The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Sing Me Awake

A tender and rhapsodic meditation on our return to life after grief and loss

Words by Gregory Orr

A radiant setting of one of Gregory Orr’s most poignant poems. Both lament and celebration, this powerful and hopeful work looks head-on at all that has been lost, as well as our own transcendent response to that loss.

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This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.

Gregory Orr
From How Beautiful the Beloved by Gregory Orr. © 2009 by Gregory Orr. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press



Premiere: CorVoce (St. Paul Vocal Forum) / Karin Barrett (St. Paul, MN)
Voces Solis / Ryan Keeling (Pittsburgh, PA)