The Little Museum of Ludlow: wheelbarrow & wood bust

For a fortnight The Little Museum of Ludlow (part of Ludlow Fringe) has welcomed in a strange and marvellous collection of objects, lent to us by the public, and scavenged from around the town by artists from London-based Paradox of Order and more locally, from Hereford College of Art, plus poets Martin Evans and myself.
Little Mus Lud wood headHere’s my poem about the hardwood bust, lent by a Ludlow resident.

Head & shoulders, in hardwood 

so much heavier than you think & smooth
as the hand you long to hold
(It’s what she held when she was tiring)

age & gender don’t seem to matter much,
though this must be about a kind of youth or essence
of who we are at heart

head slightly turned to the left and tilted, just
a hint of question; the lips stay softly closed.
(It’s what I hold in my hands to remember her hands)

ears only an indication, eyes are blanks
or eyelids: this is all about
the power of touch on our mortality

& only the one small blemish
underneath to say
it’s human

Little Mus Lud Wheelbarrow 3And a poem I wrote for a scavenged, hard-worked wheelbarrow.

Found:
a barrow that’s gone to ground, front tyre worn
to cloth, almost, & weaves
when pushed & shrieks & cries,
draws Broad Street to the Buttercross
in its labour

this hard-used metal pocked with rust
& caked cement & folded, what is more,
this barrow is upcycled,
someone has kept
the frame & fashioned it a fresh bed
from sheet metal, cut straight
as cloth but bent to shape,
wrapped round perhaps the worn original
to get it right, then pinned
spot-welded on the metal band
that holds it still

wheelbarrow carries its haul of ivy
dried to a frill of veinous brown,
its fading elderflower confetti,
some pigeon’s lost white feather
& a long-dead stick, light as a shell
& faint
with crumples of grey lichen

& from someone’s house, bright chips
of royal blue paint

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