Five Walls at the Hatton Gallery with Kate

I submitted this earlier however it seems to have vapourised – it was originally 2×14 line stanzas of ten syllable lines but I amended it at times for clarity.

 
“Yes, I was very ill again, I am becoming
thinner and thinner, but my spirit cannot be crushed.
I work every minute that I’m able to. 
My Merz Barn is better and more consistent
than anything I have done before.”  (Kurt Schwitters, 1947)
 
Lichtenstein at the Hatton, Newcastle;
I suppose we were meant to be grateful
that the oeuvre of such an eminence
should be displayed for us to gaze upon.
 
Art spun from comic book illustrations?
Straw turned to gold? Hardly.  
 
                                                  Beside each frame,
weighty academic depositions
detailing the artist’s inspiration
creative modus and motivation,
(money and fame the last things on his mind) 
conjured by a gnomic back-room wordsmith
to instil a whiff of gravitas to
 
four walls of mediocrity at which
we kept observations sotto voce.
 
From walls of banality to ‘real’ Art.
Art forged from suffering. Art to the death.
 
A weathered wall. A stone-slate cowshed wall.
 
Taste the mildew, the damp, the grit, the chill,
Schwitters’ shivering.  Each draught carried
the serpentine hiss of death come calling.
 
An arcane installation that few might
see; the last work of a refugee 
hounded back home for degeneracy,
 
the Merzbarn, Elterwater, Cumbria –
an epitome of ‘futility’.
 
The exiled Schwitters wrote to wife, Helma,
‘Carry joy with you wherever you go.’
 
Ecstasy?
              Agony?  
                          Carry the joy.

© coolhermit 2020
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