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This poetry was inspired by piano music and was premiered at the Winchcombe Festival of Music and Arts by Marcel Zidani, pianist, with Helena reading on 30th May 2012. 

Each concert poem can be experienced as a frame through which the piece of music is viewed - a new paradigm - if you will. Concert poetry is a way of introducing the listener to a new piece of music or reframing perceptions of the familiar. 


Spanish Dance 'Oriental' Op. 10 No. 2 by Granados
Poem entitled Barrier Reef

Rumores de la Caleta - Malagueña by Albeniz

Etude Op. 10 No. 1 by Chopin
Poem entitled Foundation Etude

Etude Op. 10 No. 3 by Chopin
Poem entitled Lullaby Etude

Spanish Dance No. 1 from La Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla
Poem entitled Flamenco Spring

Polonaise Op. 53 A-flat Major by Chopin


Katie Morgan

Katie has been a self employed Decorative Painter and Illustrator since leaving college in 1985. She gained a BA Hons. in Visual Communication at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, Wiltshire. After being inspired by her travels Katie is now based in Winchcombe. Her murals and illustrations can be seen at Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe. 


John-Paul Gandy aka Sequoia

John-Paul Gandy now known as Sequoia, has performed Helena's music since the 1990's when they met at music college in London. Sequoia is a musical genius and worked as a répétiteur for British opera companies throughout his career, as well as premiering fiendishly difficult piano music for many contemporary music composers, including Joël-François Durand. I am very grateful for his performance and recordings of these concert poetry pieces and hope that you will enjoy them for the gift that they are. 


Barrier Reef

Day and night breaking news rolls in
Email and social media, post and texts
Still and moving images
Titbits offered on recurring tides
Unseen waves continually redelivering
Debris and driftwood, delicacies and delights

Frontier shorelines where the virtual and actual meet
Merging realities framed by horizons of wanting and soundtracks of data
Relentlessly collapse onto beaches of erased sand
Flat screen etch a sketch
Waiting for clicks of modern day stylus’
To draw animations of a magically selected world

Living reefs of multi-coloured systems
Teem with sought-for sites
Organic walls of hard and software
Robustly designed to take the hits
Deliver environments via tentacles of optics
Extended like coral in the night
Feeding on consumptive commerce
Capturing signals, thoughts and plans of
The well-connected, passive in posture

When fears of a future undetermined
Overwhelm like inner tides of the unstoppable and
Heaves from the past engulf the present
Threatening constant erosion and drowning from within
We long to float like feathers in love’s dedicated craft
Rocking in comfort, dancing on surfaces in
Beautiful vessels of flesh and blood
Contained in safe harbours of anchored rest
Far-flung from break waters
Well away from Barrier Reefs

Inspired by Granados Spanish Dance ‘Oriental’ Op. 10 No. 2
© Helena Cavan, 2012


Rumores de la Caleta

Winds cough into trees
Hurling leaves stem-over-tip like used tissues
Wayfaring foliage now belonging to nothing escapes
As whispers uttered under breath, chanting
Meditations of a saturated heart
Leaking its top secrets

Released flame-points ascend on warm draughts -
Breathing soul songs invisibly winding their way up a chimney
The evaporating finishes escape like fleeting thoughts
Remembered then immediately forgotten

Mantras of pensive memories escape
In deep sighs from the depths of house-partners
Facing piles of laundry, watching sinks fill with predictable dishes
And the fridge emptying
As surely as black hands continually move across the face
Of that great determiner of schedules

Closed doors form corridors from where there is no escape
Ushering sojourners in faith toward seasons
Where logs will be fed to fires and leaves will be birthed to trees
Where familiarity accompanies
The only constant that is change and
Departures become arrivals

Inspired by Rumores de la Caleta-Malagueña by Albeniz
© Helena Cavan, 2012

Foundation Etude

Put your heel on it
Break the soil and dig very deep
To where the clay is solid
But cuts like butter

If prepared well
Pour the foundation and
Allow plenty of time to let it

Inner walls can go up quickly
Straight lines, concrete materials Dress it as you like with whatever you can afford
Mud and straw, wood, brick, carved stone
Fittings and fixtures
You decide
You live in it

Inspired by Chopin Etude Op. 10 No. 1
© Helena Cavan, 2012

Lullaby Etude

Close your eyes
It’s OK
Mummy’s here
Listen to her humming
Serene sounds
Melting sadness
Smoothing tired wrinkles

Choose your thoughts
Your imagination
See horses with wings
Flying through white floating clouds

Stormy feelings
Scary pictures
Repetitive thoughts inescapable
Are you there, Mama?

