BRINGING HOME THE BACON
Lines on the Reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s Studio in Dublin City Gallery
A neat and modest flat, a narrow stair
Led to a skylit studio. – Was where
He liked to work in chaos, organized
The high-priced priest and pagan, canonized.
Conservators and archaeologists
Using photographs and copious lists
Moved studio, lock, stock and champagne crate
When Francis had become, at last, the late
Spent three whole years to work their awesome trick
To fix his farewell flux in time’s aspic
Conveying it, in gesture strangely grand,
As in the song – across the sea to Ireland.
Every squeeze of paint, each grain of dust
Doors, floorboards, the wall plaster a must
No flagellation or defenestration –
Here was where he worked and painted desperation
Rended strips of trouser corduroy
Photos torn and bent, a golden boy –
Paint-smeared newsprint of the hoi polloi.
Lab and Upper Room, Creative Cauldron
Delivery ward for bastard love-hate children
One hundred canvases aborted, slashed
Evidence of aspirations dashed
The scholars tell us – all grist to his mill
The palette knife that went in for the kill.
Curators quickly pounced, and with due care
Formalized the wild abandoned lair
Now Dublin can so cordially invite us
To lionize the lion’s last detritus.
My attic boasts no elevated status
Here’s no magic cauldron, melting pot
What am I to do here, tell me what?
The central bookcase carefully arranged
Parts a sea of troubles quite deranged.
I can’t bequeath this chaos to posterity
It’s nothing but a leaden liability
My art’s to entertain and be beguiling
I’ve never learn the simple act of filing.
Here, so old and hemmed in, at a loss
I dread to chuck out gold amongst the dross.
And yet please watch this space or lack of it
When next you see me – I’ll have seen the back of it.
Playing Washington DC
(In ’98, the RSC).
Artistically arranged attendants
(Are they good to their dependents?)
Posed here, casually concordant
Attending – not being so important
Yet one cannot deprecate
The way these four officiate
Of art they lightly guard the door
Rivalling the Henry Moore
* * * * * *
Filed this photo into art
It’s docketed in verse and rhyme
I’ll tidy up just give me time
I’ll not leave chaos in my wake
If only for my loved ones’ sake
I’m not mistaken, I’m no Bacon
What I need’s reincarnation
Rebirth as a minimalist
A formalist you can’t resist
This loft will make a pure haiku
Do I have faith? – Why, yes, I do …