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Nigel Morgan May 2014
She opened the door of the gallery and there it was, there it lay, before her, nearly perfect: her exhibition. The opening was an hour or so away and there were, naturally, a few adjustments to make, but in essence it was right, and as she walked to the middle of the rectangular space (to survey the full effect ) she felt held by the quiet wonder of it all; that she had made all this and with ‘the quality control of nature’s accidents’. He’d written those words some years previous when a solo show was but a dream she would enter between sleep and wakefulness, when she would think of the west coast of Scotland and the poetry of its seashore, the infinite variety in the seashore strand between sand and sea. It was such natural accidents of form and transformation by nature’s hand that had guided her imagination into rightness and towards this exhibition.

At breakfast that morning she had come to the table dressed to greet her audience, and for the first time as a featured artist in a festival of some repute. She had felt the quiet joy of choosing the right combination of clothes to be the public person she had now become. He had loved the new dress she had bought to clothe her gallery persona. She had been conscious of his eyes following the lines this frock so generously drew around her body’s shape and form, the way the material fell across her *******, lay smoothly on her thighs.  It was a very grownup frock and with the jacket and scarf made her look purposeful, confident. His looking made such confidence possible, his admiration and what she could tell was that coming together of love and passion that, her being dressed in this formal way, so often evoked.

In the gallery she had worried over the lighting, climbed up the metal ladder with the fluffy green glove thoughtfully provided to enable those small adjustments of direction to be made on a hot spotlight. There were four large pieces flanking a corner that had embossed lines running across their surfaces, lines that needed oblique light to reveal the shadowing of this effect of swirls and marks of a retreating tide on sand.  Two smaller pieces needed rearranging; she’d placed them, late the evening before, in the wrong sequence. Poster boards were to be filled with her poster and put outside on the pavement by the gallery entrance. She opened the main door, a very green door with its top and bottom bolts and black-painted handle ring. The street outside was a welcoming mix of 18th and 19th C buildings, hardly one the same, the sort of three storey buildings that had simple plaques prominently placed into the brickwork from a distant past when proud builders would describe a structure’s use or ownership with a title and date. By ten o'clock this one-way street was lined with parked cars, but now there was little traffic. It was a quiet sunny morning in a market town.

‘Don’t mind the dog, ‘ he said. ‘He’s used to coming in here.’ It was a long-haired verging on the side of scruffy sort of dog, used to keeping its own counsel, probably used to being taken to exhibitions. ‘Just popping in,’ he said, this man who, and she couldn’t help noticing this, seemed to hold much in common with his dog; the long, but retreating on the forehead, hair, slightly scruffy from the want of a comb or a good brush (like his dog), he had dressed without much thought (because who dressed thoughtfully to walk a dog?), and that’s what he was doing, walking the dog and, seeing the Gallery open, thought he ought to look in.

Giving him her brightest smile, she embarked on performing the artist’s music of conversation, that score holding gentle melodies and welcoming harmonies. Although she had become quite practised in talking to her audience there was always the challenging inquiry that would catch her off guard.

‘Well, are you finished with the seashore now?’ said the man with the look-alike dog. For a moment a half dozen possible answers seemed possible. ‘Could one ever finish with something so extraordinary and various as that hinterland between land and sea?’ No, that was seemed a mite critical and clever. ‘Oh, I’ve hardly started’ was tempting, but rather smug and too confident by half. ‘I just love the seaside’ would probably do, as no one else was listening. ‘Merleau-Ponty says the complexity of the seashore is a metaphor in the search for self-identity’. She did wonder what he’d make of that, but finally decided on ‘It’s such a rich source of ideas and images I’m sure there’s a lot more I want to do with the subject.’

”It’s all the same colour”. She’d had that one a few times. ‘When I’m on the beach I’m fascinated as much by the texture and shape of what I see  and feel than the colour. I like the subtlety of the colours in the sand. I think my pieces – and she waved her hand towards what she had titled her Sand Marks pieces – show so many of the different shades of colours you find on the seashore.’

Those Sand Marks, a collection of variously dyed and marked two metre plus linen-lengths, dominated one wall of the gallery. They floated a few centimetres from the white wall, and when people moved past them the slight shadows cast by the linen lengths seemed to ripple in the human-made breeze. She could never look at them without thinking how their very accidental making – binding a linen cloth with inner placed objects and using the natural dye of tea – could create such absorbing results. She would follow with her gaze one of the linen-lengths from bottom to top (or top to bottom) and find herself walking on the wet sand of a Scottish beach, overwhelmed by the clear light and space with only the sea sound surrounding. He would tell her, had told her often, how moved, how affected he had been when he first saw them hung. To him, these ‘marks’ carried an essence of this aesthetic she now owned and for which had become recognised.

Even on this, her first day, she had been visited by a small number of admirers and supporters, some travelling distances to see her work with the aura of the original, a truer view than that possible on the back-lit screen of their computer monitors. Ladies who loved textiles, the containment and privacy to sew and stitch secured in their busy lives. These friendly and smiley women (the comfortable side of sixty) understood something of what she was doing here, and perhaps imagined themselves as thirty-somethings walking Scottish beaches free from children and the relentless list-making of house and home and occupation, able to create imaginary worlds of marks and folds, pleats and textures. Full of enthusiasm for the medium, what they perhaps didn’t have was the skill of seeing, a skill she had grown up with, had always owned to some degree: found, fostered, honed, developed into a second-nature activity of always looking.

There would be the occasional brief lull when the gallery was empty or close to empty, as though needing the space to come up for breath after being occupied by people and their movement. She would then walk slowly around the long well-lit room viewing her pieces and her arrangements of pieces from different angles. She would look at his poems placed antiphonally between her work, commissioned for her catalogue, her book of images of the sea shore paired with, incorporating even, her made pieces. She’d chosen a favoured few she’d felt caught the essence of being in the sea’s company, in the sand and shore’s domain. Like everything he did it had been undertaken with the utmost intensity of purpose. She saw him now in her mind’s eye with his notebook sitting against rocks, paddling in the great shallow pools, walking head down along the tide line, those bright days on a Scottish island and before, before on that ellipse of beach by the fishing station.

He would tease out an idea formed from a little motif of words, perhaps like the very music that was his private territory: here, alone, apart we are marked by the tide’s turn. Yes, we are marked by being solitary in such unconfining space, the marks at our feet become the lines, the mounts, the fingers, those interruptions, breaks and blockages found in the tridents, chains and crosses of the art of palmistry. We read the seashore as a psychic oracle reads the hand, hoping, as Kathleen Jamie so rightly says, for the marvellous. And marvellous it so often is.

Standing in this gallery was like being gathered about by the seashore. It was a short jump in the imagination’s miracle to hear the soft breathing of the sea, the wind caressing the face, the warmth of the afternoon sun on the freckled cheek.

See how those we love are transformed
when the sea is their only boundary

a figure stands before a sand bar
in a crescent of water left by the tide
an affecting geometry of solitude
. . .


These words had always stopped her in her perambulating tracks. She thought of her son, far distant on the beach, at rest for once, still, motionless within the confluence of the elements of the beach, at the epicentre of her gaze, all things flowing to and from his tiny, far-away figure.
Venusoul7 May 2014
My Gallery,
Grand in the Spire of Mindless Stares
There is a Fire in the Spire's Grand Gallery of winding Stairs,
Stairs that go Nowhere in my Gallery, Grand in the Spire
•of Mindless Stares•
~thru~
My Window,
Pulls Heavy in Downward Time,
Pulling down the Mists
that Arc the Colors
sprung towards the Vapors,
Falling vapors Mists
refracted in my Rainbow,
Arcs go down and up,
Arcing Timeless Minds,
Waking up
~then ~
Fainting down,
Falling vapors Mists,
refracted in my Rainbow,
that trace along the Spire walls, Pouring out the Fire,
Putting out the Mists,
In the Spire's Grand Gallery of winding Stairs,
Stairs that go Nowhere.
Stares that go Nowhere in my Gallery, Grand in the Spire
•of Mindless Stairs•
!!Hang on!!
Terry Collett Nov 2015
AFTER THE SALE 1972.


The Rossetti prints sell well, Abela said. Benedict looked at the paintings on the walls of the gallery. They would, he said in reply, taking in her thighs as she rose to adjust a painting frame, the black stockings tight and smooth. But not, the Constables so much, she added, pulling at her black skirt, as she brushed a finger along the Constable frame, eyeing it, peering at it closer, looking at the wagon and horse. Benedict raised his eyes to her neat bottom held in place by the black skirt. Constable's  a bore, he said, sends me to sleep. She turned and walked to the counter where Benedict stood. What we like is of no concern, it's the customer's taste we need to please, she said, eyeing him, his hazel eyes, that quiff of hair, that smile which reminded her of the Elvis Presley photo, on that album cover, Benedict had shown her one night, when she stayed to listen to music(his), and drink wine, and then have ***. But surely we can have one or two of Miro or Picasso? She looked at his open necked  shirt, at his Adam's apple moving as he spoke. They won't well, she said, we were stuck with that Miro for nigh on a year last time, and then we sold it off in a sale, and that tall man bought it with the twirly moustache and thin wired glasses. Benedict sighed, he eyed her face, her eyes, the snub nose, the reddish cheeks, her mouth, the lips, recalling when he kissed them last. Just one Picasso to make my time here worthwhile, he said. She looked at him seriously. No, not after last time. He doesn't sell around here, she said. Benedict pulled a face of disappointment. Coffee then? Shall I make us some? She eyed the gallery which was empty. All right, but do not be too long, she said. He walked off to the little area at the back of the gallery where there was a sink and draining-board, cupboard, and a lavatory for either gender. He took out two mugs and spooned in instant coffee into each one and added sugar for himself but not hers as she didn't have sugar. The bell of the gallery jingled. A customer. He gazed around the wall and saw Abela was there approaching the man and woman like a gazelle in mating season. He waited until the kettle boiled then poured water into both mugs and added milk. He stirred his mug. There was small talk from the gallery. He sipped his coffee, then walked out to assist in the sale if there was going to be one. Abela was pointing out a watercolour by a local artist. Benedict  approached from a different angle and eyed the man and his wife(or partner or mistress) ah, Benedict, this gentleman and his wife are interested in a rural watercolour and I thought maybe you could take them upstairs and show them the other collection of rural scenes. Benedict nodded and said, of course, which particular scenery are you interested in? The man said, something of Sussex, the Downs or maybe near the coast. His wife said nothing, but followed them upstairs. Benedict showed them the few Sussex landscapes they had. Are these by a local artist? The man asked. Yes, she lives nearby and paints rural scenes, Benedict said, eyeing the woman, taking in her low cut dress, the ampleness pushing outward. A necklace was hanging there sparkling. I recognize this area, the man said, yes, takes me back. She has captured well, the colouring, the smoothness. His wife gazed at Benedict and smiled. He smiled back, then said to her husband, yes, she does, nicely done, I think, he said, but didn’t like it himself, thought it boring as a wet Sunday. What do you think, Nessa? He asked his wife. It's lovely, she said, letting her eyes flow over the print, then back to Benedict, her smile still in place. Is that the price? The man said. Yes, £175, although I'm sure, my assistant will allow a small reduction, Benedict said, glad to be rid of the print. Well, that's good, we'll take it, the man said. Benedict took down the print finely framed and went downstairs with them and said to Abela. The gentleman will buy, I suggest a 15% discount. Abela looked at him. All right, she said, her voice cool, steady, and she watched as the man wrote out a cheque and Benedict wrapped up the framed print and tied with string. The woman eyed him. He returned her gaze. He wondered what she was like to wake up to, to see her beside you in bed, her low cut nightie welcoming. Abela rang up the sale and the man and his wife walked out the gallery. 15% discount? Why? Abela said. Get rid of the boring thing, he said. But it cuts our profit, she said. No sale, no profit, he said. It's been upstairs for nearly a year now and no ******'s even looked at it until today. Abela sulked and went and got her coffee and he followed her. They stood in the area sipping. I'd like a Rothko, he said, a big print along one of the walls. It wouldn't sell around here, she said, sulkily. He studied her lips. He liked it when they pouted. It made them look sexier than usual. He recalled the longest kiss. Had to break for air, his lips sore, almost numb. She walked back into the gallery. He watched her go, her swaying hips, her neat ***. Just one Pollack, he said, Jackson Pollack. She said nothing. He sipped his coffee and lit up a cigarette and took a long drag. It was going to be a long haul of a day. One sale, so far. Mondays were a drag. Few came on Mondays. Saturdays were best, that was when they sold well. Five Rossetti’s last week, and a Monet and that local artist's Surrey scene. He exhaled smoke. The bell jingled another customer, another sale, maybe. He recalled the night before: she and he at it as if on a wild wet sea.
A MAN AND WOMAN IN ART SHOP IN 1972.
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
for Jennie in gratitude*

For days afterwards he was preoccupied by what he’d collected into himself from the gallery viewing. He could say it was just painting, but there was a variety of media present in the many surrounding images and artefacts. Certainly there were all kinds of objects: found and gathered, captured and brought into a frame, some filling transparent boxes on a window ledge or simply hung frameless on the wall; sand, fixed foam, paper sea-water stained, a beaten sheet of aluminium; a significant stone standing on a mantelpiece, strange warped pieces of metal with no clue to what they were or had been, a sketchbook with brooding pencilled drawings made fast and thick, filling the page, colour like an echo, and yes, paintings.
 
Three paintings had surprised him; they did not seem to fit until (and this was sometime later) their form and content, their working, had very gradually begun to make a sort of sense.  Possible interpretations – though tenuous – surreptitiously intervened. There were words scrawled across each canvas summoning the viewer into emotional space, a space where suggestions of marks and colour floated on a white surface. These scrawled words were like writing in seaside sand with a finger: the following bird and hiraeth. He couldn’t remember the third exactly. He had a feeling about it – a date or description. But he had forgotten. And this following bird? One of Coleridge’s birds of the Ancient Mariner perhaps? Hiraeth he knew was a difficult Welsh word similar to saudade. It meant variously longing, sometimes passionate (was longing ever not passionate?), a home-sickness, the physical pain of nostalgia. It was said that a well-loved location in conjunction with a point in time could cause such feelings. This small exhibition seemed full of longing, full of something beyond the place and the time and the variousness of colour and texture, of elements captured, collected and represented. And as the distance in time and memory from his experience of the show in a small provincial gallery increased, so did his own thoughts of and about the nature of longing become more acute.
 
He knew he was fortunate to have had the special experience of being alone with ‘the work’ just prior to the gallery opening. His partner was also showing and he had accompanied her as a friendly presence, someone to talk to when the throng of viewers might deplete. But he knew he was surplus to requirements as she’d also brought along a girlfriend making a short film on this emerging, soon to be successful artist. So he’d wandered into the adjoining spaces and without expectation had come upon this very different show: just the title Four Tides to guide him in and around the small white space in which the art work had been distributed. Even the striking miniature catalogue, solely photographs, no text, did little to betray the hand and eye that had brought together what was being shown. Beyond the artist’s name there were only faint traces – a phone number and an email address, no voluminous self-congratulatory CV, no list of previous exhibitions, awards or academic provenance. A light blue bicycle figured in some of her catalogue photographs and on her contact card. One photo in particular had caught the artist very distant, cycling along the curve of a beach. It was this photo that helped him to identify the location – because for twenty years he had passed across this meeting of land and water on a railway journey. This place she had chosen for the coming and going of four tides he had viewed from a train window. The aspect down the estuary guarded by mountains had been a highpoint of a six-hour journey he had once taken several times a year, occasionally and gratefully with his children for whom crossing the long, low wooden bridge across the estuary remained into their teens an adventure, always something telling.
 
He found himself wishing this work into a studio setting, the artist’s studio. It seemed too stark placed on white walls, above the stripped pine floor and the punctuation of reflective glass of two windows facing onto a wet street. Yes, a studio would be good because the pictures, the paintings, the assemblages might relate to what daily surrounded the artist and thus describe her. He had thought at first he was looking at the work of a young woman, perhaps mid-thirties at most. The self-curation was not wholly assured: it held a temporary nature. It was as if she hadn’t finished with the subject and or done with its experience. It was either on-going and promised more, or represented a stage she would put aside (but with love and affection) on her journey as an artist. She wouldn’t milk it for more than it was. And it was full of longing.
 
There was a heaviness, a weight, an inconclusiveness, an echo of reverence about what had been brought together ‘to show’. Had he thought about these aspects more closely, he would not have been so surprised to discovered the artist was closer to his own age, in her fifties. She in turn had been surprised by his attention, by his carefully written comment in her guest book. She seemed pleased to talk intimately and openly, to tell her story of the work. She didn’t need to do this because it was there in the room to be read. It was apparent; it was not oblique or difficult, but caught the viewer in a questioning loop. Was this estuary location somehow at the core of her longing-centred self?  She had admitted that, working in her home or studio, she would find herself facing westward and into the distance both in place and time?
 
On the following day he made time to write, to look through this artist’s window on a creative engagement with a place he was familiar. The experience of viewing her work had affected him. He was not sure yet whether it was the representation of the place or the artist’s engagement with it. In writing about it he might find out. It seemed so deeply personal. It was perhaps better not to know but to imagine. So he imagined her making the journey, possibly by train, finding a place to stay the night – a cheerful B & B - and cycling early in the morning across the long bridge to her previously chosen spot on the estuary: to catch the first of the tides. He already understood from his own experience how an artist can enter trance-like into an environment, absorb its particularness, respond to the uncertainty of its weather, feel surrounded by its elements and textures, and most of all be governed by the continuous and ever-complex play of light.
 
