DOORS OPEN DAY 18th September 2021 ‘Bells and Bonnets: a short reading of poems in response to some of the museum’s treasures’. By Lydia Harris.

We’re taking part in the free ‘Doors Open Day’ festival happening across Scotland this weekend, with a visit by local poet Lydia Harris to The Orkney Museum.

Lydia will be reading her poetry inspired by artefacts on display in the museum. ‘Bells and Bonnets: a short reading of poems in response to some of the museum’s treasures’ will take place besides the subjects of the poems. There are two sessions – at 11:00 and 14:00. Sessions will be about 45 minutes long, with the chance to chat to Lydia about her poetry and to ask questions. The event is free. Please gather in the courtyard at the Orkney Museum, Tankerness House, a few minutes before the event starts.

The entrance to the courtyard of Orkney Museum, Tankerness House, Broad Street, Kirkwall.

Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment. It offers free access to over a thousand venues across the country each September. The aim of Doors Open Days is to ensure that Scotland’s spaces and stories, new and old, are made accessible to people living and visiting the country. It is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust and is part of European Heritage Days alongside Scottish Archaeology Month, coordinated by Archaeology Scotland. Both are supported by Historic Environment Scotland. To find out more, visit the national Doors Open Day website www.doorsopendays.org.uk And check out the Orkney Doors Open Day facebook page to find out about more local events!

Lydia Harris.

Here is one of Lydia’s poems about the ancient hand bells used by the early church in Orkney, and featured in Saturday’s readings. One of these bells is on display in the Picts Gallery.

Orkney Hand Bells

(from Burrian, Birsay, Noltland and another waiting to be found)

none of them wanted to be wrought

from iron or to swing a lead tongue.

They’d rather be terns flaring

the tide’s way in a halo of bronze,

or rock gongs with frowns gone firm

tuned to the sound of willow-seed-fall,

the breath of white clover,

pitched to a nestlings’ song.

For more of Lydia’s work, inspired by artefacts in the museum, see this earlier blog.

Lydia Harris lives in Westray and has published three poetry pamphlets. Her first full collection is to be published by Pindrop Press in 2022.

To make a donation to any of the museums please follow the link and support us. Thank you.

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