‘No room! No room!’ they cried
(for Morag Morris, Christmas 2005)
On the way back from the dentist, I still stop
at the Art Gallery to view the same canvases
I’ve seen year after year: the forest fire
with its cows reassuringly indifferent,
Pissarro’s dotted suburbs, St Catherine
with her lilies. The attendant tells me, once again,
that many of their best holdings stay
in the cellar, never to see the light.
At home there’s no space left on the walls
to hang the new pictures I’d like to introduce.
I move things round, hopelessly: the icon
of the virgin is now over the stairs,
her matt, pastel gaze reproving us,
which before caught the warm light from the fire.