Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
With heart aglitter like a polished shoe
he rattles up the high street with a tin,
as good an egg as ever won an OBE
and much the most annoying man I've seen.
From The Yellow Crane No 20 (Spring 2002)
If I am the grass and you the breeze, blow through me.
If I am the rose and you the bird, then woo me.
If you are the rhyme and I the refrain, don’t hang
on my lips, come and I’ll come too when you cue me.
If yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove
when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me.
If mine is the venomous tongue, the serpent’s tail,
charmer, use your charm, weave a spell and subdue me.
If I am the laurel that wreathes your brow, you are
the arms around my bark, arms that never knew me.
Oh would that I were bark! So old and still in leaf.
And you, dropping in my shade, dew to bedew me!
What shape should I take to marry your own, have you –
hawk to my shadow, moth to my flame – pursue me?
If I rise in the east as you die in the west,
die for my sake, my love, every night renew me.
If, when it ends, we are just good friends, be my Friend,
muse, brother and guide, Shamsuddin to my Rumi.
Be heaven and earth to me and I’ll be twice the me
I am, if only half the world you are to me.
Slip through the letter box with messages:
Some bland, some more intense, some aching with
Bereavements, wives abandoned, loss of jobs.
The annual contact on a patient card.
‘See you next year’ some say and quite forget
Before the ink is dry. A plaster patch
That leaves no sticky mark on minor wounds
However much the cover faces please
With coloured art or kitsch or nearly art.
One threatens every time in wiry script
‘This is the last card I shall send. I am
Too old now’. Still it slides into my hand.
And there is one that comes anonymous,
Unsigned, the postmark adds its mystery,
A smudge, a ghost behind this paper mask?
Perhaps there’ll be a few to tuck away
After the show, in an old envelope,
Fingered at times because the sender once
Carved hope into a fraction of your years;
Or others will imply ‘I am still here’ -
A comma on your page a life ago.