He knew all about longing for a place. For nearly twenty years a similar longing had grown and all but consumed him: his cottage on a mountain overlooking the sea. It had become a place where he had regularly faced up to his created and invented thoughts, his soon-to-be-music and more recently possible poetry and prose. He had done so in silence and solitude.
 
But now he was experiencing a different longing, a longing born from an intensity of love for a young woman, an intensity that circled him about. Her physical self had become a rich landscape to explore and celebrate in gaze, and stroke and caress. It seemed extraordinary that a single person could hold to herself such a habitat of wonder, a rich geography of desire to know and understand. For so many years his longing was bound to the memory of walking cliff paths and empty beaches, the hypnotic viewing of seascaped horizons and the persistent chaos of the sea and wild weather. But gradually this longing for a coming together of land, sea and sky had migrated to settle on a woman who graced his daily, hourly thoughts; who was able to touch and caress him as rain and wind and sun can act upon the body in ever-changing ways. So when he was apart from her it was with such a longing that he found himself weighed down, filled brimfull.
 
In writing, in attempting to consider longing as a something the creative spirit might address, he felt profoundly grateful to the artist on the light blue bicycle whose her observations and invention had kept open a door he felt was closing on him. She had faced her own longing by bringing it into form, and through form into colour and texture, and then into a very particular play: an arrangement of objects and images for the mind to engage with – or not. He dared to feel an affinity with this artist because, like his own work, it did not seem wholly confident. It contained flaws of a most subtle kind, flaws that lent it a conviction and strength that he warmed to. It had not been massaged into correctness. The images and the textures, the directness of it, flowed through him back and forward just like the tides she had come far to observe on just a single day. He remembered then, when looking closely at the unprotected pieces on the walls, how his hand had moved to just touch its surfaces in exactly the way he would bring his fingers close to the body of the woman he loved so much, adored beyond any poetry, and longed for with all his heart and mind.
Nigel Morgan Apr 2013
It’s curious this looking business, looking at something you almost recognize as being what it says on the small white card next to the exhibit. Sand Marks. And these marks hang on linen-lengths two metres long by 40 cm wide. You don’t look at sand face-forward standing up with light pouring through the surface on which the marks are made. That feels unusual. The five linen-lengths are keeping each other company. A set of sand marks, marks in the sand. No. Marks from and of the sand. And why, She thought? What is this supposed to be about? Is this what art is? Grabbing images from under the feet. Their  making engineered, conditions in place to shape and colour, fold and crease, to hold and position rightly. Hmm, She reflected, and thought of her daughter as a child, sitting on the sand of some annual Scottish beach. She would watch her soon to be two-year-old moving beach sand and stones around with her hands, seeing tiny dunes and valleys and routes appear, and making marks. Yes, that would be it. All that watching, that as she grew up became observing and collecting and storing away as images caught in a moment and placed in the mind’s diary, then often lingered over later (as only children can) defining her personal curation of things natural.

Here she is now, her mother thought, all these years on collecting and revealing such sand marks onto ordered frozen surfaces. Would these collectively be an installation she wondered? How She quietly distrusted that word. It was part of a vocabulary She felt She might do without. When She looked at these ecru linen cloths printed and manipulated variously She saw her daughter’s beautiful (always beautiful) hands entering sand, making marks in the fabric of the beach – as a child – now as an adult. There seemed no difference. Just this summer She had watched her daughter mesmerized at the sea’s edge, seeing the sand marks wander, bend and twist below shallow water, just as these hanging cloths seemed to do in her gaze. There was movement in stillness. Her daughter would wait with her camera to capture just the moment when light and ripple came together in a previously imagined moment: a perfect moment she longed to seize. Then later, up on the computer’s flat, backlit screen, it would be shown like a moth caught in a net and pinned behind glass.

In this light-filled gallery, a gallery filled with the reflected light of the sea just a minute’s walk away, this often sombre contemplative work became light of weight and texture, lost its sombre colours, those non-colour shades of grey and canvas, earth and mud, and seemed to float, bathed in light, the colours washed and fresh, alive. It was a revelation that it should be so, and She knew She would carry this view of her daughter’s linen pieces ever after – changing her view of what she’d seen as a steady stream of similar often sombre images representing ‘a body of work’ – another term She disliked and felt was not part of her world of seeing. She thought, ‘I garden, but I don’t do ‘work’ in the garden. What grows under my care and attention somehow has to be and flows through and past me. I don’t own my work in any way. It’s not for sale as something of me. It has no price tag. Work is cleaning the house or dealing with minutes of a meeting.’

There were in this light-filled gallery other pieces to look at. Her artists’ books in a glass cabinet were quietly covered in lichen green board, some closed, others opened to reveal more captured marks, stains and prints. Open to touch and view She warmed to a pair of her daughter’s sketchbooks, delighting in turning their pages carefully, so carefully as not to shake up the often delicate flowing marks on the paper. She imagined – as She herself had drawn once - her daughter’s intense concentration drawing these wider scenes – across the sea to the horizon where a turmoil of weather took place in the changing incessant cloudscapes.

There was other ‘work’ too, other artists’ efforts taking inspiration from landscape. Strange too, to call these pieces ‘work’. Such a term seemed to give their collective creative industry authority and stature She wasn’t always sure they necessarily had. Much of it seemed more play than work. It was so often playful.

Her daughter, meanwhile, was deep in conversation with the gallery’s exhibition officer. Whereas She dipped in and out of this conversation, her thoughts revolved, grass hopping. She remembered hearing her husband speak of his concern about their daughter’s management of this still-fledgling career. A right concern about how family and career would be handled as recognition and opportunity developed. She shared this concern, but seeing her daughter glow at being in the very swim of this art making and showing did not for a moment want that glow to disappear. She knew she would manage, she had always managed and been resourceful, careful, and, She had to admit this, brave. Her condition of being a single-parent She, as her mother, had almost grown accustomed to; She felt She knew a thing or two about finding happiness and the warmth of companionship.

Those linen-length pieces hanging there seemed to intersect such thoughts. She found herself looking at her daughter’s partner who was carefully sketching the linen quintet. He had said to her once that he sketched (badly) to enable him to focus intently on an object, to learn from it. If you sketched something you gave it time, and came to know it as line-by-line, shade-by-shade, the image formed and your relationship to it. He was always careful in talking to her, and even when he began to tread across ground that She hadn’t travelled, he was so sensitive to her feelings. He liked to explain, to tell out his enthusiasm for books he’d read, for music he loved, for her daughter he so adored. She could see that plainly, his adoration, his wonder at her. He had wrapped this young woman round and round with his adoration, and this clearly gave him such joy.

It was getting on. Lunch beckoned. There was a signalling that this hour or so of viewing would gradually fall away. The exhibition officer said her goodbyes. Food was mentioned. She would give one last glance at the Sand Marks perhaps. The linen-lengths still hung there luminous in the vivid, brilliant, but cold light of this early April day. After lunch they would walk to the sea under the powder blue skies and feel that this too was part of such a glad day, a day She would take to her memory as full of the restful pleasure her daughter so often gave her. This dear girl – how often had She heard her partner use that word ‘dear’, knowing he addressed his letters to her with ‘dearest’. It was wonderful that it could be so, that her daughter was so loved. She wanted, suddenly, to throw her arms around them both, and let them know, without any words, that she loved them too.
clever May 2018
she was the maker, he was her muse
a creative girl with everything to lose

she colored her canvas with her bleeding heart
she loved him and watched her world fall apart

she got her heart broken but kept a blank face
knowing that there are some mistakes you can't erase

she gave up her art, a lover betrayed
her pure white mind turned a darker shade.
And then there were seven.
Nigel Morgan Jan 2013
I’m thinking about you today. Hard not to, the specialness of it all. Today you’re putting up of an exhibition. Some artists call it a show, but you’re quite consistent in not calling it that. I admire that of you, being consistent.
 
I was thinking today about your kindness. You phoned me as soon as the children had gone to school, making time to call before you left. I know you were drinking your start-of-the-day coffee, but it was a kind thought all the same, phoning me. You knew I was upset. Upset with myself, as I often am. It’s this being alone. Not so much as a cat to keep me company. Just my work, the reading I do, my thoughts of you, those letters I write, and my attempts at poetry.
 
During the last few days I’ve tried to write directly of what I’ve observed, not felt, observed. Like those wonderful Chinese poets of old describing in just a few characters the wonder of the seen rather than the speculation of the felt, avoiding all emotion and fantasy. I try to write in a way that holds to the ambiguity and spread of meanings the poems those ancient Chinese composed.
 
It’s winter-time. Yesterday we were expecting the first snowfall of winter, and it arrived late in the night making the morning darkness mysteriously different, changing the indistinctness of distant trees to become a web of silver lines, in the no-wind snow resting on branches, clinging to boughs and trunks.  I stood in the pre-dawn park in wonder at it all, holding each moment to myself, in the cold breath-stopping air. I thought of one of the Chinese snow poems I know and some of those different ways it has been translated. Here are three:
 
A thousand mountains without a bird
Ten thousand miles with no trace of man.
A boat. An old man in a straw raincoat.
Alone in the snow, fishing in the freezing river.
 
A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.
Ten thousand paths: all trace of people gone.
In a lone boat, rain cloak and a hat of reeds
An old man’s fishing the cold river snow.
 
Sur mille montagnes, aucun vol d’oiseau
Sure dix mille sentiers, nulle trace d’homme
Barque solitaire: sous son manteaux de paille
Un vielliard pêche, du figé, la neige.

 
So beautiful, arresting, different. It holds the title River Snow and the poet is the Tang Dynasty philosopher and essayist Lui Zongyuan.  My snow poem First Fall, written last night as the snow fell on the wet street outside, as you were falling through my thoughts, softly, but not onto a wet street, but a distant garden we know and love, but have yet to see in winter’s whiteness.
 
And now today you’re driving to a distant location to hang your work of paper, silk and linen, full of expectation, every contingency and plan in place to enable the work to make its mark in a location you know, where people may recognize your name and will come to say warm words of encouragement, maybe a little praise. And at the end of the week when the exhibition opens I’ll be there, trying to be invisible, taking photographs if I can of you and your admirers and supporters, and thinking (myself) how wonderful you are, your lovely smile lighting up the gallery, being welcoming, beautiful always.
 
Only today you’re further away from me than ever. Around coffee time I miss your quiet explorative ‘it’s me , like a mouse on the telephone. The inflections of those words questioning the appropriateness of the call, meaning ‘Are you busy? Am I interrupting?’ It may take me a little while to ‘come to’, but interruption? Never, just the sheer joy that it’s you colouring the moment.
 
I think of the landscape you’ll be driving through. I’m imagining the snow-sky clearing and becoming a faint blue with the sun’s brightness clarifying those wold lands, those gentle folds of fields between parallelograms of woodland standing stark under the large skies and promulgating the long views gradually, gradually stretching towards the sea coast.
 
I like to imagine you are singing your way through the choruses of Bach’s B Minor Mass, but in reality it’s probably the Be Good Tanyas or Billy Joel playing on the CD player. Such a relief probably after those silent journeys with me. I usually relent on the homeward leg, but I crave silence when I’m a passenger, and I’m now always a passenger, so I crave silence for my thoughts, such as they are.
 
While you are being the emerging artist – but probably on your way homeward - I have taken myself down to my city’s gallery and to an exhibition I’ve already seen. I have a task I’ve been promising myself to undertake: copying an exhibit. I arrive an hour before the gallery closes. I leave my bicycle behind the foyer desk. There are more staff about than visitors. It’s gloriously empty, but the young twenty-somethings invigilating the spaces group themselves strategically near adjoining rooms so they can talk (loudly) to each other. It’s Facebook chat, barely Twitter nonsense. I have to block it all out to focus on the four pages and a P.S of a sculptor’s letter to a critical friend. The sculptor is writing from springtime Cornwall on 6 March 1951. The critical friend will open the letter the next day (when there were 3 deliveries a day) and the Royal Mail invariably arrived on time. He’ll pick it up from his doormat before breakfast in grimy Leeds, though the leafy part near Roundhay Park. The sculptor begins by saying:
 
It is so difficult to find words to convey ideas!
 
In this so efficient Cambria typeface that introductory sentence loses so much of the muscle and flow of the human hand. Written boldly in black ink, and so full of purpose, I read it a month ago, a photocopy in a display case, and knew I had to capture it. And it’s here entire in my note book, on my desk, carefully copied, to share with you my darling, my kind friend, the young woman I hold dear, admire so much, become faint with longing for when, as she crosses that gallery where she has been hanging her work (in my imagination), I am caught as so often by her graceful steps and turn.
 
I don’t feel any difference of intent in or of mood when I paint (or carve) realistically, or when I make abstract carvings. It all feels the same – the same happiness and pain, the same joy in a line, a form, a colour – the same feeling at the end, The two ways of working flow into each other without effort  . . .
 
Outside my warm studio the snow has retreated east and I’ve opened the window to hear the Cathedral bells practising away, the city on a Tuesday night free of revellers, the clubs closed, the pubs quiet. In this building everyone has gone home except this obsessive musician who stays late to write to the woman he adores, who thinks a day is not a day lived without a letter to her at least, a poem if possible.
 
I’d quietly hoped to be with you tonight, but you must have something arranged as I suggested twice I might come, and you said it wasn’t necessary. But I have this letter, and something to write about. Alas, no poem. My muse is having the evening off and I am gently reconciled to the possibility of a few words on the telephone before bed.
Nigel Morgan Jun 2013
She sent it to me as a text message, that is an image of a quote in situ, a piece of interpretation in a gallery. Saturday morning and I was driving home from a week in a remote cottage on a mountain. I had stopped to take one last look at the sea, where I usually take one last look, and the phone bleeped. A text message, but no text.  Just a photo of some words. It made me smile, the impossibility of it. Epic poems and tapestry weaving. Of course there are connections, in that for centuries the epic subject has so often been the stuff of the tapestry weaver’s art. I say this glibly, but cannot name a particular tapestry where this might be so. Those vast Arthurian pieces by William Morris to pictures by Burne-Jones have an epic quality both in scale and in subject, but, to my shame, I can’t put a name to one.

These days the tapestry can be epic once more - in size and intention - thanks to the successful, moneyed contemporary artist and those communities of weavers at West Dean and at Edinburgh’s Dovecot. Think of Grayson Perry’s The Walthamstowe Tapestry, a vast 3 x 15 metres executed by Ghentian weavers, a veritable apocalyptic vision where ‘Everyman, spat out at birth in a pool of blood, is doomed and predestined to spend his life navigating a chaotic yet banal landscape of brands and consumerism’.  Gosh! Doesn’t that sound epic!

I was at the Dovecot a little while ago, but the public gallery was closed. The weavers were too busy finishing Victoria Crowe’s Large Tree Group to cope with visitors. You see, I do know a little about this world even though my tapestry weaving is the sum total of three weekends tuition, even though I have a very large loom once owned by Marta Rogoyska. It languishes next door in the room that was going to be where I was to weave, where I was going to become someone other than I am. This is what I feel - just sometimes - when I’m at my floor loom, if only for those brief spells when life languishes sufficiently for me be slow and calm enough to pick up the shuttles and find the right coloured yarns. But I digress. In fact putting together tapestry and epic poetry is a digression from the intention of the quote on the image from that text - (it was from a letter to Janey written in Iceland). Her husband, William Morris, reckoned one could (indeed should) be able to compose an epic poem and weave a tapestry.  

This notion, this idea that such a thing as being actively poetic and throwing a pick or two should go hand in hand, and, in Morris’ words, be a required skill (or ‘he’d better shut up’), seemed (and still does a day later) an absurdity. Would such a man (must be a man I suppose) ‘never do any good at all’ because he can’t weave and compose epic poetry simultaneously?  Clearly so.  But then Morris wove his tapestries very early in the morning - often on a loom in his bedroom. Janey, I imagine, as with ladies of her day - she wasn’t one, being a stableman’s daughter, but she became one reading fluently in French and Italian and playing Beethoven on the piano- she had her own bedroom.

Do you know there are nights when I wish for my own room, even when sleeping with the one I love, as so often I wake in the night, and I lie there afraid (because I love her dearly and care for her precious rest) to disturb her sleep with reading or making notes, both of which I do when I’m alone.
Yet how very seductive is the idea of joining my loved one in her own space, amongst her fallen clothes, her books and treasures, her archives and precious things, those many letters folded into her bedside bookcase, and the little black books full of tender poems and attempts at sketches her admirer has bequeathed her when distant and apart. Equally seductive is the possibility of the knock on the bedroom / workroom door, and there she’ll be there like the woman in Michael Donaghy’s poem, a poem I find every time I search for it in his Collected Works one of the most arousing and ravishing pieces of verse I know: it makes me smile and imagine.  . .  Her personal vanishing point, she said, came when she leant against his study door all warm and wet and whispered 'Paolo’. Only she’ll say something in a barely audible voice like ‘Can I disturb you?’ and with her sparkling smile come in, and bring with her two cats and the hint of a naked breast nestling in the gap of the fold of her yellow Chinese gown she holds close to herself - so when she kneels on my single bed this gown opens and her beauty falls before her, and I am wholly, utterly lost that such loveliness is and can be so . . .

