LightNight returns to brighten the cityscape next month and The Reader have teamed up with Bido Lito! to illuminate the Anglican Cathedral.
Every year the Liverpool cityscape is blasted with colour as the night is brought to life for LightNight Liverpool. Commissioned by Ad-Hoc Creative, on the 13 May The Reader will be teaming up with Bido Lito! to present Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem ‘No worst, there is none’ as you’ve never seen or heard it before, in the awe-inspiring surroundings of the Anglican Cathedral.
The visual installation inspired by the poem will be accompanied by music from The Coral’s Bill Ryder-Jones, the Liverpool Cathedral Youth Choir and visual artists Sam and Damien Wiehl.
While the installation will light up the Cathedral’s main space, The Reader will be holding Shared Reading sessions in The Chapter House. Regular readings of the poem on the hour will be accompanied by breakout groups that will come together to read the poem together and discuss its meaning for those hearing it on the night.
This main display will be a reimagining of a previous exposition featuring the poem and music from Ryder-Jones that was held at the Calderstones Mansion House in May 2015 and led to the choice of poem. ‘No worst, there is none’ itself holds a special meaning for The Reader, as it was instrumental in helping demonstrate the benefits Shared Reading can have for those in mental health settings, as Jane Davis, Founder & Director remembers in our anthology Poems to Take Home:
“The poem is for me essential to the purpose of Get Into Reading. I was pitched the idea to a group of directors at an NHS trust, when a service user (patient, as he called himself) asked me to read it aloud. I have never felt the power of the poem so much or so profoundly as there at that rather corporate meeting table. The poet has reached a limit: his language, his sense of reality, his whole being is breaking down and it seems to him there is nothing else on the face of the earth but his ‘worst’. In this specialist mental health setting, it was sobering to be reminded that the mind really does have mountains, and ‘Hold them cheap/ May who ne’er hung here’. The man who had asked me to read simply said: ‘I find it helps to see it written out like that, in order, when I am feeling very bad. It helps.’
Thanks to that man and Gerard Manley Hopkins ‘putting it in order’, we won the commission, and now have 37 weekly shared reading groups in Mersey Care NHH Trust.”
LightNight Liverpool is co-ordinated by non-profit organisation Open-Culture with the aim to foster and support the arts across Merseyside. The festival is part of Museums at Night scheme which is a programme that seeks to bring culturally significant landscapes around Britain to life at night.
We look forward to seeing you there! In the meantime, here’s the poem in full:
‘No worst, there is none’
Gerard Manley Hopkins
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief’.
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.