The new Londinium exhibition with 39 translations of my poem “Londinium”, which was to be held at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield during April, has had to be postponed due to the corvid 19 pandemic. Together with the 28 versions from my last exhibition I had hoped for 40 translations but the delay gives me an opportunity to find the 40th! One of the versions is Braille and the extra time also gives me an opportunity to consider how best to present this at the exhibition.
As well as A1 posters of the poems, designed by Jools Barrett,
12 Voice portraits created by poet, artist and photographer, Giovanna Iorio were to be hung.
Giovanna takes the spectrogram of the recording of the poems and transforms them into glorious images which can then be printed onto white acrylic sheet.
The 12 Voice Portraits with recordings can be found by clicking here.
As well as the above, I propose to add a QR code to the associated language notes so that those with a smart phone can scan it and connect to the the relevant page on my web site so as to listen to the recording.
I am not a linguist by any means, but I love language, the concept of language, that there are so many, 6,000 today, and that English is derived from 450 languages. For anyone interested in this, I can recommend an extremely fascinating book “Don’t Believe a word” by David Shariatmadari. One of his wonderful quotes is: “Language is not an island, it is a cloud drifting in a crowded sky”.
Also I love that London was built by immigrants and still has people from all over who, collectively, speak 300 languages; great!
Here my the poem in its original English.
Put your ear to the ground –
hear the shouts of rotten flesh,
the clash of smith and wheel wright,
twist and stretch of the rope maker.
Your eyes will sting with the scent
of wood smoke, run with the bite
of ammonia from foetid urine.
Long below all this runs
the mark of Boudicca’s revenge
in the thin, red slice of burnt iron;
splitting a line of ash and clay
layered in the stones and tiles,
wood, old fires and bones.
Now squeezed by North and South
within its mud-soft lined canal;
the river once nurtured Neanderthal,
Homo Sapiens; lonely itinerants
drifting by for half a million years.
The first hut 15,000 years ago,
now a city of a myriad tongues
that adopts all who come –
hunter, farmer, the dispossessed.
© Anthony Fisher, February 2011