Three Songs from Athena

Soprano (or Mezzo-soprano) and PIano

Duration: 8-10 minutes

Language: English

RELATED:  #Tranquil  #Fast  #Joy  #Love  #Community  #Womxn  #Aleatoric  #ComingOfAge

Photo Credit: Shruthi Rajasekar

I. Morning Song         

II. Leaving Home       

III. Friends                 

Three Songs from Athena are a coming-of-age collection: songs that honor the parental figures and sisterhood of friends that have shaped and carried a woman to maturity. I commissioned poet Athena Kildegaard to write on this theme to express my gratitude to the people whose love “carries” me always. Kildegaard transformed my personal sentiments into these striking and universal texts: 

I. Morning Song:

Wash my hair, mother,

this last time,

the weight of it in your hands,
how the light lifts it up.

 

Dry my hair, mother,

and comb it out,

pulling the morning’s

warmth to the ends.

 

Mother, braid my hair,

your quick fingers turning

and turning beauty
into beauty, this last time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                          -Athena Kildegaard

Duration: 2-3 minutes

Duration: 2-3 minutes

Duration: 3-4 minutes

II. Leaving Home

Sun in your tomatoes,

Wind in the yellow lilies

bees secure their futures 

how does the earth turn

but by gravity?

 

How certain I am
of loving you, papa,

and how certain,
like the bee, of leaving.

No, what do I know
of bees’ desires?
What do I know of wind?

Except it carries me
out the narrow door 

defying gravity,
defying gravity.

III. Friends

For Sue who gave me seashells

with their echoes

For Diane and your violin—
for those lazy afternoons of arpeggios

How else could I get by?

 

For June whose warblers

taught me patterns
and surprises

For Maeve with your lullabies

How else could I get by?

For Barb, Liz and Nancy—

how we steamed clams
and sliced fennel tissue thin

and fed a dozen friends

 

For Tanya, how you let me call

at two or three; made me bread and rubbed my feet

 

and Margaret, so much my sister

though you weren’t
How else could I get by?

© 2020 by Shruthi Rajasekar