My Songs Do Not Belong To Me

Song Cycle by Scott Gendel (b. 1977)

1. What do I care? [sung text not yet checked]

What do I care, in the dreams and the languor of spring,	
  That my songs do not show me at all?
For they are a fragrance, and I am a flint and a fire;
  I am an answer, they are only a call.

What do I care — for love will be over so soon —
  Let my heart have its say, and my mind stand idly by.
For my mind is proud, and strong enough to be silent —
  It is my heart that makes my songs, not I.

Authorship:

Confirmed with Braithwaite, William Stanley, ed. Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1920; New York: Bartleby.com, 2002. www.bartleby.com/273/32.html.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Understanding [sung text not yet checked]

I understood the rest too well,
And all their thoughts have come to be
Clear as grey sea-weed in the swell
Of a sunny shallow sea.
But you I never understood,
Your spirit's secret hides like gold
Sunk in a Spanish galleon
Ages ago in waters cold.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Moonlight [sung text not yet checked]

It will not hurt me when I am old,
A running tide where moonlight burned
Will not sting me like silver snakes;
The years will make me sad and cold,
It is the happy heart that breaks.
The heart asks more than life can give,
When that is learned, then all is learned;
The waves break fold on jewelled fold,
But beauty itself is fugitive,
It will not hurt me when I am old.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Alone [sung text not yet checked]

I am alone, in spite of love,
In spite of all I take and give --
In spite of all your tenderness,
Sometimes I am not glad to live.

I am alone, as though I stood
On the highest peak of the tired gray world,
About me only swirling snow,
Above me, endless space unfurled;

With earth hidden and heaven hidden,
And only my own spirit's pride
To keep me from the peace of those
Who are not lonely, having died.

Authorship:

See other settings of this text.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Allein", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Blue squills [sung text not yet checked]

How many million Aprils came
Before I ever knew
How white a cherry bough could be,
A bed of squills, how blue!

And many a dancing April
When life is done with me,
Will lift the blue flame of the flower
And the white flame of the tree.

Oh burn me with your beauty, then,
Oh hurt me, tree and flower,
Lest in the end death try to take
Even this glistening hour.

O shaken flowers, O shimmering trees,
O sunlit white and blue,
Wound me, that I, through endless sleep,
May bear the scar of you.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. My heart is heavy [sung text not yet checked]

My heart is heavy with many a song
Like ripe fruit bearing down the tree,
But I can never give you one —
My songs do not belong to me.
Yet in the evening, in the dusk
When moths go to and fro,
In the gray hour if the fruit has fallen,
Take it, no one will know.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Total word count: 446