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Open Tue 12 – 6pm, Wed – Sun 12 – 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday 12 noon - 6 pm, Wednesday to Sunday 12 noon – 8 pm
Resurfaced, never widened.
The verges grassy as when
Bill Pickering lay with his gun
Under the summer hedge
Nightwatching, in uniform –
Moonlight on rifle barrels,
On the windscreen of a van
Roadblocking the road,
The rest of his patrol
Sentry-still, in profile,
Or me in broad daylight
On top of a cartload
Of turf hand-built and squat
As a drystone beehive hut,
Looked up to, looking down,
Allowed the reins like an adult –
In the picture at last,
The one on the whitewashed wall
Of a horse and cart and turfman
Embroidered on calico
In what they called ‘the long ago’,
Framed in passe-par-tout.
Or that August day I walked it
To the hunger striker’s wake,
Across a silent yard,
In past a watching crowd
To where the guarded corpse
And a guard of honour stared.
Film it in sepia,
Drip-paint it in blood,
This was/is the Wood Road.
Resurfaced, never widened,
The milk-can deck and the sign
For the bus-stop overgrown.
The walls are very thin up here, sky, birds -
I'd grab if I could their Norfolk idiom
stuff it in my pocket to trickle out
and listen in. The sun floods rectangles
into the room and I’m imagining
you now at the RA, your face raised
to Anish Kapor's hovering wall-full.
Think of a big yellow belly button!
I woke and heard your feet pad from Whitehall
to Picadilly. Remember? we'd glut
our eyes, then head for coffee. You'll like the blood
slugged at white space, the great rope of it circling
far into the future. Oh my darling
these birds tear heart and soul out of thin air.