new zealand electronic poetry centre


 Capital of  the minimal
C i l l a   M c q u e e n


I got home from work and looked at
my watch and it said
Ten to five, so I did the washing and
picked some greens and tidied up the
kitchen and sat down and had a cup of coffee,
and looked at my watch and still it said
Ten to five, so I did some ironing and
made the beds and thought Hell I might
get all the housework done in one day
for a change, then looked at my watch
but nope, no change, and I turned on the
radio and it said Ten to five, so
I cleaned the bathroom like mad and
picked some flowers and wrote some
letters and some cheques and scrubbed
the kitchen floor and got started on the
windows – by this time I was getting a bit
desperate I can tell you, I was thinking
alternately Yay! soon there’ll be no more to
do and I’ll be free, and Jeez what if I
RUN OUT? I did in fact run out, and out,
and out, past the church clock saying
Ten to five and the cat on the corner with
big green eyes ticking away, and up into the
sky past the telephone wires, and
up into the blue, watchless, matchless, timeless
cloud-curtains, where I hide, and
it is silent, silent.


© Cilla McQueen 2004

In 1991 Cilla McQueen’s Timepiece was set by the Dunedin composer Anthony Ritchie  for a commission from The Southern Consort of Voices. As Long as Time (Op. 47) comprises:

1. Timepiece - poem by Cilla McQueen
2. Before the Fall - poem by Rachel McAlpine
3. I lie, I watch the ceiling (wordless)
4. We could just disappear - poem by Sam Hunt

In 2001 Auckland choir Viva Voce recorded this work for their CD Snapshots - A Cappella Choral Favourites. Conductor John Rosser comments:

Anthony has a wonderful knack of writing for voice.
Timepiece portrays a woman struggling to break free
of suburban neurosis and the tyranny of time.

A video of Timepiece (Vocálica - Director: Ricardo Steinsleger)

Timepiece score:






Last updated 22 March, 2017