‘Change is Good’ is what we read,
Change is something we all need.
But I went to the V&A
And found they’d put my cups away!
It has now been many years
Since I found myself, in tears,
On a quiet corner bench,
Struggling with a private wrench.
Trying bravely to decide
To leave a job I couldn’t abide.
Very troubled and depressed,
Working out what would be best.
That lovely quiet, private space
Was in a very special place –
Right up on the highest floor,
Miles away from the main door.
The V&A is very grand,
The best collection in the land.
The Cast Rooms come as a surprise,
You really won’t believe your eyes.
It’s a museum without measure!
Every room is packed with treasure!
But though I do like all the rest
It was ‘Ceramics’ I liked best.
Endless rooms of glorious cases,
China from exotic places.
Plates and cups and bowls galore,
Turn a corner – there’s still more!
Such a massive, huge display
Of decorated pots of clay.
Nowhere would you ever see
More entertaining crockery.
And hence my personal tradition –
Perhaps akin to superstition –
Whenever I felt stress or woe
I knew exactly where I’d go.
The top floor of the V&A!
A quiet and escapist day,
Mull things over, think things through,
Put things in perspective too.
Centuries of art design,
All that work and all that time!
The creations of the human race
Put my troubles in their place.
But – those galleries that captivated
Are closed! For years! To be updated!
It really is a crying shame
That they will never be the same.
Things move on, so we are told,
You cannot go from new to old.
Change is good, is what they say…
But I can’t think like that today.
(At the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, January 2007)
(The new ceramics galleries are open now, but they’re not as nice! 2015)