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Longley once said of his painting Man Lying on a Wall

"People...refuse to believe me when I tell them I saw a man dressed just like that, doing just that, from the top of a bus at Haslingden. It was the umbrella propped against the wall which caught my eye and prompted the picture...The chap was well-dressed, obviously enjoying the smoke and his rest. I couldn't resist doing him as a subject" [7]. 

While we are aware that the painting is just that, a real life portrait, it's difficult not to give further thought to the man on the wall. It's too tempting to ask why he lies as he does in such an unexpected and unappealing place. Norman Parry, former Poet In Residence at The Lowry in Salford Quays, has also dedicated a poem to this question with his own Man Lying on a Wall:

"Man Lying On A Wall "
After LS Lowry
Norman Parry

I suppose it’s a question of attitude, like longitude 
is to latitude, or perpendicular to horizontal. 

Some have questioned his motives, his mental state; 
if he was logical, would he have deviated 

from the vertical? Was he anticipating death,
preparing for a firing squad by fulfilling his wish

of smoking a last cigarette, or just tired of collecting rent 
from families in debt? Was he dreaming, lost in his thoughts, 

or imitating a corpse lying in state, in advance 
of his funeral? Was he simply a man trying to fit

into the landscape, or maybe one more factory chimney, 
in the fifties, giving way to progress? [8]