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
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
like a fleeing undergrowth
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