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James MacMillan

Birds of Rhiannon (2001)


Plays: 4804


Tone poem for orchestra with optional chorus
(excerpt)
Duration: 04 mins 26 secs
BBC Singers / BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / James MacMillan
(p) and © 2002 Chandos Records Ltd.
Chandos 9997

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Text heard on Sample:
Hauls of fish are clenched
in rock pools' carapace of ice.

Tide is always low, so gales turn
kelp and wrack to snake skins.

Shadow gulls on sand-ribs
are a vanishing calligraphy,

and high above, their mimics loop
like voiceless acolytes,

whose song died when our king
gave his throat to the blade.

East means nothing now,
nor west, no happenstance

of rock can bear the name of Britain
now that he lies broken.

O Bran, land and sea lay waste
to one another, sky can only light itself,

O head, rocked to sleep,
nuzzled and fed like a baby,

O warlord, O wean, gentle in
an arms's crook, lulled by old songs

             Michael Symmons Roberts



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