I Dream Awake

This August, the Italian record label Ravello Records released composer Bill Whitley’s wonderful cd of new music, I Dream Awake. The recording includes “Little White Salmon,” a piece on which Bill and I collaborated (the music is all Bill’s) , and on which I also perform the vocals.  Since the poetry has (as poetry does) a music of its own, I have transcribed the lyric it below.

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But oh do listen to the recording itself also– it’s such wonderful music! In fact, I just learned that the cd has had thousands of listens on Spotify, and “Little White Salmon” its own thousands. TEXTURA online music review also just named the cd as one of it’s picks for the top ten classical albums of 2017!  (Read the glowing review here).

You can listen to a sampling from the cd (including the opening (“White Water”), read about the composer and musicians, and then buy cds for everyone on your gift list! All at http://www.ravellorecords.com/catalog/rr7971/

 

Meanwhile, “Little White Salmon”:

 

I. White Water

I stir awake—  

my restive limbo.

I stir awake—

my restive limbo.

I stir awake—

and sleepless, rest

a restless stillness

slips off like a sleeve, a spell

released I stir I shake I

swim and leaves swim, loom

and turn with me a swirl I

stir from sleep remembered

by my cells, by ancient selves…

A spiraling of cells and selves

remembering the snows and thaws and

humming summers’ roar and thrum

of falls continuous with us,

our very sinew even as

we’re new…

A gleam of blue, a bloom of green

they shimmer-glow

I go

 

II. The Eddy

I

wake inside a room of brown

and red — no sound I

wake inside a shadowed

leafy lake, still whirl of fallen alder,

maple leaves, of bracken’s ferny

wake.

 

III. Flow

 

Oh sleeve of sleepless rest,

Oh longing’s limbo, slide

away and I’m alive again

I rise

a dash

     a rush

it tastes like tin.

 

IV.  Mouth

 

Oh stun dissolved, oh nervy

stir of urges free to forge a way, re-

calling as we go, re-knowing

in the coalesce 

and press and flow

of cells

and wet

and light.

I plunge I slide I turn

I writhe through green and blue

with light and shine I push

against the current’s rush the pull

of time.

 

V. Flows In, Returns

 

Then: stone taste of the past,

a past when stone was flow

I waken into this: the ebb

and flow of all that was before

the stone that goes,

returns, is now.

*

I do not know this shape

I am, this red! Awake,

I try to shake it off

and fail.

*

I dream I die

I dream in yellows, blues and reds

I dream awake

I dream I-84 east.

VI. Eddy (Reprise)

The soundless room so brown,

red, shadowed, warm, a swirl

of warm and brown and leaves and

motes and ferny curls, so soundless

brown and warm.

 

VII. White Water (the return)

I stir awake—   my restive limbo.

I stir awake— my restive limbo.

I stir awake— and sleepless

rest, a restless stillness

slips off like a sleeve, a spell

released I stir I shake I

swim and leaves swim, loom

and turn with me a swirl I

stir from sleep remembered

by my cells by ancient selves

a spiraling of cells and selves

remembering the snows

and thaws and humming summers’

roar and thrum of falls—

a gleam of blue, a bloom

of green, a glow continuous,

the past and us,

the now, the flow.

 

download
Little White Salmon River, Washington (photo credits: Wet Planet Whitewater)

Author: Donna C Henderson

Donna Henderson lives on the banks of the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon, where she also practices psychotherapy, poetry, music, Reiki, and teaches yoga, among other things.

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