I read a poem at the WilliamMorrisGallery on Friday night. I had been asked, along with the Forest Poets – a Stanza group – to choose an image from the collection and respond.
I don’t usually do this sort of thing. But I did for a few reasons, the juiciest one being that I was a Gallery Attendant at the WMG back in the 90s. I whiled away a full 16 months looking out of the back window. I saw the seasons communicate themselves via leaves and weeds.
I hated it. The dullness. The patterned-wallpaper groupies grumbling with joy in dim rooms. I used to keep a tally of visitors: I remember on winter day the slow pull of a single gate bar on paper.
One afternoon I brushed a pin from the desk and heard it’s music as it came to rest on the marble tiled floor.
And I remember the desperation of being shut up in Morris’ tomb. Why the expletive was I in someone else’s museum? What about making stuff to fill my own?
My poem is next to the Sussex Chairs catalogue, downstairs. A tiny success. I made something.
I have posted the poem on my site: www.grahamclifford.co.uk. If it is about anything, it is about all the chairs that weren’t beautiful enough to make the grade. By way of an intro on Friday I said the image that struck me from the catalogue did so because it was like the chair version of an X Factor final. A line up of the winners: but what of the others?