The home of multimedia poetics
The home of multimedia poetics

Put That Light Out

The programme was presented in one of London's most iconic spaces - the Crystal Palace Subway, the first time in over 30 years that a cultural event has taken place in this amazing venue. After a moving rendition of Britten/Sitwell's 'Still Falls the Rain', the silence was broken by the sound of approaching bombers; the highlight of the event being an improvisational tap dance by Irène, which you can see here.


After the air raid sirens were stilled, our wardens read out the safety instructions. For the duration of the raid we performed:


HOME FRONT                                   

The Monstrous Regiment by Alice Coats, read by Racheal

To a Barrage Balloon by May Morton, read by Steve

A Rose by any Other Name by Kenneth Smith, read by Jazzman John

Point of View by R P Brett, read by Isabel

Evacuee Part 1 by Racheal Joseph, read by the author

Evacuee Part 2 by Edith Pickthall read by Graham

Trainpiece – 1943 by F A Horn, read by Jazzman John

Parting  by Gervase Stewart, read by Graham

Vera Lynn’s ‘We'll Meet Again’ by Ross Parker & Hughie Charles, sung by Louise

Sonia Snell by Douglas Ginger, read by Robin

Sonnet to Albert in a Pub on New Year's Eve by Madge Donald, read by Racheal

Dahn the Plug 'Ole by that old favourite ‘Anon’, read by Robin

Salvage Song by Elsie Cawser, read by Isabel

Vera Lynn’s ‘Be Like the Kettle and Sing’ by Tommie Connor, Walter Ridley and Desmond O'Connor, sung by Louise

Securing a bunk – a local reminiscence by Jean and Alan (archives), read by Louise


AWAY AT THE FRONT                                    

Com-bloody-parisons by Kevin McHale, read by Robin

Love Letters of the Dead by Douglas Street, read by Graham

D Day Dodgers (Lily Marlene) by ‘Anon’ sung by Robin

L.R.D.G. (Long Range Desert Group) by J.G. Meddemmen, read by Steve


SELF IMPROVEMENT                                     

Me Old China by Steve Tasane, read by the author

Maps by W J Harvey, read by Graham

Naming of Parts by Henry Reed, read by Robin & Isabel

The Lambeth Walk by Gay & Furber – limbering up with Irene, accompanied by Louise



Direct Hit – a local reminiscence by Jean and Alan (archives), read by Louise


BEFORE THE RAID                                           

The Chinese in London during the war, introduced by Steve

The Great Wave Breaks on the Shore by Hua Yanjun, played by Rosemary             

Steve makes a stirring plea for support for the Free French Forces

Courage by Paul Éluard, read by Irène    


THE RAID                                            

Still Falls the Rain, poem by Edith Sitwell, music Canticle No III by Benjamin Britten, performed by Anna, Jon and Isabel

The Air Raid will be demonstrated by Irène with assistance from the company

Boxed In by John Clarke read by the author

Slough by John Betjeman read by Steve

Sonic Gift by John Clarke read by the author

Britten Serenade Prologue by Benjamin Britten, performed by Anna & Jon            

Ode to Autumn 3rd Stanza by John Keats read by Isabel

Sonata, 3rd Movement by York Bowen performed by Anna & Jon              


A Clippie’s Story – a local reminiscence by Jean and Alan (archives) read by Louise


AFTER THE RAID                                              

For Johnny by John Pudney, read by Jazzman John

To a German Airman by Brian Gallie, performed by Graham

Killed in Action by Juliette De Bairacli-Levy, read by Racheal



Dreaming about the end of the War by Graham Campbell, read by the author

Vera Lynn’s When the Lights Go On Again All Over the World by Bennie Benjamin and Sol Marcus, sung by Louise               

City of Benares – a family story by Isabel White, performed by Isabel and Racheal


FINALE – A Minute’s Silence (Audience & Performers)  

The Last Post

Closing theme - Bowen’s 1st Movement by York Bowen, performed by Anna


Some of the poems reproduced and performed were written for this event by the readers, others from Chaos of the Night, an Anthology of Women’s Poetry from the Second World War, selected by Catherine Reilly, published by Virago, and Poems of the Second World War – the Oasis Selection, published by Dent.

Courage by Paul Éluard was published by New Directions Books in association

with Librairie Gallimard, Paris.


We are grateful to Andy Stem of Bambino for the loan of props, to all our volunteers, Friends of Crystal Palace Subway and for Rachel D’Cruze, for being there! Research courtesy of the archives of the Imperial War Museum, Friends of the Subway and West Norwood Library.








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