A.B. Jackson

Fire Stations cover » Read six poems from 'Fire Stations' acrobat

Night Work
The Christmas Pet
Maryhill Road
The Sleeping Gypsy
The Silken Road

You will need Adobe Reader to view this PDF selection.

Paintings and pictures have provided the inspiration for several poems in 'Fire Stations'. Click on the thumbnail images below to see them in full. Note: they may take a while to download.

X: ten studies for the Christ-figure

1 Man of Sorrows: full image   2 Slaughtered Ox: full image   3 Yellow Christ: full image   4 Bela Lugosi: full image   5 Crucifixion: full image   6 Hanged Man: full image

1. The Man of Sorrows — Petrus Christus, c.1450
2. The Slaughtered Ox — Rembrandt van Rijn, 1655
3. The Yellow Christ — Paul Gauguin, 1889
4. Bela Lugosi, c.1909
5. Crucifixion — Francis Bacon, 1933
6. The Hanged Man tarot card

'The Slaughtered Ox' was written as a response to Philip Larkin's poem 'Water', inspired by an article on Rembrandt by the Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak, 2001.

The Sleeping Gypsy — Henri Rousseau (1844-1910)

Sleeping Gypsy: full image

In this poem I have imagined the lion as the sleeper's solid dream, either projected into the real world or somehow existing there independently. Rousseau's lion looks rather like a stuffed fairground prize, but the painting still has a weird magic about it. This poem was also written in response to music: the instrumental pieces on David Sylvian's album Gone To Earth.


For ten weeks in the summer of 1983 I worked as a Nursing Assistant in a psycho-geriatric ward at Stratheden Hospital, Cupar, Fife.


Jean-Dominique Bauby, author of The Diving-bell and the Butterfly (Fourth Estate, 2002).

In Memory of R.D. Laing

'You saw a man whose muscles turned to bone': the disease is fibro dysplasia ossificans, referred to by Laing in his autobiography Wisdom, Madness and Folly (p.81, Canongate Classics edition).

'given Discipline': i.e. The First and Second Books of Discipline, drafted by John Knox et al, 1560-1578.

For more online information about Laing, visit The Society for Laingian Studies web site.

A.B. Jackson © 2014