Stay in the loop, sign up for email updates about new items, events and competitions
Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Artwork by Paul Peter Piech, 1976. Words by Hugo Manning. © the Estate of Paul Peter Piech
Whatever you’ve come here to get
You’ve come to the wrong place. It
(I mean your name) hurries away
Before you in the trees to escape.
I am against you looking in
At what you think is me speaking.
Yet we know I am not against
You looking at me and hearing.
If I had met you earlier walking
With the poetry light better
We might we could have spoken and said
Our names to each other. Under
Neath the boughs of the last black
Bird fluttered frightened in the shade
I think you might be listening. I
Listen in this listening wood.
To tell you the truth I hear almost
Only the sounds I have made myself.
Up over the wood’s roof I imagine
The long sigh of Outside goes.
I leave them there for a moment knowing
I make them act you and me.
Under the poem’s branches two people
Walk and even the words are shy.
It is only an ordinary wood.
It is the wood out of my window.
Look, the words are going away
Into it now like a black hole.
Five fields away Madron Wood
Is holding words and putting them.
I can hear them there. They move
As a darkness of my family.
The terrible, lightest wind in the world
Blows from word to word, from ear
To ear, from name to name, from secret
Name to secret name. You maybe
Did not know you had another
Sound and sign signifying you.