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Martin Hughes: a poem

The Giacometti Method

There's never an answer one would expect

From you, the mark of what you say

Is that it emerges plain and unchecked

From your silhouette as it descends the stairway.

I know the work grief does, I accord it due respect

And I recognise the shape of it in what I see in you today.

In the school art room, fixed firm to cheap hardboard,

Hot wax dripped over coat hanger shapes,

Or wet plaster bandages give the sculpture form.

Once dry, they dwarf the display case

So they're left to stand weary and gaunt,

And I recognise their shape in what I see today.

Giacometti squints, Gauloise between his lips.

Pinching, picking, pummelling the clay

The figure is augmented yet diminished.

Like life, he piles it on and then pares it away.

He steps back when he's finished

And I recognise the shape of it in what I see today.

In saner times Martin Hughes works at the Lamp Theatre and Arts Venue, co-hosting "Spoke – in the Lamp", a monthly poetry and performance event. As part of a local community project he's currently recording a radio play based in part on his childhood in the industrial Midlands of England.

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