Syzygy

Song Cycle by David Del Tredici (b. 1937)

Word count: 132

1. Ecce puer [sung text checked 1 time]

Of the dark past
A child is born;
With joy and grief
My heart is torn. 

Calm in his cradle
The living lies. 
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes! 

Young life is breathed
On the glass;
The world that was not
Comes to pass. 

A child is sleeping:
An old man gone. 
O, father forsaken,
Fogive your son!

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First published in New Republic, November 1932

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Nightpiece [sung text checked 1 time]

Gaunt in gloom
The pale stars their torches
Enshrouded wave. 
Ghostfires from heaven's far verges faint illume
Arches on soaring arches,
Night's sindark nave. 

Seraphim
The lost hosts awaken
To service till
In moonless gloom each lapses, muted, dim
Raised when she has and shaken
Her thurible. 

And long and loud
To night's nave upsoaring
A starknell tolls
As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.

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

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

First published in Poetry, May 1917

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]