Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
gray winter morning
the oranges in the fruit bowl
scent the room
There’s a woman called Faithless
living in my house.
She moves from room to room,
trailing musk and ambergris.
Mouth parted, faintly bruised,
she is moody as seaweed. Her glad
gull’s eye collects shells, bones.
Her favourite haunt is horizontal.
A creature wearing only a necklace
of names, she is all things to all men.
You can count on her to kiss and tell.
I think she’s a swan on holiday:
fascinating from across a lake,
all beak and hissing when you get close.
I watch her giving the Man of the House
the largest slice of cake. I know her
too well; I cannot trust her.
She’s Faithless, as a cat;
steals love from cupboards.
‘Don’t talk to people,’ my landlady said.
‘They’ll only want to know about you.’
Even shoptalk made me edgy; ‘Are ye gettin’?’
‘Howse about ye?’ Nowhere had my cigarettes.
I couldn’t understand their bread.
This summer I have come to see her.
She gives me tea, barmbrack, soda farls
And asks about my wife. She is washing her nets
And I can see through arcades of union flags,
Bunting, red-white-and-blue lamp-posts
To the gable wall; King Billy on horseback,
Square and compass, masonic numbers.
Before it, her son is practising his mace.
He waits to catch a thirty-foot throw,
Holding his stance, counting.