Friday, 10 April 2009


Yesterday we went to an exhibition in Oxford organised by Stillpoint. 14 contemporary artists had been asked to make their own interpretation of the stations of the cross. The result is a strong, inspiring exhibition. It's at the Jam Factory until 16 April and I recommend it.

I was particularly taken by a piece by Alan Ramsey, which consisted of two panels completely covered in London Underground tickets and incorporating the artist's words about Jesus's silence under trial. I copied down the words and later realised that they work as a poem in their own right. I hope the artist will not object to me reproducing them here.

(Jesus on trial)

If you hadn’t stayed silent
I’d never have grown up
I’d never have asked a single decent question
I’d never have seen that woman quietly sobbing
I’d never have laughed about my new coat with those Spanish girls
I’d never have obeyed the tannoy on 7/7
I’d never have heard my darkness on Old Street
I’d never have talked Bonhoeffer with that friendly American
I’d never have tasted the claustrophobia on my tongue
I’d never have hummed that lame little chorus to myself
I’d never have gone to meet her at Sloane Square
All the journeys
would have been
the same
We’re always telling you to speak up
We’re always slapping you around
Explain yourself
Bet you can’t guess who hit you?
I like it that you’re a quiet sort of person
Word and no word
I can’t imagine you babbling on and on
If you hadn’t stayed silent
I’d never love your kiss
more than prophesies or answers
I’d never want to keep playing
this brilliant hide and seek faith-game
I’d never ache
to see the light again

1 comment:

  1. What a moving poem. One to revisit. Were they all local artists?

    PS On an entirely different subject, I was amused to see that you got your blog in before Steve this morning!