When I see a beautiful house, as I did last Thursday, far in the distance by an estuary-side, sheltering beneath wooded hills, and moor and rock-coloured mountains, with its long veranda, painted white, I imagine. I imagine our imaginary home where, when our many children are not staying in the summer months and work is impossible, we will live our ‘together yet apart’ lives. And there will be the joy of work. I will be like Ben Nicholson in that Italian villa his father-in-law bought, and have my workroom / bedroom facing a stark hillside with nothing but a carpenter’s table to lay out my scores. Whilst she, like Winifred, will work at a tidy table in her bedroom, a vase of spring flowers against the window with the estuary and the mountains beyond. Yes, her bedroom, not his, though their bed, their wonderful wooden 19C Swiss bed of oak, occupies this room and yes, in his room there is just a single affair, but robust, that he would sleep on when lunch had been late and friends had called, or they had been out calling and he wanted to give her the premise of having to go back to work – to be alone - when in fact he was going to sleep and dream, but she? She would work into the warm afternoons with the barest breeze tickling her bare feet, her body moving with the remembrance of his caresses as she woke him that morning from his deep, dark slumber. ‘Your brown eyes’, he would whisper, ‘your dear brown eyes the colour of an autumn leaf damp with dew’. And she would surround him with kisses and touch of her firm, long body and (before she cut her plaits) let her course long hair flow back and forward across his chest. And she did this because she knew he would later need the loneliness of his own space, need to put her aside, whereas she loved the scent of him in the room in which she worked, with his discarded clothes, the neck-tie on the door hanger he only reluctantly wore.

Back to epic poetry and its possibility. Even on its own, as a single, focused activity it seems to me, unadventurous poet that I am, an impossibility. But then, had I lived in the 1860s, it would probably not have seemed so difficult. There was no Radio 4 blathering on, no bleeb of arriving texts on the mobile. There were servants to see to supper, a nanny to keep the children at bay. At Kelmscott there was glorious Gloucestershire silence - only the roll and squeak of the wagon in the road and the rooks roosting. So, in the early mornings Morris could kneel at his vertical loom and, with a Burne-Jones cartoon to follow set behind the warp. With his yarns ready to hand, it would be like a modern child’s painting by numbers, his mind would be free to explore the fairy domain, the Icelandic sagas, the Welsh Mabinogion, the Kalevara from Finland, and write (in his head) an epic poem. These were often elaborations and retellings in his epic verse style of Norse and Icelandic sagas with titles like Sigurd the Volsung. Paul Thompson once said of Morris  ‘his method was to think out a poem in his head while he was busy at some other work.  He would sit at an easel, charcoal or brush in hand, working away at a design while he muttered to himself, 'bumble-beeing' as his family called it; then, when he thought he had got the lines, he would get up from the easel, prowl round the room still muttering, returning occasionally to add a touch to the design; then suddenly he would dash to the table and write out twenty or so lines.  As his pen slowed down, he would be looking around, and in a moment would be at work on another design.  Later, Morris would look at what he had written, and if he did not like it he would put it aside and try again.  But this way of working meant that he never submitted a draft to the painful evaluation which poetry requires’.

Let’s try a little of Sigurd

There was a dwelling of Kings ere the world was waxen old;
Dukes were the door-wards there, and the roofs were thatched with gold;
Earls were the wrights that wrought it, and silver nailed its doors;
Earls' wives were the weaving-women, queens' daughters strewed its floors,

And the masters of its song-craft were the mightiest men that cast
The sails of the storm of battle down the bickering blast.
There dwelt men merry-hearted, and in hope exceeding great
Met the good days and the evil as they went the way of fate:
There the Gods were unforgotten, yea whiles they walked with men,

Though e'en in that world's beginning rose a murmur now and again
Of the midward time and the fading and the last of the latter days,
And the entering in of the terror, and the death of the People's Praise.

Oh dear. And to think he sustained such poetry for another 340 lines, and that’s just book 1 of 4. So what dear reader, dear sender of that text image encouraging me to weave and write, just what would epic poetry be now? Where must one go for inspiration? Somewhere in the realms of sci-fi, something after Star-Wars or Ninja Warriors. It could be post-apocalyptic, a tale of mutants and a world damaged by chemicals or economic melt-down. Maybe a rich adventure of travel on a distant planet (with Sigourney Weaver of course), featuring brave deeds and the selfless heroism of saving companions from deadly encounters with amazing animals, monsters even. Or is ‘epic’ something else, something altogether beyond the Pixar Studios or James Cameron’s imagination? Is the  ‘epic’ now the province of AI boldly generating the computer game in 4D?  

And the epic poem? People once bought and read such published romances as they now buy and engage with on-line games. This is where the epic now belongs. On the tablet, PlayStation3, the X-Box. But, but . . . Poetry is so alive and well as a performance phenomenon, and with that oh so vigorous and relentless beat. Hell, look who won the T.S.Eliot prize this year! Story-telling lives and there are tales to be told, even if they are set in housing estates and not the ice caves of the frozen planet Golp. Just think of children’s literature, so rich and often so wild. This is word invention that revisits unashamedly those myths and sagas Morris loved, but in a different guise, with different names, in worlds that still bring together the incredible geographies of mountains and deserts and wilderness places, with fortresses and walled cities, and the startling, still unknown, yet to be discovered ocean depths.

                                    And so let my tale begin . . . My epic poem.

                                                 THE SEAGASP OF ENNLI.
       A TALE IN VERSE OF EARTHQUAKE, ISLAND FASTNESS, MALEVOLENT SPIRITS,
                                                AND REDEMPTIVE LOVE.
Tim Knight Aug 2013
White maze for the middle classes,
collect your museum passes at the door,
please
continue through into exhibitions,
photo pictures of art you won’t remember the name of
but because you’re educated you’ll hope to retain its
name, medium, date and frame size of,
and equate them with those pieces you Googled before you came.

Through the double doors
her cries walked down the corridors
whilst cradled in his hands, cradled carefully,
he stood upright in boots on the
newly polished granite, shipped-in, floor.

The art gallery Father and Daughter
are the hidden display
only found in writing in the pamphlet
for today. Some will see them
through cuts in the door,
others may hear them but assume
it’s ambient art-gallery-played-through-speakers
sound coming from the back room.
FROM coffeeshoppoems.com
Peter Balkus Nov 2015
While
they were shouting
outside
in the square,
I was inside,
quietly watching
Susanna's
*******.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2015
HEART GALLERY

You step forth
from your bath

as if you were
a Bonard

come alive

spread yourself
across crisp cool sheets

as sensationally
sensuous

as a Modigliani
****

or a Noguchi
sculpture.

Here, you
Matisse

if only
for a brief

moment now so
Ernst!

Now so
playfully Picasso...ish!

I smile
as you Vermeer!

"Come here
& kiss me!"

You my Magritte!

You my Dali!

You my laughing walking talking
'art gallery!
mûre Jun 2015
I’ve filled the emptiest spaces of myself with


                          the best parts of you

not breathing, warm like an homage
but sterile
    
                                                                          remote

a gallery of looped memories
beautiful and untouchable
and convincingly bright
so that no matter where I am
my retinas are tattooed with the space you took in the world
cooking in a scratchy sweater- your electric rants about Jung  
drumming jazz on the street corner for the pay of odd conversation
planting kisses in my hands because you hoped they would grow a wife
endlessly reminding me

                                              (from wherever you are now)

that the best things in life weren’t free
and though expensive beyond measure
how graceful- I hardly noticed how much
I was willing to give
just to keep at a quiet distance

                           this neuronal gallery
I'm over it.
Amitav Radiance Aug 2014
So many colors on nature’s palette
There are many moods and emotions
Picturesque gallery of many paintings
Forever framed in the travelers mind
Masterpieces cannot be recreated
If we only hold onto black and white
Immerse the soul in nature’s color
Many shades will color the spirit
Pacing slowly
In the gallery of dreams.
On display to the masses,
The elegant and obscene.

Indescribably lost
In a forest of words.
Too quick to be caught,
Now muttering, absurd.

Invitation to
The cosmic dance.
Toss your handful of dreams
And ****** one by chance.

Hold it now, tightly to your chest.
Inhale deep the allure.
Earth now swallowing up
All the unjust and impure.

Misplaced somewhere in time.
Where fear survives.
Where when the sun goes down,
The soul comes alive.

Ancient, tribal chanting
Off in the distance of dark night.
Cloaked by the wind
With demonic grin
Across an ocean of fright.

Tribal dances on the
Shores of desire.
Lost in this world,
Awaiting the pathway,
Lit by moon and fire.

Strings have all snapped.
Chains busted at the link.
Stuck in the gallery of dreams
Amongst memories of which
You cannot unthink.
Jose Gonzalez Aug 2015
I stand in a Gallery of Beauty, different workings of art.
Each of their own story, varied of mediums.

Stunning sculptures, wonderful and painted canvases, soul stirring spoken word,
classic and modern forms, all thought provoking.

In this gallery are Masterful Creations in which to admire, to stand in awe,
and appreciate the Inner and outer workings that make them Beautiful indeed.

Copyright ©  2015
RAJ NANDY Nov 2015
GREAT ARTISTS & THEIR IMMORTAL WORKS :
CONCLUDING ITALIAN RENAISSANCE IN
VERSE.  -  By Raj Nandy, New Delhi.

Dear Readers, continuing my Story of Western Art in Verse chronologically, I had covered an Introduction to the Italian Renaissance previously. That background story was necessary to appreciate Renaissance Art fully. Now, I cover the Art of that period in a summarized form, mentioning mainly the salient features to curb the length. The cream here lies in the 'Art of the High Renaissance Period'! Hope you like it. Thanks, - Raj.

                          INTRODUCTION
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, &
  Poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
                                                        – Leonardo Da Vinci
In the domain of Renaissance Art, we notice the
enduring influence of the Classical touch!
Ancient Greek statues and Roman architectures,
Inspired the Renaissance artists in their innovative
ventures!
The pervasive spirit of Humanism influenced
creation of life-like human forms;
Adding ****** expressions and depth, deviating
from the earlier stiff Medieval norms.
While religious subjects continued to get depicted
in three-dimensional Renaissance Art;
Portraits, **** figures, and secular subjects, also
began to appear during this great ‘Re-birth’!
The artists of the Early and High Renaissance Era
are many who deserve our adoration and artistic
due.
Yet for the sake of brevity, I mention only the
Great Masters, who are handful and few.

EARLY RENAISSANCE ARTISTS & THEIR ART

GITTO THE PIONEER:
During early 13th Century we find, Dante’s
contemporary Gitto di Bondone the Florentine,
Painting human figures in all its beauty and form
for the first time!
His masterwork being the 40 fresco cycle in the
Arena Chapel in Padua, depicting the life of the
****** and Christ, completed in 1305.
Giotto made the symbolic Medieval spiritual art
appear more natural and realistic,
By depicting human emotion, depth with an
artistic perspective!
Art Scholars consider him to be the trailblazer
inspiring the later painters of the Renaissance;
They also refer to Giorgio Vasari’s “Lives Of
The Eminent Artists,” - as their main source.
Giotto had dared to break the shackles of earlier
Medieval two-dimensional art style,
By drawing lines which head towards a certain
focal point behind;
Like an illusionary vanishing point in space,
- opening up a 3-D ‘window into space’!
This ‘window technique’ got adopted by the
later artists with grace.
(
Giorgio Vasari, a 16th Century painter, architect & Art
historian, was born in 1511 in Arezzy, a city under the
Florentine Republic, and painted during the High
Renaissance Period.)

VASARI’s book published in 1550 in Florence
was dedicated to Cosimo de Medici.
Forms an important document of Italian Art
History.
This valuable book covers a 250 year’s span.
Commencing with Cimabue the tutor of Giotto,
right up to Tizian, - better known as Titan!
Vasari also mentions four lesser known Female
Renaissance Artists; Sister Plantilla, Madonna
Lucrezia, Sofonista Anguissola, and Properzia
de Rossi;
And Rossi’s painting “Joseph and Potiphar’s
Wife”,
An impressive panel art which parallels the
unrequited love Rossi experienced in her own
life !
(
Joseph the elder son of Jacob, taken captive by Potiphar
the Captain of Pharaoh’s guard, was desired by Potiphar’s
wife, whose advances Joseph repulsed. Rossi’s painting
of 1520s inspired later artists to paint their own versions
of this same Old Testament Story.)

Next I briefly mention architects Brunelleschi
and Ghiberti, and the sculptor Donatello;
Not forgetting the painters like Masaccio,
Verrocchio and Botticelli;
Those Early Renaissance Artists are known to
us today thanks to the Art historian Giorgio
Vasari .

BRUNELLESCHI has been mentioned in Section
One of my Renaissance Story.
His 114 meter high dome of Florence Cathedral
created artistic history!
This dome was constructed without supporting
buttresses with a double egg shaped structure;
Stands out as an unique feat of Florentine
Architecture!
The dome is larger than St Paul’s in London,
the Capitol Building of Washington DC, and
also the St Peters in the Vatican City!

GILBERTI is remembered for his massive
15 feet high gilded bronze doors for the
Baptistery of Florence,
Containing twenty carved panels with themes
from the Old Testament.
Which took a quarter century to complete,
working at his own convenience.
His exquisite naturalistic carved figures in the
true spirit of the Renaissance won him a prize;
And his gilded doors were renamed by Michel
Angelo as ‘The Gates of Paradise’!
(
At the age of 23 yrs Lorenzo Ghiberti had won the
competition beating other Architects for craving the
doors of the Baptistery of Florence!)

DONATELLO’S full size bronze David was
commissioned by its patron Cosimo de’ Medici.
With its sensual contrapposto stance in the
classical Greek style with its torso bent slightly.
Is known as the first free standing **** statue
since the days of Classical Art history!
The Old Testament relates the story of David
the shepherd boy, who killed the giant Goliath
with a single sling shot;
Cutting off his head with Goliath’s own sword!
Thus saving the Israelites from Philistine’s wrath.
This unique statue inspired all later sculptors to
strive for similar artistic excellence;
Culminating in Michael Angelo’s **** statue of
David, known for its sculptured brilliance!

MASSACCIO (1401- 1428) joined Florentine
Artist’s Guild at the age of 21 years.
A talented artist who abandoned the old Gothic
Style, experimenting without fears!
Influenced by Giotto, he mastered the use of
perspective in art.
Introduced the vanishing point and the horizon
line, - while planning his artistic works.
In his paintings ‘The Expulsion from Eden’
and ‘The Temptation’,
He introduced the initial **** figures in Italian
Art without any inhibition!
Though up North in Flanders, Van Eyck the
painter had already made an artistic innovation,
By painting ‘Adam and Eve’ displaying their
****** in his artistic creation;
Thereby creating the first **** painting in Art
History!
But such figures greatly annoyed the Church,
Since nudes formed a part of pagan art!
So these Northern artists to pacify the Church
and pass its censorship,
Cleverly under a fig leaf cover made their art to
appear moralistic!
Van Eyck was also the innovator of oil-based paints,
Which later replaced the Medieval tempera, used to
paint angles and saints.

Masaccio’s fresco ‘The Tribute Money’ requires
here a special mention,
For his use of perspective with light and shade,
Where the blithe figure of the Roman tax collector
is artistically made.
Christ is painted with stern nobility, Peter in angry
majesty;
And every Apostle with individualized features,
attire, and pose;
With light coming from a single identifiable source!
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,
and unto God things that are God’s”, said Christ;
Narrated in Mathew chapter 22 verse 21, which
cannot be denied.
Unfortunately, Masaccio died at an early age of
27 years.
Said to have been killed by a jealous rival artist,
who had shed no tears!

BOTTICELLI the Florentine was born half a
century after the Dutch Van Eyck;
Remembered even to this day for his painting
the ‘Birth of Venus’, an icon of Art History
making him famous.
This painting depicts goddess Venus rising out
of the sea on a conch shell,
And the glorious path of female **** painting
commenced in Italy, - casting a spell!
His full scale **** Venus shattered the Medieval
taboo on ******.
With a subject shift from religious art to Classical
Mythology;
Removing the ‘fig-leaf cover’ over Art permanently!

I end this Early Period with VERROCCHIO, born
in Florence in fourteen hundred and thirty five.
A trained goldsmith proficient in the skills of both
painting and sculpture;
Who under the patronage of the Medici family
had thrived.
He had set up his workshop in Florence were he
trained Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, and other
famous Renaissance artists alike!

FOUR CANONICAL PAINTING MODES OF
THE RENAISSANCE:
During the Renaissance the four canonical painting
modes we get to see;
Are Chiaroscuro, Sfumato, Cangiante and Unione.
‘Chiaroscuro’ comes from an Italian word meaning
‘light and dark’, a painting technique of Leonardo,
Creating a three dimensional dramatic effect to
steal the show.
Later also used with great excellence by Rubens
and the Dutch Rembrandt as we know.
‘Sfumato’ from Italian ‘sfumare’, meaning to tone
down or evaporate like a smoke;
As seen in Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’ where the
colors blend seamlessly like smoke!
‘Cangiante’ means to ‘change’, where a painter
changed to a lighter or a darker hue, when the
original hue could not be made light enough;
As seen in the transformation from green to
yellow in Prophet Daniel’s robe,
On the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Rome.
‘Unione’ followed the ‘sfumato’ quality, but
maintained vibrant colors as we get to see;
In Raphael’s ‘Alba Madonna’ in Washington’s
National Gallery.

