Flowers for Adrian

Adrian Henri (1932-2000)

The worn flagstones of Mount Street
opposite the Liverpool Institute
-- the head's office, I remember
his cabinet full of silver trophies
as he turned me down as a new pupil;

30 years later, I sat on your settee
at 21 Mount Street, a cabinet with a dead
magpie in it, garlanded with paste jewelry
as I drank coffee with connie onnie
and listened to your rich Liverpool accent:

Adrian, pop artist, pop poet,
one of the triumvirate of Sixties
"Liverpool Poets" -- Henri, McGough, Patten;
you stayed while Roger and Brian decamped
to "The Smoke" -- but you were the first to die,

debilitated after your stroke,
your big body wasted but still--
as in your poetry and your artwork,
"I Want To Paint--" as you painted
the football field of bouquets

after the Hillsborough tragedy of '89:
"Flowers for Liverpool."
Yes! every Spring, every day,
it's flowers for Adrian.

By Christopher T. George