Poetry in Motion

East is east and west is west – so that say and next week I will be heading Eastward to perform in Peking with the Nürnberger Symphoniker as part of the Festival of Beijing.

For me the colours in China represent a poetic feast for the eyes. Each time I visit I feel the vibration of colours surrounding me and I want to be carried away on a tide of colourful waves.

In music we often speak about sound as a colour spectrum, musical sound colours are where east meets west in a way and colour becomes sound and vice versa. They are inseparable yet different, the one and the same and yet individual. Like poetry they take the reader through a variety of passages. Flowing and separating then coming back together – uniting us without our surroundings and connecting us through our emotions

I was honoured to receive the poem below this week, written by Tina Negus. When I read the poem I felt its poignancy and I fully understood the correlation she makes between percussion and our environment, these observations are very real for me. Throughout my life I have enjoyed exploring all sound surfaces from squeaky moist windows to the fabric of my coat – sound is everything and we are the sound in everything or perhaps you know different?

The Percussionist

(a small tribute to Evelyn Glennie)

Drums mark the rhythm
of the melting icicle and the dripping tap,
the interval between the beats decreasing with precision
as the tempo rises.

Music lives in the silent lines
raked into the gravel of the samurai garden,
echoes in the surge of shingle on the highland shore,
lingers in the attenuated note
of the distant sunlit horizon.

The percussionist plays the rusty xylophone
of farmyard scrap, the breeze ripples the puddled reflections
of the cowshed wall, shimmers the corrugations,
provides the visual score.

Smashed glass in the derelict warehouse
paints a crescendo of recent events, a static explosion,
the pigeon’s cooing in contrapuntal harmony
resounds from staircase and rafter,
the distant descant of metal sheets waving loosely
in the urban wind.

Mirrored glass distorts the urban architecture
into a cadenza of modernity,
chanting the times to unhearing ears,
to unseeing eyes.

The roots of rhythm are all about us,
music is within us,
in our blood,
in the fugue of our heart,
in our breathing,
our inspiration.

We are the sound.

Your comments on Tina’s poem would be most welcome.

Image: Damian Bere (licence: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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