Friday, 21 June 2013

In the textile gallery

This poem was written in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) where there is a display on Dr Schunk and other eminent Victorian dye chemists. Good stuff. The poem was first published in Iota.

Before you read it, or after - go and sign the petition to save the museum here

In the textile gallery

Some of the substances contained in lichen
make bright dye; brush past a lily’s stamen
and your shirt is streaked with red and orange
showing against nap or strong pattern.

In Schunk’s laboratory, flowers grew on desks,
grasses twisted in the many-drawered chests
and, one corner set aside, the place for cotton.
Each strand dropped in a vial specked with forgotten
leaves, stalks, shellfish, reeds and rock
that he hauled back into a finely written log.

Colours the clothmen fought to use in their design
resplendent in granny’s cover for chaise longue
and pelmet. Fabrics that still give me a pang
stretched in ranks of glass case and machine.

  © Bridget Khursheed

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