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The Angry Garden: Libretto by Simon Rae

1. The Dark Mirror










Silence like a frozen lake

Stillness, not the echo of a breath

Two mirrors face to face

reflecting darkness

Two mirrors face to face

reflecting emptiness

eternities of emptiness

Two mirrors face to face to face to face

reflecting nothing


The void imploding

an ingot of pure darkness

reduced to a ball-bearing,

a pin-ball magic bullet

that would nail God’s palm to Time

and smash the mirror glass

to shards and slivers

silvering the universe

to flower in super nova

showering space

with flecks of lava

tumbling through aeons

settling to stillness 


in the Light


2. Eden

Light summons song
from every tongue

The wide horizons
widen eyes

Each grain of sand
unlocks a hand

and grass grows tall as flesh

Fins flash,

fur finds its mate,
the open skies discover flight:

wingbeats, spirallings…

And all creation sings


All creation sings
and apples like a tree of notes
bend down the bough

Time teaches hands to reach and feed
to share and seed
new apple trees

multiplying hands and mouths
like grains of sand 

like seas of grass.

The generations rise and pass.

Shadows extend
towards an end without an end

And all creation sings

3. Through Spawn and Spore

The great plates shift and link and lock.
Along each wrenched and heaving shore
salt and shaping tongues explore…
Earth starts its clock.

There’s now an After to Before,
and like a firefly through the dark
Life’s unaccountable first spark
begins to chase through spawn and spore.

Out of soupy cauldrons, slime
must slowly learn to crawl and climb.
Interdependencies of flesh and jaw
evolve the razor bill and claw.

Rain wrestles to the light as green
and vast, grass-eating stomachs reign
until time shrouds the green in grey
and strips the cavernous flesh away,

leaving, locked in lava dust,
blood and muscle’s darkening rust,
cathedral scaffolding of bone
and random footprints set in stone.

Now an After




4  Man

The great apes swung down from the trees
and sniffed the sweet savannah breeze

They scattered north and  south and east and west
bent on their amazing quest

that led from apemen up to man
gathered in a ragged clan

defenceless till flint struck a spark
and set a boundary to the dark


Fire throws shadows through the cave;
more mouths, more meat; new hands contrive

the first crude spears: the bison fall
and leave their image on a wall.

Man makes his mark and then moves on
from turf stockade to Babylon.

Mouths and markets, trade and war:
Empires stretch from shore to shore.

Swords and ploughshares take their turn;
the cities then the forests burn.

Furnaces light up the sky
declaring that the dark must die.

The furnace roars: more mouths, more meat.
Turn up the heat; turn up the heat.

More mouths, more land;
and so the forked flames are fanned

When the black sun finally falls
it burns man’s image on to walls.

Forests flame and rivers boil,
a poisoned wind tears at the soil,

oceans sicken, skies ignite;
the last flocks dip in broken flight.

5  The Mirror Cracked



It must have been apparent from the air: 

the anorexic shorelines,
icebergs and ice-caps frayed – 

the signs of change.


The seabirds saw it, circling high,
the mirror ice holds to the sky,

but could not, as they wheeled and tacked,
evaluate how badly cracked the mirror was, 

nor comprehend the message.

It showed a war zone at the poles,
long-range artillery punching holes

through ice, as strong gales stripped
snow towers and glaciers, ripped

the icefields up like slates, then hurled
them round the unprotected world:

a new Pandora’s box of tides
and terror-tempests no one rides,

a cataclysm kept on ice
before extorting such a price

in swollen and rampaging seas
that rise, because they cannot freeze,

to flood through delta-basins, drown
factory, farm and sprawling town

and leave vast tracts of fertile land
no more than deserts of blown sand.

The seabirds circle in the sky;
they cannot know the sea is high
or that the ice is wearing thin.



Crawl into the ransacked garden
the ruin of a perfect Eden.

The Tree of Knowledge barely stands
holding five foul apples in its hands.

One is rotten to the core
tormented by the wasps of war.

The next is stripped by acid rain;
another shrivelled by the vengeful sun.

A billion mouths have sucked the fourth one hollow.

The last has nothing left to swallow

lying rancid in the blackening grass.

And so the prophecies have come to pass.








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