David Hockney mr and mrs clark and percy
David Hockney 'Mr and mrs Clark and Percy'

Percy

  David Rodger


The century wrote its will
but the century did not die.
Impoverished heirs still
- the tropical butterfly,

the Great Barrier Reef -
waited for salvation
(first the explosion of grief
and then regeneration).

The century painted its prayers
on canvas and cut them in stone
- not for it religious airs
or the Gregorian drone.

It stored its prayers away
like ammonites in the rock,
it appointed priests to display
its amulets to the flock

and it begged that there might be mercy
in future aeons of dark
for white-furred Percy
and Mr and Mrs Clark.

But futile were its vaults.
After the day of ire
remained only basalts
crystallized in the fire.

Pray for the next régime:
no privet and polyanthus;
osmunda growing supreme,
no laurel or acanthus.

Butterflies and epiphytes,
polyps and sea-slugs,
no tours of city sights,
no commemorative mugs.

Percy prowling the wild;
willow herb in the room
where Percy posed as the child
of parents musing in gloom.

David Hockney Arrival of Spring in Woldgate
David Hockney 'Arrival of Spring in Woldgate'

David Roger was born in 1935. He was educated in Northumberland and Fife and read French and German at St Andrews. For thirty years he worked in the British Museum and later in the British Library until his retirement in 1990. His main interests are art nouveau book design, early twintieth- century poetry and Japan.

David Hockney The Herrenhausen Hanover
David Hockney 'The Herrenhausen Hanover'