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Wild Man Dances

On 27th October I travelled into Birmingham for a lunchtime concert of music for 2 pianos performed by Andrew West and Ronald Woodley at the Adrian Boult Hall. My reason for going was because my good friend Liz Johnson, a composer based in Malvern, invited me to hear the premiere of her piece Wild Man Dances. Liz was delighted to see me and said that of course I would be writing a poem about it, wouldn’t I? The thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but I listened intently to her exciting piece, watched the performers and took in the spectacle of two shiny black grand pianos wrapped around each other so that the pianists faced each other, each with the silent accompaniment of a page-turner ….

I love the piano. It’s a wonderful instrument to play and to listen to. My third collection of poetry, The Page-Turner’s Dilemma, has a cartoon of a grand piano on the cover with a sweating page-turner suspended mid air, hovering over the head of the pianist. The title poem is written from the point of view of the page-turner worrying about all the things that can go wrong and is based on personal experience as pianist, page-turner and concert-goer. You can see the cover and an extract from that poem on my website www.wastiesspace.co.uk

But I digress. My Wild Man Dances poem does not feature page-turners. On the train on the way home, I began by jotting down words and images suggested by what I had seen and heard. The poem I ended up writing is nothing like anything I would have written without the stimulus of Liz’s brilliant piece which will be up on YouTube at some stage so I’m looking forward to hearing it again, though you really can’t beat a live performance. Liz has posted my poem on her website with a link to my site. I have also posted it below. Do go to Liz’s site and listen to some of her other pieces http://www.lizjohnson.co.uk. And I recommend writing using other artforms to inspire different ways of writing.

Wild man dances
for Liz Johnson

Cell walls sweat,
drip mercury,
muscles twitch,
throb against blood

a flash mob of corpuscles
hammers on lungs,
polished black boots
stamp on the heart

tendons and ligaments
check like chains,
nerve endings clench
a furious flamenco

strictly self-contained,
rib cage rattling,
inside each measured man
a wild one dances

© Heather Wastie
October 2015

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