While he was in Oxford, I was privileged to host the acclaimed Indian poet Sudeep Sen. He is in the UK to promote his latest anthology Anthropocene. It is endorsed by one of the world authors that I most admire-Amitav Ghosh. I love the power and importance of his work reminding us of uncomfortable rarely talked about history.
Sudeep is an astonishing poet and, in his latest poem on Oxford, some stanzas are inspired by places I showed him: the Global Retreat at Nuneham Courtney, Boars Hill and the Roger Penrose pavement outside the Mathematics Institute which he photographed below .
The Wolf Moon as seen from the Global Retreat & The Roger Penrose Pavement based on his everlasting pattern that doesn’t repeat itself, to be seen outside the Maths Institute.
This is something of a REVERSE experience for me. I wrote the poem below inspired by Weimin He, when he was artist in residence at the ROQ while the Maths Institute was being built.
An Artist Observes
In Oxford, a solitary observer looks to the stars
dreaming points of painted time.
Omens from past or future?
Below lie bony shards of plagues past.
Silence splinters. Beneath the debris,
some new or antique vision stirs.
Swirling winds bring buried memories
of burning martyrs and murderous riots;
nightmares of prejudice and hate.
As dawn breaks, glimmers of hope emerge.
The past another world: day lights possibilities
as men in hard hats build the future.
A future of understanding; of cultures crossing
where East meets West with brush and pen,
and mathematicians plot new pathways.
Weimin He was my 40th ‘castaway’ in Oxfordshire Limited Edition and the inspiration for this poem
When he read my poem he made this block print inspired by it.
I love Weimin’s painting that marked the finishing of the building of the Maths Institute. For me it is about Town and Gown meeting. They are mostly separate even in 2022.