ART OF HIGH RENAISSANCE ERA - THE
GOLDEN AGE.

“Where the spirit does not work with the
hand there is no art.”- Leonardo

With Giotto during the Trecento period of the
14th century,
Painting dominated sculpture in the artistic
endeavor of Italy.
During the 15th century the Quattrocento, with
Donetello and Giberti,
Sculpture certainly dominated painting as we get to
see!
But during the 16th century or the Cinquecento,
Painting again took the lead commencing with
the great Leonardo!
This Era was cut short by the death of Lorenzo the
Magnificent to less than half a century; (Died in 1493)
But gifted great masterpieces to the world enriching
the world of Art tremendously!
The Medieval ‘halo’ was now replaced by a fresh
naturalness;
And both Madonna and Christ acquired a more
human likeness!
Portrait paintings began to be commissioned by
many rich patrons.
While artists acquired both recognition and a status
of their own.
But the artistic focus during this Era had shifted from
Florence,  - to Venice and Rome!
In the Vatican City, Pope Julius-II was followed by
Pope Leo the Tenth,
He commissioned many works of art which are
still cherished and maintained!
Now cutting short my story let me mention the
famous Italian Renaissance Superstar Trio;
Leonardo, Raphael, and Michael Angelo.

LEONARDO DA VINCI was born in 1452 in
the village of Vinci near the City of Florence,
Was deprived of a formal education being born
illegitimate!
He was left-handed, and wrote from right to left!
He soon excelled his teacher Varrocchio, by
introduced oil based paints into Italy;
Whose translucent colors with his innovative
techniques, enhanced his painting artistically.
Sigmund Freud had said, “Leonardo was like a
man who awoke too early in the darkness while
others were all still asleep,” - he was awake!
Leonardo’s  historic ‘Note Book’ has sketches of a
battle tank, a flying machine, a parachute, and many
other anatomical and technical sketches and designs;
Reflecting the ever probing mind of this versatile
genius who was far ahead of his time!
His ‘Vituvian Man’, ‘The Last Supper’, and ‘Mona Lisa’,
Remain as his enduring works of art and more popular
than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Pen and ink sketch of the ‘Vitruvian Man’ with arms
and leg apart inside a square and a circle, also known
as the ‘Proportion of Man’;
Where his height correspondence to the length
of his outstretched hands;
Became symbolic of the true Renaissance spirit
of Man.
‘The Last Supper’ a 15ft by 29ft fresco work on
the refectory wall of Santa Maria, commissioned
by Duke of Milan Ludovic,
Is the most reproduced religious painting which
took three years to complete!
Leonardo searched the streets of Milan before
painting Judas’ face;
And individualized each figure with competence!
‘Mona Lisa’ with her enigmatic smile continues
to inspire artists, poets, and her viewers alike,
since its creation;
Which Leonardo took four years to complete
with utmost devotion.
Leonardo used oil on poplar wood panel, unique
during those days,
With ‘sfumato’ blending of translucent colors with
light and shade;
Creating depth, volume, and form, with a timeless
expression on Mona Lisa’s countenance!
Art Historian George Varasi says that it is the face
of one Lisa Gherardini,
Wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant of Italy.
Insurance Companies failed to make any estimation
of this portrait, declaring its value as priceless!
Today it remains housed inside an air-conditioned,
de-humidified chamber, within a triple bullet-proof
glass, in Louvre France.
“It is the ultimate symbol of human civilization”,
- exclaimed President Kennedy;
And with this I pay my humble tribute to our
Leonardo da Vinci!

MICHEL ANGELO BUONARROTI (1475-1564):
This Tuscan born sculptor, painter, architect, and
poet, was a versatile man,
Worthy to be called the archetype of the true
‘Renaissance Man’!
At the age of twelve was placed under the famous
painter Ghirlandio,
Where his inclination for sculpting began to show.
Under the liberal patronage of Lorenzo de Medici,
He developed his talent as a sculptor as we get
to see.
In the Medici Palace, he was struck by his rival
Torregiano on the nose with a mallet;
Disfiguring permanently his handsome face!
His statue of ‘Bacchus’ of 1497 and the very
beauty of the figure,
Earned him the commission for the ‘PIETA’ in
St Peter’s Basilica;
Where from a single piece of Carrara marble he
carved out the figure of ****** Mary grieving
over the dead body of Christ;
This iconic piece of sculpture which along with
his ‘David’ earned him the ‘Superstar rights’!

Michel Angelo’s **** ‘DAVID’ weighed 6.4 tons
and stood 17 feet in height;
Unlike the bronze David of Donatello, which
shows him victorious after the fight!
Michel’s David an epitome of strength and
youthful vigour with a Classical Greek touch;
Displayed an uncircumcised ***** which had
shocked the viewers very much!
But it was consistent with the Mannerism in Art,
in keeping with the Renaissance spirit as such!
David displays an attitude of placid calm with
his knitted eyebrows and sidelong glance;
With his left hand over the left shoulder
holding a sling,
Coolly surveys the giant Goliath before his
single sling shot fatally stings!
This iconic sculpture has a timeless appeal even
after 500 years, depicting the ‘Renaissance Man’
at his best;
Vigorous, healthy, beautiful, rational and fully
competent!
Finally we come to the Ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel of Rome,
Where Pope Julius-II’s persistence resulted in the
creation of world’s greatest single fresco that was
ever known!
Covering some 5000 square feet, took five years
to complete.
Special scaffoldings had to be erected for painting
scenes from ‘The Creation’ till the ‘Day of Judgment’
on a 20 meter’s high ceiling;
Where the Central portion had nine scenes from
the ‘Book of Genesis’,
With ‘Creation of Adam’ having an iconic significance!
Like Leonardo, Michel Angelo was left-handed and died
a bachelor - pursuing his art with devotion;
A man with caustic wit, proud reserve, and sublimity
of imagination!

RAFFAELLO SANZIO (1483-1520):
This last of the famous High Renaissance trio was
born in 1483 in Urbino,
Some eight years after Michel Angelo.
His Madonna series and decorative frescos
glorified the Library of Pope Julius the Second;
Who was impressed by his fresco ‘The School
of Athens’;
And commissioned Raphael to decorate his
Study in the Vatican.
Raphael painted this large fresco between 1510
and 1511, initially named as the ‘Knowledge of
Causes’,
But the 17th century guide books referred to it
as ‘The School of Athens’.
Here Plato and Aristotle are the central figures
surrounded by a host of ancient Greek scholars
and philosophers.
The bare footed Plato is seen pointing skywards,
In his left hand holds his book ‘Timaeus’;
His upward hand gesture indicating his ‘World
of Forms’ and transcendental ideas!
Aristotle is seen pointing downwards, his left
hand holds his famous book the ‘Ethics’;
His blue dress symbolizes water and earth
with an earthly fix.
The painting illustrates the historic continuance
of Platonic thoughts,
In keeping with the spirit of the Renaissance!
Raphael’s last masterpiece ‘Transfiguration’
depicts the resurrected Christ,
Flanked by prophets
Nigel Morgan Nov 2013
I sew therefore I am. This is what women do she thought, even with the television on, muttering and flickering in the corner. But its turning on was but a reflex action to being alone when she came down stairs after reading to her child, and the sitting room empty of his presence. Only the cats occupied her chair where she now sat and sewed.

For once her sewing pile had his nightshirt, a tear at the bottom, a missing button. It was old, well-worn, of a light blue stripe. That was what he wore in bed, and, as he invariably read to her each night, she would slip her hand inside the shirt, across his stomach to a place she had discovered at the top of his pelvis that seemed to be there for her hand to rest. One night she had felt the tear and thought, I must mend this.

She knew something of the feminist canon: Rozsika Parker's Subversive Stitch lay browsed but unread on her bookshelf. The impact of the book was enough: that the relationship between women’s lives and embroidery had brought sewing out from the private world of female domesticity into the fine arts and created a breakthrough in art history and criticism. She remembered writing that somewhere in a student essay. But mending clothes was hardly fine art. And then she remembered Sashiko, the ‘little stabs’, that functional stitching of clothes in Japan.

They had met at the station for a 30-mile train journey to a nearby city. It was a blue-cold December day and they had felt warmed by seeing from the train window a covering of snow on the ploughed fields. She had worn her grey coat with the green lining and an indigo blue-pattern scarf, a swinging denim skirt and orange-patterned top. Tights and boots. He: she had forgotten. Funny that, remembering what she had worn, but for the man she was beginning to feel so hopelessly in love with, and by the end of that day, hold in her heart, seemingly, for evermore, she could not remember. His old brown jacket perhaps . . . No, she couldn’t be certain.

He had loved the exhibition. It was an unencountered world, though he had experienced Japan, but not, as he said (at length), the rural fastness of an offshore island where women were loggers and men were firemen. It was the simplicity of the stitch that captured his attention, the running white-cotton stitch on the blue indigo workware, occasionally a red thread on a decorative piece – a fireman’s tunic. This was stitching about mending, reinforcing a worn area by stitching on a new patch, and in doing so novel patterns evolved, so novel that this traditional stitch became an inspiration for Reiko Sudo, Hideko Takahshi, and the cutting edge textile designers of 20C Japan. It was reuse that made sense.

He had loved the names of the stitches: passes in the mountain, fishing nets, the interlaced circles of two birds in flight, woven bamboo, the seven treasures of Buddha.  She remembered the proximity of him, touching his arm to show, and sometimes just to touch his arm – yes, he was wearing that old brown coat. It was before they were lovers, but she was sure then they were in love, and it seemed impossible and quite wrong to be in this large gallery, flowing too and fro, apart then together, apart then together. She thought: he knows how I want to be when looking at such things; I need space. And she supposed he needed space too because the moment they entered the gallery he left her alone. But that coming together was, and remained ever after, a warm thing, and she remembered that day being a little aroused by it being so.

Later, they had walked a short way from the gallery to a tiny cottage-like bookshop he knew, a bookshop full of impossibly large books on art and architecture. He had something to find: The Crystal Chain Letters – architectural fantasies Bruno Taut and his circle by Ian Boyd Whyte. There had been her favourite  Mark Hearld cards and his collaged pictures in the window. She went upstairs and knelt on the wooden floor to take out the books on gardens on the lowest shelves. The winter sun had poured through a nearby window, warming her face till it glowed. But she was already glowing inside. And he came and knelt behind her. He rested his head on her shoulder and she had turned and put her arms around him. They had kissed, a delicate, exploratory, yet to be lovers kiss that had made her feel weaker than she already felt. She knew she would remember that moment, and she had, here on her chair years later, now in a different sitting room from the one she had returned to that evening without him, returning to her husband and children. And she had missed him beyond any measure and written to him the next day, a letter written in her head before she had slept, and then the following morning, with the children at school, she had lain on her bed and calmly touched herself to remember his kiss, their kiss.
Donall Dempsey Dec 2018
!HEART GALLERY!

You step forth
from your bath

as if you were
a Bonard

come alive

spread yourself
across crisp cool sheets

as sensationally
sensuous

as a Modigliani
****

or a Noguchi
sculpture.

Here, you
Matisse

if only
for a brief

moment now so
Ernst!

Now so
playfully Picasso...ish!

I smile
as you Vermeer!

"Come here
& kiss me!"

You my Magritte!

You my Dali!

You my laughing walking talking
'art gallery!
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
Ah the persimmon, a word from an extinct language of the Powatan people of the tidewater Virginia, spoken until the mid 18th C when its Blackfoot Indian speakers switched to English. It was putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, then persimmon, a fruit. Like the tomato, it is a ‘true berry’.
 
Here in this postcard we have a painting of four kaki: the Japanese persimmon. Of these four fruit, one is nearly ripe; three are yet to ripen. They have been picked three days and shelter under crinkled leaves, still stalked. Now, the surface on which these astringent, tangy fruit rest, isn’t it wondrous in its blue and mottled green? It is veined, a ceramic surface perhaps? The blue-green mottled, veined surface catches reflected light; the shadows are delicate but intense.
 
You told me that it troubled you to read my stories because so often they stepped between reality and fantasy, truth and playful invention. When you said this I meant to say (but we changed the subject): I write this way to confront what I know to be true but cannot present verbatim. I have to make into a fiction my remembered observations, those intense emotions of the moment. They are too precious not to save, and like the persimmon benefit from laying out in the sun to dry: to be eaten raw; digested to rightly control my ch’i, and perhaps your ch’i too.
 
So today a story about four kaki, heart-shaped hachiya, and hidden therein those most private feelings, messages of love and passion, what can be seen, what is unseen, thoughts and un-thoughts, mysteries and evasions.
 
                                                                            ----
 
 
Professor Minoru retired last year and now visits his university for the occasional show of his former colleagues and their occasionally-talented students. He spends his days in his suburban house with its tiny non-descript garden: a dog run, a yard no less. No precious garden. It is also somewhere (to his neighbours’ disgust) to hang wet clothes. It is just grass surrounded by a high fence. He walks there briefly in the early morning before making tea and climbing the stairs to his studio.
 
The studio runs the whole length of his house. When his wife Kinako left him he obliterated any presence of her, left his downtown studio, and converted three rooms upstairs into one big space. This is where Mosuku, his beautiful Akita, sleeps, coming downstairs only to eat and defecate in the small garden. Minoru and Mosuku go out twice each day: to midday Mass at the university chaplaincy; to the park in the early evening to meet his few friends walking their dogs. Otherwise he is solitary except for three former students who call ‘to keep an eye on the old man’.
 
He works every day. He has always done this, every day. Even in the busiest times of the academic year, he rose at 5.0am to draw, a new sheet of mitsumatagami placed the night before on his worktable ready. Ready for the first mark.
 
Imagine. He has climbed the stairs, tea in his left hand, sits immediately in front of this ivory-coloured paper, places the steaming cup to his far left, takes a charcoal stick, and  . . . the first mark, the mark from the world of dreams, memories, regrets, anxieties, whatever the night has stored in his right hand appears, progresses, forms an image, a sketch, as minutes pass his movement is always persistence, no reflection or studied consideration, his sketch is purposeful and wholly his own. He has long since learnt to empty his hand of artifice, of all memory.
 
When Kinako left he destroyed every trace of her, and of his past too. So powerful was his intent to forget, he found he had to ask the way to Shinjuko station, to his studio in the university. He called in a cleaning company to remove everything not in two boxes in the kitchen (of new clothes, his essential documents, 5 books, a plant, Mosuko’s feeding bowl). They were told (and paid handsomely) to clean with vigour. Then the builders and decorators moved in. He changed his phone number and let it be known (to his dog walker friends) that he had decided from now on to use an old family name, Sawato. He would be Sawato. And he was.
 
His wife, and she was still that legally, had found a lover. Kinako was a student of Professor Minoru, nearly thirty years younger, and a fragile beauty. She adored ‘her professor’, ‘her distinguished husband’, but one day at an opening (at Kinosho Kikaku – Gallery 156) she met an American artist, Fern Sophie Citron, and that, as they say in Japan, was that. She went back to Fern’s studio, where this rather plump middle-aged woman took photographs of Kinako relentlessly in costume after costume, and then without any costume, on the floor, in the bath, against a wall, never her whole body, and always in complete silence. Two days later she sent a friend to collect her belongings and to deliver a postcard to her husband. It was his painting of four persimmon. Persimmon (1985) 54 by 36 cm, mineral pigment on paper.
 
‘Hiroshi’, she wrote in red biro, ‘I am someone else now it is best you do not know. Please forgive’.
 
Sawato’s bedroom is on the ground floor now. There is a mat that is rolled away each morning. On the floor there are five books leaning against each other in a table-top self-standing shelf. The Rule of St Benedict (in Latin), The I-Ching (in Chinese), The Odes of Confucius, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (10th C folk tale) and a manual of Go, the Shogi Zushiki. Placed on a low table there is a laptop computer connected to the Internet, and beside the computer his father’s Go board (of dark persimmon wood), its counters pebbles from the beach below his family’s home. Each game played on the Internet he transcribes to his physical board.
 
He ascribes his mental agility, his calm and perseverance in his studio practice, to his nightly games of Go in hyperspace. He is an acknowledged master. His games studied assiduously, worldwide.
 
For 8 months in 1989 he studied the persimmon as still-life. He had colleagues send him examples of the fruit from distant lands. The American Persimmon from Virginia, the Black Persimmon or Black Sapote from Mexico (its fruit has green skin and white flesh, which turns black when ripe), the Mabolo or Velvet-apple native to Philippines - a bright red fruit when ripe, sometimes known as the Korean Mango, and more and more. His studio looked like a vegetable store, persimmons everywhere. He studied the way the colours of their skins changed every day. He experimented with different surfaces on which to place these tannin-rich fruits. He loved to touch their skins, and at night he would touch Kinako, his fingers rich from the embrace of fifty persimmon fruits, and she . . . she had never known such gentleness, such strength, such desire. It was as though he painted her with his body, his long fingers tracing the shape of the fruit, his tongue exploring each crevice of her long, slim, fruit-rich body. She had never been loved so passionately, so completely. At her desk in the University library special collection, where she worked as a researcher for a fine art academic journal, she would dream of the night past and anticipate the night to come, when, always on her pillow a different persimmon, she would fall to ****** and beyond.
 
