14. Mountain stars

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Text: A new poem of 4 stanzas describing the experience of really seeing all the stars for the first time, from some place high in the mountains, on a crisp moonless night:


Animals of the night,
in fur or feather barely warm,
live with stars in constant sight
and swim in silver light.

Humans of the swarm
rarely wander in the dark,
until within some mountain park
they meet primeval charm:

Beauty infinite and stark;
beginning and the end of time;
all mass and energy in rhyme;
invitation to embark.

Lying gazing, flying, blazing.
Up is down and night is day.
See the Earth behind you turning.
Throw your little self away.

Musicians: SSAA chorus (sometimes divisi) and piano.

Length: 4 minutes.

Style: The choral equivalent of a Renaissance dance.

Inspiration: "Salimmo su`, el primo e io secondo, tanto ch'i' vidi de le cose belle che porta 'l ciel, per un pertugio tondo. E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle." [Dante]

First performance: The Easton Area High School Treble Choir, in Easton, Pennsylvania, 9 May 2012, under direction of Richard H. Davis, with Ryan J. Neel at the piano.

[a multitude of stars]
[a multitude of stars]

Sptzer Space Telescope

NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS/SSI/University of Wisconsin

Fresh Choral Music Online, by Peter Bird of Los Angeles