The Why?s Man

"My art is place specific and people specific." George Wyllie

Back to Poetry


When walls come down and statues fall,

there's change abroad an' a' that,

but it takes the mind off closer things

- for it can happen here an' a' that


For a' that and a' that,

pull empires down before they start

- and all that jazz an' a' that


In 1987, the Straw Locomotive was created, and for seven weeks hung from the Finnieston Crane, commemorating Glasgow's locomotive building industry in Springburn, which ha long since 'fallen'.

In Berlin, Wyllie's Berlin Burd was also iconic as it 'keeked' over the Wall into the East. A few short months after his statement that 'a bird is not a stone', the Berlin Wall tumbled.

The language in this poem begins to reflect that of Robert Burns, a signficant influence on Wyllie, and also refers to his love of music, particularly jazz.

The Straw Locomotive
Berlin Burd
Robert Burns

George Wyllie Education Initiative

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