I.  The Dress

Lie down on the bright hill

with the moon's hand on your cheek,

your flesh deep in the white folds of your dress,

and you will not hear the passionate mole

extending the length of his darkness,

or the owl arranging all of the night,

which is his wisdom, or the poem

filling your pillow with its blue feathers.

But if you step out of your dress and move into the shade,

the mole will find you, so will the owl, and so will the poem,

and you will fall into another darkness, one you will find

yourself making and remaking until it is perfect.

II.  Snowfall

Watching snow cover the ground, cover itself,

cover everything that is not you, you see

it is the downward drift of light

upon the sound of air sweeping away the air,

it is the fall of moments into moments, the burial

of sleep, the down of winter, the negative of night.

Caroline Mallonée: What You ARe (2009)

What You Are was commissioned by The Women’s Voices Chorus of North Carolina.

The piece was premiered on January 31, 2009 in the Duke Chapel in Durham, NC with Allan Friedman conducting.

Listen to a radio interview about the piece on WUNC’s The State of Things  here

III.  Lines For Winter

Tell yourself

as it gets cold and gray falls from the air

that you will go on

walking, hearing

the same tune no matter where

you find yourself --

inside the dome of dark

or under the cracking white

of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.

Tonight as it gets cold

tell yourself

what you know which is nothing

but the tune your bones play

as you keep going. And you will be able

for once to lie down under the small fire

of winter stars.

And if it happens that you cannot

go on or turn back and you find yourself

where you will be at the end,

tell yourself

in that final flowing of cold through your limbs

that you love what you are.

                                                    --Mark Strand

  1. SSAA choir                                         Words by Mark Strand.

  2. 3 violins                                               Duration: 17 minutes

  3. 3 cellos

To listen to more choral music by

Caroline Mallonée, click here.

Know a choir interested in

performing What You Are?

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