Five Poems of Beautiful things
for soprano, violoncello, and piano Texts by Jessica Stein
Who am I that I should wake
to the summons of bells calling
the hungry people to sustenance
light crowding the golden trees
and warm shapes of cool round
air fluttering my eyelids
filling my ears with birdsong?
Out there it is brimming over
yellow and blue as I dress
quietly, spilling over too.
Vignette I: Rain Poem I.
the world is wild and wet
so shall you be too.
II. On Death
and the cruelest fact of them all
is the inevitable one,
It came whispering first
And then like ever the waves truth pounding
— all the gaping holes that shall be left
till we are too long gone
to be ever remembered more.
till we have learned the saying
be not proud”
through vale of tears
in dismal three AM’s.
Vignette II: Rain Poem III.
Spread wings, white bird, mount, fly
In bright defiance of the sky
As I would do if you were I.
III. After the Storm
I cannot write it so bluntly in pen
there are some things that come
sweetly and suddenly and gently
and this time I must write it so—
with the soft lines of lead.
My darling, one day over the green fields we shall run
and our hearts shall be at ease
and our feet shall turn the golden earth round
our eyes shall be full of astonishment
and our tongues full of laughter
and the darkness shall be far away
for the throated song of the yellow birds will be
strong as the warmth of the sunset light
clean as the fall of the evening rain
and you shall kiss me unafraid.
Five Poems of Beautiful Things was a collaborative effort with a dear friend of mine, Jessica Stein. After being thoroughly moved by her poetry I asked her to send me more and if she would be interested in working together to turn her words into a song cycle. The Result was three larger poems about larger things in life and two about smaller things that make up our daily lives. "Awaken" is about the the beauty and majesty and wonder of life, "On Death" is about the tragedy and pain of loss of life, and "After the Storm" is about beauty out of pain and the hope of things far in the future. These three are offset by two poems from her set of 5 "Rain Poems". These are shorter vignettes to demonstrate the beauty of little things in life, like rain. The piece is written for soprano, violoncello, and piano. Each instrument plays a different role in the musical journey. the soprano serves as the orator or the mind, the cello plays the part of the soul or spirit of the mind, and the piano creates the world in which these two live.