We are delighted to announce that the winner of the first Music for Everyone writing competition is Christine Cleave, with her beautiful poem, Lorica. All entries were works inspired by the East of England Singers’ October concert ‘Southern Suns, Northern Lights’.
A Lorica, taking its name from the Latin for a shield or armour, is a prayer for recitation before battle engraved into the shield or breastplate of a knight. The story goes that St Patrick and his followers evaded ambush in a forest by reciting such a prayer, which miraculously led to their foes not seeing them as knights passing by but as a doe and twenty fawns, hence this Lorica’s other name, The Deer’s Cry, which the choir performed in a setting by Arvo Pärt.
I had thought content a warm thing,
As I sat at the back, fresh from the colour of carnival.
But, in the place where music severs the kite string,
I was caught in the sway of sound
And rode the wave that stretched across the sanctuary.
I heard the eerie bird call in the gloom, saw the rush of the sea with scarcely visible glint,
And the shiver of sea pebbles relaxing against one another.
It was all there in the hearing.
Then I was a deer moving among the straight forest trees,
Each step crisp, then suddenly freezing,
In safety when I should have been afraid.
At the end I watched a stone drop near the lake’s edge.
Knew the long hush, the slow exhalation,
As the ripple spreads, reaching the shore
At the very moment when it is no more.
I touched all these things in my soul.
To lose oneself in the cooler harmonies – that too is serenity,
The calm of a Northern soul’s content.
Christine Cleave, 2017 ©
The judges were impressed by Christine’s imaginative response to the various contemporary pieces comprising the Northern Lights section of the programme. They particularly liked how her words captured the chordal structure and alternating sung and silent passages of Pärt’s The Deer’s Cry, likening them to the trees of the forest, and the movement then sudden stillness of the deer. The effect of Christine’s poem is similar to that of music itself – it carries the reader, the listener, beyond the moment to be uplifted and changed. Many congratulations, Christine.
Heather Hawthorn, with her pictorial poem Memories Return, is awarded a runner-up prize. The many locations of the concert’s programme transported Heather back to holidays past, which she captured in both words and pictures, showing how ‘music brings back memories’.
Heather Hawthorn, 2017 ©