Crannog Means Shelter

Poem by Tawona Sitholé, Artist in Residence and Alison Phipps, the Arts and Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies both from UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts


failte hekani marhaba welcome 

the invitation of mystics 

failte hekani marhaba welcome 

passwords to pathways laid before us 

ancestors are not done 

we are what they have become 

keeping the fire lit in the firepit  

come in come on come now 

the invocation of mischief 

shall we see what happens 

when we assume fearless poise 

far from the nearest noise 

chance of getting spirited away 

drink depths to quench questions  

immersed in everyday wonder 

of the forest growing alder 

winged singers of mountains 

the tide washes the shoreline  

simple things keep things simple 

on two thumbs we do sums 

life plus style folk times lore 

the tide traces the shoreline  

clay is dimpled play is kindled 

if you thought you were at home 

well you’re not mistaken 

here fingerprints are left or felt 

not taken 

what weavers fashion is felt 

textiles couldn’t be in better hands 

what weavers fashion is felt 

exiles couldn’t be in better hands 

crannog means shama means shelter means more 

indigenous ways these ingenious ways 

technology of carving shadows 

archaeology of unearthing stories 

in this round house raised on water 

then the pain of being razed by fire 

then rebuilt refurbished refurnished 

all by thousand touches 

all in a thousand voices 

all in the presence of nature  

the ancient power of water  

to gather all creatures 

water living and water loving 

on the shoreline 

and there was a spirit woman 

deep down dwellers know 

she was keening 

she was keening 

and in maungira 

we were recalling 

remembering our shimmering