Minerva Speaks

MARCH 2017

Minerva Speaks. Literary works by local writers.
Produced by Lynden Nicholls & Marg Dobson
Ballaraat Mechanic’s Insitute/Titanic Bandstand
Fridays in March 2017
Directed by Lynden Nicholls
Performed and spoken by Marg Dobson

A statue of Minerva, the Roman Goddess of literature, sits atop Ballarat’s Mechanics Institute in Sturt St. She will broadcast stories and poems by local writers to those gathered in the Titanic Bandstand opposite and in the street below. Minerva herself will come to life and welcome us on three consecutive Fridays in March at dusk.

The Mistress of The House

A yellow brick house called Remuera
Full of wonders
Silver bells and tiny shells
For playing bridge
We use as money for a shop
Stop and hide the thimble now
Go and look with nimble fingers
Turning over precious things
And sneaking through the Den
Getting warmer
Warmer still
Our hearts fill up with love
For our Nanna
Calm and safe and a little bit stern
But a twinkle in her eye
Tiddly-winkle
And so many wrinkles
I take her hand
And pinch her skin to see how quickly
It falls back into place
She commands her space
From a brown chair
She is always there it seems
At Clairmont Ave
Baking rock cakes
And making cumquat jam
Squatting in the garden
And popping up to Bentleigh shops
Gently guiding us and showing us
The best way to be kind
The be funny, to be bold
To be thankful and to be old and wise
In this guise it’s harder to see
That in her youth she was a beauty
But more than that
She was courageous
Her stories tell of places far away and foreign
Of black boys and lost boys
And little graves on islands out to sea
Of colourful hats made beacons
And of four sisters dark and bright
We cast our minds back to a beach
Where Nanna dives into the surf
And smiles ruddy-checked and sticky with salt
We can taste that curried egg
And soup and bread
And at the back of our throats now
A lump is forming
All the ferns and camellia are still
Adorning her front door
But the mistress of the house is there no more.

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