Sea glass after ‘Randomised Array’ by Toby Paterson

St Andrews is into full StAnza swing this week with events all across the town in various venues.  Especially for MUSA we are excited to bring you the work of four poets who have been commissioned to write a poetic response to objects from our collections at MUSA this week. They are Helen Lawrenson, Richie McCaffery, Ruth Aylett, Rob A. MacKenzie.  Today’s work is by Richie McCaffery.


Toby Paterson dbiHC2011.17(1)
Randomised Array
By Toby Paterson, linocut print, 2010
Reproduced courtesy of the artist












You’ve always collected sea glass,

something that can never be completed,

breakages that can’t be repaired. In

the palm like fields seen from a plane.

Trying to fix smashed glass is folly.

You need a clean break, letting

the pieces be worn smooth by sand

means you can’t go back again.

We’ve lived in as many counties

and countries as the colours of shards

washed up on this beach, just long

enough to rub off the rough edges

so that we can’t return to what we

were. But sea glass in time becomes

its own thing, takes on an identity

beyond the empty bottles it once was.


You can see more of these responsive poems in the Lines on a Map exhibit at The Byre and find out more about the StAnza Festival by following the link below:


#StAnza  #PoetryinMuseums

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