There are so many possibilities for my fourth November sonnet. I’m resisting the obvious subject, a farewell to our weekend visitor, even though said visitor went so far as to compose a final couplet for me:
And now our Rita’s gone away
the world has gone all flat and grey.
Instead, here’s one about what we did last night:
The AGNSW is
an auction house this rainy night
for things owned by the late Ann Lewis.
Six hundred people squeezed in tight
to bid on art from all her walls:
kitchen, bathroom, office, halls,
Riley, Kippel, Napagnardis,
Walpidi, Williams, packed like sardies.
This vast, exuberant collection
reduced to ‘dollars on the phone’,
or ‘absentee with me’ – soul’s flown.
That life of passionate connection
(Helicopter, Rosalie …)
here has its hammered exequy.
We were empowered to bid on two works on behalf of friends. Both were sold for three or four times our maximum. If there has been a slump in the art market recently, there was no sign of it last night. Perhaps people felt that Ann Lewis’s name added value, or perhaps they were being generous as a way of honouring her memory.