Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Artwork by Paul Peter Piech. Words by Taigi. © the Estate of Paul Peter Piech
Noon passes in this twentieth century.
My pretty wife sleeps in a hospital bed.
My young wife's pretty eyes are dying.
I watch the helpless hands
I watch the helpless eyes
Of all the sad doctors.
You build great aeroplanes,
You build lightning missiles,
Force powerful energy
Into small bombs.
O men men men
Can you promise nothing but death
To we who settle this planet?
Why can't you kill
of my pretty wife
of my young wife?
The day came and I was sponging twenty years of dust
from a green clock to avoid you, knee-deep in first editions
of Iris Murdoch and your name on the flyleaf of every one;
was only red-eyed over onions, waiting for the boy I’d cooked for
to turn up and shift old champagne boxes in the name of love;
was calling you ‘some dead woman’ as if you were only objects
where your hands had touched them; was laughing, despite you,
with this boy you’ll never meet, this boy who likes these cheeks
you handed down, who had nothing to say, he said, and held me
as if it mattered now. And I was grown up, with your face on,
heating spice after spice to smoke out the smell of books, to burn
the taste buds off this bitten tongue, avoid ever speaking of you.