exhibition, art gallery, gallery

The Painting in Room 23

I was conceived in passion,

executed in a frenzy,

wild daubs of colour

hurled at the canvas.

First there was laughter

and then there were tears,

for artists are not quiet folk

who watch the News at Ten

and then go to bed timidly

with a mug of Ovaltine

at half past.

Painters live in pendulum swings;

They are drunk or sober but nothing in between.

What artist follows the golden mean?

What was lived and loved and laughed there

in the house where I was born!

And how much I miss it all!


Now I am hung in silence.

At first I thought I was in a morgue.

Hung did I say?

Hanged I should have said,

for my mates and I are virtually dead,

suspended in a row.

Death row is it?


The floors are polished bright and shine,

And the loos are disinfected well.

This I can tell you now for sure 

Because of the sharp detergent smell

that seeps its way along the wall

and reaches us here in 23.

The windows are clean,

and the lighting subtle,

or is it just dim?

Anyway, it´s really so dark

that you can hardly see.


Here art is supposed to come alive

on weekdays between 10 and 5,

and Sunday pm and Saturday too.

That’s when we’re fit for public view.

People talk in respectful tones,

stare vacantly, and read the text

on the wall beside the frame.

But what they want is a really stiff drink,

or at the very least a cup of tea!

And all is quiet, as quiet as can be.

Don’t wake the attendant sitting on his chair

with his well-brushed uniform and his well-combed hair.

I’m fed up with the sight of him expiring there.


So don’t ask me where I’d rather be,

in the house of strife where I was free

or hung up here in Room 23

on permanent loan to this gallery!