There was a time

There was a time (2009) with text adapted from William Wordsworth’s Ode Intimations of Immortality (1888), dedicated to Jocelyn Olson. The song There was a time is a setting of the composer’s own adaptation of segments of the 12 canto ode into a single cohesive poem. The subject of the poem is the protagonist’s growing awareness of humanity’s increasing disconnectedness with nature, a kind of mid-life crisis, really. It suggests that we all come from a more celestial existence before our births, and that, “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.”

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, the earth, and every common sight to me did seem appareled in celestial light, the glory and the freshness of a dream.

It is not now as it has been before; turn where I may, the things I’ve seen I can now see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes, and lovely is the rose. The moon when the heavens are bare, waters on a starry night are beautiful and fair; the sunshine is a glorious birth.
But yet I know a glory has passed from the earth. Where is the visionary Gleam? Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Though now that radiance so bright be forever taken from my sight, though gone now the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; we shall not grieve but find strength in what remains behind.

Thanks to the human heart, thanks to its tenderness, its joys, its fears, to me the meanest flower can give thoughts too deep for tears.

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