Test tubes are remarkable objects, simple in design, robust enough to withstand acids and high temperatures and used every day all over the world. They are basic items of scientific equipment and yet they are also things of beauty. Over the centuries they have facilitated experiments leading to life-changing discoveries and as well as having a practical use, a certain alchemy takes place within them.
When I inherited a box of old test tubes I wanted to do something different with them. I felt torn between the scientist and the poet in me and then realised that there were similarities between the creation that can take place in a test tube and the creative process of producing a poem and I wanted the test tubes to somehow contain that alchemy of the poem. So I wrote a series of short poems about natural objects that also have a certain magic about them, how a feather facilitates flight for example or how wood shaving produced in the working of wood, once made a tree. Each test tube contains the scroll of a poem and an example of the object it relates to; a feather, a shell or a wood shaving. I also wrote an introductory poem In Which a Poet Considers Her Similarities to a Test Tube which is a playful introduction to the concept of this project. You can view the poem on my poems page.