Pulsating between biography and fantasy

Photograph of Edward Lucie-Smith poet, artist, photographer.
Edward Lucie-Smith

Edward Lucie-Smith was born in Kingston, Jamaica, moving to the United Kingdom in 1946. He was educated at The King’s School, Canterbury, and, after a little time in Paris, he read History at Merton College, Oxford from 1951 to 1954. He is a well-known poet, biographer and writer on the visual arts. He has written more than sixty books about art, including Latin American Art of the 20th CenturyAmerican Realism and Sexuality in Western Art.

A poetic voice out of the geography. Described in Western culture, of course, but also fueled by interculturality, not on the semantic ground, but on the social and existential level, certainly.




Liking is this strange thing.

You can’t force it.

You can’t make ‘ought’ marry ‘liking’.

It does not recognize duty.


Love is easier,


More tractable,

Willing to be summoned.


Liking is a deer

That hides in a thicket,

But when it comes out to graze,

It is flesh and blood

And does not vanish.


Love blows away like smoke,

Runs like water.






Great castles in the air

Filled up with gilded halls,

With mighty statues there

And pictures on the walls.


We build them from belief.

These images that stare

Are guardians against grief.

They are not always there –


One breath, the castle falls.




Or – My Father


Bald centaur,


Polo was your passion.


Your study smelled

Of cigarettes

And embrocation.


Soon after you died

I found in a back corridor

A bookcase crammed

With tales of the Great War.


You were gassed.


You survived.


You lived your real life

Before I knew you.




The birds and the fish

Don’t mean much to me

Except as things

I might occasionally

Want to eat.


The supposed paradise

I spent my

Formative years in

Has faded from memory

And lost its glow.


Oh, but the city! The city!

The infinitely multiple

Human species!

New forms emerging

Every day.


In old age

I walk out,

Renewing myself.


How sad,

How good

That this will continue

Long after…


Yes, long, long after.





You’re outside in the hallway

Shuffling letters and papers,

Making a noise

Like a mouse in the wainscot.


You want us to know

You are there,

Not listening.


You want us to know

You might be listening.


Your resentment

Seeps through the door-crack

Like a thin plume

Of acridsmoke.