Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Albert Tucker & the Heide painters

Singapore fell in '42 and Nolan, Boyd, Perceval and Tucker
saw there was nothing for it and so these Angry Penguins marched to war
Wangaratta training camp Albert drew medical diagrams war made him sick
he sweated retched and arched around the head he choked on war
his throat swelled up with it they sent him to Heidelberg hospital where
he got a new job drawing wounds that plastic surgeons had to fix
he sketched a man crying from his sliced-off nose Man at table

certain flaws are required for the whole
The waste land/ bomb happies/ gas burns/ Explorers/ Antipodean Heads
five weeks of detailed injuries then at year's end discharged
Tucker returned to St Kilda streetlights neons swimming in a boozy
forced end-of-the-world semi-contracepted raucousness

but at Heide he could crawl under Merrick Boyd's Spanish table
and escape it all one day a stone angel came to life there
her name was Joy she shed her wings buried them
in the garden Sunday loved her by firelight she painted strange
haunted faces black and white eyes pounding out of their sockets

these Reeds’ creatures, they painted like demons
little-boy-lost Sweeney Hallam Tucker arrived in 1945
Albert built him a playpen on the balcony of 47 Robe St, St Kilda
there at Figsby, the painters preferred the southern light
Bert's Images of Modern Evil
Joy painted A frightened woman
on taking Sweeney to view a Belsen film

visited by a rushing noise ghost in 1947 Hester left then Tucker left
Sweeney became Reed Nolan abandoned Sunday
John buried himself in what only John Reed could do
Tucker became art correspondent in Japan
Hiroshima in pen & ink was there no end to it

who could read in that beautiful face Self Portrait of 1939
that Tucker was born to chronicle all that damage

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