Is is only time that weighs upon our hands

This piece was premiered at the Salat concert series (2001) at the Garage club in Bergen, initiated by Ruth Bech. The singer/actress was Silje Birgitte Folkedal. What we hear here is only the sound track based on recording sessions MEP had with Silje. Silje improvised live on top of this, and there could have been additional live (undocumented) electroaoustic treatments of her voice.  The piece does not have a score, but uses a text by Sylvia Plath, which you can read below. 1


Ruben Sverre Gjertsen


It is only time that weighs upon our hands It is only time and that is not material

(Fra Sylvia Plath: Three women)

First voice

I am slow as the world. I am very patient, Turning through my time, the suns and stars Regarding me with attention.

Second voice

Parts, bits, cogs, the shining multiples.
I am dying as I sit. I lose a dimension.
Trains roar in my ears, departures, departures! The silver track of time empties into the distance, The white sky empties of its promise, like a cup. These are my feet, these mechanical echoes.
Tap, tap, tap, steel pegs. I am found wanting.

This is a disease I carry home, this is a death.

Again, this is a death. Is it the air,

The particles of destruction I suck up? Am I a pulse That wanes and wans, facing the cold angel?
Is this my lover then? This death, this death?
As a child I loved a lichen-bitten name.

Is this the one sin then, this old dead love of death?

Third voice

I remember the minute I knew for sure
The willows were chilling,
The face in the pool was beautiful, but not mine – It had a consequential look, like everything else,

I wasn't ready. The white clouds rearing
Aside eere dragging me in four directions.
I wasn't ready.
I had no reverence.
I thought I could deny the consequence—
But it was too late for that. It was too late, and the face Went on shaping itself wilt love, as if I was ready.

First voice:
I am calm. I am clam. It is the calm beofre something awful: The yellow minute beofre the wind walks, when the leaves Tur up their hands, their pallors. It is so quitet here.
The sheets, the faces, are white and stopped, like clocks (...)

First voice:
There is no miracle more cruel than this.

I am dragged by the horses, the iron hooves.


The sheets, the faces, are white and stopped, like clocks (...)

First voice:
There is no miracle more cruel than this.
I am dragged by the horses, the iron hooves.
I last. I last it out. I accomplish a work.
Dark tunnel, through which hurtle the visitations,
The visitiations, the manifestations, the starteled faces. I am the center of an atrocity.
What pains, what sorrows must I be mothering?

Second voice:
I am accused. I dream of massacres.
I am a garden og black and red agonies. I drink them,
Hating myself, hating an fearing. And now the worlds conceives Its end and runds toward it, amrs held out in love.
It is a love of death sickens everything.
A dead sun stains the newsprint. It is red.
I lose life after life. The dark earth drinks them.

Third voice
And I am a white ship hooting: goodbye, goodbye. The days i blazing. It is very mournful.

First voice:
How long can I be a wall, keeping the wind off? How long can I be,
Gentlin the sun with the shade of my hand, Intercepting the blue bolts of a cold moon?
The voices of loneliness, the voices of sorrow Lap at my back ineluctably.
How shall it soften them, this little lullaby?


Third voice:
I am solitary as grass. What is it Ii miss? Shall I ever find it, whatever it is?

The swans are gone. Still the river Rememebers how white they were. It strives after them with its lights. If finds their shapes in a cloud. What is that bird that cries

With such sorrow in its voice?