O daughter of the gently valleyed hills,
where like a child I lie against your breast,
my cares all fled into the utter west,
you give the dew of Hermon for my ills,
that from your heart distills.
And in the night, you tear a rift like day;
the day you clothe in coolness like the night’s,
and chasms glitter in your chordal lights.
For this I thank you, begging you to stay:
what else am I to say?
You are the east wind and the eagle’s wing
over the waves, and watching by the shore
from towered crags I see your shadows soar
to bathe in Lethe every troubled thing;
you make the bitter sing.
Sometimes I sense your chrism on my heart,
and rivers by Elijah’s call ignite,
the sky unites with earth in pillared light,
and in that blaze all of my fears depart
into your solemn art.
And by the light of an eternal day,
I saw the mist wrap mountains, like the ice
that chains the earth in psalms of paradise—
you bind in me the words that I should pray
were I to die this day.
—Lynn Michael Martin
First published in the 2020 Leaf.
This poem is part of my series called Lieder, using flowing and cadenced language in order to have a song-like effect. They are modeled, as the name suggests, after the music and poetry of German Romantic art-songs, such as Schubert’s “An die Musik.”