Monday, 19 October 2009


I found this TFE Monday Project a particularly difficult one. I tried to approach it from several different angles and, in the end, having ripped up a couple of poetical efforts, I decided to approach it musically.

Lazarus is a short piece (37 seconds) which combines electronic sounds with the "real" sounds of the human voice (reading fragments of Plath's Lady Lazarus) and a German military band from the WWII era. At one point the band overwhelms the voice, but then the voice gets the upper hand, even multiplying to become three voices. The voice has the last word. I've half a mind to develop it into something bigger. It was made using the freeware Studiofactory programme -an exciting piece of software which emulates a synthesizer- and Audacity sound recorder software.

Finally, if your laptop has speakers like ours I can definitely say you need headphones to hear it!

19th October: There seems to be a problem with embedded sound files this evening of all evenings!  It seems to be working better now, but if you have problems you might find it works better if you try listening at

Lazarus by Dominic Rivron


I went for a walk yesterday afternoon over Rocking Stone Flat, a small but wild expanse of  moorland just outside Halifax. Although I'd not been there for years and years, and found I'd forgotten quite a lot about it, I have always thought of it as one of my favourite short walks in the Pennines: something about it feels intensely wild to me, even though it's right next to a road and a windfarm. I also spent a lot of time writing yesterday: a  post I'll be posting later this week and the poem, below:

Rocking Stone Flat

Reaching the edge
of the Flat, I find
I'm looking down
on a green rooftop.
There is a shape to things here
my mind makes sense of:
I've been here before.
And then there's a print,
in the peat, of a running-shoe:
I used to run along this path
a long time ago
and it strikes me now
that now is then and time
no more than a list
of things to do. This is
the same wild place
where the wind grazes
the tops of the grasses
and looking down on rings
of lichen on a stone
is like looking at a picture
of clouds in the sky.

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Totalfeckineejit said...

Well the musical piece is certainly a unique response and for that reason alone I think it is fantastic.You have a real talent for these pices Dominic.It almost sounds like how i would imagine a Psychosis to sound (if that's even vaguely possible) and it makes Sylvias voice even more unsettling.It certainly matches all the synaptic misfires and jolts and quirks and trouble.I'm curious to see what other people think of this.Tanxz ye Dominic.

Ps. The written poem is great, I like the confusion of time and place and that the ground looks like the sky(I wrote something similar in mine)Lovely poem.

willow said...

Great musical take on the Plath. I like the short wave radio feel to it. Unique!

the watercats said...

WIERD AND COOL!... what more can I say.. boxes.... outside of and all that stuff. Agree with Willow about the shortwave radio vibe, like you're stumbling across a great secret and it's a scary one!

The poem is beautiful.. Everything I've read so far has so much space going on!.. cheers!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Have not got the facility to listen to your piece but it sounds most interesting. However, I do love your poem and like TFE I think your linking of then and now makes it very powerful.

Karen said...

How very cool is this!! I love it! I'm going to try the headphones to see if I can hear the words better, but I love the unsettling feel of this.

The poem is wonderful, too, with its musings on time. E.B. White wrote a great essay called "The Ring of Time" in which he postulates that time is circular, ever bending back upon itself. Nothing is new - your poem reminds me of that.

John Hayes said...

That is a "re-vision" of Plath indeed. I've been quite surprised by the responses to "Lady Lazarus" on TFE's poe-bus; they've actually made me wonder if I should read the poem again. Loved your poem, esp. "it strikes me now
that now is then and time
no more than a list
of things to do" & also the final image.

Poetikat said...

Wow! That audio clip is haunting. I envy your being able to create something so remarkable and vivid.

I find the poem haunting as well - your retracing your steps in a manner of speaking and your epiphany: "now is then..."

Really remarkable, both.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everyone. I've not read EB White's essay, but will look out for it.

The poem was based on a very real feeling that being there at that moment was simply a part of being there at the previous moment and that what happened before and after (in both cases) was not relevant to my experience at that moment.

The words in the short piece are not easy to hear: many of them get merged into the overall sound.

Titus said...

Bah, my soundcloud will not play. I often have problems at your blog, Dominic, I don't know if it's my rural broadband or what.

But ah! The poem. Seriously liked it. The last sentence is sound beauty, and the poem as a whole has a real presence.
Actually, having read it quite a few times now, loved it.

Argent said...

Sadly, for some rason, your clip won't play which is maddening as I really want to hear it.

Dominic Rivron said...

Pleased you enjoyed the poem!

Re problems - is it just the sound files, or are there other problems? It's always useful to know.

You might find it works better if you try listening at

The next post or two are going to be purely verbal!

Poetikat said...

I came back to listen again and I'm quite freaking myself out with all this. If you watch/listen to the Youtube Plath reading Lazarus video, you'll see why. I don't know if I'll be able to sleep now...out of the ash with that red hair (I was going to dye mine this week, but now I'm rethinking that).
I've recorded mine if you're interested in listening.

Argent said...

Yay! Got to listen to your piece at last! I've bookmarked your soundcloud page now so I can listen at leisure to your others (some quite intersting stuff here I think). Liked you Lazarus piece and that poem "time no more than a list of things to do". Superb.