28/05/2021     |     Literature

Up the River

Set to music by Patrick Dexter and Kieran Sheridan, filmmaker Joshua Black remembers Bessie Rayner Parkes' famous poem and reimagines it for the Twenty-first Century. We pick up the journey at Putney beyond the "fine new squares" of central London and wind our way upstream towards the sunset…

Starring Rebecca Andrews and Annabelle Rich.

At last we get to Putney, and we rush across the river,
The gentle rural river, flowing softly through the grass;
And we walk more fast than ever, for our nerves are in a quiver,
Till we mount the hill of Wimbledon, and see the shadows pass

Athwart the budding chestnuts, and clear brown water lying,
Filled with the click of insects, among the yellowing gorse;
Here there is no human creature, and the only living feature
Of all this glorious common is that idle old white horse.

The sun is sinking in the west, let ’s leave the wood behind us,
Across the road, and up the steps, see here is Richmond Park;
Let’s plunge amid the ferny glades, where only deer can find us,—
It wants an hour to sunset yet, and two before it ’s dark.

Golden is the landscape, and the river, and the people,
The cedar-stems are molten now the sun is going down;
Let ’s keep the vision as it is; the clock in yonder steeple
Reminds us it is getting late, and we ’re miles away from town.