Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on–on–and out of sight.
Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away . . . O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
The title for this exhibition was in part a response to this popular poem by Siegfried Sassoon. What resonates with me is his evident close affinity with the natural world and in particular his use of the bird as a metaphor to express what it is to be free and alive. In the poem one can surmise that Sassoon is reflecting on a real experience: the spontaneous outpouring of song in response to the end of the horrors of war. For me however, it is the ending of the poem that is most crucial: it becomes a timeless declaration of the resilience of the human spirit – feelings beyond words.