Fleur Adcock

Rookie (1934 / Auckland)

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

  • Lantz Pierre (9/16/2017 5:37:00 AM)


    How I wish she had written this poem after a visit to the Tate Modern instead of the stalwart Tate Gallery. The Tate Gallery is history incarnate, and Adcock does an admirable job of incarnating that. She has a fine eye for what she sees inside and out of that venerable institution. She concretely contextualizes the lessons without being overtly didactic. She frames her poem in similar style to the painters that she mentions, recording a time and place with an inkling of resides behind the artist's eyes as well. But the focus is landscape, broad and wide, observed or imagined, existing outside the mind for the most part. And primarily sedate. All apt and pertinent to exact reality of the objective frame. The Tate Modern would have been a wholly other poem. (Report) Reply

    Paul Brookes Paul Brookes (9/16/2017 7:02:00 AM)

    Maybe you should write the about the Tate Modern

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  • Robert Murray Smith (9/16/2017 4:10:00 AM)


    A prosaic write. It is like reading a postcard. (Report) Reply

  • Nudershada Cabanes (9/16/2017 3:04:00 AM)


    Art is whatever you choose to frame. Absolutely agree. (Report) Reply

  • (9/16/2017 2:28:00 AM)


    Howdee! Fleur! Tell me if I'm wrong, I thought I saw you in Creteil last year? ? ? ? Can't mistake that blue-frecked with-white school-girl uniform. Your poem brought back wistful memories. Is the Tate still there? After what you did to it - bundled it all into your poem? Kept looking through your eyes at a scene way back half a century ago! Every good wish. Wignesan (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (9/16/2017 2:24:00 AM)


    Such an aesthetic write posted here..... (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (9/16/2017 2:21:00 AM)


    Such an intresting write. Beautifully painted. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (9/16/2017 1:46:00 AM)


    Great landscape of nature though painted by master painters are a fragment of what has been created by God. How nicely expressed- the viewfinder / your eye's become. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (9/16/2017 1:12:00 AM)


    Art multilplies itself! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra (9/16/2017 12:38:00 AM)


    whatever you choose to frame, good one (Report) Reply

  • (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
    (Report) Reply

  • Shakil Ahmed (11/26/2015 2:48:00 AM)


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

Read all 13 comments »




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Poem Submitted: Thursday, November 26, 2015



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