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 Issa. © the Estate of Paul Peter Piech
Deep in a black hole see my bluest lady,
blue luminosity fixed like a jewel,
tilt 23o from vertical
the axis of her head, her upper body
and mind bent like a divining rod toward me,
allowing me latitude from pole to pole.
I hope no more than to play her footstool;
the curtains of her robe descending round me
bring night lit by aromas of the sea,
the harbors of a sunken continent
of her desire rotating hourly by our
jeweled movement. Why turn to lighter day?
Stay to rain on this mutable planet
nocturnal seed, oh nacreous seafarer.
Clouds are half-conquered. A cloud hardly ever
strays into the office nowadays. When one does
it can still be dangerous. The chairman
or office boy (clouds being quite classless)
will swivel round, dribbling cloud.
But that is exceptional. Generally
clouds can be studied through double glass
safely, or mounted on slides, That way, they contribute
to model-building. Some foreign planets
have their own 'cloud-cosies'. Certain animals crop cloud.
And when, rarely, a cloud comes mooning
against your window, you may see the white hairnet
of its blood vessels, or the clenched white brain
(which is often shadowed). At those times apply techniques
of cloud-dispersal. So far is death like Orpheus.
John Thomson, d 1618
You would have to know where he lived,
how his croft clung to a hillside
forty times its size, on sufferance.
To stand under meteor showers
and northern lights, under a sky so vast
it swallowed his voice,
to see daily the breathtaking sweep
of hills, green and purple breakers
of surging stone,
to hear the ravishing inhuman voices
of birds, water, wind. You would need
to look out from his land,
where the ocean glitters beyond what eyes
can bear, the view he shared with no one,
to understand John Thomson,
who, long ago, was strangled for seeking
the stable’s warmth and, with soft words
of comfort, making love to his mare.