Night Conjure-Verse

Song Cycle by David Del Tredici (b. 1937)

Word count: 161

1. Simples [sung text checked 1 time]

Of cool sweet dew and radiance mild
The moon a web of silence weaves
In the still garden where a child
Gathers the simple salad leaves.

A moondew stars her hanging hair
And moonlight [kisses]1 her young brow
And, gathering she sings an air:
[Fair as the wave is, fair art thou!]2

Be mine, I pray, a waxen ear
To shield me from her childish croon,
And mine a shielded heart for her
Who gathers simples of the moon.

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Simples", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Poetry, May 1917
An inscription reads: "O bella bionda!/ Sei come l'onda!"
1 in some editions, "touches"
2 Bliss: "O bella bionda! Sei come l'onda!" (the inscription)

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. A memory of the players in a mirror at midnight [sung text checked 1 time]

They mouth love's language. Gnash
The thirteen teeth
Your lean jaws grin with. Lash
Your itch and quailing, nude greed of the flesh. 
Love's breath in you is stale, worded or sung,
As sour as cat's breath,
Harsh of tongue. 

This grey that stares
Lies not, stark skin and bone. 
Leave greasy lips their kissing. None
Will choose her what you see to mouth upon. 
Dire hunger holds his hour. 
Pluck forth your heart, saltblood, a fruit of tears. 
Pluck and devour!

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Un souvenir des acteurs dans un miroir à minuit", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First published in Poesia, April 1920

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]