When your government consistently lies
through its teeth, it just may be very
important to pay attention to words in
the way poetry does.
When the powers came and massed their men
outside the desert city and their shining fleets
were lined up in the glistening bay; when the occupiers’
planes were massed on board those invulnerable carriers
and their long range missiles aimed from sheltered distance;
then, perhaps, the city might surrender?
Or then, perhaps, the silk-sashed statues in the city squares
might have known the only thing worth doing
was to climb down from their plinths and fight;
and then, perhaps, the dried-up fountains in the public plazas
might have made new blood to flood the veins
of the statues as they woke from olden dreams;
and, even then, the golden temples from the inner districts
might have tapped themselves straight in to heaven,
to draw down souls and fill the statues with a life
that might have set them free to meet those forces
gathered there, mysteriously, to smash them?
But no such dream appeared against the smart of lies…
and the people instead were lined up in the desert
like statues, their cries as unheard as the cries
of birds winging over the distant, listening bay.
‘The badgers moved the goalposts.’
Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs, 2013
Catalogue Number: BC2013
Mixed media. Glass cabinet (10’ x 5’ x 10’) with football
goalposts and life-sized mannequin of male politician with
taxidermist’s badger’s head, sitting on a racehorse, rifle
aiming out from the shoulder. Theme tune to The Archers
playing on repeat from concealed speakers.
Badgers: A Retrospective. Berne Convention on the
Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.
Sept. 2013. (repr. in col. p997 ).
The Shock of the Old. Field Sports Gallery. Sept. 2013.
Gotcha! (South West Touring Show). Oct. 2013. (repr. in
commemorative booklet, p13).
Crisis, What Crisis? (Group exhibition). DEFRA. Oct. 2013.
Forty-Two Years of Dithering: 1971-2013. Whitechapel Art Gallery.
Nov. 2013. (no number).