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 Anna Adams. © the Estate of Paul Peter Piech, 1990.
When it comes to me, green, through the green window
it is not green but brown. When it enters the back
of the eyes it is not brown but black with a faint afterglow.
When I wake in the night, once again it is black,
then swells into a kind of gold or foxed yellow.
When the moon rises, that which is cold freezes
and creeps under the nails with a peculiar noise
I can’t quite identify. When, eventually, it squeezes
through the double glazing it is a blend of alloys
passing through the usual predictable phases:
now full, then mildly dented like an old football,
cut sharp in the middle, a slice of lemon,
the merest sliver of ice left on the floor, a small
dense patch of nothing. But who are these women
sitting immobile, patient in the hall?
I feel their cold. Their manners are the politesse
of death, their small talk is of moons waning.
I watch them as they rise and dress
in little black numbers. Their stars hang
in the cupboard. The moon waits on the terrace.
they request that we inform you immediately you are standing on soft ground
the ceiling lights are swinging in the background
the waves crash, then dissipate the first wave may not be the largest
this is a flow-on event so do not go near do not stay and watch the land
slipping it has triggered other faults like a network of nerves
and the seabed has risen out of the sea there are visible ruptures
running along the landscape this is a flow-on event
but the moon does not cause earthquakes the ceiling lights are a typical pattern
of aftershocks and they request that we inform you
you are a visible rupture running along the landscape
do not stay and watch the nerves slipping
there will be strong currents in the background
the moon has risen out of the sea the first wave crashes, then dissipates
you are standing on such soft ground
The star flitted into her mouth.
She tried to cough it out, but too late,
for the star had run down her throat
tracing a thread of light
from her tongue to her stomach
where it glinted through membrane,
skin and dress. When the doctor
came, and warmed his stethoscope
in his palms, he listened
to the light that fizzed in her gut.
“What do you hear, she said.
“I can hear the Milky Way.
He’s crying for his mother.
He needs a transfusion.
The girl climbed to the top
of the hill, leaned back
on the evening grass,
her arms and legs stretched out
to the tips of her fingers and toes
and the star shone up to the sky
as the treetops, the anemones,
the gentle stellar winds, breathed them in.