TWO WATTERSON POEMS

Composer: 

Year Authored (or revised): 

2004

Instrumentation : 

SATB, perc (2)

Duration (min): 

10

Movements-Titles: 

Cat Fall
Seminar
Pantomime

Text Source/Author: 

William Watterson

Recording: 

contact ACA

First Performance: 

Bowdoin College, 2004.

Two Watterson Poems for SATB chorus and percussion
By Elliott Schwartz
Text by William Watterson

Cat Fall

I.
Outside
the feral mother won’t let me near
though when I call she hears me;
she never quite finishes her food.
She covers the bowl with grass,
Then arranges sticks and stones
around it in patterns
I do not understand.

Only she knows what she means.

II.
Inside
the paws of the kitten who survived
explore the keyboard
of an old piano,
striking notes randomly
like a row by Schoenberg
never to be repeated.
Music at the edge,
at the edge music
which will not harden into form.

A gust rattles the windowpane.

On the roof the rain is playing
its small silver triangle.

III.
Yellow eyes stare up into my eyes,
their vacancy
unwordable as song…

Seminar

They watch me like a t.v. turned down low
and now I am watching them watch me,
their faces blank as endpapers
in books they will never read.

I am, apparently, a rerun,
just words but no music,
my “teacher knows best” voice a drag
no matter how much I modulate,
a one-man show less commercial interruptions,
my rating lower than I know.

When the hour ends I unplug myself,
my cord a prehensile tail that slithers like a whip.

When the screen goes dark
the Keats ode fails
like perfect flora frozen in the shale.

Ensemble Type: 

choral accompanied
chorus+orchestra/ens

Listening Sample: 

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