Opus number: 64

Title: Songs of Time and Eternity

Dedication: D’Anna Fortunato

Instrumentation: soprano and piano (texts by Emily Dickinson)

Date written: October 2002, Boston, MA

Length: ca. 12 minutes

Premiere Performance: D’Anna Fortunato, mezzo-soprano; Larry Bell, piano; Woodstock-Fringe American Song/Fest, August 2003, Woodstock, NY.

Important subsequent performances: D’Anna Fortunato, mezzo-soprano; Larry Bell, piano; Music on Marlborough, Boston, MA, October 2004. Robin Reinert, soprano; Luis Ortiz, piano. Today’s Youth Performs Today’s Music, Brown Hall, New England Conservatory, January 2005 and May 2, 2005 St. Cecilia’s Church.

Recording: Albany Records CD Troy741, ,D’Anna Fortunato, mezzo-soprano; Larry Bell, piano.

Program notes: The poems of Emily Dickinson are often grouped together by subject matter. One such grouping, poems of “Time and Eternity,” is the source of the five poems in this short cycle. Songs 2, 3, and 4 are preoccupied with the afterlife and a healthy religious skepticism. The perspective of songs 1 and 5 ranges from a childlike wonder about the future to an adult’s obsessions with romantic memory.



Will there really be a “Morning”?
Is there such a thing as “Day”?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh some Scholar! O some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Man from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called “Morning” lies!


Going to Heaven!
I don’t know when,
Pray do not ask me how,
Indeed I’m too astonished
To think of answering you!

Going to Heaven!
How dim it sounds!
and yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home at night
Unto the Shepherd’s arm!

Perhaps you’re going too!
Who knows?
If you should get there first,
Save just a little place for me
Close to the two I lost –

The smallest “Robe” will fit me
And just a bit of “Crown;”
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home.

I’m glad I don’t believe it
For it would stop my breath –
And I’d like to look a little more
At such a curious Earth!

I’m glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the mightyAautumn afternoon
I left them in the ground.


To know just how He suffered – would be dear–
To know if any human eyes were near
To whom He could entrust His wavering gaze–
Until it setteld broad – on Paradise –

To know if He was patient – part content –
Was Dying as He thought – or different –
Was it a pleasant Day to die –
And did the Sunshine face His way –

And if He spoke – What name was Best –
What last
What One broke off with
At the Drowsiest –

Was He afraid – or tranquil –
Might He know
How Conscious Consciousness – could grow –
Till Love that was – and Love too best to be –
Meet – and the Junction be Eternity


It makes no difference abroad –
The Seasons – fit – the same –
The Mornings blossom into Noons –
And split their Pods of Flame –

Wild flowers – kindle in the Woods –
The Brooks slam – all the Day –
No Black bird bates his Banjo –
For passing Calvary –

Auto da Fe – and Judgment _
Are nothing to the Bee –
His separation from His Rose –
To Him – sums Misery –


Heart! We will forget him!
You and I – tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave –
I’ll forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me
That I might begin!
Haste! while you are lagging
I may remember him!