Fleur Adcock


Leaving the Tate - Poem by Fleur Adcock

Coming out with your clutch of postcards
in a Tate gallery bag and another clutch
of images packed into your head you pause
on the steps to look across the river

and there's a new one: light bright buildings,
a streak of brown water, and such a sky
you wonder who painted it - Constable? No:
too brilliant. Crome? No: too ecstatic -

a madly pure Pre-Raphaelite sky,
perhaps, sheer blue apart from the white plumes
rushing up it (today, that is,
April. Another day would be different

but it wouldn't matter. All skies work.)
Cut to the lower right for a detail:
seagulls pecking on mud, below
two office blocks and a Georgian terrace.

Now swing to the left, and take in plane-trees
bobbled with seeds, and that brick building,
and a red bus...Cut it off just there,
by the lamp-post. Leave the scaffolding in.

That's your next one. Curious how
these outdoor pictures didn't exist
before you'd looked at the indoor pictures,
the ones on the walls. But here they are now,

marching out of their panorama
and queuing up for the viewfinder
your eye's become. You can isolate them
by holding your optic muscles still.

You can zoom in on figure studies
(that boy with the rucksack), or still lives,
abstracts, townscapes. No one made them.
The light painted them. You're in charge

of the hanging committee. Put what space
you like around the ones you fix on,
and gloat. Art multiplies itself.
Art's whatever you choose to frame.


Comments about Leaving the Tate by Fleur Adcock

  • (7/16/2016 2:36:00 AM)


    composing your own landscapes. Exact observations create d by yourself.
    Art begins with seeing, then choosing.
    Great poem
    Tom Billsboriough
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  • Shakil Ahmed (11/26/2015 2:48:00 AM)


    you have presented your passions nicely, thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Thursday, November 26, 2015



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