Minoru drew and painted, printed and photographed more persimmons than he could keep track of. After six months he picked seven paintings, and a collection of 12 drawings. The rest he burnt. When he exhibited these treasures, Persimmon (1989) Mineral pigment on paper 54, by 36 cm was immediately acquired by Tokyo National Museum. It became a favourite reproduction, a national treasure. He kept seeing it on the walls of houses in magazines, cheap reproductions in department stores, even on a TV commercial. Eventually he dismissed it, totally, from his ever-observant, ever-scanning eyes. So when Kinako sent him the postcard he looked at it with wonder and later wrote this poem in his flowing hand using the waka style:
 
 
*Ah, the persimmon
Lotus fruit of the Gods
 
Heartwood of a weaver’s shuttle,
The archer’s bow, the timpanist sticks,
 
I take a knife to your ripe skin.
Reveal or not the severity of my winter years.
Mateuš Conrad Dec 2016
by simply watching 'don't call me crazy'
with regards to mental health... a bbc3 documentary.

i find a few pointers, apart from the fact that i've learned
English to a standard that i could
be misjudged as a native, what with african psychiatrists
   and the history of England as  a postcolonial nation...
     the problems of premature depression
and other divergences from the "norm"
  (or is that a tu-dum tss... "the norm"?
i never know how to tell the joke a proper
way, so many jokes are mothered
by punctuation, i don't know
how many there are that aren't) -
so aside from that... the fact that i'm
faking being British... if you have any grievances
against me: you'd better me Ukranian
or Lithuanian... otherwise? *******.
yes, i know the Poles did terrible things,
Vlad wasn't the only person ready to
do sadistic **** on people by impaling them
on sharpened-wooden poles...
   and you thought the crucifix was bad...
but oh look... the artists inserted a peddle-stool
so he could stand while on the cross...
rather than actually: hang from it.
talk about a woman faking an ******.
then again: he was all kissy-kissy with
a centurion having cured the ravaging libido
of his "demon possessed" daughter who
had a hot bagel flirt under her skirt for him...
or as i say: **** a prostitutes
           **** for an extra ten quid: the sigma
of how many ***** that thing has seen
turns your tongue into a dagger...
that's where i have seen my salvation:
   not in the eucharist or degrading symbols
of a godly stature.
       no, the point is:
this misapprehension of where the origin of
thinking resides...
  the true materialists posit the origin of thought
in the brain... but, honey-bee, the brain
is preoccupied with its materialistic responsibilities...
to shoot adrenaline when bungee jumping...
why think it isn't already preoccupied with anything
but thought? the brain doesn't think
no more than the heart might... or your *******
wetted or your phallus becoming *****...
there's no point in ascribing thought to the brain,
even if you abstract the source of thinking
toward the brain as a *mind
,
     the suggestion parallels what the brain does,
and what the brain isn't...
   as with the notion of god...
          ridiculous for most people:
or also ridiculous when man is taught to stress
his "individuality"...
                               both seem on equal footing
to be considered phantoms, but the individual is
more of a phantom than god...
                             and as Diogenes of Sinope found out:
you'll find god and the Archimedean eureka
quicker than finding an honest man -
who takes a candle at noon into a market square?
     ah: that famous lunacy...
but in the beginning the word was with god,
       yes, because when we started we only said ooh ooh!
and made those frightening monkey faces to
war off evil spirits and the Arabic third eye, evil.
   Darwinism created historical fiction...
           a bit like science fiction, but instead of looking
forward, historical fiction is looking back,
toward a time when people struggled against
the elements, and had no sense of having to think
given their actual pentagram equilibrium was tuned
into what was around them...
                   the senses could never deviate from
the world of shouting down a cave and hearing echo,
it's only when thought emerged and conceived words
   that the dubiousness of simple musing:
chicken or egg first? created auxiliary sense perceptions...
   we have left the sensual world...
           for we have "enriched" our lives with
thinking, the byproduct of which is what scared me
about this bbc3 documentary... that all mental
illness stems from allow thought to automate itself...
      in other words having no moral compass...
in other words: not having read a single book
   and learned a process of equating thinking with
narrating... as a sensible option to what others tend
to do (the innovators), and allow narration to be a void...
into which they pour all their thinking to
fill that void... with, say, Thomas Edison and the lightbulb...
Isaac Newton and gravity...
it's just scary that people can allow automated thinking,
     made even more evident that counters
the punitive transgender pronoun scenario
   that only focuses on the pronouns: he, it, she.
these youngsters in the documentary are dealing with
submitting to a pronoun focus of: i, it, you.
                      in some vague sense of a religiosity,
that they cannot allow cogito ergo sum into their minds,
a possessiveness of body, that later translates
into an identification with the mind: which is -
well, if you're going to posit the origin of thinking
in your brain, which isn't even there - you mind
as well posit the mind, seeing how the soul
is argued against primarily through our mortal condition.
   is the eye the window to the soul?
  and the brain merely a paraphrasing of that statement?
perhaps...
              but i wouldn't be too worried
             as Walter Benjamin was about art in the age
of mechanical reproduction... i'd be worried
that art is bound to the morgue of psychiatric institutions...
that art is not a term that suggest the origins of
   such ailments:
due the original lack of it in such places:
  but that that it was never there... and that finding
art can be therapeutic is why art can be scolded
               and establishment art is nothing more
than the pinnacle of us, having abused words,
waging fewer and fewer words, can't produce
    a work of beauty... merely a work that occupies
a space.
                art = space...
          that's the statement these days...
being oversaturated with scientific assurances has created
this insurgence of over-competence or making
art not art in a sense timelessness, as in Dante's
comedy isn't equal to space,
            but that it's equal to timelessness...
    or a statue by Donatello...
                          these days art = space...
because it's not going to be timeless... it was once
the iconoclasm in metaphor of: the lion of Judea...
          Lucifer as the morning star...
                         it will not be timeless because it
has been reduced to the establishment's aesthetic
of tracey emins' unmade bed... or
       damien hirst's the physical impossibility
of death in the mind of someone living -
i never said these things aren't art... some people
said cubism would never be art compared to
surrealism... but shove a triangle into Pythagoras'
head and you get some sort of mathematics...
              it's based on that principle...
what wouldn't work in the case of hirst would be
to put a cancerous tumour into a plastic cage...
people would associate it as some sort of atomist
representation of a nanometre worth's of some
larger thing... i do appreciate the fact that big
art works... it needs so much face to embody
the fact that you are to think about it...
                         and not to have a **** over it:
it's art that's anti-arousal and more and more
and more about how to juxtapose it in your mind,
always to abstract the brain as the mind
   and to never appreciate the idea of having
to source thinking as solely endemic to the brain...
the brain is busy, the heart is busy...
            we have perpetuated an outer-body
experience throughout our time since the time when
we first acquired the phonos of thought...
                 and it is a peculiar "sound", thought...
a dance memorable to actually having a hope in
possessing a soul... even after all sturdy things
shrink into the obsolete, and even vegetable.
but the piece i'm referring to?
     kinda paradoxical... given that a shark would
probably eat you... but then again counter-paradoxical
given the fact that most shark-attacks
     make the shark refrain from eating you,
but merely nibbling on you and leaving you alive
albeit nibbled on... maned... with scars...
so i get the part where the shark is in fact:
an impossible death to conceive... only for the lucky few.
  apart from the fact that the shark is caged
like a prehistoric mosquito lodged in amber...
              woodland gold, amber...
  that's the literal interpretation...
                                 but it's still a moving piece,
modern art isn't crap at all... it's just something you
don't get an ******* over...
            take any still life and apply a cognitively
based chemical reaction: stimulate a narrative...
in that famous phrasing, connect the: dot dot dot(s).
    become, in that almost ridiculous sense:
     a Sherlock Holmes... but all that died was about
a minute's worth of your attention...
this is what's fuelling revising a need for television,
big static things... my personal favourite?
that Tate Modern installation by richard holt -
hand on heart: about 3 times...
              i felt like a mosquito drawn into that:
ah the bright shiny light... 180º and a glass ceiling...
that's all it was...
                   art in the age of mechanical reproduction
has to almost ridicule man, or at least ridicule
the idea that he can become an individual,
    as was the ridicule of man that he could become
a god...
               sooner or later any attempt at individualism
becomes trendy, vogue, and magnetises and
monetises a need to mimic, replicate... one punk today:
20,000 punks tomorrow...
       /
           but that sort of mincing is mostly associated
by the bewilderment of our own success...
                           it's almost like a we're engaging with
a sabotage process: deliberately trying to undermine
ourselves by staging a variety of "anti-social" endeavours
we promised ourselves upon a belief in the "individual"...
      modern pieces of art debunk that myth,
it's that modern art pieces require so much space that
gave them the most adaptation prowess over, say,
a puritan's concept of art, as in a Turner painting...
           classical art can be put into a Florentine market
square and be passed by quiet casually,
because it provides an assurance - it forbids engaging
in an iconoclastic vigil, it's an assurance of the past
and how golden it was... but a modern sculpture
in a busy place where many people congregate
without first allowing it the asylum of an art gallery
and people will treat it as a chance to hone on it,
vandalise it, or steal it and sell it from scrap metal...
       modern art requires an asylum to be accepted,
an art gallery is an asylum where people with
good intentions enter and leave appreciating something
that, to the pleb, would get a rotten egg thrown at it.
    and as with regards to how i phrased something
earlier? how philosophy talks of the logos
     that doesn't see the phonos: or the dichotomy
between actual sound, and sound ascribed a
optically-phonetic disparity encryption:
deepened by a self-styled aesthetic of the "ruling elites"...
          and in the beginning the word was with god...
we're merely licking the toes of such a possibility...
         and just you try to bypass the orthodoxy of
encoding sounds with queer spelling...
                     you, in a sense, learn two-languages
with every single one you learn...
   how to say it and how to write it...
                              and then there the how you hear it
and how sometimes you hear different lyrics to
the ones sang...
                         a bit like the Chinese,
who, upon reading the English translation were
bothersome to get rich quickly after seeing
too many matchsticks in ideogram translated as merely
Li Po; i'd too go bananas and become frustrated
and retaliated by getting to Einsteinian grips with
the mathematical alphabet that bore Li Po... i.e. 1, 0
through to 9.
      ah yes... philosophy that doesn't appreciate
grammatical words, or in that sense credible for a biologist
not necessitating a genus to ease any argument,
to actually further it... or to play ping-pong...
   grammatical words are equivalent to the subconscious
given we tend to write some a sense of fluidity...
the unconscious? schematics akin to triangles...
  "images" or rather shapes...
                             beginning with Δ: isosceles...
later varied to the Γ triangle of Pythagoras...
          and as far as we got, a respectability to
not conjure up a square as worthy of encoding a sound...
nearest being the H... and that turned out to
be much ha ha ha.
                   still... i can't come to grips with these teenagers
in the bbc3 documentary talking about
automated thinking! i'm not denying it, i'm not
doubting it... it's just a question:
          how could such a pronoun muddle come about
that you discourage ownership of all your mental
activity? and instead leave a rampant kindred of an
abandoned snail's shell body to wreck havoc?
   it's almost like a a want to refuse to use words...
or encode words... rarely are people told
that the eyes are used as encoding organs...
                   but that the tongue knows no filters...
what the eye ingests... the tongue sometimes can't
digest... and vice-versus... that what the eyes digest
the tongue can't ingest: hence the rebellion
against contrary political ambitions -
   the ears? well: the ears are allocated the heart as
a partner... the tongue and eyes are entwined...
but the ears are allocated the heart...
                     you tend to feel words more than
hear them... because by the time the tongue
represses combining itself with the eyes to
that elevation of thought... your body becomes
autocratically synchronised to a sort of music
of heightened of unanimous response...
             well, it's not exactly a fetish watching such
documentaries.. iconoclasm in metaphor...
  i swear i wrote this before... how philosophy avoids
grammatical genuses... and how all too
ambivalent poetically equivalent nouns and verbs
are to hide our imperfections that precipitate from
art... iconoclasm / anamorphosis in metaphors...
                         camaïeu in allegory...
                   divisionism in pun...
                                       chiaroscuro in imagery...
gestural abstraction in onomatopoeia...
                     just some examples, and none necessarily
     convincing - as ever... this is my excuse
for i am always bound to say language is Alcatraz
   and my escape from Alcatraz is bound to metaphors,
fo
Tanya Feb 2019
you pushed me on a wall,
was I a painting to hang?

your tongue spoke my language,
yet I didn’t understand

  what an artist were you
to forcefully draw on me

with your ugliest paints,
with your dirtiest deeds?

that’s not how paintings
should be drawn
but never mind,
                                            
blame it on the alcohol.
Ivan Lee Aug 2018
She flaunts her flaws like it was a piece of art in a gallery,
She let the people criticized her,
She let the people love her,
She let the people interpret every detail of her


But as the people come into and go out to gallery,
As people get used to her beauty and flaws
She remembered that she's not an art in a gallery
So she hide her flaws like a nun covers her body
Who would not laugh, if Lawrence, hired to grace
His costly canvas with each flattered face,
Abused his art, till Nature, with a blush,
Saw cits grow Centaurs underneath his brush?
Or, should some limner join, for show or sale,
A Maid of Honour to a Mermaid’s tail?
Or low Dubost—as once the world has seen—
Degrade God’s creatures in his graphic spleen?
Not all that forced politeness, which defends
Fools in their faults, could gag his grinning friends.
Believe me, Moschus, like that picture seems
The book which, sillier than a sick man’s dreams,
Displays a crowd of figures incomplete,
Poetic Nightmares, without head or feet.

  Poets and painters, as all artists know,
May shoot a little with a lengthened bow;
We claim this mutual mercy for our task,
And grant in turn the pardon which we ask;
But make not monsters spring from gentle dams—
Birds breed not vipers, tigers nurse not lambs.

  A laboured, long Exordium, sometimes tends
(Like patriot speeches) but to paltry ends;
And nonsense in a lofty note goes down,
As Pertness passes with a legal gown:
Thus many a Bard describes in pompous strain
The clear brook babbling through the goodly plain:
The groves of Granta, and her Gothic halls,
King’s Coll-Cam’s stream-stained windows, and old walls:
Or, in adventurous numbers, neatly aims
To paint a rainbow, or the river Thames.

  You sketch a tree, and so perhaps may shine—
But daub a shipwreck like an alehouse sign;
You plan a vase—it dwindles to a ***;
Then glide down Grub-street—fasting and forgot:
Laughed into Lethe by some quaint Review,
Whose wit is never troublesome till—true.

In fine, to whatsoever you aspire,
Let it at least be simple and entire.

  The greater portion of the rhyming tribe
(Give ear, my friend, for thou hast been a scribe)
Are led astray by some peculiar lure.
I labour to be brief—become obscure;
One falls while following Elegance too fast;
Another soars, inflated with Bombast;
Too low a third crawls on, afraid to fly,
He spins his subject to Satiety;
Absurdly varying, he at last engraves
Fish in the woods, and boars beneath the waves!

  Unless your care’s exact, your judgment nice,
The flight from Folly leads but into Vice;
None are complete, all wanting in some part,
Like certain tailors, limited in art.
For galligaskins Slowshears is your man
But coats must claim another artisan.
Now this to me, I own, seems much the same
As Vulcan’s feet to bear Apollo’s frame;
Or, with a fair complexion, to expose
Black eyes, black ringlets, but—a bottle nose!

  Dear Authors! suit your topics to your strength,
And ponder well your subject, and its length;
Nor lift your load, before you’re quite aware
What weight your shoulders will, or will not, bear.
But lucid Order, and Wit’s siren voice,
Await the Poet, skilful in his choice;
With native Eloquence he soars along,
Grace in his thoughts, and Music in his song.

  Let Judgment teach him wisely to combine
With future parts the now omitted line:
This shall the Author choose, or that reject,
Precise in style, and cautious to select;
Nor slight applause will candid pens afford
To him who furnishes a wanting word.
Then fear not, if ’tis needful, to produce
Some term unknown, or obsolete in use,
(As Pitt has furnished us a word or two,
Which Lexicographers declined to do;)
So you indeed, with care,—(but be content
To take this license rarely)—may invent.
New words find credit in these latter days,
If neatly grafted on a Gallic phrase;
What Chaucer, Spenser did, we scarce refuse
To Dryden’s or to Pope’s maturer Muse.
If you can add a little, say why not,
As well as William Pitt, and Walter Scott?
Since they, by force of rhyme and force of lungs,
Enriched our Island’s ill-united tongues;
’Tis then—and shall be—lawful to present
Reform in writing, as in Parliament.

  As forests shed their foliage by degrees,
So fade expressions which in season please;
And we and ours, alas! are due to Fate,
And works and words but dwindle to a date.
Though as a Monarch nods, and Commerce calls,
Impetuous rivers stagnate in canals;
Though swamps subdued, and marshes drained, sustain
The heavy ploughshare and the yellow grain,
And rising ports along the busy shore
Protect the vessel from old Ocean’s roar,
All, all, must perish; but, surviving last,
The love of Letters half preserves the past.
True, some decay, yet not a few revive;
Though those shall sink, which now appear to thrive,
As Custom arbitrates, whose shifting sway
Our life and language must alike obey.

