jewels buried by a pirate who died
before disclosing their whereabouts.

I hope you don’t mind, but I have kept
a few of your pieces

for my private collection. I think
you know the ones I mean.

From the lost, found and broken objects I chose a small rusted gun and a partial shoe sole to write about.

Lost and Found

Rough notes at the museum

Gun and a Leather Sole

At odds yet strangely suited, one heavy, one weightless in my hand. A real gun rusted beyond use, taking me back to the toy pistols with snapping, smoking caps. To cowboy hats, plastic swords and forts. To holding my parents' hands down miles of urban streets, looking at toys in shops. Who chose what and when? Their leather soles outworn. My father cobbling on an iron last. Leather pared and dropped like fingernails. Mending my mother's shoes. (So much he could not mend for us. All that is broken now, regardless). Our triad unlaced.  Yet we are threaded each through each with rust and dirt and un-forgetfulness.

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