(18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Upper Class At Bay: Grayson Perry's Rakewells

The upper classes sit in their costly piles
Decaying into poverty
Like teeth, gradually falling from shrinking gums

Russian oligarths and Arab racehorse owners
Fill the gaps, transplanting the gold bling
Of swimming pools, electric gates and astroturf
Into the repossessed acres of baronets, earls and dukes

Other potential buyers of noble homes are the Nouveau Riche
Who buy organic veg, à la Prince Charles
Recycle their woollens
Ration their child's dose of television.

Tim Rakewell and his wife are middle aged
Their brood has grown and flown the family nest.
Like Gainsborough's landed gentry,
They stroll through their stately grounds
Reproduction lord and lady of the manor

In the twilight years of British nobility
A stag totters at bay, its threadbare tweedy clothing
Sniffed out by the ravenous hounds of
The tax man, death duties, property upkeep and heating

The Rakewells too, have their own ferocious hounds
Protesters camping out on their grounds, waving placards
Squatters who know their rights, won't be gentled along
Like the gypsies. Who'd envy wealth, the wearystruggle to keep it?

by Sheena Blackhall

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