Bourland Songs: A Slash of Blue (1984)

January 30, 2012


A SLASH OF BLUE was commissioned by the Pro Musicis Foundation with supports young performers by giving them prestigious national performance venues alongside performing in retirement homes, prisons, hospitals or other places where attendance at such recitals are impossible. Kimball Wheeler, James Dunham and Susan Allen are heard here in one of their performances in 1984, back when we were all much younger.

As I listen to this music, I still hear a bit of Randall Thompson’s Americana lurking, as well as hearing the new-found freedom leaving tonal music. The fourth movement needed some reworking on my part in the harp which has now been done and I look forward to hearing a new premiere of the revised version.

I HEARD THE CORN

‘Twas just this time, last year, I died.
I know I heard the Corn,
When I was carried by the Farms —
It had the Tassels on —

I thought how yellow it would look —
When Richard went to mill —
And then, I wanted to get out,
But something held my will.

I thought just how Red — Apples wedged
The Stubble’s joints between —
And the Carts stooping round the fields
To take the Pumpkins in —

I wondered which would miss me, least,
And when Thanksgiving, came,
If Father’d multiply the plates —
To make an even Sum —

And would it blur the Christmas glee
My Stocking hang too high
For any Santa Claus to reach
The Altitude of me —

But this sort, grieved myself,
And so, I thought the other way,
How just this time, some perfect year —
Themself, should come to me —

A SLASH OF BLUE

A slash of Blue—
A sweep of Gray—
Some scarlet patches on the way,
Compose an Evening Sky—
A little purple—slipped between—
Some Ruby Trousers hurried on—
A Wave of Gold—
A Bank of Day—
This just makes out the Morning Sky.

THIS CHASM

This Chasm, Sweet, upon my life
I mention it to you,
When Sunrise through a fissure drop
The Day must follow too.

If we demur, its gaping sides
Disclose as ’twere a Tomb
Ourself am lying straight wherein
The Favorite of Doom.

When it has just contained a Life
Then, Darling, it will close
And yet so bolder every Day
So turbulent it grows

I’m tempted half to stitch it up
With a remaining Breath
I should not miss in yielding, though
To Him, it would be Death—

And so I bear it big about
My Burial—before
A Life quite ready to depart
Can harass me no more—

THE RED BLAZE

The Red — Blaze — is the Morning —
The Violet — is Noon —
The Yellow — Day — is falling —
And after that — is none —

But Miles of Sparks — at Evening —
Reveal the Width that burned —
The Territory Argent — that
Never yet — consumed —

I WATCHED THE MOON AROUND THE HOUSE

I watched the Moon around the House
Until upon a Pane —
She stopped — a Traveller’s privilege — for Rest —
And there upon

I gazed — as at a stranger —
The Lady in the Town
Doth think no incivility
To lift her Glass — upon —

But never Stranger justified
The Curiosity
Like Mine — for not a Foot — nor Hand —
Nor Formula — had she —

But like a Head — a Guillotine
Slid carelessly away —
Did independent, Amber —
Sustain her in the sky —

Or like a Stemless Flower —
Upheld in rolling Air
By finer Gravitations —
Than bind Philosopher —

No Hunger — had she — nor an Inn —
Her Toilette — to suffice —
Nor Avocation — nor Concern
For little Mysteries

As harass us — like Life — and Death —
And Afterwards — or Nay —
But seemed engrossed to Absolute —
With shining — and the Sky —

The privilege to scrutinize
Was scarce upon my Eyes
When, with a Silver practise —
She vaulted out of Gaze —

And next — I met her on a Cloud —
Myself too far below
To follow her superior Road —
Or its advantage — Blue —

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