Epistle to be Left in the Earth (1973) (Caroline S. Arnold)

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  • CPDL #32395:   
Editor: Richard DeMattia (submitted 2014-07-07).   Score information: Letter, 18 pages, 1.21 MB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. See the discussion page for full description.

General Information

Title: Epistle to be Left in the Earth (1973)
Composer: Caroline S. Arnold
Lyricist: Archibald MacLeish

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATBB
Genre: SecularUnknown

Language: English
Instruments: Piano

First published: 1982

Description:

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

…It is colder now,
there are many stars,
  we are drifting
North by the Great Bear,
the leaves are falling,
THe water is stone in the scooped rocks,
to southward
Red sun grey air:
the crows are
Slow on their crooked wings,
the jays have left us:
Long since we passed the flares of Orion.
Each man believes in his heart he will die.
Many have written last thoughts and last letters.
None know if our deaths are now or forever:
None know if this wandering earth will be found.

We lie down and the snow covers our garments.
I pray you,
you (if any open this writing)
Make in your mouths the words that were our names.
I will tell you all we have learned,
I will tell you everything:
The earth is round,
there are springs under the orchards,
The loam cuts with a blunt knife,
beware of
Elms in thunder,
the lights in the sky are stars
We think they do not see,
we think also
The trees do not know nor the leaves of the grasses hear us:
The birds too are ignorant.
Do not listen.
Do not stand at dark in the open windows.
We before you have heard this:
they are voices:
They are not words at all but the wind rising.
Also none among us has seen God.
(…We have thought often
The flaws of sun in the late and driving weather
Pointed to one tree but it was not so.)
As for the nights I warn you the nights are dangerous:
The wind changes at night and the dreams come.

It is very cold,
there are strange stars near Arcturus,

Voices are crying an unknown name in the sky.