  The immortal wars which Gods and Angels wage,
Are they not shown in Milton’s sacred page?
His strain will teach what numbers best belong
To themes celestial told in Epic song.

  The slow, sad stanza will correctly paint
The Lover’s anguish, or the Friend’s complaint.
But which deserves the Laurel—Rhyme or Blank?
Which holds on Helicon the higher rank?
Let squabbling critics by themselves dispute
This point, as puzzling as a Chancery suit.

  Satiric rhyme first sprang from selfish spleen.
You doubt—see Dryden, Pope, St. Patrick’s Dean.
Blank verse is now, with one consent, allied
To Tragedy, and rarely quits her side.
Though mad Almanzor rhymed in Dryden’s days,
No sing-song Hero rants in modern plays;
Whilst modest Comedy her verse foregoes
For jest and ‘pun’ in very middling prose.
Not that our Bens or Beaumonts show the worse,
Or lose one point, because they wrote in verse.
But so Thalia pleases to appear,
Poor ******! ****** some twenty times a year!

Whate’er the scene, let this advice have weight:—
Adapt your language to your Hero’s state.
At times Melpomene forgets to groan,
And brisk Thalia takes a serious tone;
Nor unregarded will the act pass by
Where angry Townly “lifts his voice on high.”
Again, our Shakespeare limits verse to Kings,
When common prose will serve for common things;
And lively Hal resigns heroic ire,—
To “hollaing Hotspur” and his sceptred sire.

  ’Tis not enough, ye Bards, with all your art,
To polish poems; they must touch the heart:
Where’er the scene be laid, whate’er the song,
Still let it bear the hearer’s soul along;
Command your audience or to smile or weep,
Whiche’er may please you—anything but sleep.
The Poet claims our tears; but, by his leave,
Before I shed them, let me see ‘him’ grieve.

  If banished Romeo feigned nor sigh nor tear,
Lulled by his languor, I could sleep or sneer.
Sad words, no doubt, become a serious face,
And men look angry in the proper place.
At double meanings folks seem wondrous sly,
And Sentiment prescribes a pensive eye;
For Nature formed at first the inward man,
And actors copy Nature—when they can.
She bids the beating heart with rapture bound,
Raised to the Stars, or levelled with the ground;
And for Expression’s aid, ’tis said, or sung,
She gave our mind’s interpreter—the tongue,
Who, worn with use, of late would fain dispense
(At least in theatres) with common sense;
O’erwhelm with sound the Boxes, Gallery, Pit,
And raise a laugh with anything—but Wit.

  To skilful writers it will much import,
Whence spring their scenes, from common life or Court;
Whether they seek applause by smile or tear,
To draw a Lying Valet, or a Lear,
A sage, or rakish youngster wild from school,
A wandering Peregrine, or plain John Bull;
All persons please when Nature’s voice prevails,
Scottish or Irish, born in Wilts or Wales.

  Or follow common fame, or forge a plot;
Who cares if mimic heroes lived or not!
One precept serves to regulate the scene:
Make it appear as if it might have been.

  If some Drawcansir you aspire to draw,
Present him raving, and above all law:
If female furies in your scheme are planned,
Macbeth’s fierce dame is ready to your hand;
For tears and treachery, for good and evil,
Constance, King Richard, Hamlet, and the Devil!
But if a new design you dare essay,
And freely wander from the beaten way,
True to your characters, till all be past,
Preserve consistency from first to last.

  Tis hard to venture where our betters fail,
Or lend fresh interest to a twice-told tale;
And yet, perchance,’tis wiser to prefer
A hackneyed plot, than choose a new, and err;
Yet copy not too closely, but record,
More justly, thought for thought than word for word;
Nor trace your Prototype through narrow ways,
But only follow where he merits praise.

  For you, young Bard! whom luckless fate may lead
To tremble on the nod of all who read,
Ere your first score of cantos Time unrolls,
Beware—for God’s sake, don’t begin like Bowles!
“Awake a louder and a loftier strain,”—
And pray, what follows from his boiling brain?—
He sinks to Southey’s level in a trice,
Whose Epic Mountains never fail in mice!
Not so of yore awoke your mighty Sire
The tempered warblings of his master-lyre;
Soft as the gentler breathing of the lute,
“Of Man’s first disobedience and the fruit”
He speaks, but, as his subject swells along,
Earth, Heaven, and Hades echo with the song.”
Still to the “midst of things” he hastens on,
As if we witnessed all already done;
Leaves on his path whatever seems too mean
To raise the subject, or adorn the scene;
Gives, as each page improves upon the sight,
Not smoke from brightness, but from darkness—light;
And truth and fiction with such art compounds,
We know not where to fix their several bounds.

  If you would please the Public, deign to hear
What soothes the many-headed monster’s ear:
If your heart triumph when the hands of all
Applaud in thunder at the curtain’s fall,
Deserve those plaudits—study Nature’s page,
And sketch the striking traits of every age;
While varying Man and varying years unfold
Life’s little tale, so oft, so vainly told;
Observe his simple childhood’s dawning days,
His pranks, his prate, his playmates, and his plays:
Till time at length the mannish tyro weans,
And prurient vice outstrips his tardy teens!

  Behold him Freshman! forced no more to groan
O’er Virgil’s devilish verses and his own;
Prayers are too tedious, Lectures too abstruse,
He flies from Tavell’s frown to “Fordham’s Mews;”
(Unlucky Tavell! doomed to daily cares
By pugilistic pupils, and by bears,)
Fines, Tutors, tasks, Conventions threat in vain,
Before hounds, hunters, and Newmarket Plain.
Rough with his elders, with his equals rash,
Civil to sharpers, prodigal of cash;
Constant to nought—save hazard and a *****,
Yet cursing both—for both have made him sore:
Unread (unless since books beguile disease,
The P——x becomes his passage to Degrees);
Fooled, pillaged, dunned, he wastes his terms away,
And unexpelled, perhaps, retires M.A.;
Master of Arts! as hells and clubs proclaim,
Where scarce a blackleg bears a brighter name!

  Launched into life, extinct his early fire,
He apes the selfish prudence of his Sire;
Marries for money, chooses friends for rank,
Buys land, and shrewdly trusts not to the Bank;
Sits in the Senate; gets a son and heir;
Sends him to Harrow—for himself was there.
Mute, though he votes, unless when called to cheer,
His son’s so sharp—he’ll see the dog a Peer!

  Manhood declines—Age palsies every limb;
He quits the scene—or else the scene quits him;
Scrapes wealth, o’er each departing penny grieves,
And Avarice seizes all Ambition leaves;
Counts cent per cent, and smiles, or vainly frets,
O’er hoards diminished by young Hopeful’s debts;
Weighs well and wisely what to sell or buy,
Complete in all life’s lessons—but to die;
Peevish and spiteful, doting, hard to please,
Commending every time, save times like these;
Crazed, querulous, forsaken, half forgot,
Expires unwept—is buried—Let him rot!

  But from the Drama let me not digress,
Nor spare my precepts, though they please you less.
Though Woman weep, and hardest hearts are stirred,
When what is done is rather seen than heard,
Yet many deeds preserved in History’s page
Are better told than acted on the stage;
The ear sustains what shocks the timid eye,
And Horror thus subsides to Sympathy,
True Briton all beside, I here am French—
Bloodshed ’tis surely better to retrench:
The gladiatorial gore we teach to flow
In tragic scenes disgusts though but in show;
We hate the carnage while we see the trick,
And find small sympathy in being sick.
Not on the stage the regicide Macbeth
Appals an audience with a Monarch’s death;
To gaze when sable Hubert threats to sear
Young Arthur’s eyes, can ours or Nature bear?
A haltered heroine Johnson sought to slay—
We saved Irene, but half ****** the play,
And (Heaven be praised!) our tolerating times
Stint Metamorphoses to Pantomimes;
And Lewis’ self, with all his sprites, would quake
To change Earl Osmond’s ***** to a snake!
Because, in scenes exciting joy or grief,
We loathe the action which exceeds belief:
And yet, God knows! what may not authors do,
Whose Postscripts prate of dyeing “heroines blue”?

  Above all things, Dan Poet, if you can,
Eke out your acts, I pray, with mortal man,
Nor call a ghost, unless some cursed scrape
Must open ten trap-doors for your escape.
Of all the monstrous things I’d fain forbid,
I loathe an Opera worse than Dennis did;
Where good and evil persons, right or wrong,
Rage, love, and aught but moralise—in song.
Hail, last memorial of our foreign friends,
Which Gaul allows, and still Hesperia lends!
Napoleon’s edicts no embargo lay
On ******—spies—singers—wisely shipped away.
Our giant Capital, whose squares are spread
Where rustics earned, and now may beg, their bread,
In all iniquity is grown so nice,
It scorns amusements which are not of price.
Hence the pert shopkeeper, whose throbbing ear
Aches with orchestras which he pays to hear,
Whom shame, not sympathy, forbids to snore,
His anguish doubling by his own “encore;”
Squeezed in “Fop’s Alley,” jostled by the beaux,
Teased with his hat, and trembling for his toes;
Scarce wrestles through the night, nor tastes of ease,
Till the dropped curtain gives a glad release:
Why this, and more, he suffers—can ye guess?—
Because it costs him dear, and makes him dress!

  So prosper eunuchs from Etruscan schools;
Give us but fiddlers, and they’re sure of fools!
Ere scenes were played by many a reverend clerk,
(What harm, if David danced before the ark?)
In Christmas revels, simple country folks
Were pleased with morrice-mumm’ry and coarse jokes.
Improving years, with things no longer known,
Produced blithe Punch and merry Madame Joan,
Who still frisk on with feats so lewdly low,
’Tis strange Benvolio suffers such a show;
Suppressing peer! to whom each vice gives place,
Oaths, boxing, begging—all, save rout and race.

  Farce followed Comedy, and reached her prime,
In ever-laughing Foote’s fantastic time:
Mad wag! who pardoned none, nor spared the best,
And turned some very serious things to jest.
Nor Church nor State escaped his public sneers,
Arms nor the Gown—Priests—Lawyers—Volunteers:
“Alas, poor Yorick!” now for ever mute!
Whoever loves a laugh must sigh for Foote.

  We smile, perforce, when histrionic scenes
Ape the swoln dialogue of Kings and Queens,
When “Crononhotonthologos must die,”
And Arthur struts in mimic majesty.

  Moschus! with whom once more I hope to sit,
And smile at folly, if we can’t at wit;
Yes, Friend! for thee I’ll quit my cynic cell,
And bear Swift’s motto, “Vive la bagatelle!”
Which charmed our days in each ægean clime,
As oft at home, with revelry and rhyme.
Then may Euphrosyne, who sped the past,
Soothe thy Life’s scenes, nor leave thee in the last;
But find in thine—like pagan Plato’s bed,
Some merry Manuscript of Mimes, when dead.

  Now to the Drama let us bend our eyes,
Where fettered by whig Walpole low she lies;
Corruption foiled her, for she feared her glance;
Decorum left her for an Opera dance!
Yet Chesterfield, whose polished pen inveighs
‘Gainst laughter, fought for freedom to our Plays;
Unchecked by Megrims of patrician brains,
And damning Dulness of Lord Chamberlains.
Repeal that act! again let Humour roam
Wild o’er the stage—we’ve time for tears at home;
Let Archer plant the horns on Sullen’s brows,
And Estifania gull her “Copper” spouse;
The moral’s scant—but that may be excused,
Men go not to be lectured, but amused.
He whom our plays dispose to Good or Ill
Must wear a head in want of Willis’ skill;
Aye, but Macheath’s examp
1

I am a house, says Senlin, locked and darkened,
Sealed from the sun with wall and door and blind.
Summon me loudly, and you'll hear slow footsteps
Ring far and faint in the galleries of my mind.
You'll hear soft steps on an old and dusty stairway;
Peer darkly through some corner of a pane,
You'll see me with a faint light coming slowly,
Pausing above some gallery of the brain . . .

I am a city . . . In the blue light of evening
Wind wanders among my streets and makes them fair;
I am a room of rock . . . a maiden dances
Lifting her hands, tossing her golden hair.
She combs her hair, the room of rock is darkened,
She extends herself in me, and I am sleep.
It is my pride that starlight is above me;
I dream amid waves of air, my walls are deep.

I am a door . . . before me roils the darkness,
Behind me ring clear waves of sound and light.
Stand in the shadowy street outside, and listen-
The crying of violins assails the night . . .
My walls are deep, but the cries of music pierce them;
They shake with the sound of drums . . . yet it is strange
That I should know so little what means this music,
Hearing it always within me change and change.

Knock on the door,-and you shall have an answer.
Open the heavy walls to set me free,
And blow a horn to call me into the sunlight,-
And startled, then, what a strange thing you will see!
Nuns, murderers, and drunkards, saints and sinners,
Lover and dancing girl and sage and clown
Will laugh upon you, and you will find me nowhere.
I am a room, a house, a street, a town.

2

It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
When the light drips through the shutters like the dew,
I arise, I face the sunrise,
And do the things my fathers learned to do.
Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops
Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet
Stand before a glass and tie my tie.

Vine leaves tap my window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chips in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And tie my tie once more.
While waves far off in a pale rose twilight
Crash on a white sand shore.
I stand by a mirror and comb my hair:
How small and white my face!-
The green earth tilts through a sphere of air
And bathes in a flame of space.
There are houses hanging above the stars
And stars hung under a sea . . .
And a sun far off in a shell of silence
Dapples my walls for me . . .

It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
Should I not pause in the light to remember God?
Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable,
He is immense and lonely as a cloud.
I will dedicate this moment before my mirror
To him alone, and for him I will comb my hair.
Accept these humble offerings, cloud of silence!
I will think of you as I descend the stair.

Vine leaves tap my window,
The snail-track shines on the stones,
Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree
Repeating two clear tones.

It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence,
Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
The walls are about me still as in the evening,
I am the same, and the same name still I keep.
The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion,
The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
In a whistling void I stand before my mirror,
Unconcerned, I tie my tie.

There are horses neighing on far-off hills
Tossing their long white manes,
And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk,
Their shoulders black with rains . . .

It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And surprise my soul once more;
The blue air rushes above my ceiling,
There are suns beneath my floor . . .

. . . It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness
And depart on the winds of space for I know not where,
My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,
And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven,
And a god among the stars; and I will go
Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak
And humming a tune I know . . .

Vine-leaves tap at the window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

3

I walk to my work, says Senlin, along a street
Superbly hung in space.
I lift these mortal stones, and with my trowel
I tap them into place.
But is god, perhaps, a giant who ties his tie
Grimacing before a colossal glass of sky?

These stones are heavy, these stones decay,
These stones are wet with rain,
I build them into a wall today,
Tomorrow they fall again.

Does god arise from a chaos of starless sleep,
Rise from the dark and stretch his arms and yawn;
And drowsily look from the window at his garden;
And rejoice at the dewdrop sparkeling on his lawn?

Does he remember, suddenly, with amazement,
The yesterday he left in sleep,-his name,-
Or the glittering street superbly hung in wind
Along which, in the dusk, he slowly came?

I devise new patterns for laying stones
And build a stronger wall.
One drop of rain astonishes me
And I let my trowel fall.

The flashing of leaves delights my eyes,
Blue air delights my face;
I will dedicate this stone to god
And tap it into its place.

4

That woman-did she try to attract my attention?
Is it true I saw her smile and nod?
She turned her head and smiled . . . was it for me?
It is better to think of work or god.
The clouds pile coldly above the houses
Slow wind revolves the leaves:
It begins to rain, and the first long drops
Are slantingly blown from eaves.

But it is true she tried to attract my attention!
She pressed a rose to her chin and smiled.
Her hand was white by the richness of her hair,
Her eyes were those of a child.
It is true she looked at me as if she liked me.
And turned away, afraid to look too long!
She watched me out of the corners of her eyes;
And, tapping time with fingers, hummed a song.

. . . Nevertheless, I will think of work,
With a trowel in my hands;
Or the vague god who blows like clouds
Above these dripping lands . . .

But . . . is it sure she tried to attract my attention?
She leaned her elbow in a peculiar way
There in the crowded room . . . she touched my hand . . .
She must have known, and yet,-she let it stay.
Music of flesh! Music of root and sod!
Leaf touching leaf in the rain!
Impalpable clouds of red ascend,
Red clouds blow over my brain.

Did she await from me some sign of acceptance?
I smoothed my hair with a faltering hand.
I started a feeble smile, but the smile was frozen:
Perhaps, I thought, I misunderstood.
Is it to be conceived that I could attract her-
This dull and futile flesh attract such fire?
I,-with a trowel's dullness in hand and brain!-
Take on some godlike aspect, rouse desire?
Incredible! . . . delicious! . . . I will wear
A brighter color of tie, arranged with care,
I will delight in god as I comb my hair.

And the conquests of my bolder past return
Like strains of music, some lost tune
Recalled from youth and a happier time.
I take my sweetheart's arm in the dusk once more;
One more we climb

Up the forbidden stairway,
Under the flickering light, along the railing:
I catch her hand in the dark, we laugh once more,
I hear the rustle of silk, and follow swiftly,
And softly at last we close the door.

