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Love Sweet

Song Cycle by Jennifer Higdon (b. 1960)

1. Apology [sung text checked 1 time]

Be not angry with me that I bear
Your colours everywhere,
All through each crowded street,
And meet
The wonder-light in every eye,
As I go by.

Each plodding wayfarer looks up to gaze,
Blinded by rainbow haze,
The stuff of happiness,
No less,
Which wraps me in its glad-hued folds
Of peacock golds.

Before my feet the dusty, rough-paved way
Flushes beneath its gray.
My steps fall ringed with light,
So bright,
It seems a myriad suns are strown
About the town.

Around me is the sound of steepled bells,
And rich perfuméd smells
Hang like a wind-forgotten cloud,
And shroud
Me from close contact with the world.
I dwell impearled.

You blazon me with jewelled insignia.
A flaming nebula
Rims in my life. And yet
You set
The word upon me, unconfessed
To go unguessed.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

2. The Giver of Stars [sung text checked 1 time]

Hold your soul open for my welcoming. 
Let the quiet of your spirit bathe me 
With its clear and rippled coolness, 
That, loose-limbed and weary, I find rest, 
Outstretched upon your peace, as on a bed of ivory. 

Let the flickering flame of your soul play all about me, 
That into my limbs may come the keenness of fire, 
The life and joy of tongues of flame, 
And, going out from you, tightly strung and in tune, 
I may rouse the blear-eyed world, 
And pour into it the beauty which you have begotten.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

3. Absence [sung text checked 1 time]

My cup is empty to-night, 
Cold and dry are its sides, 
Chilled by the wind from the open window. 
Empty and void, it sparkles white in the moonlight. 
The room is filled with the strange scent 
Of wistaria blossoms. 
They sway in the moon's radiance 
And tap against the wall. 
But the cup of my heart is still, 
And cold, and empty. 

When you come, it brims 
Red and trembling with blood, 
Heart's blood for your drinking; 
To fill your mouth with love 
And the bitter-sweet taste of a soul.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

4. A Gift [sung text checked 1 time]

See! I give myself to you, Beloved!
My words are little jars
For you to take and put upon a shelf.
Their shapes are quaint and beautiful,
And they have many pleasant colours and lustres
To recommend them.
Also the scent from them fills the room
With sweetness of flowers and crushed grasses.
When I shall have given you the last one
You will have the whole of me,
But I shall be dead.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

5. A Fixed Idea [sung text checked 1 time]

What torture lurks within a single thought
When grown too constant, and however kind,
However welcome still, the weary mind
Aches with its presence. Dull remembrance taught
Remembers on unceasingly; unsought
The old delight is with us but to find
That all recurring joy is pain refined,
Become a habit, and we struggle, caught.
You lie upon my heart as on a nest,
Folded in peace, for you can never know
How crushed I am with having you at rest
Heavy upon my life. I love you so
You bind my freedom from its rightful quest.
In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]
Total word count: 498