Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sure on This Shining Night

Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
wandering far alone
Of shadows on the stars.
~ James Agee (1909-1955), "Description of Elysium" from "Permit Me Voyage"

This poem was unknown to me until I heard my daughter sing it, extemporaneously, at her cousin Molly's memorial reception. The melody was composed by Samuel Barber (1910-1981). The song just popped into her head when she was trying to think of a piece of the right tone for the occasion. I'm not sure I have a clue what it means, but it was sung beautifully and I love the imagery.

At her aunt's request, she sang "Rock of Ages" (yuck) during her grandmother's funeral service a week earlier. May all future a cappella performances be joyful.


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