Louise Vale-Poetry for Wilton’s

Posted on December 11th, 2009 by


Poet Louise Vale responds to the enchanted spaces of Wilton’s Music Hall.


As   It   Was

[Fuse the future with a version of the past.

Wilton's Today. Kreutzer's on Stage

Wilton's Today. Kreutzers on Stage

Take up your opera glasses,

breathe into former pleasures,

remember someone else’s bliss]


Welcome. Over clinking from the bar,

voices rise, a chatter of anticipation,

footsteps clatter, seats creak raised

and lowered, a ruched skirt swishes

down a row, its owner smiles, trips


and falls into now

where we catch her waistcoat in mid-air,

feel its lightness, note the faded cotton,

careful stitching, cry out at its emptiness,

marvel at its strength.

                                                (Louise Vale)


The positioning of the seats

dictates the song.


Space invades our thoughts

                     determines the direction

                                                holds the sound

                                                offers resolution.



How far shall I sit from you?

       Keep away  –  from  –  me

                                         or I’ll stab you

                                         with my bow

Do I want to look at you,

       I mean in the eyes,    

                                  or not?

The wrong seat could be an improvement.



Where is the audience?

It’s a mistake to let them sit there,

                     as though it was up to them


If we moved their seats too,

                           would they become us?


How far away can we get

before we can’t hear each other at all?                                                                     

 (Louise Vale)



The positioning of the hand

is everything



firm – gentle

                     precise – fluid


                                         extended – restrained







It says practice, practice,

practice, practised.



Muscle fibres pull

                     into monstrous twists

tendons tug on bone.



We hear only sound,

       see only surface,

notice nothing.   


                                                                             (Louise Vale)


Johannnes Brahms-B Flat Major Quartet Op 67 (1875) Live at Wiltons’ Music Hall

Kreutzer Quartet (Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Morgan Goff, Neil Heyde)

Wiltons Music Hall- 30th July 2010
Recording courtesy of Colin Still (Optic Nerve)


 To hear Garrison Keillor reading more of  Louise Vale’s work, follow this link: