Palimpsest: stella obscura


PALIMPSEST: stella obscura

a soprano sings in a concert
and wants to hear how it sounded
next morning hating the recording
she puts it into a tape recorder
presses “record”
and gets on with the day job

the machine hating the quiet turns up the gain
records itself in operation
motor noise
tape hiss
punctuated by sudden sounds
as drawers are opened and files stored
and the machine is hushed 
for a time

gradually the voice emerges
a cough
a murmur

eventually external demands
require a response
an arrangement is made


yesterday’s song
what will come tomorrow
the listener will never know

the public performance is

but the private is now public

Lisa Whistlecroft  November 2003

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