Thursday, 26 January 2012

Poetry recording at the Geffrye Museum

Stephanie Turner and I from the Keats House Poets were commissioned to write and record poems for the "At home with the world" exhibition at the Geffrye Museum, which is part of the "Stories of the World" cultural Olympiad exhibition. The exhibition looks at how in the 18th century homes in London were influenced by the expanding empire, and how living habits and furnishings along with political ideas changed.

Our recorded poems are going to form part of the exhibition that will run from Tuesday 20 March - Sunday 9 September 2012. Here is one I wrote about the new habit of tea drinking that swept the country and changed the way we organise our homes and days:

The ladies will take tea

Teetering the rims of polite musings,
softening the bitterness by shifting
Demerara gold into the brewed potion
from places further than holidays
and hidden from myths and novels.

They have been adjusting the day
around an import, delighted that three till five
would be served in porcelain rituals
that pour out chattering, all the faster
and more dangerous because of the caffeine.

They can skim between jittered sets
of mismatched saucers, compare the cake
of several homes, and how the maids manage
the Pekoe, Assam and Darjeeling ,
and keep the water near boiling
for the newly opened time zone
where the ladies will take tea.