Friday, 16 March 2012

On Turner's 'Rain, Steam, and Speed' (1844)

Amongst the insipidity of ships, sunsets,
Empty skies, and atmospheric beaches
A screaming black train hurtles
Across a bridge headlong into view.

The gentle mist mingles with the daubs of steam
Overpowered natural water obscure the light
The river vapours rising from dark depths
To enshroud the transformed landscape

Muted bird calls and whispering grasses all
Sounds dampened; making way for clamour
Metallic hammering modern rhythm
Filling the valley with repeated echoing futures

A new tang filling the senses, excited quivering
Sweet sulphur assaulting country nostrils
Leaving lives breathless for the modern way
Scattering all before, Vulcan's relentless demon

Rain, Steam and Speed at the National Gallery

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