The Return

Scoring

SA choir, soprano solo, violin, oboe, violoncello, harp, piano, percussion,

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Details

15:00
1997

Pro Arte Singers, New Canaan, CT,
Arthur Sjögren, director

Pro Arte Singers, New Canaan, CT,
Arthur Sjögren, director

Pro Arte Singers, New Canaan, CT,
Arthur Sjögren, director

Steven Sametz Publications

Program Notes

Prologue: two lovers…
1. there is a longing…
2. there is a moment…
3. there is a pause…
4. there is no time
5. there is an ache…
6. there is this table…
7. there are walls…
8. there are the days…
9 . lovers know the fullness…
Epilogue: two lovers…

Gordon Edwards was inspired to write his poem, “Two Lovers,” when he met a couple returning to the church they were married in on their 50th wedding anniversary.  Sametz draws on eight of the ten stanzas of the poem, as well as the prologue and epilogue,  to create The Return.  The return to the old church allows the couple to see their long relationship – beginning, middle and end – as a single moment held in time.

Text

prologue: two lovers
Two lovers
gray with age
arrive at the church door
where their life
as one began,
fifty years ago
they walked this
aisle hand-in-hand
{from the garden
into the wilderness,}
now the wilderness
has bloomed
now the garden
is filled with hours
of ruby slipper sand.

1.
There is a longing
in the soul
that dreams and waits
impatiently–
it is the owl
who’-ing in the dark.

2.
There is a moment        marks the acts}
when lovers know           when lovers know.
the dance of courting,
romancing,
sweet seducing,
draws to a close
{as a curtain

3. There is a pause
{that is} so short
so eternity
when the breath is held
when the words rush
out {around the question}
and the sun sets
without a glance.

4. There is no time
like the time
that falls away
when there is
only knowing
the face of time,
the beauty out
of time.

5. There is an ache
of absence so
minutes swell
and drag as drops
of water on {a
pane of} glass
in the wind,
the clock moves
in largo
the passing is ever
out of reach.

6. There is this table
where I sit and gaze
on the sun and moon
as they drift across
your eyes
and fill me with
their light–
I can see
a thousand suns
and moons
in the turning
of your eyes.

7. There are {the}
walls that echo
{carpenters who labored}
long ago,
in this darkened
room, where
lovers blow
upon the coals
that glow so
{orange} red–
you can feel it
in the bones
that pound
as hammers with
a {rhythmic} slap
of a banjo clock.

8. There are the days
of looking back,
days of birth
and wedded bliss,
the photographs
that now bemuse
and soak up
the hours that spin
into a woven
cloth, for lovers
to dab the eyes.

9. Lovers know the fullness,
Lovers know the ends,
the last heart empty
within the first,
the first full heart
within the last,
the empty heart
within the first,
the first full heart
within the last.
Lovers know the fullness,
Lovers know the ends.

epilogue
Two lovers.
gray with age
arrive at the church door
where their life
as one began,
fifty years ago
they walked this
aisle hand-in-hand
{from the garden
into the wilderness,
now the wilderness
has bloomed
now the garden
is filled with hours
of ruby slipper sand.

–Gordon Edwards
from the chapbook “These Four White Clapboard Walls”