Yes, it is true that woman tried to attract me:
It is true she came out of time for me,
Came from the swirling and savage forest of earth,
The cruel eternity of the sea.
She parted the leaves of waves and rose from silence
Shining with secrets she did not know.
Music of dust! Music of web and web!
And I, bewildered, let her go.

I light my pipe. The flame is yellow,
Edged underneath with blue.
These thoughts are truer of god, perhaps,
Than thoughts of god are true.

5

It is noontime, Senlin says, and a street piano
Strikes sharply against the sunshine a harsh chord,
And the universe is suddenly agitated,
And pain to my heart goes glittering like a sword.
Do I imagine it? The dust is shaken,
The sunlight quivers, the brittle oak-leaves tremble.
The world, disturbed, conceals its agitation;
And I, too, will dissemble.

Yet it is sorrow has found my heart,
Sorrow for beauty, sorrow for death;
And pain twirls slowly among the trees.

The street-piano revolves its glittering music,
The sharp notes flash and dazzle and turn,
Memory's knives are in this sunlit silence,
They ripple and lazily burn.
The star on which my shadow falls is frightened,-
It does not move; my trowel taps a stone,
The sweet note wavers amid derisive music;
And I, in horror of sunlight, stand alone.

Do not recall my weakness, savage music!
Let the knives rest!
Impersonal, harsh, the music revolves and glitters,
And the notes like poniards pierce my breast.
And I remember the shadows of webs on stones,
And the sound or rain on withered grass,
And a sorrowful face that looked without illusions
At its image in the glass.

Do not recall my childhood, pitiless music!
The green blades flicker and gleam,
The red bee bends the clover, deeply humming;
In the blue sea above me lazily stream
Cloud upon thin-brown cloud, revolving, scattering;
The mulberry tree rakes heaven and drops its fruit;
Amazing sunlight sings in the opened vault
On dust and bones, and I am mute.

It is noon; the bells let fall soft flowers of sound.
They turn on the air, they shrink in the flare of noon.
It is night; and I lie alone, and watch through the window
The terrible ice-white emptiness of the moon.
Small bells, far off, spill jewels of sound like rain,
A long wind hurries them whirled and far,
A cloud creeps over the moon, my bed is darkened,
I hold my breath and watch a star.

Do not disturb my memories, heartless music!
I stand once more by a vine-dark moonlit wall,
The sound of my footsteps dies in a void of moonlight,
And I watch white jasmine fall.
Is it my heart that falls? Does earth itself
Drift, a white petal, down the sky?
One bell-note goes to the stars in the blue-white silence,
Solitary and mournful, a somnolent cry.

6

Death himself in the rain . . . death himself . . .
Death in the savage sunlight . . . skeletal death . . .
I hear the clack of his feet,
Clearly on stones, softly in dust;
He hurries among the trees
Whirling the leaves, tossing he hands from waves.
Listen! the immortal footsteps beat.

Death himself in the grass, death himself,
Gyrating invisibly in the sun,
Scatters the grass-blades, whips the wind,
Tears at boughs with malignant laughter:
On the long echoing air I hear him run.

Death himself in the dusk, gathering lilacs,
Breaking a white-fleshed bough,
Strewing purple on a cobwebbed lawn,
Dancing, dancing,
The long red sun-rays glancing
On flailing arms, skipping with hideous knees
Cavorting grotesque ecstasies:
I do not see him, but I see the lilacs fall,
I hear the scrape of knuckles against the wall,
The leaves are tossed and tremble where he plunges among them,
And I hear the sound of his breath,
Sharp and whistling, the rythm of death.

It is evening: the lights on a long street balance and sway.
In the purple ether they swing and silently sing,
The street is a gossamer swung in space,
And death himself in the wind comes dancing along it,
And the lights, like raindrops, tremble and swing.
Hurry, spider, and spread your glistening web,
For death approaches!
Hurry, rose, and open your heart to the bee,
For death approaches!
Maiden, let down your hair for the hands of your lover,
Comb it with moonlight and wreathe it with leaves,
For death approaches!

Death, huge in the star; small in the sand-grain;
Death himself in the rain,
Drawing the rain about him like a garment of jewels:
I hear the sound of his feet
On the stairs of the wind, in the sun,
In the forests of the sea . . .
Listen! the immortal footsteps beat!

7

It is noontime, Senlin says. The sky is brilliant
Above a green and dreaming hill.
I lay my trowel down. The pool is cloudless,
The grass, the wall, the peach-tree, all are still.

It appears to me that I am one with these:
A hill, upon whose back are a wall and trees.
It is noontime: all seems still
Upon this green and flowering hill.

Yet suddenly out of nowhere in the sky,
A cloud comes whirling, and flings
A lazily coiled vortex of shade on the hill.
It crosses the hill, and a bird in the peach-tree sings.
Amazing! Is there a change?
The hill seems somehow strange.
It is noontime. And in the tree
The leaves are delicately disturbed
Where the bird descends invisibly.
It is noontime. And in the pool
The sky is blue and cool.

Yet suddenly out of nowhere,
Something flings itself at the hill,
Tears with claws at the earth,
Lunges and hisses and softly recoils,
Crashing against the green.
The peach-tree braces itself, the pool is frightened,
The grass-blades quiver, the bird is still;
The wall silently struggles against the sunlight;
A terror stiffens the hill.
The trees turn rigidly, to face
Something that circles with slow pace:
The blue pool seems to shrink
From something that slides above its brink.
What struggle is this, ferocious and still-
What war in sunlight on this hill?
What is it creeping to dart
Like a knife-blade at my heart?

It is noontime, Senlin says, and all is tranquil:
The brilliant sky burns over a greenbright earth.
The peach-tree dreams in the sun, the wall is contented.
A bird in the peach-leaves, moving from sun to shadow,
Phrases again his unremembering mirth,
His lazily beautiful, foolish, mechanical mirth.

8

The pale blue gloom of evening comes
Among the phantom forests and walls
With a mournful and rythmic sound of drums.
My heart is disturbed with a sound of myriad throbbing,
Persuasive and sinister, near and far:
In the blue evening of my heart
I hear the thrum of the evening star.

My work is uncompleted; and yet I hurry,-
Hearing the whispered pulsing of those drums,-
To enter the luminous walls and woods of night.
It is the eternal mistress of the world
Who shakes these drums for my delight.
Listen! the drums of the leaves, the drums of the dust,
The delicious quivering of this air!

I will leave my work unfinished, and I will go
With ringing and certain step through the laughter of chaos
To the one small room in the void I know.
Yesterday it was there,-
Will I find it tonight once more when I climb the stair?
The drums of the street beat swift and soft:
In the blue evening of my heart
I hear the throb of the bridal star.
It weaves deliciously in my brain
A tyrannous melody of her:
Hands in sunlight, threads of rain
Against a weeping face that fades,
Snow on a blackened window-pane;
Fire, in a dusk of hair entangled;
Flesh, more delicate than fruit;
And a voice that searches quivering nerves
For a string to mute.

My life is uncompleted: and yet I hurry
Among the tinkling forests and walls of evening
To a certain fragrant room.
Who is it that dances there, to a beating of drums,
While stars on a grey sea bud and bloom?
She stands at the top of the stair,
With the lamplight on her hair.
I will walk through the snarling of streams of space
And climb the long steps carved from wind
And rise once more towards her face.
Listen! the drums of the drowsy trees
Beating our nuptial ecstasies!

Music spins from the heart of silence
And twirls me softly upon the air:
It takes my hand and whispers to me:
It draws the web of the moonlight down.
There are hands, it says, as cool as snow,
The hands of the Venus of the sea;
There are waves of sound in a mermaid-cave;-
Come-then-come with me!
The flesh of the sea-rose new and cool,
The wavering image of her who comes
At dusk by a blue sea-pool.

Whispers upon the haunted air-
Whisper of foam-white arm and thigh;
And a shower of delicate lights blown down
Fro the laughing sky! . . .
Music spins from a far-off room.
Do you remember,-it seems to say,-
The mouth that smiled, beneath your mouth,
And kissed you . . . yesterday?
It is your own flesh waits for you.
Come! you are incomplete! . . .
The drums of the universe once more
Morosely beat.
It is the harlot of the world
Who clashes the leaves like ghostly drums
And disturbs the solitude of my heart
As evening comes!

I leave my work once more and walk
Along a street that sways in the wind.
I leave these st
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
There’s a film by John Schlesinger called the Go-Between in which the main character, a boy on the cusp of adolescence staying with a school friend on his family’s Norfolk estate, discovers how passion and *** become intertwined with love and desire. As an elderly man he revisits the location of this discovery and the woman, who we learn changed his emotional world forever. At the start of the film we see him on a day of grey cloud and wild wind walking towards the estate cottage where this woman now lives. He glimpses her face at a window – and the film flashes back fifty years to a summer before the First War.
 
It’s a little like that for me. Only, I’m sitting at a desk early on a spring morning about to step back nearly forty years.*
 
It was a two-hour trip from Boston to Booth Bay. We’d flown from New York on the shuttle and met Larry’s dad at St Vincent’s. We waited in his office as he put away the week with his secretary. He’d been in theatre all afternoon. He kept up a two-sided conversation.
 
‘You boys have a good week? Did you get to hear Barenboim at the Tully? I heard him as 14-year old play in Paris. He played the Tempest -  Mary, let’s fit Mrs K in for Tuesday at 5.0 - I was learning that very Beethoven sonata right then. I couldn’t believe it - that one so young could sound –there’s that myocardial infarction to review early Wednesday. I want Jim and Susan there please -  and look so  . . . old, not just mature, but old. And now – Gloria and I went to his last Carnegie – he just looks so **** young.’
 
Down in the basement garage Larry took his dad’s keys and we roared out on to Storow drive heading for the Massachusetts Turnpike. I slept. Too many early mornings copying my teacher’s latest – a concerto for two pianos – all those notes to be placed under the fingers. There was even a third piano in the orchestra. Larry and his Dad talked incessantly. I woke as Dr Benson said ‘The sea at last’. And there we were, the sea a glazed blue shimmering in the July distance. It might be lobster on the beach tonight, Gloria’s clam chowder, the coldest apple juice I’d ever tasted (never tasted apple juice until I came to Maine), settling down to a pile of art books in my bedroom, listening to the bell buoy rocking too and fro in the bay, the beach just below the house, a house over 150 years old, very old they said, in the family all that time.
 
It was a house full that weekend,  4th of July weekend and there would be fireworks over Booth Bay and lots of what Gloria called necessary visiting. I was in love with Gloria from the moment she shook my hand after that first concert when my little cummings setting got a mention in the NYT. It was called forever is now and God knows where it is – scored for tenor and small ensemble (there was certainly a vibraphone and a double bass – I was in love from afar with a bassist at J.). Oh, this being in love at seventeen. It was so difficult not to be. No English reserve here. People talked to you, were interested in you and what you thought, had heard, had read. You only had to say you’d been looking at a book of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings and you’d be whisked off to some uptown gallery to see his early watercolours. And on the way you’d hear a life story or some intimate details of friend’s affair, or a great slice of family history. Lots of eye contact. Just keep the talk going. But Gloria, well, we would meet in the hallway and she’d grasp my hand and say – ‘You know, Larry says that you work too hard. I want you to do nothing this weekend except get some sun and swim. We can go to Johnson’s for tennis you know. I haven’t forgotten you beat me last time we played!’ I suppose she was mid-thirties, a shirt, shorts and sandals woman, not Larry’s mother but Dr Benson’s third. This was all very new to me.
 
Tim was Larry’s elder brother, an intern at Felix-Med in NYC. He had a new girl with him that weekend. Anne-Marie was tall, bespectacled, and supposed to be ferociously clever. Gloria said ‘She models herself on Susan Sontag’. I remember asking who Sontag was and was told she was a feminist writer into politics. I wondered if Anne-Marie was a feminist into politics. She certainly did not dress like anyone else I’d seen as part of the Benson circle. It was July yet she wore a long-sleeved shift buttoned up to the collar and a long linen skirt down to her ankles. She was pretty but shapeless, a long straight person with long straight hair, a clip on one side she fiddled with endlessly, purposefully sometimes. She ignored me but for an introductory ‘Good evening’, when everyone else said ‘Hi’.
 
The next day it was hot. I was about the house very early. The apple juice in the refrigerator came into its own at 6.0 am. The bay was in mist. It was so still the bell buoy stirred only occasionally. I sat on the step with this icy glass of fragrant apple watching the pearls of condensation form and dissolve. I walked the shore, discovering years later that Rachel Carson had walked these paths, combed these beaches. I remember being shocked then at the concern about the environment surfacing in the late sixties. This was a huge country: so much space. The Maine woods – when I first drove up to Quebec – seemed to go on forever.
 
It was later in the day, after tennis, after trying to lie on the beach, I sought my room and took out my latest score, or what little of it there currently was. It was a piano piece, a still piece, the kind of piece I haven’t written in years, but possibly should. Now it’s all movement and complication. Then, I used to write exactly what I heard, and I’d heard Feldman’s ‘still pieces’ in his Greenwich loft with the white Rauschenbergs on the wall. I had admired his writing desk and thought one day I’ll have a desk like that in an apartment like this with very large empty paintings on the wall. But, I went elsewhere . . .
 
I lay on the bed and listened to the buoy out in the bay. I thought of a book of my childhood, We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome. There’s a drawing of a Beach End Buoy in that book, and as the buoy I was listening to was too far out to see (sea?) I imagined it as the one Ransome drew from Lowestoft harbour. I dozed I suppose, to be woken suddenly by voices in the room next door. It was Tim and Anne-Marie. I had thought the house empty but for me. They were in Tim’s room next door. There was movement, whispering, almost speech, more movement.
 
I was curious suddenly. Anne-Marie was an enigma. Tim was a nice guy. Quiet, dedicated (Larry had said), worked hard, read a lot, came to Larry’s concerts, played the cello when he could, Bach was always on his record player. He and Anne-Marie seemed so close, just a wooden wall away. I stood by this wall to listen.
 
‘Why are we whispering’, said Anne-Marie firmly, ‘For goodness sake no one’s here. Look, you’re a doctor, you know what to do surely.’
 
‘Not yet.’
 
‘But people call you Doctor, I’ve heard them.’
 
‘Oh sure. But I’m not, I’m just a lousy intern.’
 
‘A lousy intern who doesn’t want to make love to me.’
 
Then, there was rustling, some heavy movement and Tim saying ‘Oh Anne, you mustn’t. You don’t need to do this.’
 
‘Yes I do. You’re hard and I’m wet between my legs. I want you all over me and inside me.  I wanted you last night so badly I lay on my bed quite naked and masturbated hoping you come to me. But you didn’t. I looked in on you and you were just fast asleep.’
 
‘You forget I did a 22-hour call on Thursday’.
 
“And the rest. Don’t you want me? Maybe your brother or that nice English boy next door?’
 
‘Is he next door? ‘
 
‘If he is, I don’t care. He looks at me you know. He can’t work me out. I’ve been ignoring him. But maybe I shouldn’t. He’s got beautiful eyes and lovely hands’.
 
There was almost silence for what seemed a long time. I could hear my own breathing and became very aware of my own body. I was shaking and suddenly cold. I could hear more breathing next door. There was a shaft of intense white sunlight burning across my bed. I imagined Anne-Marie sitting cross-legged on the floor next door, her hand cupping her right breast fingers touching the ******, waiting. There was a rustle of movement. And the door next door slammed.
 
Thirty seconds later Tim was striding across the garden and on to the beach and into the sea . . .
 
There was probably a naked young woman sitting on the floor next door I thought. Reading perhaps. I stayed quite still imagining she would get up, open her door and peek into my room. So I moved away from the wall and sat on the bed trying hard to look like a composer working on a score. And she did . . . but she had clothes on, though not her glasses or her hair clip, and she wore a bright smile – lovely teeth I recall.
 
‘Good afternoon’, she said. ‘You heard all that I suppose.’
 
I smiled my nicest English smile and said nothing.
 
‘Tell me about your girlfriend in England.’
 
She sat on the bed, cross-legged. I was suddenly overcome by her scent, something complex and earthy.
 
‘My girlfriend in England is called Anne’.
 
‘Really! Is she pretty? ‘
 
I didn’t answer, but looked at my hands, and her feet, her uncovered calves and knees. I could see the shape of her slight ******* beneath her shirt, now partly unbuttoned. I felt very uncomfortable.
 
‘Tell me. Have you been with this Anne in England?’
 
‘No.’ I said, ‘I ‘d like to, but she’s very shy.’
 
‘OK. I’m an Anne who’s not shy.’
 
‘I’ve yet to meet a shy American.’
 
‘They exist. I could find you a nice shy girl you could get to know.’
 
‘I’d quite like to know you, but you’re a good bit older than me.’
 
‘Oh that doesn’t matter. You’re quite a mature guy I think. I’d go out with you.’
 
‘Oh I doubt that.’
 
‘Would you go out with me?’
 
‘You’re interesting.  Gloria says you’re a bit like Susan Sontag. Yes, I would.’
 
‘Wow! did she really? Ok then, that’s a deal. You better read some Simone de Beauvoir pretty quick,’  and she bounced off the bed.
 
After supper  - lobster on the beach - Gloria cornered me and said. ‘I gather you heard all this afternoon.’
 
I remembered mumbling a ‘yes’.
 
