Day 21: China

I went to see the Chinese exhibition at the Manchester Museum today, it runs till 26th June. It was fascinating being drawn back thousands of years into the way they saw life then. I think the most liked artefacts have to be the ‘thousand year old jam tarts’ (

I’ve taken a few lines from the walls in Anna’s found poem style, but mostly written it myself, researching different parts of it via internet, took a Li Bai quote from here:

Three thousand years ago it sparkled like gold

now dulled to a blue-green, time spent

in a tomb. Buried deep.


These things have been resurrected,

Food that dried perfectly on a graveside

Two flower shaped tartlets, pastries

Feeding their dead from this world


I gaze at models of food,

a feast for the soul in the afterlife

pomegranates, meat still alive

crawling towards the edge of the bowl

porcelain dumplings and a spoon


The Egyptians believed if you had the right spell

Recipes would spring from the walls

Into meals fully formed

This fruit is still carven in stone

I must be lacking the words


A poet whose spent many millennium

Staring sadly into an empty wine jar

Embraces his function as a bowl, his decorative

Jowls drooping. Li Bai, still seeing the green hills and a Qin river girl

‘in the loam she weaves a brocade’

every moment he spent on the page

lived again.


The discarded jewellery of their lives

Breathes behind glass, its dust fragrant

Preserved like a perfume that deepens with age

A mirror’s back blacks me out,

Engraved with the hare who they saw

Dancing on the moon’s shallow surface


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in NAPOWRIMO Becca, Poetry Scrawls

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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