of Ocean (2001)
on "Prometheus Unbound"(1819) by Percy B. Shelley
mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and piano;
sister! what a low yet dreadful groan
Quite unsuppressed is tearing
up the heart
Of the good Titan, as storms tear up the deep,
beasts hear the sea moan in inland caves.
thou speak, sister? all my words are drowned.
felt thy torture, son; with mixed joy
As pain and virtue give.
To cheer thy state
I bid ascend those subtle and fair spirits,
homes are the dim caves of human thought,
And who inhabit, as
birds wing the wind,
Its world-surrounding aether: they behold,
Beyond that twilight realm, as in a glass,
Look, sister, where a troop of spirits gather,
of clouds in spring's delightful weather,
Thronging in the blue
More yet come, one by one: the air around them
as the air around a star.
Sister, I hear the thunder of new wings.
thou not two shapes from the east and west
Come, as two doves
to one belovèd nest,
Twin nurslings of the all-sustaining air
swift still wings glide down the atmosphere?
And hark! their
sweet, sad voices! 'tis despair
Mingled with love and then dissolved
Thou speakest, but thy words
Are as the air: I feel them
not: Oh, lift
Thine eyes, that I may read his written soul!
eyes are like deep, blue, boundless heaven
Contracted to two
Their long, fine lashes; dark, far, measureless,
within orb, and line through line inwoven.
Lift up thine eyes,
let me read thy dream.
The mountain mists, condensing at our voice
Under the moon,
had spread their snowy flakes,
From the keen ice shielding our
Then two dreams came. One I remember not.
in the other his pale wound-worn limbs
Fell from Prometheus,
and the azure night
Grew radiant with the glory of that form.
saw not, heard not, moved not, only felt
His presence flow and
mingle through my blood
Till it became his life, and his grew
And I was thus absorbed, until it passed,
And like the
vapours when the sun sinks down,
Gathering again in drops upon
And tremolous as they, in the deep night
As you speak, your words
Fill, pause by pause, my own forgotten
Low, sweet, faint sounds, like the farewell
Were heard: O, FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW ME.
fine clear sounds! O, list!
As dew-stars glisten
Then fade away-
Child of Ocean!
a voice unspoken;
By thy step alone
Can its rest be broken;
Child of Ocean!