Image by Caroline Forbes

Poem introduction

This is called 'Red Boots On'. It has been set to music, it's a very stomp-like little poem, but almost too much so for setting to music, really, you need a bit more freedom, I think, as a composer for these things to do a bit of portamento but this is pretty emphatic in its rhythms. In the late 1960s I taught at a little university in Canada, not so little now, called Brock, a university in St Catherine's, and one winter of very heavy snowfall, my girlfriend was running down the street, and kicking up the snow wearing these new red boots of which she was very proud, and I thought that the red boots against the white snow were an almost filmic image of happiness, really. So it's a four-square poem really about happiness which is something I find quite difficult to do. All the proper names in it, apart from hers, which is Mary Lou, are names of streets in the town.

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