Saturday, 8 September 2012

The metallic fluster of the river

.....the metallic fluster of the river......

is a line from a poem which had a great outing last night. My poem - Uncle Bill playing 4'33'' - was the runner up in the BBC Proms poetry competition. So at about 8.15 last night in the concert interval, the winners and runners up had their poems read live on radio 3 by the actor Juliet Stevenson.

I am so happy I can hardly sit still! 

Juliet has such a wonderful voice. And you can listen to the poetry feature here as a clip for the next week. I think it's only available for UK users, but if you're overseas why not try anyway.

And if you can't hear the poem, here it is.

4'33'' is the famous piece by John Cage where no notes are played for the duration. Instead, he wanted us to listen to the sounds around us.


Uncle Bill playing 4’33’’

His shadow burst in ahead of him
and we all cheered.
Uncle Bill, transformed into a maestro,
took a grand bow beside the kitchen table,
his hair huge and wild,
hands like fairy tale twigs 
intent on making magic.

The adults groaned, rolled their eyes
as he mimed our favourites 
on the dummy keyboard.
Clair de Lune, Toreador, the Minute Waltz
and the theme from Pot Black, just to annoy Mum.
But tonight, his grand finale
spooked us into holding our breath for too long.

While his hands hovered ready to pounce 
onto notes he never touched,
he made me listen to the shifting house, 
the metallic fluster of the river,
the dog snoring in the hall like a bored kazoo,
the papery riff of my brother’s fingers failing to click,
and a sound in my veins racing like a thrill.