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Critics Question Dyed-In-The-Wool Poet

Actor Daniel Percival of the movie "Exodus".
AP Photo
I thought you might like to hear a new English poem, a rather special English poem, it goes like this:

“Clouds graze the sky,
Below, sheep drift gentle
Over fields, soft mirrors
Warm white snow.”

Like it? Splendid ! It cost British taxpayers $4,000, That’s $265 dollars a word. And if you want to know what’s so special about this poem, prepare for the kind of lunatic shock that British artists so often provide. The poet has sprayed each of the fifteen words on a different sheep. (Yes, I did say sheep, four-legged, stupid, woolly things.) So, you might call it a moving poem.

Indeed one moment it can read:

“Clouds over mirrors,
drift warm below sheep
graze the fields white
soft the gentle sky.”

And half an hour later it will say instead:

“Warm white sheep
graze the soft mirrors
over the clouds sky
drift below gentle fields.”

The permutations are endless. The poet Valerie Laws believes her work uses the basic framework of quantum mechanics – that is to say: randomness, the influence of the observer and the observed and duality. The rest of us reckon its a load of pretentious bunk, and a great waste of public money in the name of art, only of interest to the occasional pilot who happens to fly over the field. We actually paid the poet a grant to produce this ovine drivel. Even the shepherd who looks after the fifteen ewes on which each word was sprayed is deeply embarrassed.

And the sheep themselves? They're lost for words.

By Ed Boyle By Gyles Brandreth