Surround me - London cries

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London was never so full of ghosts.

You wore your coat, black and white check,

your own style, with your swept-by fringe.


I thought you might be humouring me

but you felt it too, no way was it a favour.

We had our A-Z,  picked up a leaflet

and we wandered. And we got a little lost. . .


It wasn’t really cold. Ducked into the Museum of London

for hot chocolate; gazed at flints, stone axe heads,

armour and darkened skulls - offerings to our mother Thames.

Recorded birdsong made it special. Inside the London Wall.


Back to the cries of London, my history hit me in the face.

Visions of Bermondsey urchins.

Cries from the Rookeries, oysters, new oysters

and the smell of river mud.


We search, we wait, the song begins.

Twenty seconds every five minutes.

Small clusters, mostly women, hover.

Waiting for art.

It’s magical and sad.


London cries.



Susan Philipsz: SURROUND ME

A Song Cycle for the City of London
Saturdays & Sundays only, 10am - 5pm
9 October 2010 - 2 January 2011




◄ plump blond girl

primroses and tadpoles ►


<Deleted User> (7424)

Fri 17th Dec 2010 08:42

Really rather nice

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Laura Taylor

Thu 16th Dec 2010 14:06

Ahh, I read about this song thing and was totally intrigued by it. Am glad you went and really enjoyed it Ann - and a lovely poem came out of it too. I agree with your stance on the gender of the river too ;)

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Lynn Dye

Thu 16th Dec 2010 13:26

Enjoyed this a lot, Ann, I like the way you write fleetingly about your daughter and it moves on to London. I think the Thames should be feminine too ;) Good poem xx

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Ray Miller

Thu 16th Dec 2010 10:14

Enjoyed this, Ann, though I thought London cries was better. You say it's a rough draft, maybe these lines could be more striking, more poetic:

I thought you might be humouring me

but you felt it too, no way was it a favour.

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Greg Freeman

Wed 15th Dec 2010 21:17

Sounds ... pardon the pun ... like a great day out, Ann. Wintry and wonderful

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Ann Foxglove

Wed 15th Dec 2010 21:00

Wet, fluid, flowing, curvaceous, deep, mysterious - deffo a female! If you are interested in the songs and the inspiration for the work (Susan Phillipsz's not mine!) there's a good site run by Artangel. And a video too.

<Deleted User> (8672)

Wed 15th Dec 2010 20:58

Very interesting stuff. Not had a day in London like this for years. One point, 'our mother Thames'? Of course, the river could be claimed for the female gender and this is, after all, a poem. Maybe Old Father Thames is a later inventions anyway?

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Ann Foxglove

Wed 15th Dec 2010 20:40

A rough draft really, to remember a fab day with my daughter exploring London and a wonderfully atmospheric sound installation. Loved it totally!

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