“Slaaplied (Lullaby)” by Tonnus Oosterhoff

Screen capture from “Slaaplied (Lullaby)” by Tonnus Oosterhoff. Light, cream colored background with black colored text and part of the last sentence fading. Text: “I’m dreaming of a tail with fingers/contorting dreadfully on my shoulder,/ without looking back jump down. The black air/ all feathers. But does that really happen? I’m not so sure/ a body as if molten, rudderless head in which the eyes both sleep and rest alertly. On all that is dear here.” (these next words have a fading effect) “and it’s all so”.
Open “Slaaplied (Lullaby)” by Tonnus Oosterhoff

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This delicately scheduled poem about the last thoughts of a person apparently in a medical or hospice care facility is presented over the course of Glenn Gould’s performance of Sinfonia No. 5 in E Flat Major, BVW 791 by  J.S. Bach. The poem is presented in small portions— as lines, phrases, single words, or even syllables— patiently synchronized with musical phrases. Listen carefully as you read and you’ll notice how dialogue is given distinct voices as two musical phrases alternate. The person’s thoughts have both a poetic and musical personality, and alternates between flights of fancy (or dream) and a reality that may have led to the current near-death situation. The scheduled presentation of the poem also serves to offer a different line structure from what eventually accumulates on screen, including a phrase that changes, which provides readers with two texts. This powerfully moving work that requires undivided attention and sensory focus from the reader to fully appreciate its artistry.

Featured in ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature