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The Moon Songs : Seven Settings of Poems by Vachel Lindsay for SSA Choir and Piano

By M. Ryan Taylor

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Piano, Choir, SSA - Digital Download
Composed by M. Ryan Taylor. 21st Century, 20th Century, Contemporary Classical, Impressionistic, Minimalism. Score. 37 pages. Published by Vocal Works (S0.87079).

Item Number: S0.87079

Note from the Author: "Whimsical, macabre, deeply spiritual: the poetry of Vachel Lindsay has long attracted me for it’s wild variety, lyric sensibility and deep emotional impact. Although made famous by such poems as “The Congo” and “General William Booth Marches into Heaven” (the title poems for the anthologies from which “The Moon Songs” were selected), I have been attracted mainly to his more concise poems “in which the moon is the principle figure of speech.” These poems explore human perspective, Linday’s hypothesis being that “the moon is a mirror” in which we find what we bring. Lindsay wrote many of these moon poems and it was difficult to choose between so many fine poems. In the end, I based my selection on variety, dramatic contrast and a progression towards my own view of the moon, one that is spiritual."The Texts:Selections from General William Booth Marches into Heaven and The Congo by American poet, Vachel Lindsay.What Grandpa Told the ChildrenThe moon? It is a griffin’s egg,Hatching to-morrow night.And how the little boys will watchWith shouting and delightTo see him break the shell and stretchAnd creep across the sky.The boys will laugh.The little girls, I fear, may hide and cry.Yet gentle will the griffin be,Most decorous and fat,And walk up to the Milky WayAnd lap it like a cat.What the Hyena SaidThe moon is but a golden skull,She mounts the heavens now,And Moon-Worms, mighty Moon-WormsAre wreathed around her brow.The Moon-Worms are a doughty race:They eat her gray and golden face.Her eye-sockets dead, and molding head:These caverns are their dwelling-place.The Moon-Worms, serpents of the skies,From the great hollows of her eyesBehold all souls, and they are wise:With tiny, keen and icy eyes,Behold how each man sins and dies.When Earth in gold-corruption liesLong dead, the moon-worm butterfliesOn cyclone wings will reach this place –Yea, rear their brood on earth’s dead face.The Moon’s the North Wind’s cookyThe Moon’s the North Wind’s cooky.He bites it, day by day,Until there’s but a rim of scrapsThat crumble all away.The South Wind is a baker.He kneads clouds in his den,And bakes a crisp new moon that . . . greedyNorth . . . Wind . . . eats . . . again!What the Miner in the Desert SaidThe moon’s a brass-hooped water-keg,A wondrous water-feast.If I could climb the ridge and drinkAnd give drink to my beast;If I could drain that keg, the fliesWould not be biting so,My burning feet be spry again,My mule no longer slow.And I could rise and dig for ore,And reach my fatherland,And not be food for ants and hawksAnd perish in the sand.What the Rattlesnake SaidThe moon’s a little prairie-dog.He shivers through the night.He sits upon his hill and criesFor fear that I will bite.The sun’s a broncho. He’s afraidLike every other thing,And trembles, morning, noon and night,Lest I should spring, and sting.The Strength of the LonelyThe moon’s a monk, unmated,Who walks his cell, the sky.His strength is that of heaven-vowed menWho all life’s flames defy.They turn to stars or shadows,They go like snow or dew –Leaving behind no sorrow –Only the arching blue.What the Man of Faith SaidThe dew, the rain and moonlightAll prove our Father’s mind.The dew, the rain and moonlightDescend to bless mankind.Come, let us see that all menHave land to catch the rain,Have grass to snare the spheres of dew,And fields spread for the grain.Yea, we would give to each poor manRipe wheat and poppies red, –A peaceful place at eveningWith the stars just overhead:A net to snare the moonlight,A sod spread to the sun,A place of toil by daytime,Of dreams when toil is done.

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