A Reading

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?


About grahamcliffordpoet

Graham is an award winning poet, based in London. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing, and has since published nationally and internationally, winning many awards and performing at some of the most prestigious and well known Literary Festivals. His debut collection, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren.
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