Solo duet by Janet Lees

The latest film poem from Manx artist and poet Janet Lees seems fitting for this week of scorching temperatures in so many places. I’m sure she won’t mind if we paste in the full text of her Vimeo description, because it’s interesting to see what she excerpted from her original page-poem, “Retreat,” to make the film poem:

Poem & video by Janet Lees
Music by Tonic Walter & Nina Nst
The full poem, originally published in Earthlines magazine:


I have hung out my clothes
on the washing line at the edge of the world.
Silhouetted arms and legs
give dumbstruck kicks and jerks,
stiff with salt and too much mending
by hands that have lost
the scent of naked,
eyes that can’t see
to thread a needle.

Viewed through glass: peat,
pelt. Imagined song
of blood and stone
fattening my tongue until
it fills my mouth, stops
my throat.
Between inside
and outside,
the flame roar of the wind,
cauterising open sores
where men have dug out earth from me
to burn to warm their hands.

My blood
runs cold and clear
My bones are made
of the world’s dried tears
There is wreckage
and resurgence in my heart
At dusk I drink the sun
and then dead stars
live again in my skin
which breaks
and is

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