Fell of Dark

Fell of Dark

I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark
G.M. Hopkins (1844-89)

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent this night!
What sights you, heart saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light’s delay.
With witness I speak this.
But where I say hours I mean years, mean life.
And my lament is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent to dearest him that lives alas! away.
I am gall, I am heartburn.
God’s most deep decree bitter would have me taste: my taste was me.
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours.
I see the lost are like this, and their scourge to be as I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

4 comments

  1. Sara Bowler

    To those who braved the wet on Sunday – thank you! And for providing honest and informative feedback on the piece. It will influence the next version and I hope you’ll have a moment to post your views here.

  2. W. Matravers

    A very evocative piece, I found it quite unnerving. The simple elements of its construction suited the tone perfectly.

    My suggestion would be to have speakers sited around the space with individual tracks being audible from unexpected locations and for the delivery of the first part of the script to be slightly more soporific.

  3. Being immersed in pitch blackness was impressive. a great way to focus on the work. in one respect being led in casually into a blackout-curtained room with bouncey acoustics and promptly being left alone was a brisk and uncluttered and honest way to be introduced to the work.i.e. Shown a camp bed and then asked to lie on it and listen.a torch shoved in your (just in case you get panicky). that was ok but could n’t find the switch to turn it on when it had finished so i could use it to leave! In another respect if the sound work had started after the invidulator had left and even some minutes of silence to allow them to leave the immediate area as any sound travels far in the bunker as their sounds overlapped a bit would be good also. I would have liked more time to be accustomed to the space atmosphere of the space. As I am hearing impaired my aids didn’t deal well with the acoustics very well though I had read the poem extract and understood the context. I think also that the journey out there a short trip across the heath and into the anomaly of happidrome added to the experience too.May I suggest enclosed headphones to escape the acoustic problem.

  4. Cat Bagg

    I thought the piece had real presence which the site was really integral to. The reason the dark has the potential to scare is that it makes your surroundings unidentifiable and creates the possibility that there is something threatening or frightening lurking. The Happidrome buildings add to this with the possibility of birds, bats and mice, asbestos and lead paint, probably even more so if you are not familiar with the buildings. Even though I found lying in the dark a comfortable rather then intimidating experience, I appreciated these possibilities.

    The site also provides a deep silence, before and after the piece, I think the words would benefit from a slower more broken pace, making use of this inbetween. I think I needed this to take in some of the meaning of the sounds I was hearing, sadly although I could hear clearly most of the words were lost on me. Also I think it would increase the tension of the piece, particularly if as suggested above the sound was introduced from different locations.

    The acoustics are clearly a bit of an issue, I found that the high pitch voice at the beginning of the piece grated and the lower and quieter tones that followed felt much less artificial in the space. I think it would have detracted from my experience of the piece to be wearing headphones, but as it is an individual experience perhaps it could be an option, as might an adjusted volume control.

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