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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Why are all the artists on the move?

Why are all the artists quitting town?
They have packed their paints and brushes
In a mountain of portmanteaux
and abandoned monoliths of Portland Stone -
even marble from Carrara's high and dry -
and on donkey carts and pony carts
and bicycles with trailers
there are cases full of oddments,
and portfolios of work,
on top of which are easels
now collapsed or disassembled
beneath piles of masons' chisels
and some chippers and stone hammers -
hammers that have hammered out
their human weightiness in stone.
There are models, nude and otherwise,
and bevies of sweet paramours and wives
holding flagons of light ale and dark red wines.

Why do they all skedaddle in this way?
Is it just performance art performed en masse?
What might then be the meaning of their play?
What message has this sudden exodus?
Why do they shuffle in their thousands
through our forests and our fields,
why reciting, singing, dancing as they go?
What ails this crocodile that cries out for fiesta -
and where on earth's a crocodile to go?

Is it that there's nothing left to paint,
that we and all our precincts are played out?
Of landscapes nothing's natural these days?
Are the shapes we've made of culture, too banal?

Is it simply that there's nothing left to do?
that we've scraped the barrel clean - is that what’s in their minds?
They’re out to play the ace - their final card?
We've filled the barrels with our most insipid wines
and every viewpoint and perspective's done to death -
and what is left is simply laughable, they say.

Or is it something darker? Could it be
that artists everywhere are being scared to death,
being offered sums of money to get out
by people with a grain or so of power
who know instinctively, the greater power of art?

12 comments:

Titus said...

Love the vocabulary choices in this! Oddments, paramours, flagons, skedaddle - great concatenation to set a tone you then jar precisely with the ending.

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Oh, so delightful.

As an artist debating leaving so poignant.

Or is it something darker? Could it be that artists everywhere are being scared to death,

Too bad we are not being offered sums of money to get out. That we are leaving merely because our public is willing to settle for a cheap knock off from Walmart.

Carl said...

Wonderful. So much to chew on here. Will give it several reads tonight.

jabblog said...

Thought-provoking - this one will stay with me.

Tabor said...

Artists wouldn't leave for sums of money...or would they? This could be a description of that past comment about "the long end of the tail."

The Weaver of Grass said...

I think they are on the move to find scenes in the holiday places to sell to the holiday public - sad really.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Scary vision here (but also entertaining---I love that artists and their nude models are walking together).

Linda Sue said...

SO GOOD! yes, This goes on the wall in the common area of the Waterfront Artists studios ( I have a studio there) it will be so appreciated! Thank you!

Isabel Doyle said...

perhaps they've heard there are tourists coming ... cracking poem

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

David,
This is a superb social and political commentary upon the state of artistic freedom, or lack of it today.
No one person really leading the way with some gem of inspiration thse days.

Eileen.

PS: Dave, Thank you for your generous comments and many visits to my poems also.
Much appreciated. Eileen

Windsmoke. said...

Sounds to me like a band of gypsys has taken up residence in a village and have been given a bribe to move on by those in power who are afraid of artistic freedom. Not all gypsys are criminals as people may think :-).

Dave King said...

Titus
Much thanks for those comments. Useful to know.

Jacqui
Hi and welcome to my blog. Good to have you visiting, and a big thank you for the comments.
I like your interpretation very much.

Carl
Thanks again, always good to have your comment.

jabblog
Lovely comment, much appreciated.

Tabor
No, I wasn't convinced by that possibility.

Weaver of Grass
Excellent speculation. I bet that's it!

Linda Sue
Hi, welcome to the blog, and Wow! I shall take that as a big pat on the back! Thank you.

Isabel
Yep, I buy that one. Thanks.

Eileen
Thanks again for a valuable comment. That certainly is the essence of what was in my mind.

Windsmoke
Interesting, I, too thought of gypsies, but not until I was reading it through after posting it.