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Gwyn Pritchard: In the Silence of Turned Earth


Text by Imogen Robertson


Pritchard's setting of Imogen Robertson's poem is unconventional in a number of ways, most notably in that the singer must sustain certain consonants, such as the letters 'l' and 'n' in the word 'silence'.  Whilst this enhances the contemplative effect of the poem it also makes it harder to understand it in performance.  Listeners may therefore like to read the text below before the performance.



In the silence of turned earth,

a winterís day and the sun

picks its way across the frost,

shivers the soil to black scent,


in the moment the broken pieces

of each lost life start to settle

back into the earth, back

into running water, return to

the air under our wings,


in a time given to scar the mind's eye

with dwarf novae, evolved stars, earth light,

the wordless questions are, tracing

their endless line round finite space,


an answer might sing itself awake, in faith

in love, in hope. The spaces sense

a sense beyond themselves, carol that

no song is lost in the mouth but travels

on the winds, beyond our hearing

© Imogen Robertson, 2010



Imogen Robertson is a novelist and poet based in London. Her first novel, Instruments of Darkness, is available in paperback, and her second, Anatomy of Murder, was published in Spring 2010. Some of her poetry can be found in the anthology City State, from Penned in the Margins.

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