Acres was commissioned by the Cambridge Young Composers Network for the Cambridge Music Festival and was premiered by The Explore Ensemble in November 2019 at Trinity College, Cambridge.

The piece is a reaction to the devastating number and extent of forest fires that are increasingly destroying so many hundreds of acres of forest all over the world. My poem ‘ablaze’ describes experiencing such a fire. The speaker sees the burning trees as angels, and ultimately becomes one with their flames.


a shy typhoon

of angels

smolders past

my watchful window-panes,

their wise glass shaking

to a wide rustle

in its patient frame.

I remember as if with ashes

the rush of foliage and bark’s darkness

into sparks

like a fleeing undergrowth

of birds,

of angels;

and now, all these sudden acres

of flight and silence.

worn glass yields

oneness with flames, their wings folding

with their tumbling to a dazzling

of my breath. I lean out, reaching

for armfuls of ocean

chained to rain, in each

a handful of sky wrung

dry, rung clamorously

by wisened window-panes

in a plaintive frame.

and as I breathe and breathe this vast erupting.

breathing, my breath becomes

these angels, my heart roaring

through their throats to the far edge

of their own vast typhoon

of slaughter.

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