Water Lilies

“If you have forgotten water lilies floating
On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade,
If you have forgotten their wet, sleepy fragrance,
Then you can return and not be afraid.

But if you remember, then turn away forever
To the plains and the prairies where pools are far apart,
There you will not come at dusk on closing water lilies,
And the shadow of mountains will not fall on your heart.”

-Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

I stumbled on this poem completely by accident, but once I read these words I knew that I had to set them to music.  The words left me with chills and an immense sorrow.  The dilemma of making a choice between two no-win options and the heartache that comes with that hit me hard.  This is probably the moodiest piece I’ve ever written, but I couldn’t see any other way to write it.  It took a while and stretched me to my limit (every piece does that), but I feel that I achieved that feeling of hopelessness, tension and regret.

2 thoughts on “Water Lilies

  1. Pingback: New Piece: Desert Pools « Matthew D. Nielsen

  2. Pingback: The Atlanta Singers Premieres Desert Pools | Matthew D. Nielsen

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