“An Altered Land” Exhibition by David Fox at Olivier Cornet Gallery

Last Thursday 2nd May was Poetry Day Ireland #PoetryDayIRL and I was delighted to take part in a very interesting event at the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Great Denmark Street. Along with 12 other poets I wrote a poem responding to Artist David Fox’s exhibition ‘An Altered Land’. My thanks to Orla Grant-Donoghue and Olivier Cornet for putting this idea together. The exhibition runs until 12th May 2019 and I urge you to get to see it if you can. In my poem Evidence of Emotion I was taken by the absence of the human in the paintings but also the evidence of human ingenuity and activity that is portrayed in the built environment. Most of the paintings give a sense of searching, the point of view of a driver on a road, making a journey. This was my response.

 

Evidence of Emotion

after “An Altered Land” exhibition, David Fox

 

This is the route I took

via motorway, national, regional

roads, over bridges and flyovers,

                                                            cantilevered

concrete and steel silently holding

its breath above rivers of bitumen, 

asphalt, macadam.

                       Median

wild with a riot of prodigal nature, tempered

by barriers, steel, pre-cast concrete,

relics of our interference,

attempts to create and destroy,

to divide and connect, to escape

and return to our roots.

 

I searched for you on the road,

the streetlights wept in your absence,

tears spilled on the carriageway,

rolled off the

                         camber

                                      and into the drain,

road slick in the light of my searching.

An empty bus-shelter reflected my shame.

Anxiety

              slid

                       down

                                     the embankment

on to the carriageway. I couldn’t stop it,

the squirming; desire like a juggernaut

on an empty road, out of control, awaiting

the inevitable impact at the dead end.

 

But the road doesn’t end. It goes on, cutting

the fields into two, three and four, connecting

the outposts of broken endeavours,

reclaiming the wilds, imposing order,

making wasteland where once there was forest.

 

I know you are there, framed in the sharp edge

of pavements, lining the street in perspectives

as yet incomplete, where you wait, further on,

somewhere not yet in view. I hear you in the hum

of pylons, the wind under bridges; on the verge

of hopelessness, you are there in my blood as it surges

through the empty streets of my abandoned heart.

 

© Brian Kirk 2019

 

 

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