‘It’s OK,’ she said, ‘Anne-Marie told me all. Girls do this you know – talk about what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. What could you do? I would have done the same. Tim’s not ready for an Anne-Marie just yet, and I’m not sure you are either. Not my business of course, but gentle advice from one who’s been there. ‘
 
‘Been where?’
 
‘Been with someone older and supposedly wiser. And remembering that wondering-what-to-do-about-those-feelings-around-*** and all that. There’s a right time and you’ll know it when it comes. ‘
 
She kissed me very lightly on my right ear, then got up and walked across the beach back to the house.
g Jul 2013
She is Sunday service love letters written in the centrefold
of a hymn book.
A coffee stain smile hiding the words of my favourite pages
of poetry that sits every night next to my bed.
This is my doomsday notebook rolled into the edges of cut off jeans
and you were my judgement day,
standing on the edge of a cliff pretending that my life didn't depend on it
in that second,
depend on me.

She is my Maundy Thursday:
give away everything I own like I can live with nothing.
Live like I don't exist anymore.
Leave without a trace like burning,
because that's how I am when I don't remember you now.

Sitting in my bedroom with the lights turned out
you moving next to me like dancing with the covers off.
She promised me Saturday nights and feather dreaming
and now all I can do is this.
She told me the next evening:
'so many of these boys are clueless, I really hope I'm not'
I tell her 'I don't think you are
anymore'.
She says I'm down to earth.
I think she is too when her head isn't stuck above the clouds
there are things I would give to see what she sees
when she looks down.

I want to talk about gods with her.
I want to know if every medicated son of god complex really was
a head case
or simply someone trying to finally send us down something good,
like we pretend we would see it when it happens.
Someone tell me how people
can paint the sky with their guts and the broken dreams of strangers
and call it religion.
How can these gods hate any kind of love?

Tell me why you wanted to die the year before you were a teenager.
How you're still trying five years on like you can't face
the seven months before you become an adult.
I don't know if you're terrified of real life
or being a child,
or if you still sweat in the middle of the night at thoughts
of an incarcerated man's hands touching your innocent body
like it was ever supposed to know what to do with itself.
Your body a haunted house, breaking from the cracks
you left in yourself.

You couldn't leave your own ghosts out.
Is this why 'god' lets you be so afraid of living in your own skin?
that you will dice yourself into pieces
praying for bad fate for once, tonight,
you're out of luck this time honey.

I'm sorry I don't know what to say to you nowadays,
I just don't want you to be all my fault.
I'm sorry I can't talk to you like I used to, like I didn't know
you were a time bomb
but I can't pretend you didn't light your own fuse,
because all you feel is leaking out the lines you left in your own skin.
I find it hard to believe you will ever actually detonate,
but I am more than over prepared for any hint of explosion:
buried my head in a glass case,
pretend that whiskey could ever take away the pain
like you were barrel aged.
So go ahead
knock yourself out.
I can pretend I didn't feel anything like you did all those years.

You sit, breathing in the last shreds of sunset like the sun reclining could make you any more alive I tell you
just stop trying.

You are a painting.
Da Vinci,
3 years on,
incomplete,
no idea of your own beauty.
Your glazed surface
isn't cracked yet.
You are a work of art waiting to be fully formed.
Paints hand-made, every brush stroke a sacrifice,
you're more than this oil
not an acrylic, he can't paint out your mistakes.
Tell me how does it feel to be the pigment in your lips does it feel like home?
Can you see me?
How does it feel to hang all those years
do you forget every face?
Can you hear what I'm trying to tell you
for once?

If you see her, can you tell her:
I only wish I could have captured her on film
before she left
me.
grace beadle 2013
Kason Durham Jun 2014
The slits of glass give way to light,
Which cuts through the air and sun leeched curtains.
It falls weightless on warming skin,
Breathing life into stillness.

A gentle caress, a sultry glance;
Statuesque, they cast shadows on the wall.
Shadows that illuminate and contour,
Express and entrance.

Longing rapture in eyes, incandescent and iridescent;
Loveless yet sensuous silken skin that tells of life well lived.
Your broken heart rests on shoulders, colored and vivid;
A world is painted in timeless elegance.

What horrors has she seen? Said the looker so enthused.
What grandness has passed her eye? Says another just as true.
Oh the colors so earthen tell of pleasures and sorrows, yet whisper of frailty.
They speak in tongues that can never be trusted, only pondered.

The intricate oil work from a badger’s fair coat,
Show delicate and smooth,
All the features of her roistering frame;
Passions of the heart now told by passions of the brush.

The life is still, but forever infinite.
annh Sep 2019
Dream your life in watercolours,
Live your life in oils,
Frame your canvases with time and distance;

Hang each by a silver thread,
In a windowed gallery of memories,
Exhibit often and without discrimination;

Celebrate the beauty in your clumsiest brushwork,
Accept the imperfections in your mastery,
Reshape your truths, as light plays and colour transforms.

‘If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.‘
- Émile Zola
SassyJ Jan 2016
Pencil, chalk, charcoal and erasers
Walking hand in hand on a canvas
Stretched and condensed observations
Obstructions as concentration pins
A walk and talk in a dark museum
Stored birds, killed preys, stuffed game
Tall giraffe, the lion, lionized Victorian art
Quirky strokes of eccentric dashes mashes
Staring in glasses to capture emotions
Art resident mumble whilst erupting muscles
The ***** strikes to meet  my ****** gaze
Slandered, pasted and matted with prejudice
Mouth flowing with filth like a sewage drain
Don’t we all come from holes, sticks and bones?
Don’t we all come in holes, sticks and bones?
A lost sight of an insight, a skin stratified
Misted and tainted with toned stinky ****
A pigmentation structured in perceptions
A plea to ****** stereotypical resolution
A streamline of vagaries, unsettle the gallery
I lose the words.. why can people be so nasty?
Maria Mena ... *******! (in a good way)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPJWkxig2wQ
Terry Collett Oct 2013
Julie followed Benedict
from bookshop to bookshop
then they went in a cafe
on Charing Cross Road

and sat down
by the window
and ordered two coffees
and lit up cigarettes

how's it going
at the hospital?
he asked
gutty

she said
boring my ******* off    
I shouldn't be there
she inhaled deeply

on her cigarette
once you're off the drugs
you won't be
he said

I am off the drugs
she looked at him
well most of the time
she said

what do they say
at the hospital?
they said my parents
want me to stay there

until I'm cleaned off  
she said
but you're out today
he said

yes on good behaviour
she said
any sign
I've taken anything

then I'm locked in
and Daddy said
they'll have me sectioned
if need be

he has doctor friends
who will oblige
and him and Mother
being doctors themselves

it won't be difficult
she said
Benedict watched
as the waitress

brought the coffees
and put them on the table
and swayed off
in a Monroe fashion

we could take in a film
if you like
he said
no I don't want

to be stuck
in some smokey cinema
she said
I want to be out

in the fresh air
and see London
ok
he said

what about having a stroll
along the Thames Embankment?
then after take in
a look around an art gallery

you are full of fun
she said moodily
ok where then?
he said

some room someplace
and a good ****
she said
the word hung in the air

like a dark cloud
in the cafe
people gaped at her
I think they've got

Lichtenstein at the gallery
this month
he said
Pop Art stuff

he added
she pulled a face
then drew on her cigarette
you're in a mood

he said
maybe you should
have stayed at the hospital
and twiddled your thumbs

on the ward
she stared at him
releasing smoke
from her mouth slowly

ok the gallery
isn't too bad an idea
she said
but I'm gagging

for a fix
my body's screaming for it
she went quiet
and sipped her coffee

he looked at her
sitting there
dark brown hair
tied by a ribbon

her eyes staring
at the table
her fingers holding
the cup and cigarette

he recalled the time
at the hospital
when they'd managed
to be alone

in the small broom cupboard
and the quick ***
in the dark
between brooms

and dusters
and buckets
he smiled
what you smiling at?

she said
cupboard love
he said
she laughed

yes that was good
she said
unexpected too
and any moment

some poor cleaner
coming for a bucket
and seeing us at it
she stubbed out

her cigarette
in an ashtray
on the table
and they went out the cafe

and back along
towards Trafalgar Square
to the art gallery
to see what was there.
SET IN LONDON IN 1967.
Loxodes Jan 2016
The heart,
not what it used to be
Its chambers are diffrent since you left
There is no more art in the gallery
White walls, no light
Its not empty though
The space, filled with your absence
and whispers asking

*"Where did it go wrong?"
AROUND me the images of thirty years:
An ambush; pilgrims at the water-side;
Casement upon trial, half hidden by the bars,
Guarded; Griffith staring in hysterical pride;
Kevin O'Higgins' countenance that wears
A gentle questioning look that cannot hide
A soul incapable of remorse or rest;
A revolutionary soldier kneeling to be blessed;
An Abbot or Archbishop with an upraised hand
Blessing the Tricolour.  "This is not,' I say,
"The dead Ireland of my youth, but an Ireland
The poets have imagined, terrible and gay.'
Before a woman's portrait suddenly I stand,
Beautiful and gentle in her Venetian way.
I met her all but fifty years ago
For twenty minutes in some studio.

III
Heart-smitten with emotion I Sink down,
My heart recovering with covered eyes;
Wherever I had looked I had looked upon
My permanent or impermanent images:
Augusta Gregory's son; her sister's son,
Hugh Lane, "onlie begetter' of all these;
Hazel Lavery living and dying, that tale
As though some ballad-singer had sung it all;
Mancini's portrait of Augusta Gregory,
"Greatest since Rembrandt,' according to John Synge;
A great ebullient portrait certainly;
But where is the brush that could show anything
Of all that pride and that humility?
And I am in despair that time may bring
Approved patterns of women or of men
But not that selfsame excellence again.
My mediaeval knees lack health until they bend,
But in that woman, in that household where
Honour had lived so long, all lacking found.
Childless I thought, "My children may find here
Deep-rooted things,' but never foresaw its end,
And now that end has come I have not wept;
No fox can foul the lair the badger swept --

VI
(An image out of Spenser and the common tongue).
John Synge, I and Augusta Gregory, thought
All that we did, all that we said or sang
Must come from contact with the soil, from that
Contact everything Antaeus-like grew strong.
We three alone in modern times had brought
Everything down to that sole test again,
Dream of the noble and the beggar-man.

VII
And here's John Synge himself, that rooted man,
"Forgetting human words,' a grave deep face.
You that would judge me, do not judge alone
This book or that, come to this hallowed place
Where my friends' portraits hang and look thereon;
Ireland's history in their lineaments trace;
Think where man's glory most begins and ends,
And say my glory was I had such friends.
Timothy Brown Mar 2013
She always knows
She always knows what to do
I'm glad she's just a friend
and doesn't know the crew

I never tell her my story
She reads every page herself
She never touches the exhibits
the essences of me
elegantly
arranged upon the shelves

She always knows
She always knows what to do
I'm glad shes just a friend
and never knew the crew

She paces in silence
Slight smirk under her eyes
As she wanders around my gallery
galaxies
analogies of abnormal realities
Seen from within the guise

She always knows
She always knows what to do
I'm glad she's just a friend
And will never know the crew

Every so often she pauses
Her footsteps resound
The curator looks up interested
and solicited
a reaction uninhibited
From a mind profound

She always knows
She always knows what to do
I'm glad she's just a friend
And doesn't want to know the crew

Her analysis is always unique
And as if she was the artist
The curator thinks, in retrospect
she is correct.
As she walks out the exit
Her path is marked by a trail of stardust.

She always knows
She always knows what to do
I'm glad she's just a friend
And is unknown to the crew
Differentiating between the cracks and folds of my mind.
© March 6th, 2013 by Timothy R Brown. All rights reserved
Mateuš Conrad Nov 2015
that litre of whiskey last night, downed in one session
seriously did the trick.*

the unacknowledged legislators that we are,
sure enough, we are,
taking quills from angelic wings and hoping
for pigeon **** on us in trafalgar sq. reverse
logic of a black cat crossing the street and the no. 13.
our lineage dating back to the caucus is worried,
will we survive, earn the credential of middle-age
and middle-class?!
i don't know, art and work are akin,
although the former stressors are said as:
i'm working... i'm working! but i'm not getting paid!
in the latter scenario... well i think i'm working...
but i'm just looking busy... and i'm getting dough
for that... smiling a fanciful card trick of the
sociable with a stranger passing along the way
of my muffin / coffee stand, pop-up in a busy linchpin
of economy known as the shop gallery -
now imagine putting a pound coin in the shopping gallery
and a pound coin in an art gallery... obviously
there's a 99 pence store you could buy something
and get enough frank sinatra losing the change
outside... but in an art gallery? a pound coin on the mahogany?
you were asked to donate your own trusted allowance
at the door... donate the quid and admire the canvases,
don't be one of those 191% increase of theatre ticket sales lot
taking a questionnaire then booking tickets to
define old school bourgeoise as exclusively theatrical,
this is the west end - everyone's pompous...
or as aristotle said: tourism begins with awe...
all these tourists are perfect actors of philosopher...
mouths open walking with flashlight frenzies
they almost look like philosophers... awe-struck...
mouths open... a pigeon could just about do a blitz
drop into their mouths;
yet something worries me... for such a courteous
nation as the british claim to fame are...
why seriously throw all the cursors and vectors of curtsy
onto placards on the street for reminder... like this one t.f.l.
advert asking the english "gentleman"
to excuse his knackered limbs
of farting into an office seat for 8 hours for an old lady
on the tube? why... big brother said it had to be advertised,
this english curtsey of the gentlemen with
sexism clarified with tampons and public space urinals -
but as all white big bangs go... i guess it's an
evolutionary fear... we'll never beat the insects...
we can beat the dodos the lions the mammoths...
we can't beat the insects... we already know
there's a worm for every **** ******* eyesight scented
talking hole once we die and aren't cremated;
we're in the atomic playground, atomised i hardly
think is an adequate congestion of comparisons...
then if not atomic then humanoid,
or just black-void to stress known origins...
while mama caucus sells chickens...
originally there was only one bull solomon for the
perfect breed... reverse of man the cows said:
you send men to war like bulls to slaughter
keeping the king and the queen oriental to
poke and point at the next living man dead...
we're the lactose ganges, people dye burnt human
remains in the twirl and sidewinder of nature that
defines us... but let children chuckle and suckle at
our *******... but most of the beef you see sold
comes from those akin to bulls...
you keep one and adorn him with india's tear
that's sri lanka... and churn the rest to war...
while the she of each she that is left for milking,
is then discarded among the bull corpses.
Ashley Chapman Jun 2018
We fall,
and hard,
and in the shadows,
***** ourselves on snags,
that tear our clothes;
grazed and cut,
we stagger on -
Impressions, ideas, fancies!
Of these have we been disabused.

But is this spring,
come again?

Lovely,
yesterday,
in the bright sunlight,
to see you,
felt green hat in among the photo clouds,
apple suedes on the gallery's dank floor.

Melvyn,  
and I,
merrily circling with you the light cloud images,
my nostrils full of pollen spikes.
The pictures:
wisps of trailing dreams churning in ‘scapes of infinite blue;
dark clouds,
in amongst them,
too.

Photographs in two time places
caught;
at once, all:
the other and t'other.

So excitement swells,
and everything besides us quells,
because the knowing of itself,
knows,
and dares beyond the frames;
to skirt knowingly the unsaid;
to want beyond the wounded past,
to pull things,
once again,
inside out.

In whimsy’s currents flow these thoughts,
these feelings,
these drives;
swirling in eddies,
so that as you sit,
on a summer’s day,
it moves,
a mirror to everything above.

The wavelets on the surface,
hammered into shape,
burn, bite and dazzle;
the sun’s flames leaping and dancing on ripples.

In the basement,
on the concrete,
your Y proneness shifts,
releasing knees on black-clad thighs;
two pendulums swinging,
brushing;
yawing metronomes in the cool,
coolness of my desultory thoughts.

Oh, what am I saying?
Feelings like reveries walk along these silver lips straying languorously.
These myths are too soon made,
carried one to the next,
one-on-one,
until contained no longer,
become new truths.
Visited an East End London picture gallery with a friend. Later, she texted me and said she had been called a *****, and I said, we're all that, too. Then I wanted to defend her by describing the intoxicting effect of her connection with me: her beauty.
Sleepless Dec 2015
Do you need a new ****?
Will yours just not do?
Well honey
I've got the store for you!
A gallery for butts
Come one, come all!
There's all kinds of butts
Both big and small

We've got butts that are big
Butts that are round
We've got butts that make
A tiny "toot" sound
Butts that are flat
And butts super small
Butts on short people
Butts for people who are tall

We've got butts that are firm
Hard in your grasp
Butts that are flabby
But nice ones at that
Butts so big
They cover the seat
And butts that are tiny
Cute and petite

We've got baby butts
With the softest of skin
Old ones that show
How old, where they've been
Butts that are fake
so plump and new
Butts that are real
Which are far in few

But what's this?
A **** we don't know?
Yes it's your ****!
And just look at it glow!
It's so very unique
It's one-of-a-kind!
Yes that trunk back there
Is quite some behind!

You don't need a new ****
Why yours is so you!
Who would wear it
If it wasn't on you?
Show off that **** girl!
Because it's got class
You'll have everyone saying
"What an amazing * * *"
With all the depressing poems, I wrote something lighthearted to cheer everyone up

Your **** is beautiful, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise

— The End —