Ruth Barker

And The Three Mothers Ask: Don't You Know Me?

2011
Bath House, Segedunum Museum, Wallsend
Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers Three Mothers

Performance: Running Time 15 minutes approx. Garment design and production by Lesley Hepburn.

The text was memorised, and recited as a spoken word performance by the artist.

Photography by Kevin McPhee, with many thanks.

 

 

And The Three Mothers Ask: Don't You Know Me? was performed in the reconstructed Roman Bath House at Segedunum Museum, Wallsend. With very many thanks to Lindsay Allason-Jones, Geoff Woodward, and Tyne and Wear Museums, for arranging access to the space; and to Kevin McPhee, Isabel Lima, and Penny Grennan for documentation and support. The performance features a garment designed and produced by Lesley Hepburn, and is the concluding work produced during the Leverhulme funded CIAS residency at Newcastle University.

 

See also Low Metamorphosis blog.

 


 

And The Three Mothers Ask: Don’t You Know Me?

(repeated 3 times, in different registers, at points around the room.)

 

 

I know you.

I know all of you.

I believe I’ve met you all before – don’t you know me?

 

O, a song of greeting,

Song of almost recognition,

Song of comfort and combustion and

Some half remembered things

That I can give to you,

These things I gift to you – don’t you know me?

 

 

O You were forwarned in a dream

O, the dream you had

In the Holiday Inn

The time you overslept.

I was there.

Don’t you know me?

 

O You were forwarned in a dream

O, the dream you had

The night your son left home

It was October

I was there.

Don’t you know me?

 

O You were forwarned in a dream

O, the dream you had

When your eyes closed on the Metro.

It was only for a moment

I was there.

Don’t you know me?

 

O You were forwarned in a dream

O, the dream you had

In the hospital

When the lights stayed on all night.

I was there.

Don’t you know me?

 

 

O don’t you know me?

No No No No No,

You don’t know me

Do you?

 

 

I’m running water

I’m falling water

I’m touching water

I’m touching ripe fruit

I’m touching cut grass

I’m touching new corn

I’m touching baked bread

I’m touching nursing

I’m touching low like a fish

I’m touching soft like a belly

Touching round like sanctuary

Touching upright, on a wicker chair

I’m holding something in my hand. Right now.

 

I am your mother. I am braided and strong.

I am your mother’s mother. I am braided and strong.

I am the always, ever mother. I am braided and strong.

I am the mother of your children. I am braided and strong.

I am only a song, and I am braided. I am braided, and I am strong

 

So cut the crusts off your Hovis today.

Put your feet into the water today.

Pour the milk onto your cereal today.

Eat your little pre-rolled sushi today.

And lie down in your bath

With your Radox

Reading your new magazine

It is good, and the pages are glossy...

 

So now you know.

You were forwarned.

 

I think you owe me.

Don’t you think you know me, now?