The painting over of Guildhall by Antony Owen

Council officers have claimed whitening the panels between the vaulting ribs in the undercroft ceiling would have been part of the original medieval building, to maximise the restricted natural light.

Coventry Observer


In battle,
Boudicca painted her ribs
her eyes orange by burning garrisons.

In defeat,
Queen of Scots died a rose
wearing all red she painted the cobbles.

In Coventry’s Guildhall
Queen of Scots dreamt on silvered hay,
moonlight broke through bars freeing her.

I picture her laying there,
ribs like painted beams, tusks of stolen ivory,
the council of the day offended by her pungent fumes.

In battle,
Godiva floated on Pegasus naked as zodiacs
the council of the day jeered by lowly wing-less Saxons.

I picture the painting over of Guildhall –
a man’s arse crescent hanging out as he Duluxes the beams,
Moonwhite the vulgar shade oh yay the centuries reduced to this.

In the city of culture
a Guildhall welcomes Volgograd,
the sign that twinned us, covered in phoenix feathers and shit.

In the city of culture,
a poet like me will not be thanked
for telling you of the very foundations of culture.

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