writing

Lead drainpipe

Liquorice

  With drains for legs the rain runs off you And though it’s always cold, (with lead for legs) it’s not wet. Black roots are hard but damp liquorice runs…

Washington Heights

When It Breaks

When the side of the building falls, it is a spring morning, April, not yet dawn. And there is no warning. The crack was there for a long time, all…

Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior - Strandgade 30

Filth

  Covered in filth, a disastrous clumsy brain excavates deep to identify causality.   Distrusting and perilous, Broken mirror images echo an unsung nursery rhyme in an incomprehensible language. For…

Magna Carta, British Library

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy

The Human Rights Act (1998), which enacted the European Convention of Human Rights (1950), has been in the firing line almost since it was passed. Some opposition is rooted in…

Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles

Do Not Touch the Artworks

From 1938-9 and for a period of over fifteen months, a cleaner at The British Museum set to work on the Parthenon Marbles. Using cooper tools, the worker began to…

Halonen, Pekka, Washing on the Ice, 1900

Editorial: Clean Unclean

My side of the desk is scrupulously clean. The other half is a mess of dust and papers, temporarily abandoned books, a pair of tights, a lump of local granite….

Painting of a Mouse, by Shibata Zeshin

Of a Mouse, To a Mouse

The clean pink two back feet he has have long toes almost like a bird’s. Unlike a bird’s, the tail, a draggled earthworm, limps behind his search. Head joined on…

Gao Qipei - Stag. Walters Art Museum

In Richmond Park

Here is the cusp of November colour: deer in a nicotine prairie. Trunks snaked by squirrels, clouds and crows over yellow and russet leaf-rag. On thin legs, bulbous-jointed like twiglets,…