Archive for November, 2009

Armistice

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

LAST POST
by Carol Ann Duffy

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud…
but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home –
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce – No – Decorum – No – Pro patria mori.
You walk away.
You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too –
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert –
and light a cigarette.
There’s coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would.

Exalted Company

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Robin Bell's Silver Footprint

Robin's book

When I picked up Robin’s book at the London opening of his show last week I was chuffed to see he’d elected to put my picture on a spread opposite a Bill Brandt. What a complement!

Robin Bell's Silver Footprint

Bill and me

I don’t know if it’s fate taunting me after I mentioned Brandt in this blog last month, but now I come to think about it, it’s a little intimidating. Quite a lot to measure up to! Still, all in all I’m thrilled.

For anyone who hasn’t been following the story: Robin is the man I have been using for my printing recently. He’s probably the most respected printer in London and, to mark his 35 years in the darkroom, he selected some favorite pictures to go in an exhibition. I was very flattered to be asked to contribute, especially considering the exalted company I would be amongst. The book is effectively the catalogue of that show.

The book is available from the gallery.