‘The self-playing instrument of water’, a poem by Alice Oswald performed by Jon Beedell of Desperate Men

‘The self-playing instrument of water’, a poem by Alice Oswald performed by Jon Beedell of Desperate Men

As part of the Wye Valley River Festival we captured Jon Beedell of the street theatre group Desperate Men reciting Alice Oswald’s poem ‘The self-playing instrument of water’ at Hereford.

It is the story of the falling rain
To turn into a leaf and fall again

It is the secret of a summer shower
To steal the light and hide it in a flower

And every flower a tiny tributary
That from the ground flows green and momentary

Is one of water’s wishes and this tale
Hangs in a seed head smaller than my thumbnail

If only I a passerby could pass
As clear as water through a plume of grass

To find the sunlight hidden at the tip
Turning to seed a kind of lifting raindrip

Then I might know like water how to balance
The weight of hope against the light of patience

Water which is so raw so earthy-strong
And lurks in cast iron tanks and leaks along

Drawn under gravity towards my tongue
To cool and fill the pipe-work of this song

Which is the story of the falling rain
That rises to the light and falls again

 

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