Yes, Darling
Come lie with me
Let my warmth
Encircle you
Hear my heartbeat
Feel my breath upon your head
Let these rhythmic movements of life
Lead you to rest once again

Inspired by Chopin Etude Op. 10 No. 3
© Helena Cavan, 2012


Flamenco Spring

Flames licking undergrowth register the season
Of blurred skies and of controlled burn
A wielded tool in hands of those
Who name “cool fires,” a destruction procedure

The winter hearts wait like a pile of dry logs,
Storage of gasps in a raspy grate,
Cold seeds poised in growing medium
Desperate for damp and warmth to be ignited

Living-stone-seeds penetrated by power from within
Surrender to rampant green fires
Latent energy transformed into fuel
Consumed by a chain of reactions

Hot chocolate earth, foaming ocean of fervour
Aphrodisiac drink of roots and seeds
Stimulates to race in all things living a
Scrambling madness to push upwards and break through
Dark crusty soil onto world’s stage of spotlights
Launching circular processes of combustion

Enter centre stage, Flamenco Spring’s band
La Primavera shouting sonorously
Maraca birdsong, gifting sensualities pulse
Articulating quick rhythm to throw off winter clogs

Flamencista red shoes now tap the tempo
To Woodpecker’s cajónning red beater
Determinedly announcing his stupendous arrival
With manic strikes of a shock-absorbing-head

Flamenco Spring in well-ordered passion
Ascends to the tunes of prenuptial drives
Dancing with the danger of frosts at her back
Secure in trust she thrives

Her smouldering gaze burns off winter resolve
And furrowed brow-boughs frame green glowing-blazings
Explosive, emissive, dimensionless quantities
Her volume hard to contain

Flamenco Spring is applauded with bouquets
Anemophilous flowers so generously thrown
To be caressed by the hands of a breeze so gentle
The most delicate of filaments relinquish their hold

For transfers mediated by the wind

Boticelli’s diaphanous world-renown dresses
Cannot even begin to compete
With the exquisite billows of Prunus avium ‘Plena’-
Wild white cherry tree

Draughts of Pheromone encircle La Señora
Perfumed enticing pathways
Signals of status, powerful attractants
Chemically eliciting quick responses

As mysteriously as cohesion-tension
Pulls her sap to rise upwards
Is baffling joy in dire circumstances and peace In the midst of a storm

Flamenco Spring is green fire performing
Growth flashes twisting, transforming
All movements accomplished with entire precision
Lightning fast-footwork under elegant curves

With immediate fury the controlled, tended flames
In proud carriage rise and crouch
Well-regulated with water-fuel and sunshine-oxygen
Expressive limbs extend, curtail

Unfurlings of a tightly held body

Flamencista refreshes by taking Spring waters
Of swollen torrents, eloping runoffs,
The bubbling streams that laugh their way down
Tumbling hillsides corriendo, corriendo

Down, down gathering momentum
Meeting at cobble shores
To make light work of polishing boulders into sand
That gravity pulls to the sea

In fast-forward watching of slow-motion details
Flamenco Spring’s soul is evident
Her duende real, and power, great
Hands clap, nascents explode
In the dancing fertility of the world

Inspired by Spanish Dance no. 1 from La Vida Breve, by Manuel de Falla
© Helena Cavan, 2012


Mucking out stalls soon becomes a chore when all
One dreams is of being a jockey
Activated thought lunges forward at top speed
On racing thoroughbred of emotion
Neck and neck running in ¾ rhythm
Towards taut ribbon stretching
Clarifying line of resolution or understanding or
Frustrated disappointment at Falling behind

How much
Would you put down
On fingers that grope in darkness
To find powered switch of
Taking the winnings of
Living a life turned on?

Sport of Kings
Self-Awareness Gold Cup
Costly at any Price

Inspired by Chopin: Polonaise #6 In A Flat, Op. 53, "Héroïque"
© Helena Cavan, 2012