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Four Songs
for SATB a cappella choir
(2011)

 

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These four songs are settings of poems that I have written over the span of many years. The earliest poem dates from the late 1990s, while the newest was written in 2011. I chose to group them together as a set because they represent various ways people experience their lives — sometimes through quiet contemplation, sometimes through tragedy or painful realizations, sometimes through love, sometimes through loss. Although none of these “experiences” is directly discussed in any of the poems, I feel their imagery may help inspire such thoughts within audience members.

Musically, the songs range from being quite simple and pleasing to being unstable, uncomfortable and difficult. To me, this range only begins to express the complexity of emotions and situations we all face during the (hopefully) long span of our lives. The first song, To be Your Song, is a sort of introduction to this idea as it tries to capture some of this wide range of possibilities. The second song, The Strength of What is Broken, deals mostly with sadness and anger while the driving force of The Boatman is fear. Finally, Mist and Musing Eyes is an expression of caring, acceptance and peace.

(Total performance duration of all four songs is ca. 16 minutes.)
 


The four poems are listed below.
(All poems © Paul SanGregory. Please do not use them without permission!)

 

To be Your Song
(original poem titled "I'll Be Your Song")

I'll be your song,
but only your song
and I'll help you to see.
You'll hear in me of your life
and all the secrets that you hold
so dear to your heart that you can't speak.
I'll whisper to your soul and make you long...

for your lover,
for your solace,
your deity,

for your ally,
your enemy,
your political salvation.

I'll be your life's
inspiration,
consultation,
and express your desperation.

Just remember that I can only be
of all the things that you hope to see,
by my words, brought into the light.
Others aptly misconstrue
meanings that I give you.
For I'll be your song,
only your song
and your life,
your hope...
you.

 

The Strenght of What is Broken

I pulled together pieces
of shattered shards of love
that remain as stark reminders
of ideals and their hatreds

like broken panes of glass
forever now destroyed
I found them left for nought
on a cold December ground

in death they know their self-defense

they are knife blades left exposed
that seek the warmth of flesh
as the prize denied to love

so as ideals grew
blind to love’s sweet pains
they fell upon those blades
and found a stoic death

in numbness now they bleed
on the barbs of love’s remains
and shower dead wild flowers
with a color robbed from Spring

 

The Boatman

obscure
silent passions
thrust on the empty waves
parting spaces with a white spray of tears
then on down the slope
into the trough
the deep
cold
moving
yet again
ever-faster
toward the moving peak
jarring back sorrows with an instant of pain
and falling still once more
with increasing speed
into the deep
and cold
fear

 

Mist and Musing Eyes

glistening branches shed their tears
as rain drifts on into memory
and from the night of space arrives
a golden streaming light

passing skillfully through a place
between the moving clouds
it finds a single clinging drop
that now can never fall

but the ray and this tiny prism
will both soon cease to be
as union finds their beauties dispersed
to mist and musing eyes