It’s been great having the involvement and insight of an artist from another discipline working with us on ‘Where the line Breaks’, our Spring show at Tremenheere. Award winning poet Katrina Naomi suggested the title for the show and curated it alongside the NSA’s Catherine Harvey Jefferson and Carlos Zapata. On Sunday afternoon, Katrina read the poem commissioned by the NSA in response to the show. After her talk about the process of writing it and some questions and discussion, the audience asked her to read the poem a second time, to great applause. The poem is called The Golden Mbira, Or How to Really Look.’  It’s beautiful and thought provoking and the event was a lovely ending to Katrina’s collaboration with us. A video of Katrina’s reading will go on the NSA website in due course, but copies of it are available to read at the gallery. It’s a great show and it closes this Sunday 21st April. Don’t miss it


The Golden Mbira, Or How to Really Look

This place is changed

irrevocably, having taken on colour, brag & quirk

from a quicken of kerbs to a flurry of fields

something dirty made to shine


A gappy marriage of earth & air


We keep to boundaries

so much of our lives but I met a Celtic poet

who used 12 years to write

his Gaellic-Gallic-English mash-up of Sweeney.


Here, on a white wall, that same dedication, dare I say

obsession – as in words, as in art –

in the searching, the searching, in the whirring

of wire into gold, noting dates, lanes, time

This artist has been searching for two years

so far, offering a reminder to really look


Poets talk of looking aslant –

I consider how the artist Julia sees a dead cartridge

next to a bird

A musicality of form

even if birds no longer sing

let us believe

a woodpecker once made love to a buzzard


Poets might do well to write in art’s texture

that ability to recognise an individual

feather – to know the shaft of a hen pheasant

I long for specificity

as I long fervently for warplanes to stop

Such a failure in our inabilities


The gold keys bristle in empathy

try to take to the skies on a promise, a message, a promise

Their musicality cannot yet be played

though thumbs thrust to the mbira


We’re at the edge

each feather a lost shoe

in our wandering

Let us return to the oaky nest

where all birds are lovers

where an oak pretends to die


Others are not so fortunate


I’ve heard swallowing oak leaves

can extend a life –

a certain bitterness, guaranteed


What is it we might look for

in our long or short lives?

I stumble over dull metaphors

It’s good to see the humble

gleam from streets & hedges

in our rural/urban construct

How we wish for one but live in the other


I would like to be still

yet keep searching


Some things – such as love & compassion –

are hard to locate

Harder still, it seems, is peace



Katrina Naomi




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