Gordale Scar by James WardJames Ward
Gordale Scar (A View of Gordale, in the Manor of East Malham in Craven, Yorkshire, the Property of Lord Ribblesdale) 1812 - 1814
Oil on canvas
© Tate  

Niall O'Sullivan presents his poem, 'Gordale Scar', based on James Ward's painting of the same name.
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      Gordale Scar

It is not true that the gaze travels outwards
      over the heraldic beasts, between the limestone
hulks, skimming the stream where the last
surviving glints of light twinkle, onward
into the numb dark where minds are not welcome.

It is the scar itself and John Bull’s eye
that funnel into you, breach the iris,
pummel the retina, flume through the optic nerve
to ambush the cortex, seize synapses to find –
the flags packed up, the fortress long deserted.

NIALL O'SULLIVAN has released two collections of poetry, you’re not singing anymore and Ventriloquism for Monkeys, with Flipped Eye. He has performed poetry all over the UK and Europe for over ten years. In 2009, Niall featured on BBC Radio and Television during his residency at the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships. He runs London’s biggest open mic poetry night, Poetry Unplugged, every Tuesday at the Poetry Café.