Listen to Florence Pugh recite this lockdown poem

The 'Little Women' star has contributed spoken word and vocals to a release for the first time.

by Douglas Greenwood
13 May 2020, 11:00pm

Florence Pugh, the Oscar-nominee, Little Women legend and reigning champion of cooking on Instagram is using her time in isolation wisely it seems. While we’re still shaken by the memory of Hollywood solidarity that was the wide-reaching cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” (remember that? We’re so sorry), Florence has lent her voice to something wildly important and worthwhile.

In what acts as her first formal foray into the world of music and lyrics, Florence has joined forces with the poet laureate Simon Armitage and his musical collective L Y R to release a poem-slash-song for the British charity Refuge, which supports victims of domestic violence. It comes at a particularly urgent time. Recently, Refuge recorded a 700% spike in calls to their hotline as most of the world went into lockdown.

And so, Florence and jazz artist Peter Wareham take turns reciting stanzas of a poem penned by Armitage called “Lockdown”. Chronicling the arrival of the bubonic plague in Britain back in 17th century, it's laced with the words of the Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa, who sends loved ones words of reassurance from afar via a passing cloud.

“The air hypnotically see through; rare / The journey a ponderous one at times / Long and slow but necessarily so,” Florence says in the recording’s opening stanza. Soon, the track reaches its crescendo points and unfolds into a beautiful musical arrangement, featuring backing vocals from Florence.

To listen to the song, and let FloPugh’s distinctive voice bring you a little solace in these dark times, you can buy or stream the track here. By doing so, you’ll be supporting Refuge, and that’s what matters most.

Florence Pugh