200 million years ago you could have walked from Hungary to Australia on a trail of plates across Pangaea, sprawling humanless and wild: before continental drift fractured the landmass, before the ocean’s shifting surface hid the skeletons of ships and men seeking new places from which to miss the old places. now your trail of painted plates spans the vastest distances: time differences, generations, 15,862 kilometres, and the smallest, the most human: flowers, flowers, flowers that tumble, and bustle silently together in porcelain frames waiting for a knife and fork, a teabag, a smudge of pink lipstick.
In Éva Gyarmati’s collection of painted porcelain, I see the grand narratives of migration and culture intersecting with the small, intimate stories associated with crockery used to feed our families, to celebrate special occasions and to welcome guests into our homes. After migrating from Hungary as political refugees, Gyarmati and her husband raised a family and built a life for themselves in Australia. Her collection draws on both her old and new homes to combine distinctive Hungarian Kalócsai patterns with Australian landscapes, flora and fauna. In my poem, I imagine these intersections: the grand histories of migration meeting the everyday rituals that keep us connected across oceans.
Return to Story Circle: The Transnational Story Hub and the Inspiraciones Literarias, a chapbook curated by Merlinda Bobis.