Gabriel Levine Brislin

is an artist & writer
based in Edinburgh


Their Eyes Are On The Sparrow

In 1962, Édith Piaf was booked to perform a string of shows at the Paris Olympia. This was to be her last engagement with the iconic venue that had played a vitally important role in the creation of her public image. ‘Their Eyes Are On The Sparrow’ considers these final performances through duelling perspectives: the singer herself, recounting the major events of her life, and her doctor, whose cautionary gaze observes and documents her declining health from the side of the stage.

Run of 60 risograph pamphlets.
Limited copies available through email:

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Amongst the rosy candlelight
and wiry beams of cigarette
smoke, I was learning how to wield
the words, to grind their tone against
the whetstone of my throat until
my tongue could slit a man in two.
In tears they came to me, after
the curtains closed, to sing their praise
and empty bottles at the bar.
In the summer, I came to them.
Provincial casinos rose
out of the dust as we drove down
dirt-roads, swinging from town to town
where artless pianists hammered out
their brash metallic sounds for me
to drown behind a microphone.
At every stop the numbers grew,
until the shady rooms were packed
and silence only slipped through cracks.
The braying crowds, the seething click
of rusted wheels upon the track.
When the train briefly stopped at a
country station, I felt I heard
a washer-woman working worn
melodies into the morning
air already thick with birdsong.
Her tune would rattle my skull
all through the evening, when cigars
and spirits hung like scratches on
the atmosphere. By the time they
tolled the bells to mark the rising sun
we’d be gone.