Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Certain Slant of Light - Emily Dickinson / music David Sylvian

The English musician and singer David Sylvian has been engaging with the work (or lives) of a number of poets over recent years. On his highly experimental album Manafon (2009) there are some beautifully pared back pieces about R.S. Thomas and Sylvia Plath. He has also produced an album-length interpretation of the late American poet Franz Wright's work (which I may post at a later point).

For now, this is his interpretation of Emily Dickinson's poem 'A Certain Slant of Light', which appears on the album Died in the Wool from 2012.

There's a certain Slant of light

There's a certain Slant of light, 
Winter Afternoons – 
That oppresses, like the Heft 
Of Cathedral Tunes – 

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us – 
We can find no scar, 
But internal difference – 
Where the Meanings, are – 

None may teach it – Any – 
'Tis the seal Despair – 
An imperial affliction 
Sent us of the Air – 

When it comes, the Landscape listens – 
Shadows – hold their breath – 
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance 
On the look of Death –

Emily Dickinson

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