When I talk with my lefty friends
On art and architecture,
They all are oh-so-modern in their taste.
And so I have to talk to them
On anything but architecture,
All to keep things sweet, if rather chaste.
So what’s this style that they’ve embraced ?
A smashing of the ruling class ?
A break with endless cut-and-paste, debased
In choc’late-boxy quaintness ?
So is a love for steel and glass
A love for unconstraint-ness ?
But when I talk with the lovers of
The column and the arch,
We have to keep the topic to the stones,
For stray to social policy,
And progress on the march,
And I quickly learn they’re Tories to their bones.
So what’s this style they’ve seen replaced ?
A harking back to Empire ?
Of seeing Albion defaced, disgraced,
Encased in brutalism ?
So is a love for dome and spire
A love for old-time feudalism ?
On one side are better lives in ugly buildings –
On the other – palaces, but for the rich.
And yet the latter need what brother-artisans are skilled in –
Frescos, gargoyles, heraldry – the very things we’re told are kitsch.
But have we really got no use for them ?
Can we not have our peace and rights and social care,
And still have ornament to spare
To build our new Jerusalem ?