Gaining Face by Gordon Read

Gordon Read wrote a poem inspired by one of the paintings in the Saving Faces Art Project by Mark Gilbert.

Excerpt from 1914FACES2014 project report, University of Exeter

” “This poem ‘Gaining Face’ − in Haiku form − was inspired by an earlier Saving Faces exhibition of Mark
Gilbert’s portraits at [the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery] (RAMM), Exeter. I found them all sympathetic and, having worked in courts in the past, warmed to Henry. However, it was the pre and post operation portraits of Mazeeda which touched me most. Coincidentally, I was drawing together a collection of poems entitled Painted Ladies, a device to look into a world of daughters, so the idea of having a princess (Begum) appealed to me. Trying to imagine how a four year old explained to herself the representations she had been viewing, I thought her imagery might come from nursery rhymes and hoped she would be familiar with those in English as well as Bengali. Looking back over the years, I feel a little uneasy that I may have saddled Mazeeda with yet another manifestation, especially with the final line; but then, four year olds can be both cute and astute in their use of adult expressions.”

Gordon Read, who lives in Exeter, describes himself as an occasional poet. Painted Ladies also resonates with the ‘Faces of Conflict’ exhibition currently at RAMM, having a number of poems with World War I material. He has also published a collection associated with the pervading influence of the Holocaust, an epic poem about the Battle of Waterloo and a number of humorous accounts of family weddings. ”

See poem by clicking this link (page 86)