Music Poetry 'n Prose Soundscapes

Small Bird: A Song of Innocence

The daylight has lingered on longer than expected, but now the gloom of the short April evening is settling down fast in the wood. The silent and motionless trees rise out of a mysterious shadow, which fills up the spaces between their trunks. Only above, where their delicate outer branches are shown against the dark sky, is there any separation between them?

Somewhere in the deep shadow of the underwood a blackbird calls “ching, ching” before he finally settles himself to roost. In the yew the small birds are already quiet, sheltered by the evergreen spray; they have also sought the ivy-grown trunks. “Twit, twit,” sounds high overhead as one or two belated little creatures, scarcely visible, pass quickly for the cover of the furze on the hill.

Then bird songs lifts me as notes fall from air. They seem to land in my hand. In that  moment, as already the interior of the wood is impenetrable to the glance, music comes alive. Gently chords, subtle rhythms and harmonies rises though the sound of closer birds who have restlessly moved in their roost-trees. Darkness is almost on them, as they settle in their song of innocence. The cawing and dawing rises to a pitch, and then declines; the wood is silent, and it is suddenly night.

Small Bird

You don’t make a song and dance, you simply sit.
I look at you and rest my eyes.
The world slows down, as you adorn
a winter branch with solitude.

You simply sit. A nod – a searching out.
The air around you stills:
particles suspended in mid air.
Tiny eyes, as black as coal.

Pin-prick sharp: driven
by a hunger on the wing.
Heading home to roost, you lay your head.
You sit in stillness, simply.

You are a gatherer.
Minute twigs and down, the fabric
that you weave,
inside this stubby bush outside my window.

How do you think.
Rain shrugger. Sunshine sucker.
Snow, a place to leave your mark
that you were there.

Careful choices. Not a word.
Each crumb considered first.
Kindly, you watch the worm slowly turn
and leave it be.

Feeding flesh to every mouth that begs.
Bones enough for you. You perch
and open-mouthed, a joyous explosion makes
every leaf vibrate.

*Small Bird poem shared with kind permission.

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Music Reviews Soundscapes

A Hymn To Hope

A Hymn To Hope is an instrumentation set to Dream Listener : An audiobook in three movements (2007) by Montreal artist Karen Elaine Spencer

Dream Listening centres in on the lives and experience of people sleeping on the streets who attend the St James’ Drop-in Centre in Montreal. I first heard Dream Listener in 2008 and it immediately resonated with something inside.¬† Karen’s work questions our values and investigates how we, as transient beings, occupy the world in which we live.

In the narrative Karen leads us to Dee’s story of homelessness, which is not just the absence of roof, warmth and relationships but a state of mind. It is often the very bottom of poverty, the depth of despair. People with no roof have a sense of hopelessness, resignation and powerlessness.

Poverty does not of itself ennoble and there is little romantic within it. Sometimes however it does enable you to see people anew in a strong stark light which takes away all the trappings. When everything is taken away, or more especially given up, some begin a journey which can become an Odyssey, into themselves.

Dee’s story illustrates how often the homeless have a shattered knowledge of themselves. They have been compelled, like tortoises, to carry absolutely everything important with them. They have been compelled to come to terms with fundamental and disturbing experiences which can both impoverish and uplift.

Karen’s work can be found on her blogs:

Dream Listener can be ordered here and have been used for this project with kind permission of the owner under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License

Music Soundscapes

Northern Line

Music Soundscapes

The Wind Chimes

A simple recording that invokes “just sitting”, with our flowing and ephemeral nature.


The Ancient Song of the Sea

Since the age of 6 year I have been transfixed with the magnificent whale song. It leaves me in deep mystery of how these beautiful and graceful creatures communicate with each other across hundreds of miles apart. It is believed by Cetologists that these songs heighten during the mating seasons, when finding a potential partner or when they are in great danger, when one member of the group has becomes beached onto the shoreline. We may never know what the great whales are communicating. Maybe it is we humans who have lost this ancient song of the sea.

Music Soundscapes

Yidaki Sunrise

Samples of a field recording made February 2011 from Tamborine Mountain, Queensland.



Early Morning Rain

A recording of ambient instrumentals, birdsong and waterfalls in Hope Valley, Derbyshire and the surrounding Peaks. On listening back I still find nature in music and music in nature, both are inseparable to me. It’s the rhythm of boulders and mountains, and it’s the song of the river. It’s the early morning rain.