A chorus for eight voices
Many thanks again to the 26 wonderful writers and visitors who created the magical afternoon at William Heath‘s Kelston Barn on Sunday 17th September. Their names appear below this performance poem which I compiled from their collaborative work. We are hoping to have news of the date for the performance of this, and their individual pieces inspired by the Bathscape Project, very soon. Photograph by Matt Prosser. There are terrific photos of the actual workshop under the Bathscape link.
Ice broke this land to life,
this humpbacked hill,
water split it open
and drank the light,
wind blew these trees
out of kilter, their lanky limbs
boxing like love-struck hares.
The land stretched out
like a dog at the hearth and said,
Here you may build your barn,
enclose this piece of world
to be a haven on this broken hill,
nourished by the view, the skies, the stars,
the ever-changing light a sanctuary,
a safe place for travelling souls.
Though rain may lean its grief against your walls,
though storm may crash against your sacred space,
and folded clouds smear darkness through the gloom,
you will be graced by sunshine here,
cold sun on the silver days
in this nest of stone.
Here will be windows open to the sky,
here will be space to watch the drifting clouds,
here there will be time
to stand in the rain and look towards the sea,
to share your hopes,
to grow your fellowship,
to kindle spirit brighter than a fire,
to share your memories.
Here you will be free
to travel beyond yourselves.
We do not work the land.
Earth called us here
as it called our ancestors,
men with the will to work,
the six-fingered carpenter
between them finding out
the alchemy of stone,
the bones of timber.
Something pulls us,
something draws us in.
Wind-scoured and weathered,
lifting by stages to the rising sun
in this tree-gifted place,
evolving against the backcloth of the sky,
a beauty grows itself.
I was drawn a pilgrim to this place.
Lost voices spoke.
Lost wisdom came to me.
I was alone, but I was not alone.
I felt no fear.
I was held. I was sustained.
Apart and yet a part,
mortar and mortal,
wood, wit, unstained stone.
As the barley loves the blade,
as the wheat longs for the scythe,
to turn promise into purpose
I want to walk the path into the fire,
to be so consumed,
to be so changed.
All who come with shadows as well as stones,
whose lives are locked in anger and in grief,
all who bear heavy weight,
all who fear the failing of the light,
all who seek to breathe a clearer air,
who ask time to pardon them,
all who long to speak and to be heard,
all who have fallen, all who carry dreams
A Poem for Performance created by Sue Boyle, Claire Coleman, Darren Evans, Jill Field, Louise Green, Tanya Guildford, Charlie Hancock, Meretta Hart, Margaret Heath, William Heath, Caroline Heaton, Radha Housden, Rosie Jackson, Andrew Lawrence, Michael Loveday, Helen Mumford, Ras Nyah, Ann Preston, Tekla Selassie, Phillip Shepherd, Tessa Strickland, Liban Suleiman, Eliot Warwick, and Conor Whelan on Sunday 17th September 2017.
Photo by Matt Prosser, selected by Sue Boyle.
Part of the Bathscape Walking Festival supported by Bath & NE Somerset Council.