Sweep the house clean, hang fresh curtains in the windows put on a new dress and come with me! The elm is scattering its little loaves of sweet smells from a white sky! Who shall hear of us in the time to come? Let him say there was a burst of fragrance from black branches.
Vignettes - Trees
Song Cycle by Stanley Grill (b. 1953)
musical settings of poems by William Carlos Williams for 2 voices and 2 cellos
1. Love Song  [sung text checked 1 time]
2. The Botticellian Trees  [sung text checked 1 time]
The alphabet of the trees is fading in the song of the leaves the crossing bars of thin letters that spelled winter and the cold have been illumined with pointed green— by the rain and sun— The strict simple principles of straight branches are being modified by pinched-out ifs of color, devout conditions the smiles of love— unit the stript sentences move as a woman’s limbs under cloth and praise from secrecy quick with desire love’s ascendancy in summer— In summer the song sings itself above the muffled words—
3. The Soughing Wind  [sung text checked 1 time]
Some leaves hang late, and some fall Before the first frost - so goes The tale of winter branches and old bones.
4. Epitaph  [sung text checked 1 time]
An old willow with hollow branches Slowly swayed his few high bright tendrils And sang: “Love is a young green willow Shimmering at the bare wood’s edge.”
5. Winter Trees  [sung text checked 1 time]
All the complicated details of the attiring and the disattiring are completed! A liquid moon moves gently among the long branches. Thus having prepared their buds against a sure winter the wise trees stand sleeping in the cold.
6. The Bare Tree  [sung text checked 1 time]
The bare cherry tree higher than the roof last year produced abundant fruit. But how speak of fruit confronted by that skeleton? Though live it may be there is no fruit on it. Therefore chop it down and use the wood against this biting cold.
7. Love Song  [sung text checked 1 time]
I lie here thinking of you: -- the stain of love is upon the world! Yellow, yellow, yellow it eats into the leaves, smears with saffron the horned branched the lean heavily against a smooth purple sky! There is no light only a honey-thick stain that drips from leaf to leaf and limb to limb spoiling the colors of the whole world- you far off there under the wine-red selvage of the west!
- by William Carlos Williams (1883 - 1963), "Love song", appears in Al Que Quiero!, first published 1917 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
See other settings of this text.Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]