Musical Anthropocene by Jonathan Taylor

After Thea Musgrave, Green, and Robert Macfarlane


We are the irruption of noise into music:

ariosos disintegrate in our hands

while discordant clusters round low F

shake the earth beneath our feet.


Our symphonic scores rot,

violins are resurrected as trees,

but that tremolo F remains below all

and remains to the last,

persistent as fossilised plastic

or a nuclear legacy radioactive

for 10,000 years.





Note: Green is a short piece for twelve strings by Thea Musgrave, commissioned by the Scottish Ensemble, and first performed in 2008.


I’m author of the novels “Melissa” (Salt, 2015) and “Entertaining Strangers” (Salt, 2012), the memoir “Take Me Home” (Granta, 2007), and the poetry collection “Musicolepsy” (Shoestring, 2013). I’m Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. My website is

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