Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lyric Verse

The perfect text does not always appear when you need it. So if you are a composer on a deadline, sometimes you just have to write something yourself. Music for voice requires lyric poetry, so you get to invoke either Erato or Euterpe as your muse, or Aoide ... right now I'd like to invoke someone, since I have not really tried to write verse in a couple decades. You are welcome to tell me what you think, particularly if your comments will make these verses better.


O flame, o moment, o grace, o light,
O thread of standing gold, o shiver,
O defiant glare against the dark,
O touch of scalding heat,
O spark, o limit, o prick in the night,
O gem against the pelt of heaven,

Burn the winter’s cold until it shatters
Into the morning we long for:
Come now, o come.

What We Learned

We looked up to drink in the sky—
We learned about blue.
We gathered up our books and papers—
We learned about carrying.
We went to school to read and sing—
We learned about interruption.
We packed ourselves into the big room for comfort—
We learned a nightmare of airplanes instead.
We felt our way through the sunny days—
We learned the comfort of rainstorms.
We sang memorials in the cathedral—
We learned the rhythms of psalms.
We sang “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” —
We learned not to feel our own words.
We saw flakes like ash in December—
And we learned to recognize snow again.

© 2010 by Martha Sullivan

... And that's all I got for you tonight, folks. Thanks for reading!

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