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Tigerish Waters

John McCarthy considers the importance of ambiguity and complexity.

John McCarthy considers the way that we can accommodate ambiguity and complexity.

The title of the programme comes from Louis MacNeice's poem "Entirely" which explores the way in which it is never possible to be "entirely" sure, or to have fully grasped a meaning, or to fully be in a moment.

Take a walk in an urban woodland: you can seek and find a sense of solitude whilst always being aware of the busy-ness around you and be aware, simultaneously, of the beauty of birdsong and the trundle of road traffic beyond the gates.

We hear from poets and writers who have explored not getting things "entirely" and found a kind of pleasure and peace in that acceptance. There are readings from Louise MacNeice, Kathleen Jamie and Michael Longley, and an interview with Tom Bolton who writes about London's secret rivers and lost neighbourhoods. The music is by You Are Wolf (Kerry Andrew), Toru Takemitsu, Kraftwerk and Elton John.

The readers are Peter Marinker, Sirine Saba and Joe Armstrong.

Producer: Natalie Steed
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 17 May 2015 23:30

Music Played

  • Kerry Andrew


    Performer: You Are Wolf.
    • Hawk to the Hunting Gone.
    • Stone Tape Recordings.
  • Toru Takemitsu

    Umi E (Toward The Sea): I. The Night

    Performer: Duo Takemistsu.
    • Toru Takemistu in Memoriam.
    • Denon Records.
  • Elton John

    Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

    Composer: Bernie Taupin. Performer: Elton John.
    • Caribou.
    • Djm.
  • Ralf Hütter

    Tour De France 2003

    Composer: Florian Schneider. Composer: Florian Schneider. Composer: Maxime Schmitt. Composer: Fritz Hilpert. Performer: Kraftwerk.
    • Tour De France Soundtracks 2003.
    • EMI.


Title: Entirely

Synopsis: Certainty and uncertainty explored in a poem which gives this edition its title.

Author: Louis MacNeice

Publisher: Faber and Faber


Title: Spring Tide (part 3)

Synopsis: The spring tide extends the shoreline beyond its ordinary boundaries.

Author: Michael Longley

Publisher: Jonathan Cape


Title: The Porch


Author: R S Thomas

Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition


Title: extract from “Darkness and Light” included in the collection, Findings

Synopsis: The author wants to sail North to experience complete darkness, but finds something else instead.

Author: Kathleen Jamie

Publisher: Sort Of Books


Title: extract from Edgelands: Journeys Into England’s True Wilderness.

Synopsis: A manifesto calling for populated landscapes and the wildernesses of edgelands.

Author: Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley

Publisher: Vintage