Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Sister Speaks. The Palace Burns

Not so long ago,
Of some weeks only,
The summer palace
They so quickly built
Is in ruins.

His dreams, hopes, his mad desires…

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Rain, Steam and Speed

How often do we read the art critics and think: you’re making all this up; your words fantasies; a painting merely the spring board from which you jump into your imaginary swimming pool; four sides of an echo chamber containing nothing but secondhand screams, reverberating cries; the heavy breathing of Sigmund Freud. Poor Sigmund, thinking himself so natty in his tight bathing trunks, he crawls over a Kandinsky colour study in blue, pink and green. “Ow!” He has scraped his knee on a cracked tile. How many times do we think this? Too many times.

Splash! Yelling his head off, he’s having fun! fun! fun! Capering about, he soaks us with his ideas, as we sit demurely in our deck chairs, watching his words diving up and down, feeling them splatter the bright blue tiles, the red of our feet and thighs. “Fountains of joy bring the rain of pain” is my softly spoken response. Katerina wriggles, giggles, throws the magazine onto the floor. “I’m joining you!”

Here is a mythological reading that tells us something new…

Thomas argues, comes extremely close to showing, that this train represents Orion, whose destiny is to forever hunt but never kill his prey. Turner’s train always to stop short of the hare. Two centuries of thought have been overturned. A painting famous for depicting speed, the symbol of the modern era, is revealed to be its opposite; a work of classical art; action in stasis; its figures rooted to the past, in a tradition. The meaning not in the naturalistic rendering of movement, but in the myth that encompasses it.

In myth we discover the truth. These shapes are going nowhere. This is a picture only.

Katerina grabs Inigo around the waist. Twisting around his torso, she squeezes up and kisses him on the cheek; calling me to join them. Soon she is sitting on his shoulders, waving and smiling and shouting: “Come on. Come on!” I get up, shout back and run…

Monday, 29 August 2016


He’s fighting the window and it refuses; that’s right, old man, it refuses - can a window refuse? no matter, this one refuses - to open.

And his face, you say? Well, it’s raining. Friends for ten years; since student days; friends for ten years before he stopped, before he shut his ears, to all their chatter.

That talk; those wonderful asides; all that history - yesterday’s clouds, rain that now ruins everything.

Yet still he fights. With fists and curses. That damned window! Closed still. He watches through a storm of arms and hands the sad faces of his friends.

Through the glass, frosted by his tears, he sees…

He has one last go to pull it down; to grasp…The glass will not shift; the train leaves; and he sees… He sees his friends; they refuse, old man, to smile or wave; sculptured to the platform.

Alone in the carriage he cries at cows; munching grass, they look at him from the fields, ruminate on his passing by.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

1789 (or the Romans Return)

What you do think, you higher men? Am I prophet? A dreamer? A drunkard? An interpreter of dreams? A midnight bell? A drop of dew? An odour and scent of eternity? Do you not hear it? Do you not smell it? My world has just become perfect, midnight is also noonday, pain is also joy, a curse is also a blessing, the night is also a sun - be gone, or you will learn: a wise man is also a fool.

Did you ever say Yes to one joy? O my friends, then you said Yes to all woe as well. All things are chained and entwined together, all things are in love; if ever you wanted one moment twice, if ever you said: ‘You please me, happiness, instant, moment!’ then you wanted everything to return! you wanted everything anew, everything eternal, everything chained, entwined together, everything in love, oh that is how you loved the world, you everlasting men, loved it eternally and for all time: and you say even to woe: ‘Go, but return!’ For all joy wants - eternity!’
                                       (Friedrich Nietzsche)

A monumental sleep
Whose ancient dreams
Awake on tomorrow’s avenues.
The body snores, groans
Is moving…

Across the centuries
Great artists work
Peopling the streets 
With ill-remembered gods…

        A sprightly Cicero
Defeating an old tyrant.
Now the republic wakes, rises, 
Puts on it antique dress,
Its Brutus the guillotine.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Painter

His eyes are dangerous.

Like all hard men he is scared. Making enemies that will hurt him, he is peeping over the wall; worrying about his head, thinking will it stay there…

A criminal looking out for the police.

Wary of this street, the city, his own little world, a whole being is concentrated into a look; his gaze two gun barrels staring at some woman walking by… Bang! Bang!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Exciting Sights

War brings out the best in us. This is almost a truism. We think of the old folks reminiscing; always they return to a few exciting years when life was wild with fun. 1939 to 1945: what a great time that was! lost to them forever, except in anecdotes wrinkled with smiles. When youngsters we did not understand our relatives: why does death excite them so, why does it make them happy; surely they should be sad and scared? Confused, we went to the history books. They did not help us much. The mental atmosphere long since faded away, only the novelists can recapture these years; a period when emotion tuned to the highest pitch, and then sustained for impossibly long periods of time, people became perennially excited, euphoric, intoxicated… It was like riding the longest, most frightening rollercoaster in the world. Amazing! Exhilarating! Let me off! Don’t you dare! Oh, what a lark it is.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Clouds Look Different From Above

…all these modes of thought which assess the value of things 
according to pleasure and pain, that is to say according to attendant 
and secondary phenomena, are foreground modes of thought
and naiveties which anyone conscious of creative powers 
and an artist’s conscience will look down on in derision, 
though not without pity.
                             (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Alone on a mountain
He is laughing,
At this carnival of clouds,
A circus treat,
Dogs and dwarfs
Travelling to another town.

The sky’s majesty dethroned
Before two penetrating eyes.

He smiles
At his own conceit.

But pity overcomes him 
For those below
Struggling in the foothills.

What! Pitying fools?
He laughs at these sights
They will never reach.