Willow Brook Suite

Song Cycle by Russell Woollen (1923 - 1994)

Word count: 432

?. Bells in the rain [sung text not yet checked]

Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain,
Upon the steep cliffs of the town.
Sleep falls; men are at peace again
While the small drops fall softly down.

The bright drops ring like bells of glass
Thinned by the wind, and lightly blown;
Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass
So softly as it falls on stone.

Peace falls unheeded on the dead
Asleep; they have had peace to drink;
Upon a live man's bloody head
It falls most tenderly, I think.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Pretty words [sung text not yet checked]

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathred birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting. 

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Nebuchadnezzar [sung text not yet checked]

My body is weary to death of my mischievous brain; 
I am weary forever and ever of being brave; 
Therefore I crouch on my knees while the cool white rain 
Curves the clover over my head like a wave. 

The stem and the frosty seed of the grass are ripe; 
I have devoured their strength; I have drunk them deep; 
And the dandelion is gall in a thin green pipe, 
But the clover is honey and sun and the smell of sleep.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Nebukadnezar - Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First appeared in New Republic, December 1921.

Confirmed with Selected Works of Elinor Wylie, ed. by Evelyn Helmich Hively, Kent State University Press, Kent (Ohio), 2005, page 36.


Researcher for this text: Bertram Kottmann

?. Song [sung text not yet checked]

— This text is not currently
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as soon as we obtain it. —

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?. Madman's song [sung text not yet checked]

Better to see your cheek grown hollow,
Better to see your temple worn,
Than to forget to follow, follow,
After the sound of a silver horn.

Better to bind your brow with willow
And follow, follow until you die,
Than to sleep with your head on a golden pillow,
Nor lift it up when the hunt goes by.

Better to see your cheek grow sallow
And your hair grown gray, so soon, so soon,
Than to forget to hallo, hallo,
After the milk-white hounds of the moon. 

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?. Spring pastoral [sung text not yet checked]

Liza, go steep your long white hands
In the cool waters of that spring
Which bubbles up through shiny sands
The colour of a wild-dove's wing.

Dabble your hands, and steep them well
Until those nails are pearly white
Now rosier than a laurel bell;
Then come to me at candlelight.

Lay your cold hands across my brows,
And I shall sleep, and I shall dream
Of silver-pointed willow boughs
Dipping their fingers in a stream.

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?. Peregrine [sung text not yet checked]

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?. To a cough in the street at midnight [sung text not yet checked]

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in the database but will be added
as soon as we obtain it. —

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