Stay Home Fill the Museum with your Voice

Fill the Museum with your Voice

To celebrate the International Museum Day, the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation and the cultural organization IDEOGRAMMA are calling on the public to write their own poem or prose for one of the objects at the Foundation’s museum as part of the project “Fill the Museum with your Voice”.

The action will be launched on International Museum Day, May 18, and will run until the end of the month.

Organisers are inviting the public to take a tour of the museums and temporary exhibitions (only digitally at the moment), write a poem or prose about one of the objects and send it by May 28 via email to [email protected],  or through a message on the Foundation’s Facebook account.

The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation keeps five Cyprological collections and curates two museums under the same roof: the Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage and the Archaeological Museum of George and Nefeli Giabra Pierides (donated by Clio and Solon Triantafyllides).

“Pick an object, a period of time, a map or anything else that might inspire you and write down a poem (40 verses max) or a prose text up to 400 words,” the Foundation explained in an announcement.

Read below two of the poems that have already been sent:

Terracotta of base-ring ware of a nude female figure, Undated (BOCCF 48)

Hand On My Heart

Hand on my heart, I am your bird girl,

made of this soil, speaking with a tongue you can’t understand,

writing you poems you cannot read.

You have bathed me in blood whilst calling yourself my lover

mad Tammuz, a crass, handsome Samson,

called me Inanna then, that night, passed yourself off as a shepherd

whispered Ishtar, shh shh ay ay shh ehhhh,

a hot heavy man heaving your body like a weapon against me.

You have called me your goddess, your mother, your whore.

You used to call me all the time, called me Astarte, Afraditi, Nemesis of Kypria.

Stolen sweetness in my moonlit bed, a bird of love in my breast,

and then in the morning, with a stranger’s gaze

you put on your armour and betrayed me,

demolished my holy places, then buried me.

ὀτοτοτοτοι̑ ὀτοτοτοτοι̑ Cassandra called to me, across the sea,

when they enslaved her and took her to Mycenae.

You build luxury skyscrapers over  my temple at Amathus,

holiday villas over my Kition, military encampments on my Salamis,

motorways scarring my Tamassus.

You don’t even know my name, your own history,

though the ziziros do, mad Tammuz, my lover, my killer.

My arm is broken, my beak is chipped,

but we are many us-barbarian goddess, war booty, deposed queens,

scattered across the world in air conditioned museums.

Hand on my heart, I am your bird girl made of this soil,

speaking with a tongue you can’t understand,

writing you poems you cannot read.

ὀτοτοτοτοι̑ ὀτοτοτοτοι̑

You don’t even remember my name, your own history,

though the ziziros do, mad Tammuz, my lover, my killer.




The right hand of a life-size limestone statue, holding a mesomphalos phiale, Undated (BOCCF 290)

Hand with Phiale

Things I’ve lost; the softness

in the corners of my mouth,

my brow’s crease.

Divorced from my tongue,

I’ve become pure gesture,

every border fractured.


You decide my aspect –

phiale tilted towards, or away,

it hardly matters –

my libation’s frozen beyond

the work of spirit-levels.

There is nothing left to bless.


Imagine me, dumb

among the wreckage,

clasping my useless bowl.

Imagine me, fish-pale,

sunk in waves.


But maybe sunlight

through water

could draw a whisper from me –

some long-muted intent.

Maybe, to the deaf,

my severed hand sings.


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