'Walking Dwelling Thinking' - music by Amy Crankshaw, poem by Rebecca Hurst
'Wind in Trees' - music by Jasmine Simons, poem by Vona Groarke
'October and October and October' (Stones and Sweeper) - music by Finn McLean, poem by Chad Campbell
'Pyramid' - music by Simon Davies, poem by Frances Leviston
'Erysichthon's Forest' - music by Richard Whalley, text by John McAuliffe:
Walking Dwelling Thinking - Rebecca Hurst
This wood has a thousand exits and entrances:
stiles, gates and tripets, gaps and breaches.
This wood is hammer-pond, chestnut and chalybeate,
charcoal and slag heap, leats and races.
This wood hides the boar-sow in a thickety hemmel;
is home to the scutty, the flindermouse, the kine.
This wood is cut and coppiced and burned.
Each decade catched-hurt—it takes a tumble.
This wood is two green and clay flanks pinched
by the link of iron bridge over water.
This wood keeps its secrets: the peaty-black
knuckerhole where the dragon lies sleeping.
This wood scolds with a tawny owl’s brogue
shrucking and shraping, kewick hoohoo.
This wood is ashen, eldern, and oaken
a mile from the village, ring-fenced, well-trodden.
This wood summons you from out of your house
to walk through leaf-fall and bluebells and moss.
Wind in Trees – Vona Groarke
Tonight the wind tries on fancy dress
in the attic rooms of trees,
crinolines and winkle-pickers,
mustachios and swords,
a jewelled fob-watch keeping time
with my shutters’ throb and hum.
Silks crinkle precisely at my window
and, at my door, an ivory cane
is summoning my name.
I ask will anything ever change.
First the trees say ‘No’ to me.
Then the wind says ‘Yes’.
Stones and Sweeper - Chad Campbell
What news do you bring us?
It's October. The leaves have fallen.
From where? The thicket on the slope?
No. Higher on the ridges, the oaks.
What of the ranger? Of the coast?
The tine of his lantern on the coast.
Who will sweep the leaves from our stones?
I will sweep the leaves from the stones.
Like the woman painted the watches' hands?
Yes, pointing the brushes with their tongues.
You will come to us? October and October?
October and October and October.
And in the meantime? Where will you go?
I will be with the ranger.
Upon the coast?
The thin tine of his lantern on the coast.
We will wait by our stones.
My radium ghosts in the radium oaks.
Pyramid – Frances Leviston
All along the skyline, cranes
quiet above rooftops,
conspicuous as knives dropped
vertically into carpet,
or set at right-
angles, corner brackets
bolting the sky to the ground.
They dangle claws on chains,
balanced by elevated breeze-blocks,
into the unfinished town,
fishing a pond
that hasn’t been stocked.
Their paint-work’s bright as macs
in rain, or the mops and pans
a woman once persuaded me to sell
door to door,
describing in the air
of her living room a pyramid,
of all mysterious extancies, her red
nail climbing floors
to the vertex, where it stood,
as she effortlessly said
“in no time at all
you’ll have a lifestyle just like mine…”
Through the cranes’
necks the cloudburst rings,
across the clad
stone hotel still missing
its penthouse, its punchline,
like the old cartoon
where a skeleton drinks champagne.
-music by Richard Whalley, text by John McAuliffe
Erisychthon: Here we are, at the old wood, my wood,
where, as a child, you played.
Mestra: I did, father,
Erisychthon: By this old oak, Mestra,
I remember it too, hatching plans here...
Mestra: Remember acorns? I'd pick from the oak for you.
And bare winter days I’d climb it into the blue.
Coming here I felt part of its family
It’s good to be back under this this tree
Erisychthon: And I’m still making plans, and where better to tell you.
Mestra: What’s this plan, father, I heard you roaring, earlier,
At the supervisor on the factory floor
Erisychthon: Was I roaring, Mestra? Should I calm down?
Listen, this land is paid for, mine,
Ours. If I plan to burn it down
and tear the earth, I can, it’s mine.
Mestra: Is that your plan, father. [WOODS]
Erisychthon: The wood that I cut, Mestra, I will not burn;
this wood will be the makings of a new town,
and best of all, the wedding hall
where one day you will be married.
Mestra: Where I get married...?
Erisychthon: A shining, gleaming wedding hall,
In the middle of my new town,
perched on that little hill,
overlooking all I own
Mestra: Father, it’s true
that it’s the Planner decides,
but this wood Father
is sacred to a god,
the god who must bless
a wedding hall.
Erisychthon: Forget Her. Watch me make,
with my bare hands and this sharp axe,
your shining gleaming wedding hall
in the middle of my new town,
perched on that little hill,
overlooking all I own.
[Enter wood spirits, Exit Erisychthon, Mestra in shadow]
My axe waits for the oak,
its fat shadow on the field,
its point growing
on the blue and clouds
and the tinkling glitter
of its swaying ornaments:
what crosses me and mine
I will take out
under this same discriminating tree
you fear, which spreads,
year on year,
across my forecast growth.
No one gets to sit this out,
all are part of my big picture,
what I’ll hang
on my word. Here
is the strong trunk and branch
of my nights and years,
this gleam I’ll take
to the obscure hours
which filter light
and baffle sound:
what presides over us
will end with this sharp question
making its impossible offer.
Where’s the tree I hid under,
branches robins warned me thinly from
when he’d seek me out, my father?
Who will bring him to his senses?
In this massacre of branches,
where the robin once was?
The earth’s a bare drum,
clear as the horizon
his step lands heavily on
where I follow him,
through the forest’s slaughter,
my father’s daughter.