At The South Bank                                                                                                     

High citadel of culture.  

Cold clad in concrete

and high admission prices.

Squat, on stilts, a Malay

village above the Thames.


Here gather high priests,

the social elite,

to pay homage to the best

art that money can buy.


Yet, beneath their feet,

the only music

is canvas slapping

and the crackle of fire.


Here Paddy has built

a plywood home

in the chill cleavage

of a stone-arched breast.


An art-lover, lost between

two grey mausoleums,

falls easy prey

to the creative menace

of a begging bowl.


Van Gogh, they say,

was also insane.