Saint Cloud State University Choir, Matthew Ferrell, Conductor
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire.
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly.
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
-Sara Teasdale (1884-1993)
I noticed that Teasdale was very deliberate in describing the natural world in this poem. She spends the first few stanzas creating a very vivid picture of what nature looks, sounds, and feels like. So I wanted to capitalize on her initial motives, I did this through a circling motive that actually served as a basis for the whole piece. It actually did not occur to me to use it as connecting material until much later in the pieces development. However, it seemed as though the best way to transcend Teasdale's words, was to create a piece that would leave the listener with a fulfilled sense of what a "world without war or human beings" would sound and feel like. It is not until later in the poem that we find out that Teasdale is talking about escaping the horrors of war, and what it does to not only us as humans, but to the natural world around us. To me, this dream of a world without human beings is realized in the final lines of the poem. "And spring herself, when she woke at dawn, would scarcely know that we were gone". To some this may be disturbing, but to the poet, there is a real sense of comfort and solace in this final stanza.