As Antony Gormley's One and Other 100 days project for the fourth (empty) plinth in Trafalgar Square neared its conclusion I found myself, like many others, wondering what it would have been like up there for the 2400 participants.
The weather's not been very conducive of late to the rearing of poetry blooms, so here's another forced in the greenhouse of nomuse.
The Empty Plinth
I felt I was great art for that brief hour,
but later, when I saw the others on the plinth
I thought how much they'd wasted their grand chance
and wondered if I too had looked as amateurish.
But I'd imagined I was one of Gormley's men,
you know the ones - those standing off the shore.
I told myself the crowds who milled below
were waves or ripples in the sea that stretched before.
I wondered too what Gormley might have made of me:
he used his body for those standing in the sea.
I used mine to show the world I'm me - a different me
for all great art involves a transformation.
Was I transformed? Or have I been? In my view
or the view of those beneath me on the square?
But wait, why does only greatness seem worthwhile?
Why can it not be run of mill, like song or dance?
I danced a few steps on the plinth myself, I did -
and I'm no Fred Astair, as all my mates would vow,
yet somehow those few steps made something rock
that otherwise would not have rocked in me.
Strangest thing... as popular as Gormley's One and Other
has become, the people streaming by did not look up,
did not enthuse, admire, form audience.
They were as waves ignoring cliffs to far above to love.
As folk in quiet times see their bones (I'm told)
dark-buried in the all-concealing earth,
so I now, when I close my eyes, see mine
transformed: dry, colourless, arranged as art.
On the Top of the Pops list
Interesting result to the BBc's National Poetry Day poll to find the Nation's favourite poet (again!). This time, though , it was an on-line poll and T.S.Eliot came top. (A similar poll conducted on radio recently put Kipling top. This time Kipling did not figure in the top ten.
Numbers 2 to 10 were: John Donne, Benjamin Zephaniah, Wilfred Owen, Philip Larkin, William Blake, W.B.Yeats, John Betjeman, John Keats and Dylan Thomas - a very different line-up from any radio poll results I've ever seen! What is one to make of that, I wonder?