Écorché


To the anatomists, for the doctors to dissect? 

To the Royal Academy, for the artists to draw? 

They all need a corpse. 

And he is surely dead; publicly, clearly, fully, forever dead. 

Hanged by the state for robbing a pastry cook on the King’s highway. 

But a soldier before a criminal. 

Fit, young, well-muscled, free of disease. 

To the Royal Academy then, 

For other young men and their drawings. 

Skinned and plastered, 

Arranged by the academicians into yet another iteration of the Dying Gaul

Now abandoned in an unlit cupboard, encrusted with the discarded gum 

Of generations of art students.


Click here to read the poem in PDF format.

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