ENO Creative Residency

Our new creative residency programme for the 2022-23 season

Poet and spoken word artist Kieron Rennie is taking part in a season-long Creative Residency at the ENO, responding to our work throughout the year.

Through his residency at the London Coliseum throughout 2022-23, Kieron will be creating a series of artistic responses to our opera season and work, through a variety of mediums including poetry and photography.

Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

A piece responding to our production of Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

Death Never Listens

Many tongues
bitter taste

Many tongues
coil in pain

as walls of life
break a- –way.

Does time tick or decay?

death crawls
on us all.

A mother calls for
his warmth

Another seeks stronger
walls –
from your burden-ing weight.


the mouth

Mother wanders through crowds
foreign faces
silent shrouds


never hears us out.


A piece responding to our production of Blue.


How dare you!
Wear blue yet sing blues.
Do trees blossom without roots? (X2)

I’ll guess we’ll just fight without you
You’re not one of us: are you? (X2)

Must I

Curve my speech: ask officer
not to shoot, but be civil?

Hand ten and two
might just save you.

Why does your blue flashing lights
elicit fear not reassurance?

Officer, please reassure us
Black males will no longer be used
for target practice.

You wear blue, don’t sing our blues.
Us folk don’t know you.(X2)

Officer, please explain to your colleagues
that wearing a hoodie is not an admission of guilt.

Maybe you should join preachers
in pulpits, pacifying angry voices.

Bible verses plastering over deep wounds,
but this community is bleeding out.

You wear blue, can’t sing our blues.
Us folk don’t want you.(X2)

Officer, did your mother dream of you wearing
that uniform when you were in her womb?

Why did your heart need to beat off-beat?
We beat.

We blue
but you choose to wear blue?

You wear blue, can’t sing our blues.
Us folk don’t want you.(X2)

Officer, if you want the cold truth,
pay checks may grow, and so will this divide.

Are you on our side?
Do you toe-the-line?

Wear blue, yet sing our blues;
there’s a war inside you.(X2)

The Dead City

A piece responding to our production of The Dead City.

Loving Silhouette

Memories are not buried in a coffin,
and neither is the place where love sleeps.
Your beauty emerges ever so often;
don’t tell me photos can’t breathe.

A temptress may temp; yes,
seduction pours from their core.
Though I confess, they can’t fill your dress:
shadows of a love so pure.

We cannot grasp water with cupped hands;
grief trickles—the mind doesn’t, but the heart understands.


A piece responding to our production of Akhnaten.

Stairwell of Life

There’s something in prayer


Is it where you find light?

Stumble on peace?

Will a feather
       outweigh our good deeds?

Where does the stairwell of life lead?

Many juggle faith with disbelief.

Does God speak through musical chords?

Hymns have been said to transform

Are you rich in spirit or ritual?

How many have been called?

Take ear
Take step
Take the blessing
received in each breath

It's a Wonderful Life

This is the first of three poems on It’s a Wonderful Life

This is the third of three poems on It’s a Wonderful Life


Here is his piece, responding to our production of Tosca.

Conflicts of the Heart

Live for the heart
away___from watchful eyes

>>Political stares<<

The ears an unreliable witness – bending the MIND OUT of shape.

Converting her into an unbeliever: brushstrokes
bring jealousy, not praise.

Live for the heart
away___from a triangular maze

Sacrifice a tormenting chorus
Lovers cannot escape.

Death’s darkened drapes do murmur
Live for the heart
Time bows for the true embrace…