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The Mayor's Thames Festival
14 & 15 September 2013: London's free end-of-summer festival
Hello David 4 October
“Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song”

Today, October 4th, is National Poetry Day

To celebrate this we are launching our short film, documenting the installation of one of this year's key Thames Festival commissions: Rhyme in Grime by ‘clean art’ pioneer Moose. The film was produced by Chocolate Films in partnership with the Thames Festival Trust. Click the image above to view the film.

Rhyme in Grime brings to life an extract from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, chosen by the founder of National Poetry Day, William Sieghart.

Using only Thames water, pumped through a high pressure jetwasher and wooden stencils, the poem’s words were cleaned into the stone and wooden surfaces to impress the poem into the landscape.

The installation, along the riverside walkway from Gabriel’s Wharf to the OXO Tower jetty, is semi-permanent and will last from 3 months to a year, until the natural matter of lichen and grime build up and grow over the text once more. The piece will age and fade naturally over time, sinking back into the landscape.

T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land

The extract:

The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.
And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;
Departed, have left no addresses.
By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept…
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.

Thames Festival Trust aims to develop a series of poetry interventions along the riverside landscape in the coming year, in partnership with Forward Arts Foundation.

Extract from 'The Fire Sermon' taken from The Waste Land © Estate of T.S. Eliot, and reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd.

If you think projects like this are important, please support us in our work.

We are a registered charity and in addition to support from Arts Council England and the Mayor of London we need to raise over £1 million to deliver the festival each year. We only manage to do this via the commitment and generous support of our corporate partners, core funders and people like you – our keen supporters who love the work we do.

Find out more about our Festival Friends scheme.

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