This work uses part of my own family history, from the mid-forties, in Christchurch.
After being well-off during the Depression, we fell into hard times during the war,and had to live in sub-standard housing in a sea-side suburb out of the city. In the mid-forties we were able to obtain a State house In a new street, Auburn Avenue, in Upper Riccarton near Church Corner.
We were the first in the street.
My parents continued their decline, and eventually took their lives.
In this poem my parents are You, the children are We.
The dream-like recollection is set against the ideology of which state houses were part, and progress is provided by a ritual houseblessing, an alternative ideology, which moves the family group from room to room, part to part, of reality.
Most of the work is written in tristichs, and is to be read rapidly, with the emphasis on the first word of each line. Variations are placed for relief, and pauses.
Lorine Niedecker to Louis Zukofsky
For my parents
For John and Sonia
And for lost Elaine
'Yes I know you're moving – in a circle, backward with boxes –'
of the WEIMAR BAUHAUS:
The complete building is the final aim of the
visual arts. Their noblest function was once the
decoration of buildings. Today they exist in iso-
lation, from which they can be rescued only
through the conscious, cooperative effort of all
craftsmen. Architects, painters and sculptors
must recognize anew the composite character
of a building as an entity. Only then will their
work be imbued with the architectonic spirit
which it has lost as "salon art."
Architects, sculptors, painters, we must all
turn to the crafts
Art is not a "profession." There is no essential
difference between the artist and the craftsman.
The artist is an exalted craftsman. In rare mo-
ments of inspiration, moments beyond the con-
trol of his will, the grace of heaven may cause
his work to blossom into art. But proficiency in
his craft is essential to every artist. Therein lies
a source of creative imagination.
Let us create a new guild of craftsmen, without
the class distinctions which raise an arrogant
barrier between craftsman and artist. Together
let us conceive and create the new building of
the future, which will embrace architecture and
sculpture and painting in one unity and which
will rise one day toward heaven from the hands
of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a
journey to the Centre of the room
out Again and on with it
the Front gate
the Front door
the Front hall
the Sitting room
the Back door
one Day brown
out the Door and down the Path
later, at the Pass
Further Copies of this Work
may be obtained from:
8/1 Ruapehu St.
© Leicester Kyle, June 1997
The copytext for both facsimile and transcription is my own copy of Leicester's original photocopied text.
- Jack Ross,
Mairangi Bay, March 2012.
© Leicester Kyle Literary Estate, 2012