When searching through some old sketchbooks for reference materials, I rediscovered poems written by Valerie for my one-man exhibition in the Netherbow, Edinburgh. The poems were composed to celebrate the show and were read by Val on the opening night.
SEVEN HAIKU OF THE ELEMENTS
- a sequence for Douglas Robertson
The wanderer’s song:
the sun rises over one ridge
and them another.
is heavy with one stone
from the island.
A stormy morning:
the grey clouds are standing still,
the sun zips about.
On the tower roof
between stone slabs and blue sky
I write, star-brushing.
Windy this morning;
clouds branch out as they travel along,
creaking like trees.
Tides bring seawater in
underground to the pot blow-hole,
hiccup of the earth.
This flint arrowhead
is a cockerel’s footprint
from the dawn of fire.
A collaboration with Shetland based poet Jen Hadfield, winner of this years
T S Eliot prize for her second collection ‘Nigh-No-Place’.
I go to the rockpool at the slack of the tide
to mind me what my poetry’s for.
extract from the poem ‘Daed-traa (see post August 2008)
Above - ‘Pocket Noost’ - 2009
(Found object, sent by JH to DR, containing small satellite sculpture made by JH)
Where did the idea come from?
One of my favourite museums to visit is the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, a fascinating old Victorian curiosity shop full of anthropological objects collected from the four corners of the globe.
On one of my visits there I was researching the communication of messages and instructions through the use of objects and symbols. Various cultures have used this method of working, and I was interested to see examples of how it had been done.
Materials used to create the message bundles included cane card, paper, bone, beads, feathers, chilis,, metal, grass, coins, shells, string and bird skulls.
Over the next few months Jen and myself will be working on a small series of art and poetry exchanges, with work evolving and travelling between Shetland, Hampshire, and to various locations while on my travels collecting and researching around Scotland.
The work will be very organic in its development with the poet and artist receiving and responding to, through visual art or language, the previous ‘posting’. This will also give the two of us the opportunity to cross disciplines, with each producing work in each others chosen art form.
Above - Message Bundle sketchbook pages by Jen Hadfield (top) and Douglas Robertson
Extract from poem reproduced by kind permission of Jen Hadfield and Bloodaxe Books.