Time and Memory

Suite for Voice and Piano on Poems of William S. Trout



text by William S. Trout (1909-1980)

I. Lulled by the drift of rain
II. Sic Transit
III. Intermezzo (reflection on March) - solo piano
IV. September Noon
V. Intermezzo (reflection on Abendrot) - solo piano
VI. Fourth Act
VII. In March


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Text:

I. Lulled by the drift of rain

Lulled by the drift of rain, the season pushed

Among the darkening stones above the sleepers;

Under the retreating thunder's rush

The sycamores fanned out their plumed sweep;

And all the spangled roadside brimmed over,

Starring the beggarly ditches with blue disks

Of wild chicory, with the sprawling clover

Escaped from hayfields, and with the Queen's mist.

And I remembered: such exuberance

You love always-whatever thrives and thrusts

Root and tendril, breeding flower and pod.

I thought: By contrast, only the interlude,

Of winter's slow reduction to the clod,

To the frosted husk-such only can I trust.



II. Sic Transit

Into evening's resolute chill

Rises the urchin's shrill yell,

As up to spangle-star the ball

Curves, suspends, and starts its fall.

Then the hurtling bodies streak

The twilight.


From the hemlock's peak

The cynic starling bends an eye

Scornful-crassly, utterly.


Now the street lamps, bluish-white,

Bite the dusk with harsh spite;

Cut the smoke of burning leaves

That eddying, slowly rising, weaves

Forms essentially as sound

As these that wrestle on the groud.

Incuriously earth's shoulder turns,

To hoist the rude funeral urns.



III. Intermezzo (reflection on March

March brooms the empty countryside

And litters all the gutters

With chattering waste, and far and wide

The silly sparrow stutters.

from March



IV. September Noon

The wrens have gone: that stuttering no more stirs

The clear airs of morning; the last of nine

Once fledglings has departed. The green burrs

Nestle prickly in the grass; a scent of wine

Drifts from the arbour; the warm garden smell

Lies in layers beneath a heavier sun,

Throbbed through at noon by the crickets' rackety swell.—

The saunter into autumn has begun.

And through this opulence that drugs the sense

With wafts of odor and the cool burning

Of scarlet tomatoes and the dense dye

Of goldenrod, under this brooding sky

Of cobalt blue, glides the shadow whence

All grief is born, remorselessly returning.



V. Intermezzo (reflection on Abendrot

Looked up once;

The sky was pink—

Suffusion, brimming

Steady rose.

from Abendrot



VI. Fourth Act

Umber and rust on the ragged slope

Smoulder; almost the day is still,

Save for the cricket under the cope

Of lichened stone-he clacks his mill,

Shivering there, not granting yet

That August is gone, September fled,

October waning, and the threat

Of winter leveled at his head;

And boys with clubs now shout and throw

Under the shell-bark hickory trees;

And over the sleepy woods the crow

Flaps and caws his stridencies.

But, cricket, be quiet, for all is over—

Be decently quiet, and under cover.



VII. In March

One task awaits the baffled will;

But yesterday, kneeling there,

I foresaw the ineffable

Less ambiguous to face

Alone, despite the lack of grace...


Then lightly, down the Easter air,

Brittle in its rigorous chill,

Three amber bees rowed carefully

Near, to spy, with musing hum,

Heather and chrysanthemum.


I stared dully as I knelt,

Querying resurrection brave

Enough to quest what honey dwelt

Meagre by a three-years' grave;

And heart felt-though mind despised—

A rune, cruelly disguised.