Continuum (a vilanelle for a lost one)

My grandmother, Mildred Rose, was a poet; when I was a child she published a book of poetry. Here is one of the poems:

I miss you when roots waken to spring rain
and more when summer penetrates the land
though friends still tell me time will ease my pain.

When grave earth flares to lively green again
and star-eyed lovers walk, quick hand in hand,
I miss you when roots waken to spring rain.

As winds force leafless poplars to complain,
your death brought grief: I cannot understand
when friends insist that time will ease my pain.

Why must I hunger for your touch again?
Ask why June buds to flowers must expand,
I miss you when roots waken to spring rain.

In paler sun now rest the fields of grain.
While I lament like waves on ocean sand,
friends still tell me that time will ease my pain.

As days inch into years, I still maintain
love’s shared flame by breath of memories fanned.
I miss you when roots waken to spring rain
though friends still tell me time will ease my pain.

319marot12

I like the way the images of roots, buds, flowers and grain allude to the way death and rebirth is part of the natural cycle — that everything dies, and comes to life again… even if, as in this poem, we don’t really feel like the “coming to life again” bit can ever happen. Maybe that’s not what Grandma was after, maybe she just wrote that way because of the strong connection she always had to the prairie landscape. But there’s something hopeful, if poignant, about the idea of maintaining love through memory. I hope I’ve been able to capture that in the music.

I’m experimenting with putting a video/recording online at the same time as I put the sheet music on the Choral Public Domain Library. Youtube is a bit faster than CPDL is, so at the moment Continuum is available on the contributor wiki, which you’ll need a login for, and sometime on 28th July it’ll make its way over to the public CPDL site. But you can watch and listen below:

Or you can go and listen over at Soundcloud.

As usual, the work is released under a CC by-SA license: that means you can download the sheet music for free, you can sing it for free, you can record it for free — as long as you attribute me. If you like my music and want me to write more, please try to share it with someone who doesn’t know about it yet and might like it; or consider becoming a patron. Thanks!

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