… to cast a shadow again

to cast a shadow again

(Composer Eric Ewazen used the eight poems of “… to cast a shadow again” as text for music for medium low voice, trumpet and piano. Well Tempered Productions released this music on the cd entitled Chamber Music of Eric Ewazen, and Southern Music Company is the publisher of the score. This album is available for download on iTunes, http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chamber-music-of-eric-ewazen/id315616638.)

I.
Stopped by the stream
we steam like two workhorses

The moisture lies white
on the field
and your shoulders

Our own fog melts
thin shingles of ice water

I lean over to kiss
your halo of moisture

My face comes away wet.

II.
Luminescent moonlight startles me
I’m wildly awake in the wrong season

Your foot hangs out of the covers
and like a lighthouse for the moon
directs its rays to a safe landing
there’s a pulse on your instep

Everything else is night
but your foot, the moon, my eyes

What woke me
the whiteness of your skin

III.
Two bees are fighting or courting;
I can’t tell which.
The ground’s covered with flowers
smooth as kid leather bats’ wings.
We sit surrounded, our backs hard
against the tulip magnolia.
Your words drift down
like blossoms around my ears.

IV.
That didn’t take too long;
I thought I was asleep. But
your hand —
currents over my hip.

Five seconds
changed the color of leaves
the smell of earth
the shapes of stars.

I’m awake now, always.
The moon is company. Its only comfort:
a blue whiteness on my body
where I long for your hand to cast a shadow again.

V.
Everyone says it snowed last night
but I know it’s the whitening of your love
blowing across my eyelids
where your lips used to rest.

A confused tree sends out one green branch,
covets its few withered leaves and won’t release them to the snow.
Not evergreen, but half green:
like us.
Our feet kick up white storms
wet ankles skim over the trails

This is what I want to hold:
One green branch on a hibernating tree.
It bent softly when I brushed against it.

VI.
Hands underwater on my body
gentle fingers flutter
frictionless, like fish
brush against me
and quick swim away.
Waves chop.

Your hands can’t rest, they find no purchase
I’m about to go under

You only touched me once under water
but this is how I remember it always:
your hands slide away.

VII.
Cordite surrounded you
Caps popped in my heart
the day we held fireballs in our mouths
red tongues       dangerous drums

our small battles squealed roman candles

now you march
across the street to me
through a haze of gunpowder:
Battalion guarding my heart fortress.

VIII.
Lie down and cry.
And tears will roll into your ears.
Your words, my words, blank ceiling,
And my ears are wet, cold.
Your words did that to me.

© 1992 Katherine Gekker

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8 Responses to … to cast a shadow again

  1. Jen DeStio says:

    This cycle is so beautiful. I’m collaborating with my boyfriend on this piece who will play the trumpet in a recital this spring. Thank you!!!

  2. Jessica says:

    Does anyone know where I can find the sheet music to this beautiful and breathtaking song cycle? Much like Jen, I am a voice student with a trumpet player boyfriend, and I desperately want to study and perform this piece!

  3. Nathan says:

    Hi Katherine,

    I’m planning to perform this cycle in an upcoming recital – I’ve loved the piece for years as I’m a trumpet player turned singer. Would you mind if I include a printed version of the text in the programs?

    • Nathan, Not at all, and thank you for checking with me about that! Your perspective as a trumpet player and now a singer will lead, I bet, to an informed and wonderful performance. Katherine

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