Sunday, 7 June 2009

Sunday Night is... Tallis, Spem in Alium

Spem in alium numquam habui praeter in te
Deus Israel
qui irasceris
et propitius eris
et omnia peccata hominum in tribulatione dimittis
Domine Deus
Creator coeli et terrae
respice humilitatem nostram

I have never put my hope in any other but in you
God of Israel
who will be angry
and yet become again gracious
and who forgives all the sins of suffering man
Lord God
Creator of Heaven and Earth
look upon our lowliness


Kate Kilalea's launch on Friday at the Betsey Trotwood. Lovely occasion in a nice space, essentially the young packing the place out with the support of Christopher Reid, Ms Baroque, Roddy Lumsden, Tim Wells, current mentee Nick Makoha, contemporary students with books out or to come, friends, enthusiasts, Carcanet rep and scholar sister, Facebookers, parents and relatives of poet.

Good, controlled reading, paced and held, of very fine poems, a touch of Plath in the voice, complete with doors banging in the background and other voices in the distance. As for me, dash down, introduce, listen, chat, dash home.

On first train down to London a man across the aisle is pulling faces, talking to himself, making hand gestures, primarily at the young woman in front of me. She has a quiet, slightly-squeaky well-brought-up voice. She is polite to him and he is not a nuisance though he could get to be. I try speaking to him. I think he might be drunk but he doesn't smell of drink. Nevertheless he lurches. He keeps repeating that he doesn't know where he is. He is on the train to Cambridge. I ask the conductor about him. Conductor smiles and says he is harmless, travels on a concession, and is often on this train. At one point the man had made a gun gesture with his hand, cocked the trigger and shot one off at the girl. Later he sits down next to her and asks her what she is reading. She is reading a glossy magazine. The conversation doesn't get far. He is simply lost. I think for a moment of John Clare wanting to get home to Patty or to Mary Joyce.


Andrew Shields said...

It was in an essay by the German poet Anne Duden (who has lived in London for 30 years) that I first heard about "Spem in alium". One of the most stunning pieces of music I have ever heard!

George S said...

Isn't it just! And there's plenty more Tallis around.