Opus 614

Downpour (2005)

for SATB Chorus and String Quartet

Text by Kathleen Wakefield

Madrigalia; Gibbs & Main; Roger Wilhelm, conductor

Duration: 4 min.

Dedication: for Roger Wilhelm and Madrigalia

Commission: Commissioned by Madrigalia

Publisher: Musik Fabrik

Performance materials available from the publisher.

I will go back to the day it rained in the late summer garden,
a merciless rain that plucked my deaf ears
open, such wild applause that had nothing to do with me,
nor the way I’d arranged the broad-leafed hostas
in a half-moon, the laddered spires of lobelia in between,
and then the lilies, loosestrife, and spiky monarda
for rain to fall on, which in the end made no discernible
difference, the whole woods clamoring, a ceaseless drumming
that said, So much singing cannot be shut out:
Rise and walk away, and for a moment it was all Mississippis,
cane-backed chairs and spinning reeds, the soft secrecies of
flesh spiraling underneath, but I tell you, it had the absolute
certainty of answered prayer. It was what it was—
rain—having no use for words like redemption,
redemption mimicking its course, undefiled by gutter
and downspout, rock and ripped leaf. It was a litany with purpose,
a near monotone that played and leapt to its conclusion
in spite of my foolishness, white flames dancing on a glassy tabletop.
Yes, I know it was simply the result of all the conditions that permitted it,
but my God, how it laughed at me, the rain and the green flesh
declaring itself alive.

—Kathleen Wakefield from Notations on the Visible World (Anhinga Press, 2000)