The Open Cage

Libretto (with Adam Horovitz)
for opera composed by Danyal Dhondy

Premiere at The Yard, Hackney
as part of “Heaven is a Place on Earth” festival

(from The Open Cage)


And you are gone into the white.
The feather fall. The brilliant night.
Beyond the reach of words or hopes.
Beyond my reach. Beyond the scope
of love. The sky’s an empty cage of blue.
Your feathers fall like waxy tears.
I look up and the sunlight sears
my eyes. I’d burn them out to look for you.
Come back to me now, Icarus.
Come back; we’re so near at last to land!


Every sound of every colour
diffracted through a prism,
the chatter of the birds seems close again.
Each had or has a father
and a fire and a monster.
There’s a blurring, there’s a falling.
Falling briefly it seems clear again.

Twists. Rushes. Labyrinths of sky
becoming water become
bones where others gnaw
in this fall I am ‘I’
however briefly truly ‘I’
free. An imprint on the sky.

Freedom.       Falling


I am free.