Beloved sets five poems from Dennis Lee’s Un (2003). His book presents a relentlessly dark and apocalyptic vision of our world, yet with flickers of humanity, hope, and humour. Armageddon is coupled with redemption, despair with exhilaration, pollution with purity. The boiled-down words burst with unorthodox phrases and neologisms, and I have tried to marry their unruly force with unexpected musical counterparts. The vocal world is often independent from that of the piano, which argues and articulates more than it accompanies.

Beloved was commissioned by Toca Loca (Gregory Oh, Artistic Director), with the assistance of The Laidlaw Foundation.

Texts to Beloved


In silicon gridlock, in
quagmeat extremis – basta, on wings of success, Still we snog through
sputum waste to
caramelize the Beloved,
riffle thru alley slop for a gob of awe


You who.
You who never, who
neverest, who
ever unart.
You who summon the watch, who
hamstring the seeker, you who piss in the wine: with this jawbone this raga this entrail,
with this pyrrhic skiptrace.
You who egg, who
slag, who un, who


light, blind
night, blind blinkers.
Blind of the lakelorn / of
lumpen /the scree.
In terminal ought and deny, indelible isprints.
Palping the scandalscript. Sniffing the petrified fiat.


An earth ago, a God ago, gone easy:

a pang a lung a lifeline, gone to lore.

Sin with its
numberless, hell with its long long count:

nightfears in
eden, gone eco gone pico gone home.


And are creatures of nothing.
I noth you noth we
long have we nothed we shall noth, staunch in true nothing we

noth in extremis, noth until
habitat heartstead green galore & species relinquish the terrene ghosthold;
crumble to alphadud; stutter to rumours of ing.